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#66961 - 21 February 06 12:14 pm - America/Chicago 2006 Driver's Guide is Out
LanSluder Offline

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Registered: 04 May 04
Posts: 8122
Loc: USA/Belize
Emory King's 2006 Driver's Guide to Beautiful Belize is now in gift shops and stores in Belize.

It's an excellent aid to getting around Belize by road. (I don't have any financial interest in it and don't even sell it anymore, but I'm always glad to recommend Emory's work, including this annually updated guide.)

--Lan Sluder

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#251919 - 07 February 17 2:58 pm - America/Chicago Re: 2006 Driver's Guide is Out [Re: LanSluder]
Reilly Offline

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Registered: 08 April 04
Posts: 227
Loc: Carolinas, USA, Cayo
Does anyone know where I can "get my hands on" a copy of this Driver's Guide?
_________________________
Reilly and/or Spouse www.pms01.com,www.shaklee.net/HMS_Enterprises

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#251922 - 08 February 17 8:30 am - America/Chicago Re: 2006 Driver's Guide is Out [Re: LanSluder]
GZboat Offline

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Registered: 18 June 06
Posts: 2448
Loc: Tarpon Springs, Fl./Copper Ban...
Hi Reilly, did you notice the date on the thread? It's eleven years old and, sadly, Emory King passed on in 2007. If you found a copy, it would be a decade out-of-date. Much has changed in Belize in the past ten years, so information in the last edition of Emory's Driver's Guide would be inaccurate. Sorry to bear bad news.
Greg

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#251925 - 08 February 17 7:43 pm - America/Chicago Re: 2006 Driver's Guide is Out [Re: LanSluder]
Reilly Offline

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Registered: 08 April 04
Posts: 227
Loc: Carolinas, USA, Cayo
Thanks. Your information is not new. Yes, written in 2006,he died in 2007. The book is out of print. My interest in his book is for his mile marker information -- particularly mile marker distances for the George Price Hwy.

Do you have a copy you no longer need or know someone who does?

I have drafted a chart of miles for the western highway, but without standing mile markers alternate sources are needed.
_________________________
Reilly and/or Spouse www.pms01.com,www.shaklee.net/HMS_Enterprises

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#251928 - 09 February 17 8:02 am - America/Chicago Re: 2006 Driver's Guide is Out [Re: LanSluder]
GZboat Offline

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Registered: 18 June 06
Posts: 2448
Loc: Tarpon Springs, Fl./Copper Ban...
Well, that's an interesting idea for using the book. I don't have a copy. The only person I know who probably would have one is Lan Sluder, the original poster of this thread. Lan used to write guidebooks for Belize and used to be here a lot. Not so much anymore. He is still updating his website, Belize First Magazine:
Belize First Magazine
I bet you could contact him through the website. If he still has a copy, perhaps he could arrange to get you a reprint. Last I heard , Lan was living in Asheville, NC, so you two are not world's apart.
Greg

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#251929 - 09 February 17 8:18 am - America/Chicago Re: 2006 Driver's Guide is Out [Re: LanSluder]
Reilly Offline

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Registered: 08 April 04
Posts: 227
Loc: Carolinas, USA, Cayo
Thanks again, Greg. A posting by Lan pointed me to King's book. He either doesn't have a copy or isn't willing to give it away! Would any of the libraries be likely to have a copy?

Short of driving the highway and making notes, I suppose a bus driver might be a good source for mile information. :-)

Any bus drivers reading this?
_________________________
Reilly and/or Spouse www.pms01.com,www.shaklee.net/HMS_Enterprises

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#251932 - 10 February 17 9:30 am - America/Chicago Re: 2006 Driver's Guide is Out [Re: LanSluder]
GZboat Offline

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Registered: 18 June 06
Posts: 2448
Loc: Tarpon Springs, Fl./Copper Ban...
Here ya' go! This is the only place I found online that says they have it:
Library of Congress
When in doubt, go to the Library of Congress. If they don't have it, likely nobody does. Well, maybe the New York and Boston public libraries could compete, but that's about all. If I'm reading the entry correctly, you could read it onsite. Feel like a trip to DC? It's a pretty exciting city these days. Never know who'll be in town protesting the Trump administration! It also seems there are ways to request the book via inter-library loan. I hope this is some help.
Greg

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#251936 - 10 February 17 7:12 pm - America/Chicago Re: 2006 Driver's Guide is Out [Re: LanSluder]
Reilly Offline

