Belize Facts and Travel Tips

Location: Belize lies on the east coast of Central America in the heart of the Caribbean Basin. It borders Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and the south, and is flanked by the Caribbean Sea to the east. Flights from the US into Belize are usually just over a few hours.

Entry Requirements: United States citizens require a valid U.S. passport. A visa is not required for U.S. citizens. Visitors are permitted to stay in Belize for up to 30 days.

Getting There: The Belize international airport is Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE). Once in Belize there are several options to transfer to your destination – local flights, ground transfers, a water taxi, or even a rental car (for mainland stays). It is easy to drive around the country of Belize, and motorists will be pleased to know that driving in on the right-hand side of the road.

Getting Around: For most island and beach stays golf carts and bicycles are the mode of transportation. You can also choose to take a taxicab (the front desk or concierge at your resort can call one for you).

Language: English is the official language; Spanish, Creole, Garifuna and Mayan are also spoken.

Currency: Belize Dollar (BZ$), fixed exchange rate of BZ $2 to US $1. US cash is accepted everywhere. Make sure your bills are clean (no marks) and are not torn. There are also ATMs located throughout the country, which will disperse Belize dollars. It is advised to only use ATMs located at banks in Belize. Credit cards are accepted at most major restaurants and stores. Please note when you are using US currency you will almost always receive Belize currency in return if change is due.

Time: Same as United States Central Standard Time. However, Daylight Savings Time is not observed. Measurements: Belize uses the same system of measurements as the U.S., so distances are marked in miles and fuel in gallons.

Electricity: 110 volts AC. (The same as the United States of America and Canada). No need to bring any adapters if you are traveling from the US or Canada.

Climate: Subtropical with a prevailing wind from the Caribbean Sea. The country has an average temperature 75 degrees in the winter and 81 degrees in the summer. There is a “wet” and a “dry” season, with the dry season lasting approximately from late November through May. Rainstorms can occur during the dry season but are usually brief.

Vaccines: Tourists do not need any special vaccinations before traveling to Belize, and it is not necessary to take any malaria preventatives. It is recommended that you have a current tetanus/diphtheria vaccination. As always, please consult with your physician.

Drinking Water: The water is generally safe to drink from the tap in most tourist areas, however you can always choose bottled water if you’re concerned. Many resorts will offer 5-gallon jugs of water or smaller bottles of water in your accommodations. Bottled water is widely available at any store in Belize.

Cell Phones: Your cell phone may work in Belize. It would be best to check with your provider before you go. The International access code in Belize is 011.

Internet: Wireless internet is provided at most resorts. Some have access in your rooms while other resorts have access in other general gathering areas. The internet in Belize is not as strong as in the US or Canada. It is best not to plan to download large files or do any video streaming. If you need to be connected 24/7, you might consider getting an international data plan for your phone.

Alcohol: With the exception of the local rum, hard liquor and wine can be very expensive in Belize. Good News - there are two Arrival Duty Free shops at the Belize International airport where you can pick up 4.5 L of alcohol per person for anyone 18 years or older. You will find both shops in the area where you pick up your checked luggage. Note: If your next leg of your travels is via a local flight you will need to pack any liquids inside your checked bags, as you will not be able to pass through security with any liquids.

What to Pack: Your travel documents and your passport should be in your carry-on bag. Belize has a tropical relaxed vibe, so bring casual light clothes. Shorts, t-shirts, swimsuits, and cover-ups for daytime beach life activities are adequate. Don’t forget your sunscreen and maybe a hat. If traveling inland light slacks and long sleeved light shirts, and good footwear especially if walking in the jungle at all. Insect repellent is a must for inland and for the evenings in beach areas. You might want to consider dressier shorts for the guys, sundresses or Khakis for the ladies to dine at restaurants in the evenings. Flip flops, sandals and beach footwear is advisable, although going barefoot is acceptable. A light jacket for boat rides or for the cooler months, and a poncho or rain gear for the occasional shower are also advisable.

Tipping: As a general rule…………Restaurants – 20%; Excursions – 10%; Hotel staff – up to your discretion. If your hotel charged a service charge with your reservation, then no further tipping is expected.

Taxes & Fees: Sales tax (on goods & services) is 12.5%. Hotel Tax is 9%. International passenger Airport Departure Fee is $55.50 USD and is usually included in your airline ticket. Please confirm with your airline.