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Dora Guerra of Atlantic International Bank – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
cobblestone street outside of the Radisson Hotel, Belize City, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAt the moment, Belize is undergoing various infrastructure work, road works being the most prominent. Even so, depending on where you want to live, cars with lower ground clearance aren’t recommended. You can use a vehicle without 4x4 with ease within city limits and on highways.
 
We’d most definitely recommend a 4 x 4 if you plan to travel the country and explore. Many of the best Belize off-road adventures might require a 4 x 4 and you don’t want to miss them!
 
At the Cayes (the islands) and Placencia, it’s very popular to have golf carts instead of traditional modes of transportation. Some of their streets have cobblestones, while others are unpaved and sandy. 
 
(Cobblestone street outside of the Radisson Hotel, Belize City, Belize, pictured.)
Shannon Davies of El Rey Hotel / Belize Travel Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Vehicle used for taking around tourists in Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAll the more significant towns and cities in Belize are connected by paved roads so there is no real need for four wheel drive unless you plan on living off road or going on deep jungle expeditions. 
 
To the right is a picture of the vehicle our sister company, Darrah Travel, uses to take people around the country. 
Tyson Gardner of Moving to Belize: When Philadelphia Refinement Met Rustic Living in Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
bump sign with bum on dirt road, Belize,  – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAh yes, the roads in Belize.   Forget the four-wheel drive.   In my subdued estimation a simple tank will do.  What’s that?  You don’t know anything about driving a tank?  Never mind.  Between braving Belize’s “parody on roads” and “driving a tank,” the latter I’ll guarantee is the easier of the two.  Furthermore, all that you learned about driving in the States the roads in Belize will scrupulously undo.
 
No fan of U.S. interstates and the auto mania that makes the country a hostage to erratic gas prices, ghastly malls, and blighted sprawl, I actually found Belize’s roads, well, amusing… that is, after my “hazing” in a Jeep that swerved, jerked, jarred, and jumped through a maze of crater-size potholes, very nearly exiting me from the vehicle.

Still, I found something agreeable about Belize’s down-to-earth roads.  They really befit a country with so much untouched natural beauty; leastwise, that is the way it was when I lived there ten years ago.   Granted, the highways – two lane affairs – you’ll find paved.  Let me tell you, though, that there are only three “highways” in the country.

You’ll be happy to learn, then, that most of your driving will be performed in acrobatic fashion on an assemblage of roads surfaced in a choice of gravel, rocks and dirt, the last quickly turning to mud and not infrequently, quicksand after a good “gully washer.”   Need I mention these “pleasures” increase proportionally the deeper one ventures into the terrain?

Seriously, if you are the good-natured sort I believe you to be, you will eventually come to see and enjoy Belize’s “parody on roads.”   The scenes in this “play” start on the unassuming Western Highway, or perhaps the gentle rise and fall of the scenic Hummingbird Highway (by far the country’s best thoroughfare), then quickly jump to the typical beleaguered back road that appears manifestly like a slice of Swiss Cheese sporting an assortment of potholes, washouts, chasms and craters. 

Take it slow (which on these roads is really the only way to go), keep a firm grip on the wheel, definitely secure the seatbelt and the challenges I have reflected on here will be no match to your offensive driving.   Just mind the highway speed bumps, those sneaky sentinels guarding the border of each little hamlet – and the “blasted” one slyly waiting in the middle of town that’ll bounce you feet off the seat because you weren’t suspecting it or forgot about it.

You can’t outsmart these indecorous “speed-bouncers,” you know, because no yellow lines signal their stakeouts.  To make matters worse, the height of these humps elude uniformity.  Some are low and easily ascended while most are crude, high obstructions.  Learning comes quickest when caught off guard, sending the heads of the occupants in the vehicle into orbit, followed by an abrupt halt on the roof of the car.

In case you didn’t know it, Belize was once British Honduras.  However, the taint of driving on the wrong side of the road Belize did not inherit from its colonial days. 

 You will also want to be aware of the highway check points, a fixture outside San Ignacio and intermittently in other parts of the country.  Smile at the officer, who will be courteous in the extreme while checking your license.  Most likely, his courtesy is meant to distract you from his cohort eyeing the backseat, trunk and the undercarriage of your machine.  Fret not.  Certainly you do not fit their profile of suspected bandits, which are not unheard of in the land. 

The other “joys” of motoring in Belize I will leave for you to discover.  Of course, if you learned to drive on a disheveled road between two southern towns like I did, you are already prepared and can stick with the four-wheel drive in lieu of the tank.
 
(Bump sign on a dirt road in Belize, pictured.)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Frik De Meyere of Boris Mannsfeld & Associates – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
roads in Belize Western Highway in Belize between San Ignacio and Belmopan Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIt is true that we have only one paved road in Belize, which some people have a hard time believing.
 
When you come from airport and rent a car to come to Placencia, where I live, they’ll tell you to just follow the paved road and don’t mind the signs. There are shortcuts, but those are unpaved roads, and most of the time, they are flooded, rocky, or muddy. 

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Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
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The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
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Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
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