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Registered: 08 April 04
Posts: 227
Loc: Carolinas, USA, Cayo
I'm impressed with your research! Perhaps I'll see if my local library can try the inter-library loan. DC when the cherry trees are in bloom would be nice. Most likely, though, I'll drive the highway and make notes.
_________________________
Reilly and/or Spouse www.pms01.com,www.shaklee.net/HMS_Enterprises

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#251937 - 11 February 17 8:44 am - America/Chicago Re: 2006 Driver's Guide is Out [Re: LanSluder]
GZboat Offline

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Registered: 18 June 06
Posts: 2448
Loc: Tarpon Springs, Fl./Copper Ban...
DC in the spring is spectacular. The Japanese cherry trees are awesome and they aren't the only special sights in town. There is a grove of some other sort of tree behind the oldest buildings of the Smithsonian. I have no idea what they are, but they bloom about the same time as the cherries. They are stunning too. I love DC; it's a beautiful, interesting, charming, exciting place. I don't love the politicians who work there, but that's another story entirely.
Greg
P.S. Driving the highway and taking notes and pictures will give you the most up-to-date information, but having Emory's guide for reference would make for interesting comparisons, wouldn't it?

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#251996 - 19 February 17 10:28 am - America/Chicago Re: 2006 Driver's Guide is Out [Re: LanSluder]
LanSluder Offline

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Registered: 04 May 04
Posts: 8122
Loc: USA/Belize
I do have a couple of copies of Emory's old Driver's Guide. I hesitate to photocopy it because of copyright reasons (as I writer I try to respect intellectual property).

I still see the occasional copy of the last edition of Emory's pamphlet for sale, usually at a high price, in a gift shop or service station.

Emory's guide, and to some extent Emory, was a good friend to me for many years. The mile-by-mile guide is out of date, especially in some areas, but even to this day I sometimes use it as a reference.

Below I am posting the text version of my guide to the major roads of Belize (and to some minor ones). I may be of some slight help, especially to those who are new to Belize. I last updated after I was in Belize in August and September doing a new edition of Fodor's Belize, but I haven't done some of the detailed changes that I should do.

I have often thought of trying to do a new mile-by-mile guide, shamelessly copying Emory's pamphlet, but I suspect that today with all the GPS stuff it would be of less use.

--Lan Sluder

Anyway, here it is mine little overview:

ROADS OF BELIZE
By Lan Sluder
The roads in Belize are getting better and better. Sure, there still are sections of wash-boarded dirt that will shake your fillings out, but more roads are now paved and even the gravel or limestone byways seem to be scraped more frequently.

A few roads, such as the Southern Highway, are very good indeed, among the best in all of Central America and the equal of many rural roads in the U.S. or Canada. Not too many years ago the Western Highway, now renamed the George Price Highway, was unpaved, the Hummingbird was a nightmare of potholes, the Old Northern Highway was a jungle of tire-stabbing asphalt chunks, the Southern Highway was a mud trap and not even Belize City had stop lights.

Signage, too, is improving. Most critical turns and junctions are marked. Many roads have mile markers, although some markers on the Southern Highway and elsewhere are missing. Around Belize City, San Ignacio and elsewhere, signage helps visitors and newcomers navigate to key destinations such as the international airport or the Mountain Pine Ridge.

MAIN ROADS
PHILIP GOLDSON HIGHWAY (formerly Northern Highway). This 85-mile route is a good two-lane surfaced from Belize City to Corozal Town and then a few miles to the border with Mexico at Chetumal. The only thing that will slow you down are a few “sleeping policemen” (speed bumps) in villages, slow-moving trucks when the sugar cane harvest is going on in late winter through late spring and a tollbooth at the bridge over New River (BZ75 cents). There is a handy paved by-pass around Orange Walk Town, which eliminates the need to fight clogged traffic through town. Your first glimpse of the azure waters of Corozal Bay is a highlight.

Note that in 2014 the border crossing at Santa Elena into Mexico was changed. There is now a four-lane road and a new Mexico-Belize road that is the main crossing point. This route lets you avoid the Free Zone. The new border bridge is not open to pedestrians, just vehicles. The old bridge and crossing is usually still open (although in early 2017 it was temporarily closed), and allows you to walk from the Free Zone casinos to the Mexican side over the old bridge.
Overall Road Condition: Good
Paved Section: 100%
Gas Availability: Excellent — there are many gas stations including a few open 24 hours

GEORGE PRICE HIGHWAY (formerly Western Highway). The 78-mile road takes you from Belize City quickly past Hattieville, the Belize Zoo, the capital of Belmopan, the “twin towns” of San Ignacio and Santa Elena and then on the Benque Road to the Guatemala border.

