Belize Fact Sheet & Useful Information
| Belize Geography |
Belize has an area of approximately 9,000 square miles, bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world (165 miles long). The land is flat at the coast and rises to 3,600 feet inland at the height of the Maya Mountains. Jungle and rainforest cover the central and southern regions with predominantly dry pine savannah, Caribbean pine forests, and extensive wetlands in the north and west.
| Belize Climate |
Subtropical, with prevailing north-easterly trade winds from the sea. Temperatures range from 60 degrees Farenheit (16 Celsius) to 95 degrees Farenheit (32 Celsius). Belize is marked by a wet season from June to October and a dry season from November to May. Although the best time of year to travel to Belize is definitely through the "dry season", Mother Nature does still give us some rain during this timeframe. Northern Belize, which may receive as little as 50 inches of rainfall, is considerably drier than the far south, which can receive upwards of 180 inches of rainfall annually. This rainfall helps feed the lush jungles and sustain year-round growth.
| Belize Population |
Most of the major towns and villages of Belize lie on the coast or along major rivers. In recent times however, new settlements have formed, mostly in the Cayo District of Western Belize and the Toledo District in Southern Belize. The latest census in Belize shows a population of over 350,000 made up of Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, Maya, Mennonites, and Europeans. Belize in general has a very young population with over 50% of the people under 18 years old.
| Belize Language |
English is the official language and is widely spoken throughout the country. Other languages spoken: Creole, Spanish, Garifuna, Maya, and German.
| Belize Government |
Belize is a member of the British Commonwealth, with a stable democratic government established along the model of the British Parliamentary system. The country is divided into six districts, with each district electing members to the House of Representatives. Presently, the United Democratic Party forms the government with Honorable Dean Barrow as the Prime Minister, replacing incumbent Said Musa from the Peoples United Party (PUP). The PUP now sits as the official opposition.
| Entry Requirements into Belize |
Passports are required for entry into Belize.
United States and Canadian citizens, nationals of Caricom countries and of the European Community member nations (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, UK, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Finland, Sweden) do not require visas.
Visas are required for nationals of the following countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Columbia, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, India, Japan, Korea (North and South), Libya, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine, and Zaire.
Also, please note the Government of Belize does require your passport to be valid for more than three months after your arrival. For questions regarding entry requirements, or people from other nationalities, please contact our office (1-800-667-1630) or the nearest Belize Embassy. A list of Belize Embassies, worldwide, can be found by clicking here .
| Belize Currency |
The Belize Dollar has a fixed rate of $2BZ = $1US. US currency and travelers checks in US currency are widely accepted. Credit cards can be used in most tourist facilities. ATMs are becoming more common in Belize but should not be part of your planned travel budget as they may be problematic to access during your trip. However, the machines are now connected to North American systems and can be used in an emergency.
| Belize Electricity |
The current is the same as Canada and the US (110V AC) and the same plug is used. No adapters are required.
| Belize Taxes |
Belize does have a General Sales Tax (GST) which currently adds 12.5% on top of most goods and services within Belize.
Belize has a Hotel Tax, which is 9% on top of the cost of most hotel nights in the country. It is fairly customary to see a 5-10% service charge as well.
By Air (Most of the Airlines now include these fees in their ticket price)
All passengers are required to pay an international departure tax of $39.25 US. Most of the airlines now include these fees in their ticket price - please review your airline fare breakdown for more information. This departure tax is broken down into the following components:
International Passengers - On Departure - via Phillip Goldson International Airport (PGIA)
Guatemalan and Mexican passengers:
Mexicans staying more than 72hrs. $18.75 USD
For more information contact the Border Management Authority
On Departure via Punta Gorda, Dangriga or San Pedro
Please check with local authorities for upto date information.
| Belize Time Zone |
Belize is located within the Central Time Zone and does not observe Daylight Savings Time.
| Belize Drinking Water |
Generally the water is drinkable right from the taps in most large towns, lodges, and hotels. Many Belizeans and travelers also choose to drink bottled water which is available in most shops. Safe drinking water is provided throughout your Island Expeditions' tour. In the field, we use Pristine water treatment to make water potable or use large 5 gallon jugs of water which can be decanted into your personal water bottle.
| Belize Taxis |
Taxis are identifiable by their green license plates in Belize. They are non-metered and fares are standard. Taxis from the Belize International Airport are a standard rate and the rate is posted upon exiting the customs area. Be sure to negotiate the price before starting your journey.
| Belize Health |
There are no endemic diseases. No inoculations are required for entry, however we do strongly recommend you consider a Havrix injection for Hepatitis A (or Twinrix for both Hep A & B), anti-malaria tablets (if traveling into the rainforest), and an up-to-date tetanus shot. Contact your doctor or travel clinic prior to traveling to Belize.