Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Belize?
Belize is a fascinating country, part of the British Commonwealth and the only country in Central America to have English as its official language.
In the rainy season, it is a mudbath out of the cities and towns and a 4 x 4 is essential then. The country is a tax haven and has beautiful beaches, stunning islands and pristine rainforest.
Seat Belt Laws
Only the front seat occupants of a car must wear a seat belt by law in Belize. Where cars are fitted with rear seat belts you should ensure that all occupants are securely restrained.
Drinking and Driving
The drink driving laws in Belize are the same as in the UK. The legal limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. If you exceed the limit you can find yourself spending a night or more in a local jail.
Must Have Documents
You will need to have an international driving licence unless you have a US issued driving licence. Both of these are valid for up to three months. There are no other legal requirements for documentation but it’s useful to carry your registration document with you. You must have the compulsory insurance disk inside your screen, purchased upon entry into Belize or when you collect your hire car.
The speed limits for Belize are as follows:
Open roads: 90 km/h
In Town: 40 km/h
Extra urban 60 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Belize. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 21. If you are under 25, many car hire companies will charge you an extra amount based on your age.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
It’s not illegal to use a safety camera warning device in Belize but few people do. The roads are generally not conducive to speeding anyway so for your safety and that of other road users you should stick to the speed limit.
On the Spot Fines
There are no on the spot fines in Belize. If you commit a driving offence you’ll be given a penalty notice by the police officer which will detail the penalty and how to pay it.
Child Safety Rules
There are no specific laws for child safety in cars and it is up to the adults to ensure that a child is safely and securely seated in a car. If you are hiring a car from us, let us know your requirements when you book and we’ll ensure that age appropriate seating is fitted for your children.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory and must be purchased in Belize. It can be bought from the Insurance Corporation of Belize. You will receive a plastic insurance disk which must be displayed inside your windscreen.
Rules of the Road
Standard international driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• Belize drives on the right
• Distances are in miles
• Bicycles are very common
• You can turn right on a red light even with no indication given
If you are towing a vehicle, simply make sure you have good visibility and that the vehicle being towed is securely attached.
Fixed speed cameras haven’t made it to Belize yet but the police are fond of using mobile speed traps, especially given the low speed limits in place. If you’re caught on camera, you’ll usually be pulled over further down the road and be given a penalty notice.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It’s against the law to use a mobile phone without a hands free kit whilst driving in Belize
Belmopan and other large towns are very busy and parking can be scarce towards the main commercial areas. Elsewhere, you’ll find ad hoc parking by the side of most main roads and it’s always free. Try to park where your car is visible, especially at night. Whilst crime is lower than in some Central American countries, it's still prevalent.
If you want the security of attended parking you’ll need to pay for it. You’ll generally find it only in the bigger towns and cities where there’s also roadside metered parking in the commercial areas.
Enforcement of parking is rarely enacted unless you have parked inconsiderately or for an extended period of time. Most parking regulation is relaxed in Belize.
Belize doesn’t officially recognise the needs of disabled drivers but it’s possible to get assistance and a more convenient space in attended garages.
Motor Way Signs
There are no motorways on Belize but there are four main highways and two alternative highways that cross the country between the major settlements.
English is the official language of Belize so you should have no trouble being understood.
Traffic lights are mainly confined to the bigger towns and cities in Belize. As a former British colony, the light system operates in the same way as UK traffic lights so shouldn’t be unfamiliar.
There is one Toll Bridge in Belize, you will encounter this if you drive from Belize City to Orange Walk Town.
The emergency number in Belize is the US standard 911 for all emergency services
What to do in an emergency
With a hire car, mechanical emergencies are easily resolved by calling the number given to you by the local agent. You’ll find it inside the windscreen or on the documentation. If you’re in a private car and encounter a problem, make sure you have taken a local mechanic’s number with you.
If you are involved in an accident, you need only call the police if there is major damage or injuries, otherwise, the problem can be sorted out between the parties involved. Where the police need to be called, try not to move the cars but if you have to, make sure you have photographs of the scene before they are moved. Collect witness details too. In most cases the police will issue a report which you’ll need for the car hire company or your insurance.
Emergency number: #90
As of November 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Belize is £1.00 whilst diesel is 92p. Prices can vary between the capital, larger towns and the smaller villages.
|We actually have 4 major highways (not 3), and 2 alternative highways. Our emergency # is 90. And we do have one toll road, and it is actually a toll bridge that you will encounter driving from Belize City to Orange Walk Town.