I was coming to the end of my time on the paradisical island of Caye Caulker, and it was time to move on. I had found public buses relatively easy to catch and incredibly cheap so far in Belize, even with my enormous amount of luggage. Getting from Caye Caulker to Belize City and onward to Placencia by public bus didn’t seem like it would be too tough. However, I quickly ran into a few speed bumps caused by out-of-date information. Here is the up-to-date information you need to make the journey south from Caye Caulker to Placencia.
Caye Caulker to Belize City
This is the easy part of the trip. The boat leaves on a fixed schedule 7 days a week from 6.30 a.m to 5 p.m. It only costs $18.50 BZD for a single, and a round trip will cost you less at only $36 BZD. However, you only have 3 months to use the ticket. I jumped on the 12:30 p.m. ferry to Belize City with all my bags for the hour-long ferry trip to the mainland.
Once I got to the other side, I waited 10 minutes for my bags. While I waited, I talked to the drivers and organized a taxi from the ferry port to the bus station. It costs $10 BZD as standard. Anyone who charges less is in danger of getting in trouble with the rest of the taxi drivers. Haggling is useless. You could walk, but the 15 minutes in burning heat seemed like a nightmare to me.
The taxi ride took all of five minutes, and I chatted away with the driver for the whole journey. He came from Placencia and told me the hot spots to get a cheap drink and hot Fryjack.
Belize City to Placencia by public bus
Online you will currently see links telling you that Ritchies Bus Service is still running. This is out-of-date news and incorrect. Ritchie no longer runs the service and has been replaced by Floralia Bus Service. To get to Placencia from Caye Caulker and Belize City by bus, you must use the new service, which is not advertised anywhere. I only found this out when I got to the station. It resulted in me having a two-hour wait on my hands.
The new public bus schedule for Belize City to Placencia runs from 7.45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday. There is a reduced service on Sundays, but it still runs, and it runs on time in my experience. After my long wait in the bus terminal, it was time to board.
The bus terminal itself is small and basic. A few food stalls are inside serving the usual Belizian snacks like meat pies and pastries, rum punch, crisps, and chocolate. It was noisy and full of people, but they were not only friendly but helpful too. They pointed me in the right direction for timetables and even made sure I knew when the bus had turned up.
The Belize City to Placencia bus cost me $27. It was a huge coach rather than the usual chicken bus I was used to. Luxurious seats, air conditioning, a toilet, and reggae blasting from the speakers kept me pumped the whole ride. Sleep was out of the question. It had the sound and sights of a chicken bus but the luxury of a coach, an interesting contrast.
Arriving in Placencia by bus
The public bus from Belize City to Placencia drives all the way down to the peninsula. The bus will drop you at a place called M&M Hardware store. This is right in the center of the town, and I only had to walk 10 minutes to my hostel on the beach.
I’m staying at Anda Di Haws hostel, and it is right on the seafront. One large room sleeps ten, but I am lucky enough to not even have it half full. It also has drinking water from a tap, which I haven’t had in NINE MONTHS. The host welcomed me, even though I arrived close to 9 p.m., and made me feel right at home. Sitting here, looking out over the Carribean sea, hardly makes writing feel like work.
What to expect
The journey is a solid five hours, so strap in for a long trip. However, the route is absolutely stunning. I was lucky enough to get the sunset over the rolling, jungle-covered hills of the Belizian wilderness.
There are plenty of stops all the way down the coast, so if you’re looking to get dropped off anywhere along the Caye Caulker to Placencia bus route, this is a great option. The shorter your journey, the smaller the fee. We picked people up and dropped them off all over the place, including Hopkins, which is a popular backpacker stop.
Whenever the bus stopped, a number of people would jump on selling tasty snacks for only a few Belizian dollars. I picked up pasties and a few other hot snacks on the way, just for something to do. I’m writing this a few days later, and my stomach is fine, so the moving restaurant gets two thumbs up from me.
The bus is not a quiet one, so expect a lot of music, a lot of chatter, and the usual good vibes that run true along the entirety of Belize. Bring earplugs if you want to sleep, the journey is long, and the seats are pretty comfortable. These buses are made for people with legs more my size than Guatemala.