The George Price Highway is being rerouted at Santa Elena, due to the outage of the "lower bridge." The old Hawksworth Bridge is again, temporarily two-way, and it actually works pretty well. Soon there will be a new "bypass" road with new bridge. Just past San Ignacio, you hit “cottage country,” where a number of excellent lodges offer cold beer and a soft bed under quiet Central American skies. The George Price – usually the section from San Ignacio to Benque Viejo del Carmen is called the Benque Road -- is still in pretty good condition, and some sections have been resurfaced. More topes (speed bumps) are popping up as the road passes villages. However, the shoulders are narrow, and the surfacing used on parts of this road can be very slick and dangerous after rains.
Overall Road Condition: Good (but some sections very slick after rains)
Paved Section: 100%
Gas Availability: Good to Excellent (there are numerous gas stations, including some new ones)

HUMMINGBIRD HIGHWAY This 56-mile highway stretches from the George Price Highway at Belmopan to Dangriga. The Hummingbird dips and swoops through some of the most beautiful territory in Belize. This was once a very bad road. Now it is in very good condition, with only a couple of bridges that are still one-lane. Take a break at the Blue Hole, where a swim in the truly blue water is refreshing. Technically, the road is called the Hummingbird for only about 33 miles from the George Price Highway to the village of Middlesex, and then it is known as the Stann Creek Valley Road, but most everybody calls it the Hummingbird all the way.
Overall Road Condition: Good
Paved Section: 100%
Gas Availability: Fair to Poor — best to gas up at Belmopan or near Dangriga, although there is a place or two now to buy gas on the Hummingbird

SOUTHERN HIGHWAY The Southern Highway, long known as the worst major road in Belize, is now the best major road in Belize. The 100-mile road is all paved. The scenery, save for views of the Maya Mountains at about the halfway point, is mostly unexceptional.
Overall Road Condition: Excellent
Paved Section: 100%
Gas Availability: Fair to Good — best to gas up in Dangriga or near PG; in a pinch, there’s gas in Independence and on the Placencia peninsula. However, there are several new stations on the Southern Highway.

BELIZE CITY The roads and streets of Belize City confuse many visitors. Some streets are not signed, and some are little more than narrow, one-way alleys. Streets abruptly terminate at Haulover Creek, and you have to find a bridge to get from one side to the other. Taxis, bicycles and pedestrians dart in and out of traffic. However, things are getting better. Several new roundabouts on the Philip Goldson Highway have improved traffic flow. New signage has popped up on main routes. Most streets are paved.

Between 2012-2015 Belize City had a major road-building program, and many roads have been rebuilt or resurfaced. There is now a new entrance from the west connecting from the George Price Highway to the Philip Goldson Highway, avoiding Central American Boulevard. Belize City is so up-to-date these days it even has a rush hour and traffic jams.
Overall Road Condition: Good
Paved Section: 95%
Gas Availability: Excellent — modern gas stations have everything that U.S. stations have including convenience stores, except that you don’t have to pump your own gas.

OTHER IMPORTANT ROADS
OLD NORTHERN HIGHWAY If you want to see Altun Ha ruins, you’ll have to drive at least part of this 41-mile arc to the east of the Philip Goldson Highway. Under the British, this highway was paved, and at last the Belize government patched some of the remaining blacktop. The section south of Maskall village is better than the section north. Most sections are narrow and a few are dirt. The 2-mile access road to Altun Ha is paved.
Overall Road Condition: Fair
Paved Section: 70% (but paved section is narrow, and some sections are badly potholed)
Gas Availability: Poor – gas up before leaving the Philip Goldson Highway

COASTAL HIGHWAY This 36-mile gravel road, connecting Democracia near Mile 30 of the George Price Highway with the Stann Creek Valley Road near Melinda, is also known as the Manatee Highway or the “Shortcut.” Despite the name, you get no views of the water or of manatees from the road. It does save a little time on trips to Dangriga or Placencia from Belize City. However, the road is washboarded in places and is dusty in dry weather. During heavy rains, bridges occasionally wash out. This road is far less scenic than the Hummingbird. It's easy to lose control of your vehicle on the gravel. In fact, some car rental companies forbid renters to drive the road, and others increase the amount you're liable for if you do have an accident. Visitors and even experienced residents are often advised to avoid this road and take the Hummingbird Highway instead.
Overall Road Condition: Fair to Poor
Paved Section: 0%
Gas Availability: Poor — gas up in Dangriga or on the George Price Highway

ROAD TO CONSEJO This level and improved, but still unpaved, 8-mile stretch takes you from Corozal Town to the Chetumal Bay, where there is a Belize customs station (boats only).
Overall Road Condition: Fair
Paved Section: 0%
Gas Availability: Poor

