Motorcycle Travel Guide: Belize

Welcome to Belize! This ultimate motorcycle travel guide explains everything you need to know about riding a motorcycle in Belize including paperwork, borders, safety and extra info. If you’re planning an overland motorcycle adventure in Belize – start here.

Motorcycle Travel Belize

This Mexico motorcycle travel guide is based on our ride through Belize in 2024 as part of our round the world trip. The guides on this website are constantly updated with info from contributors to keep them current, up-to-date and as helpful as possible for you.

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Motorcycle Travel Guide Belize

Welcome to Belize! A tiny country hidden away in Central America. It’s not high on the overlander bucket list, so you won’t find a load of information about it online, but this guide has everything you need to know about travelling there on a motorcycle.

Belize is a tiny country tucked away in a corner of Central America. Nestled between northern Mexico and Guatemala, it’s often bypassed by motorcycle overlanders who simply flit between Mexico and Guatemala in the south. The reason is because it takes a lot more effort and cost to head north into Mexico and then dip down into Belize – you’ve got to want to go… but it’s worth it. And if you’re interested in riding there then this guide has everything you need to know about riding a motorcycle in beautiful Belize.

Our motorcycle ride through Belize

Our motorcycle ride through Belize

We (Andy and Alissa from Mad or Nomad) are on a round the world motorcycle trip and entered Belize in May 2024. This guide is based on our experiences and what we learnt. However, as with all our guides, readers and fellow travellers kindly contribute more info, which we always update our guides with so they stay current.

For more info on our ride there and what we got up to, have a read of our Belize Blog.

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Motorcycle Travel Belize

Quick info on Belize

It’s strange entering Belize. As an overlander you’ll either be entering from Mexico or Guatemala and both are Spanish speaking countries. So to enter neighbouring Belize where the first language is English and Queen Elizabeth is on the bank notes can take you by surprise.

Its eastern shoreline is on the Caribbean, but the entire country feels more like a Caribbean Island for the most part. Although, it is very diverse with a number of cultures, languages and people – the Mayan people, Mayan-European and Afro Caribbean are the majorities and it can feel like you’re in a new country every 20 minutes.

There are also Mennonite communities throughout Belize. Different communities have different beliefs, for example in the north they don’t drive vehicles and use horse and cart to get around while some communities in the centre have huge trucks and it’ll feel like you’re in the States.

It’s a huge mix of people in a tiny country. To give you an idea, Belize can fit into the UK 11 times and has a population of around 400,000 people (roughly the population of Manchester). As it’s so small there’s not an awful lot to explore, so you don’t necessarily need to plan months for this one. A few weeks should get all the main sights in. 

Motorcycle Travel Belize

Paperwork

For motorcycle travellers entering Belize, you will need your passport, motorcycle registration document and driver’s licence. The paperwork required to ride in Belize is as follows:

Fumigation

The first step at the Belize border is to have your motorcycle fumigated. When we entered, there was a large building with a few automatic sprayers attached to the walls that we were told to ride through. The sprayers were so weak and pathetic they didn’t even touch our bikes. Nevertheless, it’s 6USD or 60 Mexican pesos per motorcycle and you’ll get a little certificate. (Note that it’s cheaper if you pay in pesos).

Immigration

Once spic and span you’ll need to visit immigration. You can park your motorcycle outside the immigration office and will need to go inside and fill out an immigration form.

When filling out your immigration form, do not select ‘Transit’ otherwise you’ll be given fewer days. Make sure you stipulate exactly how many days you want on the form.

The form does ask for where you’ll stay. Any accommodation is fine for this, you do not need to have made a reservation.

Belize offers a free visa for a number of countries with a maximum stay of 30 days. Check your country’s entry eligibility for Belize before you travel using the Belize Gov website. 

Temporary Import

Head over to the customs desk for your Temporary Import paperwork. This will all be written out by hand. Don’t feel rushed, take the time to check your VIN number, registration and passport details for any mistakes and ask for them to be corrected if you find any.

There is no charge for the TIP at this desk.

Tax

Head over to the tax desk where you’ll need to pay 15BZD. Again, check your information has been written down correctly.

Once you have your passport stamped, your all-important TIP, your slip of paper from the tax desk and your fumigation paper then it’s back to your motorcycle.  

Show the border official your tax paper and you’re free to go!

Motorcycle insurance

But you’re not out of the woods yet. Next up is insurance. Now, this is incredibly important. You could literally ride out of the border and into Belize without doing it. But if you’re caught without insurance there’ll be hell to pay.

Luckily, the insurance office is right outside the border. It’s called an ICB building. Border officials will point you in the right direction. Obtaining your insurance is very easy and straightforward. Head into the building armed with your paperwork from the border and ask for insurance for the amount of time needed. It costs around 45BZD for one motorcycle for two weeks.

