BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
Welcome to Belize – an independent, vibrant and developing nation located on the east coast of Central America. Measuring roughly 8,867 square miles, it is bordered by Mexico to the North, Guatemala to the West and South and the sparkling Caribbean Sea to the East. The country also boasts having 2 of the most remarkable aquatic marvels of the world: the Belize Barrier Reef which is the second longest in the world and the Great Blue Hole which is the largest ocean sinkhole in the world.
The government of Belize is comprised of a democratically elected parliament. The Prime Minister is the head of Government and Cabinet ministers are members of the majority political party in parliament.
The country of Belize falls under the Central Time Zone category however, Daylight Savings Time is not observed.
Belize is the only country within the region with English as its official language. Creole and Spanish are also widely spoken throughout the districts.
The climate of Belize is tropical to subtropical with both wet and dry seasons. The average temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit although, the humidity sometimes makes it feel hotter in inland areas. Belize’s hurricane season runs between June to November.
The typical voltage found throughout Belize is 110 volts. It is not recommended to bring/ use items that require a higher voltage as most businesses will not be held liable for damages if there is a blown fuse/outlet as a result of negligence.
The official currency of the country is the Belize dollar. The US dollar is also widely accepted as currency and the typical exchange rate is 1 US dollar to 2 BZ dollars. There are ATM available, however don't count that they will always be working properly and forget to let the credit card company no you will be out of the country so international fees may apply . We suggest if travel with US dollars use smaller bills and look at the paper to be sure there are no tears or any writing on the money. Money that is torn or has writing on it will not be accepted in Belize. Passengers coming into Belize with more than $10,000.00 BZ in currency or equivalent must declare this on the customs form you will receive on the aircraft before arrival.
Belize’s area code is 501. Cellphones can be rented or bought from local providers to make national and international calls. Wi-Fi is available at most restaurants and internet cafes located across the island.
Belize City is an easy two-hour flight from Miami, New Orleans, Atlanta, Dallas or Houston and is the hub for visiting the mainland or the Cayes. Visitors will land at the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport may book their connecting flight with Maya Island Air to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Travelers entering Belize from the United States are only required to have a U.S. Passport and no visa is required for the first 30 days. When traveling with children under the age of 18, they too will need a valid passport or vista, and you will need a notarized letter of consent must be provided by parents or other parent not traveling with you. You will also need to provide the immigration officer with the name and location of where you are staying.
If you choose to arrive to the island by water taxi there are two San Pedro Belize Express and Caribbean Sprinter. You must get a cab from the airport to the water taxi about 30min ride and to purchase your ticket to ride about 1 hour and half to get to the island. Belize Private Express Water Taxi is available as well and will bring you right to the pier.
Travelers are allowed to bring personal cameras, computers, fishing and diving gear, etc. into the Belize duty free area. Visitors can take home cigarettes, alcohol, and duty free items; however, restriction amounts vary by country. Do you bring drones without first getting the correct approval. Travelers into Belize from non-European Union countries can bring certain items duty-free with limitations. These travelers can bring in 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 250g of tobacco, and 50 cigars. They may also bring in 1 liter of spirits with alcohol content over 22%, 2 liters of dessert wine with alcohol content no more than 22%, 2 liters of wine, 250ml eau de toilette, and 60cc of perfume. Remember to stop by the local stores in the airport you can also buy alcohol there duty free.
Purified bottled water is widely available throughout Belize at local supermarkets, hotels and restaurants. We do encourage you to bring and insulated water bottle to carry with you.
Airport Departure Tax
Departure taxes that were once collected at the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport are now typically included in the cost of the airline ticket. Please confirm with your airline that the fee is included at the time you purchase the ticket. If it is not included in that fee, the cost is approximately US $40.
The foundation of Belizean Cuisine is the popular coconut milk rice and beans served with your favorite meat (stewed chicken, beef, pork and gibnut are local favorites) accompanied by potato salad. From north to south, east to west and out on the cayes, every location has its own variation but the great taste remains the same.
Tipping in Belize is mostly voluntary but some of the more prominent establishments do include gratuity in the bill. The suggested average tip is 20%, keep in mind the minimum wage for the country is $2.50us or $5.00bz.
In an effort to preserve resources and amenities for the enjoyment of others, the following are prohibited by law: removing and exporting black coral, hunting without a license, picking orchids in forest reserves, removing archaeological artifacts, spear fishing while wearing scuba diving apparel. Must be 18 yrs old and have a valid drivers license to drive and consume alcohol beverages in Belize.
When traveling to Belize, it is best to pack as lightly as possible. Bring a limited number of valuables and enough prescription medication that will last the duration of your stay. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash unless on business. Pack personal equipment for your adventure tours: cameras, chargers, hiking boots, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, binoculars, fishing and diving gear, sun block, shorts, ponchos, a cap, insect repellent and remedies for headaches and upset stomach. We have a local blog San Pedro Scoop with some great information on what to bring to Ambergris Caye.