Visiting the Toucan Hideaway

Since friends and guests are starting to come down for a visit I thought I’d throw together a rough guideline to help with your travel plans. This will not be a very exciting blog, but hopefully, it will give you some information about visiting.

belize sign

Most flights down here from the west coast use Houston or Dallas as a hub before heading directly down to Belize. There is only one international airport in Belize and it is in Ladyville (Belize City) with the airport code being BZE. There are four major carriers that fly here daily and they are Southwest, United, Delta, and American but, keep in mind that there is usually only one flight a day. A flight from Arizona to Texas will usually take about 2 hours 45 minutes, then after a brief layover, it will be another 2 hours 15 minutes before you step foot in Belize. If you are flying Southwest (where there are no assigned seats) head to the back of the plane when you board in Texas. In Belize, they open the back of the plane and you will exit a lot faster.

From the airport up to our place it is about a 2 ½ to 3 hour drive. Your options would be to rent a car, take a shuttle or catch a hopper plane to San Ignacio. The best option in our opinion would be to rent a car so you can go check out all the sights. A lot of the flights will not get into Belize until later in the afternoon which means you might have to drive in the dark part of the way, especially during the winter months. I do not like driving the roads in Belize when it is dark because of people or animals on the roads, plus there are a lot of speed bumps that will sneak up on you and will literally launch your car if you don’t see them. When we fly in and I know we can’t make it up to our place before dark we will usually stop at Cheers for the night. Cheers is a great place to stop for a good meal and a cold drink plus they have 3 small nice clean cabins that they rent. They are about a half-hour drive from the airport, very inexpensive, plus you can get a good breakfast the next day before you head up to our place.

Once up at our place there are lots of things to do and explore. Check out Toucan Hideaway on Facebook. There I have listed different things to do in the area along with distances from our place. Keep in mind that we are about a half-hour drive from San Ignacio where there are stores and restaurants. Up here in San Antonio, there is a little store and a fruit stand, but no restaurants or gas stations.


The grocery stores in San Ignacio have just about anything you would need. If there is something you have to have let us know and we will let you know if we have seen it. As for the restaurants, you can get anything from stew chicken with rice & beans, pizza, burgers, BBQ, Chinese food, Indian food, steaks, fried chicken, and the list goes on. No need to worry if you are a picky eater there is something here for you. Plus we love to cook and we can make just about anything that sounds good.

san ignacio

After exploring around the jungle awhile I’m sure you will want to head over to the beach, after all, you will be on the Caribbean. There are a few options for getting to the beach, it just depends on what you want to do. The first choice for most first time visitors is San Pedro out on Ambergris. San Pedro is definitely a party town where everyone drives golf carts and there are more beach bars than you can imagine. There are a lot more options here for accommodations, fishing, diving, and other watersports compared to other spots in Belize. To get to San Pedro you will have to head back to Belize City and either catch a 20-minute flight or catch the ferry boat out to the island.

Caye Caulker is another island that is a lot quieter than Ambergris. Their motto is “Go Slow”. It is a small island with a few beach bars and a few accommodations. It makes for a great day trip by water taxi from San Pedro.


Another option for the beach would be Placencia or Hopkins down south.  The great things about these towns are you can drive there, they are laid back compared to San Pedro, plus you get to drive down the Hummingbird Highway. Placencia is a bigger town than Hopkins with a lot of expats and a lot of big projects going on. Not a whole lot of beach bars or public beaches but you can always find one that is cranking out that Caribbean music and serving great cocktails.


Hopkins is about as laid back as you can get and they have great beaches. There is not a whole lot to do in Hopkins except relax. Of course, there is fishing, snorkeling, river cruises, and cultural classes in cooking and drum making. But for the most part, it is just kick back and recharge yourself.


Just like anywhere accommodations range from the very nice with all the amenities to the very simple shack on the beach. We have stayed at quite a few places on the beaches around Belize or have had friends stay there, so if you are thinking about booking a place in a beach town let us know and we will pass on what we know about it.

Just a few things you might need to know.

Your passport must have at least six months valid before it expires.

The exchange rate is 2 BZ dollars for every 1 USD.

US currency is accepted everywhere.

There is no place outside Belize to exchange your Belizean dollars. Spend them at the airport to get rid of them.

Shorts and T-shirts and flip flops and enclosed shoes and maybe a hat is about all you need.

Sunscreen and some bug spray just in case.

Drinking water is safe in Belize.

Gas is very expensive here around $5 USD per gallon.

All prices listed in stores and restaurants are usually in BZ dollars.

Shop the duty-free shops in the airport for alcohol. You are allowed three or four bottles per person at duty-free.

Rum is cheaper in town than at the duty-free.

Most everyone here speaks English.

We recommend Tropic Air for flying to the island or anywhere else in Belize.

A few places we would recommend.

Crystal Car rental at the airport is the best. The all-wheel-drive Chevy Equinox is a very comfortable car with good mileage. The Jeep Patriot is another option just make sure you get the 4 cyl as it is much better on fuel. Crystal will also give you a cell phone and an ice chest to go along with the car. Do not waste your time with the GPS as they don’t work great for these roads.

If you think you want to spend the night on your way up here then definitely stop at Cheers. Very clean rooms for around $65 a night plus the restaurant there has a great chicken fried steak and cold beer.

If you stopover at Cheers then the next morning you will want to go to the Belize Zoo. It is a small zoo and rehab center with nothing but native animals. You can get up close to jaguars, monkeys, toucans, crocodiles. and even tapirs. It’s definitely worth the stop if you have time.


In Hopkins, Jaguar Paw resort is top-notch, with swimming pools, restaurants, and very nice rooms and beaches. Otherwise, there are more rustic places that are right on the beach. There are not a whole lot of restaurants in Hopkins, but finding food is not a problem.

Placencia has the same options for accommodations, from nice places to rustic cabins. There are a lot more restaurants and bars here compared to Hopkins.

Out on Ambergris the accommodations and restaurant and bar choices are endless.

Of course, we recommend the Toucan Hideaway. Hope this helps a little and we see you soon.

7 thoughts on “Visiting the Toucan Hideaway”

  1. Thank you for the great info! Hopefully we can use it soon…maybe next spring/summer, when I take my 2 month sabbatical 🙂 Sounds like a great vacation!

    Brad & Carol

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