ROAD TO SARTENEJA FROM ORANGE WALK TOWN Once past the paved section near Orange Walk Town, this road just goes on and on, over rough, wash-boarded limestone. (Some of the road fill was illegally removed from 1,500-year-old Maya ruins.) It’s about 40 miles to Sarteneja village and Shipstern, but it will seem longer than that. A redeeming feature of this road is Progresso Lagoon, the quintessential tropical lagoon. The Belize government has upgraded and paved part of this road, from near Orange Walk to San Estevan and then to Progresso. If you want to go to Cerros instead of Shipstern, you start the same way, but about 12˝ miles from Orange Walk Town, and 6˝ miles past the village of San Estevan, you go straight instead of turning right; this takes you to Progresso, Copper Bank and Cerros. The road can be tricky after heavy rains. From Corozal Town, take the hand-pulled ferry across the New River, and then a second ferry across Laguna Seca, saving you several hours of driving time.
Overall Road Condition: Fair to Poor (Poor after heavy rains)
Paved Section: 15%
Gas Availability: Fair – best gas up in Orange Walk or in Sarteneja

ROAD TO SARTENEJA FROM COROZAL TOWN From Corozal Town, take the Philip Goldson Highway south toward Orange Walk Town to just south of Corozal Town (look for signs to the ferry). Turn east, and follow the road (and the power lines) for 2˝ miles to the ferry landing. The 90-foot-long, hand-pulled ferry, made from an old sugar barge, carries pedestrians and up to four vehicles on a nine-minute trip across the river. It operates from around 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; there’s no charge. When you disembark the ferry, you’re about 2˝ miles from Copper Bank village, and about 5˝ miles from Progresso. Turn left and follow signs to Sarteneja. You’ll have to take second ferry across the mouth of Laguna Seca. The road is unpaved, but in pretty good condition. It can be muddy after heavy rains.
Overall Road Condition: Fair to Poor (Poor after heavy rains)
Paved Section: 0%
Gas Availability: Fair – best gas up in Corozal Town or in Sarteneja

ROAD TO CHAN CHICH AND GALLON JUG From Orange Walk Town, it’s about a three-hour, 68-mile drive to Chan Chich, the stupendous lodge built by the late Sir Barry Bowen. Along the way, on a road that varies from a poor rubble road to an excellent paved road at Gallon Jug, you’ll pass a number of villages, some farms, the progressive Mennonite settlement of Blue Creek and plenty of jungle. As you cross the Programme for Belize preserve and Bowen land (you’ll have to stop at two guard houses), you’ll almost certainly see a variety of wildlife, including Belize’s two species of deer and the oscellated turkeys. At San Felipe village, about 23 miles from Orange Walk Town, you can turn on a dirt road to the Lamanai ruins and Lamanai Outpost Lodge, about 13 miles from San Felipe. This road is passable year-round. An alternate route for the first part of the road to Lamanai and Chan Chich is the unpaved road from just south of Orange Walk Town through the Shipyard area.
Overall Road Condition: Mostly Fair to Poor, with a few Good sections
Paved Section: 15%
Gas Availability: Fair (gas up in Orange Walk and at the Linda Vista “shopping center” at Blue Creek, run by Mennonites; closed Sunday)

BURRELL BOOM ROAD You have two choices to get to Boom, Bermudian Landing and the Baboon (black howler monkey) Sanctuary: Either turn off the Philip Goldson Highway at about Mile 13, or off the George Price Highway at Mile 15˝, at the roundabout. The road to the Boom also functions as a shortcut if going between points on the Philip Goldson and George Price highways, eliminating the need to drive through Belize City. The road is beautifully paved.
Overall Road Condition: Excellent
Paved Section: 100%
Gas Availability: Fair

ROUTE 30 ROAD TO SPANISH LOOKOUT AREA FROM NEAR GEORGEVILLE This part of Cayo will remind you a bit of the Midwest, with well-kept Mennonite farms and modern stores. The road from the George Price Highway near Georgeville to Spanish Lookout, signed as “Route 30” and sometimes called Iguana Creek Road, is a good paved road. Other roads are mostly gravel and better maintained than average, with a few paved sections, especially around Spanish Lookout. Baking Pot Road from Central Farm to Spanish Lookout is unpaved and requires crossing the Belize River on a hand-pulled ferry.
Overall Road Condition: Good (Central Farm route Fair)
Paved Section: 70%
Gas Availability: Good (modern stores and gas stations in Spanish Lookout, and gas often is cheaper here than elsewhere in Cayo)

