If you’re planning a trip to Belize, odds are you’ll be flying into the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA) just outside Belize City. The only international airport in the country, it has an international and domestic terminal, although both are small: there are only seven gates in total. Customs and passport control are easy to figure out, and lines don’t usually get too long.
Currently, ten international and two domestic airlines operate from the single-runway airport, with scheduled flights to the United States, Canada, Latin America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe. The international airlines are Aeromexico, American Airlines, Avianca, Copa, Delta, Southwest, Sun Country, United, WestJet, Air Canada, and the domestic airlines are Maya Island Air and Tropic Air, serving various cities in Belize with propeller planes.
Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport Code, Location, and Flight Information
Here is some essential information about Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport, Belize City:
Know Before You Go
With just one runway, seven gates, and two terminals right next to each other, PGIA is easy to navigate. One terminal is dedicated to international flights while the other serves domestic and Central and South American flights. The runway is relatively short, even with a recent extension, so when your airplane lands, it will immediately turn on the reverse thrust and brakes—make sure your seat belt is on. There are no jetways connecting passengers to their planes—instead, passengers walk down a stairway directly onto the tarmac and into the terminal. Sometimes the crew will open the back door for deplaning too.
You’ll enter at the far right of the building and walk down a long hallway that will take you to immigration and passport control. These lines sometimes move slowly, so be sure to get in one quickly. And make sure you have your paperwork filled out that you were given on the plane. Once you get to the desk, it’s an easy process, though. Once you pass through, the baggage claim is right in front of you, with just two carousels. Before you leave, you’ll go through customs, which may also have a line if a lot of flights arrive at the same time. Be aware that officers might open your bags.
If you’re connecting to a domestic flight, go straight through the double doors, and you’ll see check-in counters for the domestic airlines. If you miss your flight, you can likely get on the next one, and they usually run every 30 minutes or 1 hour. Be aware that you will go through security again. Local flights in Belize on Tropic Air or Maya Island Air are in small puddle jumper planes, with a maximum of 8-10 seats usually (and sometimes less).
When you depart the country, leave plenty of time because Belize has exit immigration for which you’ll need to fill out departure paperwork. After you check-in at your airline counter, you’ll go through exit immigration, which is a reasonably fast process where your passport gets stamped, and then security. When you exit security, you’ll be in the departures terminal. There are a few shops and eateries, and wooden benches for seating.
Car Park A and B provide a total of 390 parking spaces. Users pay a $2 exit fee in Car Park A and it’s easily accessible from the road. Car Park B is for airport employees only.
The airport is located just off of the Northern Highway, and is 10 miles from downtown Belize City. There isn’t much traffic to speak of besides the standard rush hour slow-downs or when there is road construction, so it usually takes about 30 minutes to get there.
Public Transportation and Taxis
There is no public transportation or shuttles to or from the airport. If you’re coming from a hotel in Belize City without prior arrangements with a guide, you’ll most likely go through the Ladyville Airport Taxi Union. Taxicabs are located outside both Terminals 1 and 2. Service is available for transportation to Belize City and other destinations throughout Belize and can be reached at 501-225-2125 or 501-610-4450. There is an airport taxi counter, near the exit of the international arrival hall, where tickets can be purchased.
Immediately across from the Airport Terminal Building are car rental services. There are 14 car rental agencies: A-class Auto Rental; AQ Auto Rental; AVIS Car Rental; Crystal Auto Rentals; Explore Belize Auto Rental; Hertz/Safari Belize; Jabiru Auto Rental; JMA Budget Rentals Ltd.; National Alamo Rent A Car Rental; Pancho’s Auto Rental; Thrifty Auto Rental; and Vista Auto Rental.
Where to Eat and Drink
Because it’s a small airport there are only eight options for places to eat, with five in the departures area. Most famous is Jet’s Bar, owned by Jet, a charming man under five feet tall who has owned the bar for more than 30 years. It’s also the only bar in the airport. Other food options include Global Spice, S & D Snacks, Café Belize, Sugar Fix, and Sun Garden Restaurant & Bar which has a seated area upstairs and a small takeout counter downstairs offering sandwiches and local and Western cuisine.
Where to Shop
There are two duty-free stores in the arrivals hall and three in the departures area. Additionally there are various gift shops selling handicrafts and souvenirs, as well as a Harley Davidson store and a Belikin Beer (Belize’s national beer) shop.
Wi-Fi and Charging Stations
There is free Wi-Fi at the airport and power outlets are available in waiting areas. There are no specific charging stations.
Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport Tips and Tidbits
- The name of the airport is dedicated to the memory of a Belizean nationalist, Hon. Philip S.W. Goldson.
- The Airport Terminal Building measures 110,000 square feet.
- The airport was originally built in 1943 and in 1944 a terminal building was constructed.