Travel Advisory for Belize

Some Facts about the Country Belize in Central America

Travel Information Belize

Belize is located in Central America. It borders Mexico and Guatemala. It also sits on the Caribbean 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.

Travel Information Belize

Practical Travel Information Belize

🏢 Capital City
💬 Language
🕐 Time zone
⚐ Flag
📄 Travel Documents & Visa
✈️ Airports & Taxes
💶 Currency
🏦 Bank Facilities
🍴Local Cuisine
💉 Vaccinations
☤ Health
🔌 Voltage
☁︎ Weather & best time to travel
🚨 Travel Safety

Capital City

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.

White hammock hanging in palm trees on tropical beach in Belize. Belize Vacations
White hammock hanging in palm trees on tropical beach in Belize.

Language

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.

Time zone

GMT – 6

Flag

🇧🇿

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.

Travel Documents

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.

Visa

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.

Airport Tax

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

International Airports of Belize

Airport – Location  

  1. Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) – Belize City
  2. Municipal Airport (TZA) – Belize City 
  3. Orange Walk Airport (ORZ) – Orange Walk

Domestic Airports of Belize

Airport – Location  

  1. Belmopan Airport (BCV) – Belmopan 
  2. Big Creek Airport (BGK) – Big Creek
  3. Caye Caulker Airport (CUK) – Caye Caulker
  4. Caye Chapel Airport (CYC) – Caye Chapel 
  5. Corozal Airport (CZH) – Corozal 
  6. Dangriga (DGA) – Dangriga
  7. Independence Airport (INB) – Independence
  8. Manatee Airport (MZE) – Manatee
  9. Melinda Airport (MDB) – Melinda
  10. Palencia Airport (PLJ) – Palencia
  11. Punta Gorda Airport (PND) – Punta Gorda
  12. Matthew Spain Airport (SQS) – San Ignacio
  13. San Pedro Airport (SPR) – San Pedro
  14. Santa Cruz Airport (STU) – Santa Cruz
  15. Sartaneja Airport (SJX) – Sartaneja
  16. Silver Creek Airport (SVK) – Silver Creek  

Currency

Belizean dollar (BZD) – The American dollars are also widely accepted.

Bank Facilities

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.

Local Cuisine

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.

Vaccinations

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.

Health

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.

Voltage

The electricity current is 120 volts, 60Hz. Belize generally accepts the following plugs:

➢ Flat blade plug

➢ Two parallel flat pins with ground pin

Weather

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.

Best time to travel to Belize

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. 

 

Travel Safety Belize

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.

Top Rated Activities in Belize

Travel Information Belize

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.

Cave tubing
An Indiana Jones style Adventure
Snorkeling
Diving at the best location
Interview with Crocodiles
Jungle Night Tour
Explore the Barrier Reef
Swim with Sharks and Stingrays
Traditional Garifuna Cooking Class
Garifuna Drumming of Belize
Boat Tour and Birdwatching
Discovery of Mayan Sites

Cave tubing

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. 

Footbridge over river in tranquil forest in Belize. Jungle hikes in Belize.
Footbridge over river in tranquil forest in Belize

Hiking, Caving and Swimming – An Indiana Jones style Adventure

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.

Water flowing from waterfall in forest of Rio Blanco National Park in Toledo Belize. Adventure Tours Belize
Water flowing from waterfall in forest of Rio Blanco National Park in Toledo Belize

A living museum

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.

Snorkeling

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.

 

Diving at the best location

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.

Interview with Crocodiles

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.

Jungle Night Tour

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.

An indigenous house made with wood and a thatched roof in southern Belize. Jungle hikes.
An indigenous house made with wood and a thatched roof in southern Belize.

Explore the World’s Second Largest Barrier Reef

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.

Underwater view of whale shark swimming with fish. Snorkeling and diving tours.
Underwater view of whale shark swimming with school of fish

Traditional Garifuna Cooking Class

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. 

Garifuna Drumming of Belize   

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

Tranquil forest river of Rio Blanco National Park. Belize. Boat tours Belize
Tranquil forest river of Rio Blanco National Park in Toledo Belize

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.