MOUNTAIN PINE RIDGE ROAD TO CARACOL By the route from Georgeville, it is about 46 miles from the George Price Highway to the ruins of Caracol. From San Ignacio, via the Cristo Rey Road, the trip is a few miles longer — this route connects with the Mountain Pine Ridge Road near the village of San Antonio. A good part of the Cristo Rey road is now paved. From San Ignacio, it’s a two-and-a-half hour rough ride to Caracol, even with recent improvements to the road in connection with the Chalillo Dam, including some paving near Caracol. Currently you will be much better off going to the entrance to the Pine Ridge on the Cristo Rey Road, rather than the Georgeville Road, as the Georgeville Road is rough. A reward: the scenery in many spots is lovely. After a heavy rain, the limestone marl or red clay can be slick and dangerous. En route, stop for a cold drink or a hot gourmet pizza at Francis Ford Copolla’s lodge, Blancaneaux, about 15 miles in from Georgeville, or at the former Five Sisters Lodge, now Gaia Riverlodge.
Overall Road Condition: Good to Poor
Paved Section: 20%
Gas Availability: Poor – gas up on the George Price Highway

ROAD TO HOPKINS
The 4-mile road from the Southern Highway to the T-intersection in Hopkins has now been nicely paved. The first attempt at paving failed, but this new road is very well done. However, once in Hopkins village the streets are unpaved and in fairly poor condition. The alternative route to Hopkins via Sittee village has long been paved to the Sittee village area but is unpaved past that.
Overall Road Condition: Excellent
Paved Section: 100% (to village)
Gas Availability: Fair

ROAD TO PLACENCIA This used to be the road people loved to hate. It was a 25-mile mostly dirt and gravel road from the Southern Highway to the tip of the Placencia peninsula, passing Maya Beach and Seine Bight. After heavy rains, the road was occasionally impassable, even with four-wheel drive. Now, however, the road is completely paved and in excellent condition, although it’s heavy with speed bumps. Except for the speed bumps (and some huge speed “humps”) this road is a joy.
Overall Road Condition: Excellent
Paved Section: 100%
Gas Availability: Fair (stations in Placencia village)

ROAD TO MONKEY RIVER
There is an 12-mile unpaved track, passable most of the year, from the Southern Highway to just across from Monkey River. There’s only one place where you may make a wrong turn, toward a plantation on the south. Once at the river mouth, you park you vehicle and take one of the private boats (small charge) across to Monkey River. You can have a beer or snack here.
Overall Road Condition: Fair to Poor
Paved Section: 0%
Gas Availability: Poor (Gas up on Southern Highway)

SAN ANTONIO ROAD from the "Dump" about 14 miles north of PG at the Southern Highway to the Guatemala border near Jalacte, site of a planned new border crossing, has now been completed paved. It a nice job of paving, and the road itself now rivals the Hummingbird Highway as the most beautiful drive in Belize. There is a completed checkpoint and agricultural station just beside Jalacte village, but at present there is no legal crossing point (many locals do cross here, however.)
Overall Road Condition: Excellent
Paved Section: 100%
Gas Availability: Poor (gas up at the junction to the road to San Antonio)

ROAD TO MAYA VILLAGES IN TOLEDO Other than the new San Antonio paved road, a series of connected unpaved roads takes you through smaller Maya villages (and also to the Garifuna village of Barranco.
Overall Road Condition (island wide): Fair to Poor
Paved Section (island wide): 0% (except for San Antonio Road)
Gas Availability: Fair to Poor – probably best to gas up at the Dump

AMBERGRIS CAYE You can’t rent a car on the island, although residents seem to be stocking up on pickups and cars, crowding out golf carts, bikes and pedestrians on the caye’s roads. Front Street (Barrier Reef Drive), Middle Street (Pescador) and Coconut Drive south to Victoria House and sections of other streets, are now paved, mostly with concrete cobblestones, as are most of the rest of the streets in San Pedro. The bridge over the river channel, now called the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge, takes golf carts, bikes and pedestrians, plus taxis and other vehicles.

In 2014-2016 much of the former dirt/gravel golf path north of the bridge was paved. It is now a pretty good paved road. After rains, the unpaved parts of the incompleted section at the far north can be rough and muddy.
Overall Road Condition (island wide): Good to Poor
Paved Section (island wide): +/- 60%
Gas Availability: Fair – there are several gas stations in San Pedro

CAYE CAULKER The streets in Caye Caulker village are still hard-packed sand. The primary means of transportation are shank's mare, bicycles and golf carts, though a few cars have made their way to the island.
Overall Road Condition: Fair to Good
Paved Section: 0%
Gas Availability: Fair

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