Belize is located in Central America. It borders Mexico and Guatemala. It also sits on the Caribean Sea. When you travel to Belize, the first thing you need is to have the most relevant information of the country on hand, so you can fully enjoy your Belize adventure. Read below the best practical travel information and the top activities in Belize.
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Capital City Belmopan: The capital is located in the center of the country, eighty kilometers from the Caribbean Sea. It is a multicultural city with a Garifuna, Mayan, Mestizo, Aboriginal and European populations, in which Spanish, English, and the Garifuna and Mayan dialects are spoken. It’s an eminently tourist city with a Caribbean climate, perfect for vacationing. It has a variety of hotels and restaurants with exquisite cuisine.
The official language is English, however more than half of the population also speaks Spanish. In the Northern and Western part of Belize, most people only speak Spanish. Furthermore, Mayan languages, Creole, Chinese and Hindi are also spoken.
GMT – 6
The Belizean flag is light blue with red gules stripes at the top and bottom, making up 20% of the total width of the flag. There is a white circle with the coat of arms in the center.
When you travel to Belize (except when traveling by cruise ship), your passport should be valid for at least the period of the intended stay. However, we advise you that your passport is valid for at least six months after departure from Belize. Please note that passport requirements can change in a short notice. Therefore we advise you to check the passport requirements with the embassy or consulate of your country.
When you enter Belize, you will receive a visa stamp in your passport saying you are able to stay in Belize for 30 days. Please note that visa requirements can change in a short notice. Therefore we advise you to check the visa requirements with the embassy or consulate of your country.
Upon departure from Belize you are required to pay a departure tax of around $35 dollars per person. The amount is subject to local changes. If you are planning to visit Guatemala by land or water, you will need to pay an exit tax of $20 per person.
Airport – Location
Airport – Location
Belizean dollar (BZD) – The American dollars are also widely accepted.
Generally, you can use all bank cards at the Belize Bank. Stickers on the ATMs show which cards you can use. Credit-cards are accepted in the larger hotels and restaurants.
Belize is a melting pot of cultures. The diversity of the cultures is reflected in the Belizean cuisine, making the cuisine one of the most varied in Central America. Rice and beans predominate each meal, however with the many different herbs incorporated, most dishes differ a little bit. Seafood such as conch, lobster and shrimp are also very popular. The local drink is called ‘Seaweed’, a mix of seaweed, milk, cream and sugar.
There are no vaccinations required to enter Belize. However, you are advised to take precautions against hepatitis A and B, malaria, typhus and yellow fever. A vaccination certificate is required when you travel to Belize from a Yellow Fever infected area. Furthermore, you are advised to discuss your travel plans with a health- care provider to determine which vaccination you might need.
You should not drink tap water in Belize. If you do, you may have stomach problems for a few days. While traveling in Belize, you are advised to avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes. It is advisable to only drink bottled or boiled water. Also try to avoid street-food and always wash your hands before eating.
The electricity current is 120 volts, 60Hz. Belize generally accepts the following plugs:
➢ Flat blade plug
➢ Two parallel flat pins with ground pin
Belize has a subtropical climate with a sea breeze and warm temperatures throughout the year. Belize has a dry and wet season. The dry season starts approximately in December and ends in May, the rain season starts around June and ends in November with June, July and August having the most showers. The official hurricane season for the Caribbean is from June until November. September and October have the highest occurrence of hurricanes.
Belize, just like most Central American countries, has a wet season and a dry season. It is best to visit Belize during its dry season from November to April. Before mid-November, there is the chance of hurricanes for a couple months making sightseeing more difficult.
Belize is considered a safe country to travel in. When traveling in any part of the world, you should always be aware of your surroundings, and keep your belongings close to you at all times. Mayan Gateway always stays in the know of potential risks that might occur.
If you are determining where to travel in Belize, you will find many wonderful spots to visit. The Mayan city of Xunantunich has impressive pyramids and stone engravings for you to see. If you enjoy archeology, this place is a must-see. You have the unique opportunity to explore Barton Creek Caves by boat.
There are Mayan remains and beautiful sites to see in this underworld. One of the most noteworthy places to visit in Belize is the Barrier Reef Reserve System. Spend some time in the water taking in all the colors, plants and animals there. Belize provides a very relaxing and fun experience for travelers.
Belize is famous for its caverns, and there are options to combine activities with hiking, tubing, swimming and caving. The adventures usually begin with a walk through the jungle before reaching the rapids. Next, the thrill of tubing will have you sliding down a river in an inflated tube until you reach the interior of the cave.
Inside, you can admire very impressive limestone formations. The caves have beautiful natural pools with crystal clear waters where you can launch and swim to finish enjoying the visit.
For this visit, you must have a medium physical condition and know how to swim. You will start hiking through five kilometers of jungle until you reach the entrance to the cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM).
During the journey, you must partially swim and partially walk until you reach the main area. In the center of the cavern, there is a natural pool of totally crystalline jade water. It is five meters deep, and you can swim here. This tour is preferred by tourists for the reputation of the beauty of this cave.
Located at the Mayan site of Cahal Pech, the cavern is believed to have been used for human sacrifice in honor of the gods to bring rain. The ceramics of the ancient Mayans and the human skeletons of the sacrificed have been fused with the minerals from the cave walls, making the visit inside this cave spectacular.
It is considered the number one sacred cave in the world and a living museum. The tour is very exciting. The sacred site and archaeological remains combined with the level of difficulty to reach the cavern is as if you were in the adventures of Indiana Jones.
