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.
Recognized internationally for its travel destinations and agricultural exports, Belize is a melting pot of flourishing cultures, religions, food and music.
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 and usually hold elected seats within it, concurrent with their cabinet positions.
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 along with Maya, Ketchi, German, Russian, Hindi, Arabic, Mandarin and Garifuna.
A variety of religions are practiced in Belize as the Constitution provides for the freedom of religion. These include: Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, Anglican, Mennonite, Baptist, Methodist, Nazarene, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Mormon and other regional ethnic religions.
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. Remote hotels may have electricity furnished by generators.
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. Those traveling from any other country, will have to change their foreign currency at one of the local banks if they do not already have access to US or Belizean currency. Most destinations have banks with Universal ATM machines to accommodate foreign travelers.
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 hotels and internet cafes located across the country.
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. Clients who land at the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport may book their connecting flight with Maya Island Air to their Belizean destination of choice. To complement your regional flights from Guatemala City or San Pedro Sula, Maya Island Air provides domestic air service to 11 destinations within Belize.
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.
Purified bottled water is widely available throughout Belize at local supermarkets, hotels and restaurants. Tap water is potable but isn’t generally considered safe to drink in all districts, so play it safe.
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. With the addition of immigrants from Europe, Asia, Africa and neighboring Central American countries over the years, Belizean cuisine also now has an added international flavor to complement its zesty variety.
Tipping in Belize is mostly voluntary but some of the more prominent establishments do include gratuity in the bill. The suggested average tip is 10%, with 15 – 20% reserved for exemplary service.
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 and camping in any public place not designated as a campground including forest reserves.
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.