Hike to Mayan Sites  

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.

Discovery of Mayan sites

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.

Packing List for your trip to Belize

Travel Information Belize

Packing list

Belize is an excellent tourist destination, a Caribbean paradise that will make you fall in love at every turn.  It offers several adventures, such as its rainforests, underground caves, wonderful beaches and coral reefs and many more.  This country surely has everything you need for a memorable vacation or for a paradisiac Caribbean Honeymoon.

Beautiful palm trees in a small island in the Caribbean. Travel Belize
Tropical island beach with hammock suspended on palm trees with seagull flying by. Belize

The weather of Belize is generally tropical and very pleasant. Even in the rainy season most of the time it has sunshine and clear skies. It sometimes rains in the afternoon and evening for a couple of hours.  However you should consider what type of activities you want to do during your trip and check the weather for it.  Visit the follow link and search Belize to check the weather forecast Accurate Weather

To facilitate the task of filling your suitcase for your next adventure to Belize, find below a suggested packing list

Travel Information Belize. Packing List:

Must Have:

  • Passport, Visas (if necessary), and your Return Flight
  • Your usual medications
  • Credit and Debit Card to use in ATMs
  • Reservation confirmations
  • Some cash

Important:

  • Phone and camera
  • Cords, Batteries and Chargers (Phone, Ipad, etc)
  • Waterproof cases for electronic devices
  • Universal Power Adapter
  • Toiletries
  • Comfortable clothing suitable for tropical weather
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunglasses
  • Comfortable closed toed shoes
  • Shoes: Water shoes, Flip Flops and Sturdy walking and hiking shoes
  • Cap or a hat
  • Lightweight Rain Jacket
  • Small backpack for day trips
  • One sturdy water bottle
  • Insect Repellent
  • Water-resistant and reef-friendly sunscreen
  • Travel Insurance

A good idea to bring:

  • Portable Charger
  • Copy of your passport
  • Personal sport equipment
  • A flashlight
  • Extra SD Cards
  • Floating strap if you wear prescription glasses
  • Binoculars
  • Waterproof phone case 

What you should not bring to your Belize trip

  • Expensive Jewelry or watches
  • Fancy and Bulky Electronics
  • Make-up, it will not last long in your face
  • Polyester clothing, choose instead moisture-wicking materials

“Travel brings power and love back into life.”

Useful Tips to traveling Belize

Travel Information Belize

Useful Tips to traveling Belize

In order to fully enjoy your vacation in Belize without complications, you must make sure to have all the information you may need.  Like any country, Belize has its peculiarities and it is better to be well informed before your travel. To help you with your research, find below a list of useful tips for your next trip to Belize.

Dawn on a wooden jetty stretching into the silent Caribbean ocean, Belize. Travel Belize.
Dawn on a wooden jetty stretching into the silent Caribbean ocean, Belize.

1. Be Patience and Friendly

Notice that in Belize the rhythm of life is different, more relaxed and carefree.  

Belizeans are polite and very friendly, but they do not like rushing or confrontations, so better avoid it.  It is usual to be yelled at in the street, but do not scare, it is usually a greeting or a joke.  The best response is a smile, a friendly greeting, and continue on your way.  Make some local friends, they want to interact with you and if you are willing to have these friendly encounters, you will surely take home some funny stories.  

Most restaurants will take longer than expected to serve food, and even to prepare the bill.

Don’t be afraid to go to the counter and kindly ask when you need something.

Its relaxed atmosphere, especially its beaches and idyllic islands and cays will take you to slow down the rhythm and relax

2. Buy travel insurance

This is a useful advice for any country in Central America you may want to visit.  Having Travel and Cancellation Protection Insurance is essential to avoid any unpleasant surprises in the future.  When purchasing your insurance, make sure that it covers unforeseen events such as canceled flights, loss of luggage, etc.

Visit: Travelex Insurance Services or World Nomads to get a quote.

