Belmopan is the capital of Belize, nearer the geographic center of the country than (former capital) Belize City. It was established following the massive damage that occurred when Hurricane Hattie struck Belize City in 1961; an inland location was deemed a safer location for the national government than the low-lying seaside metropolis of Belize City.
Getting in to Belmopan is easy; two highways serve as a entrance to Belmopan: the Hummingbird Highway and Western Highway. Travel from Belmopan to Belize City using the novelos or the batty bus lines is less than US$6 (BZD12) per person.
Buses to and from Belize City leave on or close to the hour. Express buses take an hour to an hour and a half, whilst non-express buses can take up to two hours to travel between the cities.
You can get around Belmopan by car or taxi, but Belmopan is a small city. Walking can get you around and really show you the true city.
There is a taxi rank at the Belmopan bus station in Market Plaza. Always agree on the price before getting into a taxi. Most taxi fares within Belmopan will cost between $5-10 Belizean dollars, longer trips will incur a larger fee.
Many tour companies in and around Belmopan run tours to a wide variety of interesting caves, ruins, and jungle trails. It's a good idea to look for reviews for other tour companies on review sites before booking, in case some of them may have treated guests poorly.
Most of these are day trips, leaving early in the morning and returning the same afternoon. Note that not all tours are available on any given day. Most tour companies require a certain minimum number of registrations before they'll make the run. Checking in the night before for which tours are available the next day is often the best option.
Belmopan is a good place to walk around the neighborhoods and market plazas. It is a great place to discover, as it has a low crime rate and is very laid back and relaxing.
The Belize Zoo is only a few miles down the road from Belmopan and can be reached by bus or by taxi. The zoo houses a wide range of wildlife native to Belize, most of which have been rescued.
Caves Branch is also a short distance from Belmopan and offers cave tubing and zip lining tours.
There are many tour companies in Belmopan City. Many of these conduct day trips, leaving early in the morning and returning the same afternoon. Note that not all tours are available on any given day. Most tour companies require a certain minimum number of registrations before they run. Checking in the night before for which tours are available the next day is often the best option.
Most hotels in Belmopan will also book tours for you, with their preferred tour company. The more popular tours, such as Cave Tubing, ATM Cave, and St. Herman's National, run daily, so you need only provide a day's notice.
Upside Down Tours: Crystal Cave is one of the best tours to visit a wide variety of interesting caves, rivers, and jungle trails.
Belize True Adventures: Belize True Adventures is known for providing amazing tours and jungle hike throughout Mountain Pine Ridge, including Xunantunich.
Belize Jungle Master: Belize Jungle Masters is well known for providing outstanding Zip lining in Belize.
Things to buy in Belmopan include Belizean groceries and gifts from the gift shops. Angelus Press is a great place to shop for gifts where you can buy flags, maps, books and Belizean trinkets.
Every Tuesday and Friday there is a market day held in the center of the city. Many locals set up booths selling inexpensive clothes, DVDs, trinkets, food, and produce. Many Belizians from surrounding towns and villages ride the bus to get to Belmopan's market day so it is a great way to experience the culture. If you want to experience it at its busiest point, plan to come early, because many booths close downs during the hottest part of the day.
There are a lot of clean Chinese-owned restaurants in Belmopan that make great Belizean food.
A number of small food stalls can be found in Market Square near the bus station.
Corkers restaurant (also near the bus station) offers a wider variety of western foods than most.
Drink only the bottled water.
Belmopan has very few options to rest your head, which is even more difficult if you are trying to find a last-minute place to stay. There are two motels that rent by the hour and two hotels. Spend the night at a jungle hotel instead (but book ahead and arrive before dark to avoid driving on Hummingbird Highway with only your high beams).
Embassies and High Commissions