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Belize Travel Information, Tips and More


Country Information
Belize has a Caribbean laid back feel and the official language is English. Belize was once home to at least one million Mayans, and their stunning architecture with hidden tombs and offerings remain today. Altun Ha, Caracol, Lamanai, and Xunantunich are the most popular


Passport and Visa

No visas are required for citizens of the United States or Canada for tourist visits of up to 30 days, but they must have proof of their intent to depart Belize (such as onward or return air tickets) and proof of sufficient funds to maintain themselves in Belize. However, is it essential that all travellers arrive with a passport that is valid for at least six months from the time you enter Belize.


Currency
The Belize dollar is the official currency in Belize (currency code BZD). It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively BZ$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is divided into 100 cents. The official value is pegged at 2 BZ$ = 1 US$ - U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere
While many restaurants, tour companies, and shops accept credit cards, there's often a hefty tax to do so. ATMs are in every major city and island, so it's not difficult to find one to withdraw Belize money. Also be sure to clarify if the price quoted is in Belize or U.S. dollars.

 

Water
Do not drink the water or brush your teeth with tap water - bottled water only!  Tap water isn't generally considered safe to drink, even in most cities and popular tourist towns. The water in Belize City and San Ignacio is relatively safe to drink, but travelers often get a touch of diarrhea whenever they hit a foreign country, so always play it safe.

 

Time

Belize in CST (Central Standard Time) and does not do daylight savings time.

 

Electric Plugs

Belize uses 110 volt, 60 cycle electricity, same as the US. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type so US travelers will not typically need a converter or adapter. Outlets rarely have 3 holes so if your device has a third prong, bring an adapter.

 

Immunizations Recommended or Required?
No immunizations are currently required for visiting Belize except a yellow fever certificate if you are arriving in Belize after visiting an infected area, such as the Amazon. Hepatitis A and Typhoid are recommended. Medications to prevent malaria are also recommended, though some travelers opt not to take them. For the most current information, please consult your doctor and/or check out the Center for Disease Control.

 

Weather

The best time to visit Belize is from late November to mid-April, during the country's dry season. Although this peak season draws thousands of tourists, dealing with crowds is an easy sacrifice to make for warm temperatures, clear skies and easy access to the country's top attractions. The rainy season runs from June to November when annual Belize rainfall is highest.

 

What to Pack for Your Belize Vacation

Go for comfort and style. This is a chilled out country where dress is relaxed and you dress to keep cool. It's hot and humid so casual clothes in lightweight natural fabrics (cotton, silk and linen) will work best.

However the nights tend to be a little cooler on the coast or in the jungle so a sweater or wrap is worth packing
For the beaches, daytime essentials include t-shirts or camisoles, sarong and shorts and of course your bathing suit.

 

Packing Checklist

5 to 7 shirts (short sleeve, sleeveless, cool & easy to dry)

Thin long-sleeve shirts (protection from sun & insects)

Shorts

Long pants (jeans or khakis, nylon)

Skirts or dress (not too dressy but cool)

Bathing suits

Underwear

Sandals (waterproof is good, but not necessary)

Closed toed shoes (tennis or hiking)

Socks

Sleepwear

Rain gear

Lightweight sweater or jacket

 

Bring Plastic Bags - for wet clothes

 

Remember your sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and insect/mosquito repellent.


Wipes & hand sanitizer: There isn’t always soap available!  Toilet paper (Tissues) is sometimes hard to find!

 

Island Time

The "Go Slow" motto of Caye Caulker is a good indicator of the laid-back vibe and Caribbean-like spirit that pervades Belize. Many restaurants are seat yourself and followed by flagging someone down for a menu. Plus, turnaround time from when you order to when the food arrives is undoubtedly going to be longer than your neighborhood eatery. Have a snorkeling tour planned? Don't be surprised if your group departs 20 minutes after the scheduled time. Just remember that you're on vacation and there to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere


Mobile Phones

Nowadays it’s relatively easy to use your own mobile phone in Belize, however, the costs of both making and receiving phone calls can be high. Please check with your carrier for availability and rates.

Internet Service
Belize has several Internet service providers offering different types of connection. There are satellite providers that primarily provide service to the rural areas. There is also DSL, cable, and just recently, fiber optics.

It should be understood that Belize is by no means on par or even close to the internet speed in developed countries. Also it should be understood that to achieve “fast” speeds costs A LOT to even be considered half the standard speeds in the US.

 

Shopping in Belize
Many travelers believe that the lack of malls and department stores in Belize makes the country not good for shopping, but vacationers will be pleasantly surprised.

Be on the lookout for..
Belizean spices, rubs, sauces, and beverages; cookbooks, housewares made from local products, and linens hand sewn by native seamstresses; hand beaded jewelry, wood carvings, clay figurines and more. Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce, Creole inspired shell necklaces, cashew wine, Mayan slate paintings, and Garifuna dolls are also great gifts.

Basket weaving is an old tradition of Mayan women and each basket is unique and the intricate designs take days to make.
One barrel rum is sweet and spicy. It is considered the best rum in Belize and Belikin beer - Belize's national brew in either lager or stout 

Local Foods

Rice, beans, tortillas, tropical fruit, and fresh vegetables are some of the standard foods that travelers can expect in Belize. Much of the cuisine is borrowed from Mexico, the US, the UK, and the Caribbean.