To Belizeans, flying was a far-fetched idea when American hero Charles Lindbergh paid a dramatic visit to the small Caribbean nation as part of his ongoing effort to promote and develop commercial aviation. At the time (1927), Lindbergh had just completed his famous nonstop flight across the Atlantic. On his visit to Belize, the Barracks Green in Belize City served as his runway, and the sound of his well-known craft, The Spirit of St. Louis, attracted hundreds of curious spectators.
Today, dozens of daily international flights fly in and out of the country, served by a growing number of major carriers. In general, airfares to Belize range from expensive to exorbitant, though rates occasionally dip throughout the year.
Philip Goldson International Airport
Most travelers to Belize arrive at Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE), nine miles from Belize City, outside the community of Ladyville. The medium-size airport (by Central American standards) offers basic services like gift shops, currency exchange, and two restaurants; Internet is available in the Sun Garden Restaurant upstairs from the American terminal. Check out the “waving deck” upstairs by the other bar/restaurant for exciting farewell/hello energy. The airport is named after Philip Stanley Wilberforce Goldson (1923–2001), a respected newspaper editor, activist, and politician. The airport’s ongoing runway and apron expansion is hoping to attract new carriers from farther away, particularly the European market.
Arriving in Belize
After clearing customs, you’ll be besieged by taxi drivers offering rides into town for a fixed US$25; split the cost with fellow travelers if you can. If you are not being picked up by a resort or tour company and you choose to rent a car, look for the 11 rental car offices, all together on the same little strip, across the parking lot from the arrival area.
When it’s time to return home, don’t forget to carry enough U.S. dollars for your US$36 departure fee (if it’s not already included in your ticket).
© Joshua Berman and Avalon Travel from Moon Belize, 9th Edition