Exit tax

Strangely, Belize charges tourists a tax to exit. Not many countries do this at all. When you are leaving the country, you will need to visit immigration to get stamped out and pay a fee. It is around 80BZD (40USD/ 30GBP) per person.

Motorcycle Travel Belize

More on motorcycle travel paperwork

If you’re planning a motorcycle trip and aren’t used to the different types of paperwork requirements, or are just trying to get your head around motorcycle paperwork in general, have a read of our packed paperwork for bikers guide too.

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Crossing the border to Belize

You can enter Belize overland from either Mexico or Guatemala. Border situations are always changing, so we recommend using the iOverlander app to find a border that suits your route and reading the current and up-to-date info left by other travellers to pick your border.

Note that border towns (not just in Belize, but throughout the world) are rarely the nicest places to stay. So, it’s always worth getting to the border early with a full stomach and drinks and snacks to hand so you’re not rushing or stuck in mid-day heat.

A quick note on entering Belize from Mexico. There’s a fantastic family run campsite not far from the Belize borer and we highly recommend staying there after you cross. You’ll find more info on that in the accommodation section.

Motorcycle Travel Belize

When to ride in Belize

The best time to ride a motorcycle in Belize is between January and May. June is its hottest month, October is the coldest May the windiest. Be aware that it can get extremely humid in Belize. And also note that the hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30.

Motorcycle Travel Belize

Money and costs

Belize is one of the most expensive countries in Central America, so be prepared for higher prices than Guatemala and Mexico. We’ll go into pricings below.

Money can easily be withdrawn at ATMs in large towns, you’ll find them using Google Maps.

You can pay in either USD or Belizean dollars at an exchange rate of 2 to 1 throughout the country.

Accommodation

We recommend using iOverlander and Booking.com to find cheaper accommodation options in Belize.

Here are two spots we highly recommend staying at.

Crash Pad Hostel

Crash Pad Hostel in Hopkins, Belize is run by Emma, who is very knowledgeable on Belize and runs motorcycle tours in the south of the country on small dirt bikes. If you’re after a more adventurous ride, definitely stop in and say hi.

Scarlett Macaw Camping

This wonderful family run campsite is right by the Belize/ Mexico border and a must. The campsite is called Scarlett Macaw Camping Site and we recommend contacting Yanick on +501 626 5952. The campsite is a setup in Lucas and Maria’s front garden. The facilities are excellent and Maria is a fantastic cook, for a little extra Maria will cook your meals and you’ll eat with their wonderful family.  

Motorcycle camping in Belize

Unfortunately, in 2024 two British motorcycles were robbed at gunpoint in the middle of the night at a campsite in Belize. This was at a paid for and official site, so other than at Scarlett Macaw Camping, we do not recommend camping (especially wild camping) in Belize. If you are going to camp, make sure it is a registered, well used and highly rated campsite. Again, we highly recommend Scarlett Macaw, but not elsewhere.  

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Food and water and petrol 

Petrol is very expensive in Belize – much more so than Mexico and Guatemala. So it’s well worth filling your tank before entering and holding out until you exit.

The same goes for food and drink. It’s not eye watering, but pricier than neighbouring countries.

Expect to pay up to 100 pesos (£5/$6) absolute max for a selection of tasty tacos. The more rural you go the cheaper it gets.

Make sure you carry plenty of bottled water with you. It’s easily available at most small shops and tiendas.

Motorcycle Travel Belize

Safety and security

According to the UK Gov website: “Belize has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world.” However, this is primarily in Belize City (south side) – and in the non-touristy areas. Armed gangs have been reported by the Guatemala/Belize border and so we don’t recommend wild camping of any kind in Belize and don’t ride at night.

As with anywhere in the world. use your common sense, don’t travel to the dangerous parts of towns and cities, don’t ride at night, consider where you’re staying and talk to the locals about areas you’re concerned riding through.  

iOverlander

iOverlander is a great resource. You will find pins marked on the map where others have had trouble. But don’t take it as gospel because pins can be out of date.

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Motorcycle Travel Belize

Staying Safe: Your Health

We highly recommend getting decent personal travel insurance before you leave on your trip. It’s incredibly important that you’re covered in case of an accident and your medical bills will be taken care off. Make sure Belize is included on your insurance.

If you are planning on heading into very remote regions and off-roading, then we also recommend carrying an emergency satellite GPS device so you can call for help if you have a medical emergency.

Alissa had a serious crash in Nepal years ago and we wish we had an SOS device back then. Luckily we had excellent travel insurance though, which took care of the £20,000 hospital bill. Do not risk it, make sure you are covered.

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Planning your motorcycle route through Belize

Belize is a tiny country, but there are two borders you can enter/exit from – via Mexico in the north and Guatemala in the west. So, you’ll need to factor this in to your route planning on how you will enter and exit the country.

While in Belize, we have compiled a short list of places we recommend riding to and visiting.

