Belize - No Ordinary Destination
Within reach - a still unspoiled wild destination, brimming with life and diversity. Chock-a-block full of national parks, marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, Belize had embraced green initiatives and habitat protection efforts long before Eco became a buzz word.
And It’s Our Playground
Offshore, the pristine 165 mile Belize Barrier Reef System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the longest barrier reef in the Western hemisphere. It enfolds seven marine protected areas and three coral atolls under its umbrella. Hundreds of tiny cayes (“keys”, as Belizeans call their islands) and miles of unexplored beaches offer world-class snorkeling diving and fishing in Belize.
And it’s all within reach.
Inland, the largest remaining tracts of undisturbed rainforest in all of Central America are a treasure-house of living indigenous cultures and 4000 year old lost Mayan cities, and harbors a remarkable biodiversity, where jaguars roam wild and harpy eagles live.
Cross Cultures Easily
The only English speaking nation in Central America, Belize nestles between Mexico and Guatemala, and its 350,000 residents are a super friendly and dynamic blend of Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, Maya, Mennonites, and Europeans.
Exotic music, ethnically diverse food, colourful influences, and a cool vibe don’t get lost in translation, but a shared common language fast-tracks deeper exchange, making every interaction richer.
Time travel is possible
Belize was once the heart of the Mayan civilization. The region is thought to have been one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world of 250 AD. With a cultural vista that stretches back over forty centuries to the beginning of the Maya, we can trace this ancient civilization through Belize’s more than 600 archaeological sites - living museums of a disappeared civilization.
Experience a new frontier of Mayan archaeology in the caves of Belize. Exciting discoveries are leading us to re-evaluate our understanding of the complex spirit world of the ancient Maya. Archaeologists venturing into elaborate cave systems are discovering stunning cathedral-like underground ceremonial centers which are helping to unravel the meaning behind sacred rituals and sacrifices. These sites are remarkably preserved and are like living museums with hand painted pottery, stone tools and carved alters that are thousands of years old.
Belize Fact Sheet
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The current is the same as Canada and the US (110V AC) and the same plug is used. No adapters are required.
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 .
For up to date information on entry requirements into Belize, please also double check the Belize Tourism Board's website
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)
Passenger Service Fee:$15.00
Airport Development Fee: $18.00
Hold Bags: $1.25
Security Fee $1.25
Conservation Fee: $3.75
Total Airport Departure Fees: $39.25 USD - normally included in your flight ticket already - please review your fare breakdown for more information.
User Fee: $2.50US at all airports
Northern Border, Western Border and Southern Border
Intransit Passengers only - Border Processing Fee - $15.00
Overnight Passengers - Border Processing Fee $15.00 + Conservation Fee $3.75;
Total Fee: $18.75 USD
Guatemalan and Mexican passengers:
Less than 24hrs. - NO FEE; more than 24hrs.: $3.75 USD
Mexicans staying more than 72hrs. $18.75 USD
For more information contact the Border Management Authority
On Arrival From Punta Gorda, Dangriga or San Pedro
Belize Port Authority
On Departure via Punta Gorda, Dangriga or San Pedro
Conservation Fee $3.75 USD
Domestic Air Passenger (flying within Belize)
International Airport (PGIA) to Municipal Airports
Security Fee $0.75 USD
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 purified water which can be decanted into your personal water bottle.
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.
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.