The snorkeling adventure is perfect on the beautiful Emerald Forest Reef. The crest of the reef peaks at a foot deep to a few meters, making it perfect for snorkeling. The coral reef is very colorful and is home to hundreds of marine species. You will interact with starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, blue chromis, crabs and many more.
A spectacular experience for lovers of marine biology awaits. It is part of the Glover Marine Reserve, located one hundred and twelve kilometers from Belize and is a very good option for these types of marines activities.
Considered by many as the best dive site in Belize, the Half Moon Caye Wall, allows an amazing diving adventure. It is not as popular or publicized as the Blue Hole Atoll, but the reason for this new reputation is that this part of the Belize Coral Reef is surprisingly beautiful, very varied and colorful. The almost perfect visibility in its crystal clear waters make the diver’s experience wonderful.
The beautiful coral is accompanied by its habitat of marine species, such as multicolored fish and turtles. The backdrop is Half Moon Cay, which has only slightly been invaded by human beings and is virgin territory. The key is located one hundred and thirty kilometers from the capital of Belize. A boat trip takes you to the dive site in the waters of the key to start this adventure.
You will take a guided tour by an expert at the Crocodile Sanctuary in Belize (ACES). The place is dedicated to the conservation of this species. The goal is to care for crocodiles from people who hunt them and people who break into the crocodile habitat. Belize is a habitat of endangered freshwater and saltwater crocodiles.
Crocodile babies are fed and raised to preserve them. The sanctuary is located in the south of Belize in Punta Gorda. The tour lasts two hours. During the journey, visitors will listen to an educational talk and an interview with the protagonists of the place, the crocodiles.
Take a tour of Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary to observe wildlife at night! It is very interesting because many jungle species only come out at night. The expert guide takes visitors to the right place at the right time to see the species. It is not a guarantee that they will all be seen, but you should expect to see several of them. You will have the opportunity to observe sea otters, howler monkeys, wild cats, tapirs and many more.
The reserve is located in the Cockscomb Basin Maya mountains south of the country’s capital.
Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world. On its islands, there are cayes and atolls, where all this coral extends, and crystal clear waters that make snorkeling perfect. A coral reef is a marine world that keeps an impressive habitat of more than one hundred types of corals and more than five hundred marine species.
You can take snorkeling and diving tours to admire this beautiful reef.
Swim with Sharks and Stingrays
In Belize, there is a very large marine biodiversity. Nurse sharks and rays are among the most exotic to admire. A visit with a professional guide allows you to interact and admire these magnificent creatures. In this type of activity, the guide awaits in the place where tourists can admire these magnificent creatures at a prudent distance.
We advise on your trip to Belize so that you have the necessary information about the routes in which you can dive to admire this beautiful reef.
On the visit to the town of Hopkins, you will receive a class of traditional Garifuna food from Belize. A chef teaches you how to prepare the famous hudut, a dish made from coconut, mashed banana, a combination of herbs and fresh fish. Then you can taste all the hudut you want until you are satisfied.
Later, you can relax by trying the famous bitters, the traditional alcoholic drink of Belize, which is a base of fermented rum and anise combined with jungle herbs. The town of Hopkins is located just off the coast of Belize, one hundred and four kilometers from the capital city.
On November 19, the Garifuna settlement in Belize is celebrated, and it is a holiday in the country. At this time tourists can enjoy the Garifuna drum festival. In the days before and after the celebration of their settlement, the Garifuna people become very happy and picturesque with parades, folk dances, drums and typical food.
This is a town marked by history that preserves its ancestral traditions today. The Garifuna villages that you can visit to enjoy the drum festival are Hopkins, Dangriga, Punta Gorda and Seine Bight, all located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea of Belize.
Boat Tour and Birdwatching
A boat will take you through the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary past swamps and lagoons to observe the habitat of hundreds of migratory birds and residents of the sanctuary. The best time to visit is in November as there are many migratory birds.
It is a true delight for nature lovers who admire the beauty of birds, very varied and colorful. Some of the bird species are in danger of extinction, such as the yellow-headed parrot, among many others. This sanctuary is a refuge for their conservation.
The sanctuary is located north of the country’s capital, and the guided tour will give you the information you need.
You can hike in Forest Reserves to explore the Mayan site of El Caracol. It is the largest Mayan city in Belize, and it has many impressive temples and ruins. You can climb its temples and observe how majestic the entire Mayan city can be when seen on the horizon. To do this tour, you will need a full day to have enough time to admire the structures, temples and sculptures of this magnificent city.
After the visit to the Mayan site, you can swim in the natural pools that the Big Rock Waterfalls provide. You will be on site and ready to enjoy a dip. The Mayan city of El Caracol is one hundred and three kilometers from the capital city.
A visit to the Mayan sites of Belize is a must. You can take tours in both the Mayan cities of Cahal Pech and Xunantunich. There are only eleven kilometers between both Mayan cities, and the tour includes a ferry for the transfer. Both represent the great and ancient Mayan world. In Cahal Pech, you will find seven squares with different structures, temples and sculptures. Their origin dates back to 1000 years B.C.
A ferry takes you along the Mopan River to the Mayan city of Xunantunich where you will find six squares with two dozen temples, different structures and its largest temple called El Castillo, which is over thirty meters long. Xunantunich is a mystical city abandoned by the Mayans over a thousand years ago. Both Mayan cities are located fifty-two kilometers from the capital city.