Visa Requirements
All travelers entering the country must have a valid passport (valid for up to six months after visit) and a proof of return to their country. No visas are required for citizens of the United States, United Kingdom and the majority of Caribbean Islands.   Visitors from other countries must check for information about obtaining a visa. Belize allows visitors a maximum of one-month stay in the country before they require an extension.

Departure Taxes & Fees

Departure taxes that were once collected at the Philip Goldson International Airport are now generally included in the cost of the airline tickets. Please confirm with your airline that the fee is included at the time you purchase the ticket.  Where it is not included in the ticket price, non-Belizean passengers must pay upon departing Departure Fees of US $35.50, payable in US dollars.  The fee for Belizean residents is BZ$35.00.

Departing the country through land borders requires payment of the land border exit fee of US$18.75 per person.

A portion of the departure tax goes toward the protection and preservation of the environment.  Due to the country’s effort to effectively manage their abundant protected areas, visitors are asked to pay a conservation exit fee at any of the exit or entry points. The proceeds from this fee goes to the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT), which is then distributed and used to sustain the protected areas in Belize.

There is a standard 9% hotel tax that is added to your hotel bill.   In some of the more exclusive resorts and hotels, a service charge of about 10% is charged to your hotel bills (restaurant, bar and room), while in other locations, tipping is optional.  A 12.5% general sales tax (GST) is also attached to most goods and services in the country.

Health Information

Belize considers public health a high priority.  Most visitors leave the country as healthy and probably happier than they arrived.  Belize has public hospitals in every major town and a host of private doctors countrywide.  Though not endemic to Belize, visitors who are coming from well-known ‘high-risk’ areas are required to get the Yellow Fever vaccination before entering the country. Malaria, quickly becoming a threat worldwide, is not common in Belize.  Visitors may at their discretion take precaution by receiving medication before leaving for their trip.

A small case of diarrhea is probably the worst-case scenario, and is not particularly exclusive to Belize. Most visitors are prone to diarrhea when exposed to a completely different environment than they are used to, with different types of food, drinks, ingredients and bacteria. Most tap water in major towns and villages are safe to drink and there is bottled water available countrywide, if visitors desire.   To be on the safe side, you may want to get advice from your doctor or local health clinic before embarking on your journey to Belize.

For most visitors the temperature in Belize will be much warmer than they are accustomed to.   The risk of suffering from dehydration and heat strokes are likely if visitors are not careful.   Drinking lots of water and wearing the proper attire like light cool clothing, a hat/cap and sunscreen is highly recommended until the body adjusts to the temperatures.

Things to bring

A vacation in Belize can mean rappelling down mountain sides, tubing through caves, trekking through thick jungle, viewing rare, tropical birds, basking on white sandy beaches, snorkeling in clear waters, plunging into the Caribbean Sea to explore the colorful and pristine Barrier Reef or simply relaxing in an exotic resort. Depending on your itinerary, visitors should pack accordingly.

Inland adventures usually require hiking gear like lightweight long pants and long-sleeved shirts, strong hiking boots, binoculars and a bathing suit (to plunge into the green pools at the base of waterfalls). Bug repellant is also necessary but can be bought in most tourist facilities and supermarkets in the country. Flashlights may also be required to explore the numerous caves. This is often provided by the tour operator or resort but can also be bought in any hardware store or supermarket. Early mornings and late evenings may become cool in the mountainous regions, so a light jacket or sweater should also be packed.

Visitors embarking on offshore adventures need only bring along their favorite swimsuits.   Most dive resorts and dive shops provide visitors with all snorkeling and scuba gear in the cost. Sunscreen, sun-tanning oils, nice straw hats, bug repellant and beach towels are all available at most tourist facilities inland and offshore.

Shopping

Shopping for keepsakes to take home from Belize is a diverse and colorful experience.   Most gift shops in hotels and resorts display an array of Belizean talent from jewelry, wooden carvings, and embroidered linens to original oil paintings and attractive Belize T-shirts. Homemade jams and pepper sauces are among the favorite gift items.

Currency

The Belizean dollar is the standard currency in the country but almost all places accept U.S. dollars.   The exchange rate is BZ$2.00 to US$1.00 and can be done in banks, ‘casas de cambio’, hotels and some businesses. Most weekday banking hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m and few open from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturdays.

Public Holidays

Belize is known for its many holidays, as Belizeans are generally a people of leisure and relaxation. Important dates to keep in mind include:

 

January 1
New Years Day
March 9
Baron Bliss Day
Easter Week
Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday
May 1
Labor Day
May 24
Commonwealth Day
September 10
National Day
September 21
Independence Day
October 12
Pan-American (Columbus) Day
November 19
Garifuna Settlement Day
December 25
Christmas Day
December 26
Boxing Day

 

 

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