Motorcycle Travel Belize

San Ignacio

San Ignacio is a town close to the Guatemala border. It’s a fantastic place to base yourself for a few days as there’s plenty of activities and things to do from there.

The main reason to stay in this town is to visit the ATM cave or to go tubing.

The ATM Cave

Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM for short) is a 5-mile-deep cave in Belize. You swim into the cave and clamber over and under rocks and incredible formations the deeper into the cave you go. But aside from the fun caving… The ancient Mayans believed this cave was the entrance to the underworld. They first entered the cave 300-600AD.

But from 700AD, the river began to dry up so the Mayans moved deeper into the cave believing it was the source of all water and that they could pray to the gods in there for the water to return. The more the river dried, the more desperate the Mayans became and the deeper they dared go into the darkness.

Their offerings started to change from pots and food to self-mutilation. When that didn’t work, they went in even deeper and things got a little drastic…

After an hour of wading through this stunning cave you arrive at a huge amphitheatre. Massive stalactites hang from the rocky ceiling and were carved to look like their gods, so when the Mayans were there with their fire torches the carvings would flicker on the walls and move.  

Once they realised cutting themselves wasn’t working, they turned to human sacrifice. 14 skeletons (12 of them very young children and some babies) have been found in the cave. They were of noble decent and young so they were thought of as pure. They died from trauma to the head. It’s unclear whether they were kidnapped royals from neighbouring settlements or willing participants.

“The Crystal Maiden” is the most famous. It’s the skeleton of what is now believed to be a teenage boy. His bones have calcified gluing him to the ground for eternity. It’s believed his heart was removed while he was still alive.

This photograph is of him. Although, it’s not our photo. No cameras or phones are allowed into the cave because a tourist dropped their camera and broke a 1,000-year-old skull. And another visitor broke another skull by stepping on it. So this photo was sent to us by the company that ran our tour (they took the pic before cameras were banned).

Despite the sacrifices, water did not flow again for hundreds of years. This goes a long way to explaining why vast Mayan cities were left abandoned and reclaimed by the jungle. Its once prosperous people had no choice but to abandon their cities and homes and scatter across Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico in search of a new home.

The cave is filled with over 1,500 artefacts in incredibly well-preserved condition from pots to weapons and ornaments. Some even have food substances left. And there are strange markings which have been found in other places across Central America. But that’s a story for another day.

We love that the cave has never been excavated. The Bilezean government ruled that it should all be left exactly as it is. Meaning there is so much left hidden under these rocks. More skeletons, questions, answers and stories that we’ll never see or know. There are still mysteries in this world…

You’ll find the cheapest and best value tours for the ATM caves on Viator here. 

ATM Cave

Xunantunich Mayan Ruins

To reach the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins you will need to cross a little river on a handcranked ferry – and that’s always fun! There’s no charge for the ferry and you can just ride your motorcycle onto it.  It’s very close to San Ignacio and worth the ride.

Xunan was inhabited around 1,000BC and these structures were built around 700 AD to act as a ceremonial centre for the Belize Valley region which had around 200,000 inhabitants. Today, 1,324 years later – Belize’s population is only around 400,000.

There are 25 temples and palaces here, but the entire site was abandoned to the jungle over a thousand years ago and only discovered and excavations began around 1890.

It’s crazy to think Mayan ruins are still being uncovered and there are still thousands lost to the jungle. Even here, considering how huge Xunan is, a secret tomb of a Maya ruler was only found in 2016!

You’ll find the cheapest and best value tours for Xunan on Viator here. 

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker isn’t a motorcycle destination – in fact, you can’t even take your motorcycle there. It’s a Caribbean island of the east coast of Belize so you’ll need to find somewhere to store your motorcycle in Belize City. It’s easy to get to with a ferry and well worth it.

The cool island is a fantastic place to go scuba diving or snorkelling and has the second largest barrier reef in the world. We love scuba diving but found the snorkelling day trips just as good here. Make sure you go to Shark Ray Alley – it’s impressive!

Here’s a selection of Caye Caulker snorkeling tours on Viator.

Motorcycle riding gear for Belize

We always recommend choosing an ultra-lightweight, breathable and well vented adventure riding suit – and one that is not waterproof. Pack a cheap and light set of throwover waterproofs in case it rains. The aim of the game here is a layering system. It can get exceptionally hot and exceptionally wet in Belize so you want to be in well vented kit with easy access waterproof.  

For more info and guides on adventure riding gear have a look at the below guides.

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Motorcycle Travel Belize

Rentals and tours

The only place to rent a motorcycle or join a tour is at Crash Pad Hostel in Hopkins Belize. Get in touch with the owner, Emma, and enquire about rentals and tours. 

Read more on motorcycle travel in Belize and Central America

Thanks for checking out the Motorcycle Travel Guide: Belize. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycle travel in Belize and Central and North America that we recommend you read next. 

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Are you planning a motorcycle trip in Belize? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 

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