3. Get the necessary vaccinations

Highly recommended is that you be up to date with your vaccination regimen such as Tetanus and Hepatitis A.  Some vaccines consist of two injections separated by one month and others must be administered six months before the trip. Because of this, you should consult your doctor well in advance before you travel.

Find more information by consulting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

4. Call your credit and debit card company

Notify your credit or debit card provider about your trip.  It is necessary for them to know that your card will be used internationally to avoid inconveniences.  Take the opportunity to find out about possible additional charges for international use and how to reduce the foreign fee.  

To expand this information visit: Credit Cards 

5. International health coverage

For your safety and peace of mind, consult your insurance company about its international coverage.  If you do not have it, it is highly recommended that you purchase an additional clause that covers you for a limited-term so you can travel safely.

Read more information here:  Cigna International Health Insurance.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” 

Tips for Personal Safety for Belize Travelers

Travel Information Belize

Tips for Personal Safety for Belize Travelers

Belize is a developing country, and the great inequality between rich and poor creates a suitable environment for robberies and crimes.  However do not panic, this country is relatively safe for tourists, the crimes occur mainly in urban areas such as Belize District. Where travelers usually do not visit.

Beautiful beach and palm trees in San Pedo Island. Ambergris Caye. Belize. Travel Belize
Tropical Caribbean beach. Ambergris Caye in Belize

The main tourist attractions of Belize are away from the urban areas, places full of nature and safe to visit.  With hundreds of islands to explore, the largest Cave System in Central America, and the Great Barrier Reef. The second largest in the world. Belize is surely a destination worth visiting.  

In sume, you can travel safely and responsibly, be aware of your surroundings and certainly spend the best vacations of your life.

Additionally, travel with an agency like Mayan Gateway, gives you the advantage of having experts in the matter.  We know both the locations and their people and customs. Enjoy traveling without worries. It is advisable to follow some basic tips to stay safe during your trip to Belize.  Find below a list of safety tips for your next travel to Belize.

Travel Information Belize – Safety Tips 

  1. Don’t flash large amounts of cash, jewelry, expensive electronic devices, etc. 2.
  2. Save your values and carry with you only what you will need during the day
  3. Is better to avoid walking around in big urban areas, especially the secluded ones.
  4. The reefs are stunning, but coral and other sea creatures can hurt, thus be careful.
  5. Avoid going out too late in the night, try to make better use of daylight.
  6. Keeping awareness is the best way to avoid crime. So, avoid drinking too much.
  7. When going out late at night, take a taxi.
  8. Be sure of having a guide with you when going into the jungle
  9. June to November is hurricane season so be aware if you’re traveling in this period.
  10. Secure your room at night and when you go out, lock windows and doors.
  11. This is still a very religious country, be respectful and avoid giving opinions on religion.

Travel Information Belize – Tip to remember

Acting like you always know where you are going. Especially if you walk alone or without a guide, it is a good way to avoid being the target of a pick-pocket.  For your safety it is always better not to draw too much attention to yourself.

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”

Things you should not do in Belize

Travel Information Belize

Travel Information Belize – What you should not do.

Just like any foreign country you visit, it is very important to do some research before you go and Belize is not the exception.  In order to avoid making a mistake of behavior, it is better to know the essentials ‘not to do’.

Sunset sky reflection in water with old wooden jetty. Travel Belize
Sunset sky reflection in water with old wooden jetty, Belize.

Read below the list of things we do not recommend to do while in Belize:

  • Do not stay in Belize City, it is crowded, not very safe and a bit pricey. Choose touring the interior instead.
  • The climate in Belize is tropical and humid, you should not go out without bug repellent and sunscreen
  • It is a common practice to greet everyone you come across in Belize, not greeting back is a lack of courtesy.
  • When snorkeling or scuba diving, you should NOT stand on or touch the corals, they are a delicate ecosystem.
  • Under no circumstances should you stray from your guide or group, especially in rain forests or caves.
  • Carry some cash with you. A lot of medium to large businesses take Credit Cards at most medium to large businesses but not all of them.
  • Don’t leave without tasting Belizean Cuisine, there is a wide variety of dishes for foodies to enjoy.