BELIZE TRAVEL GUIDE

BELIZE TRAVEL GUIDE

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WELCOME TO BELIZE!

Belize – home to the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Great Blue Hole, 900+ Mayan sites, approximately 450 surrounding islands (they call “cayes”), Caribbean music, Creole food and the only Jaguar preserve in the world.

LANGUAGES IN BELIZE

The official language is English (being formerly the British Honduras), but there are many that also speak Creole (by Kriols) and Spanish.

BELIZEAN CULTURE

Belize is a laid back, Caribbean country, but still has formalities that hail from being once British ruled.  The Kriol (Creole) people, descendants from African slaves, are the majority of the population, but with Belize being surrounded by Latin-American countries, Latin-American influence is also very heavy. The country also home to native Mayans, the Garifuna and German-speaking Mennonites.  Like the mix of people, the food is also mixed with a blend of Mayan, Latin-American, Creole and Garifuna dishes utilizing the fresh seafood and fruits available. Caribbean, reggae and calypso music are the most popular. Favorite sports are soccer and cricket. 

POPULAR BELIZEAN ACTIVITIES

Belize holds many attractions for visitors: fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, Mayan ruins, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife sanctuary, hiking, zip-lining, kayaking, and more.

BELIZEAN CURRENCY

Belize uses the Belizean dollar (BZ$) – the exchange rate is basically half that of the U.S. dollar (USD), but it’s always a good idea to double check during your planning.

BELIZE TRANSPORTATION

Belize has all forms of transportation.  However, there are still no ride sharing services such as Uber or Lyft.  Instead, taxis or renting a car or golf cart are very popular. So, getting around and booking transportation in advance is no problem.

TIPPING IN BELIZE

Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules.  That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated. 

What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc.  For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.

Additionally, you should always tip in the local currency (if tipping in cash), and do not be offended if your tip is refused as it may not be the norm. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not, unless I know it will be considered offensive, like in Japan.

BELIZEAN HOLIDAYS

A key activity to do in your early planning stage is to know, at minimum, the national holidays. I so suggest also looking into the local holidays.  It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money to take the holiday of your lifetime and when you show up at one of your key attractions, it’s closed due to a holiday.  It’s also not fun trying to travel and have a hard time accessing travel or other essential resources when no one is around because, yes, it’s a local holiday. So, take just a few moments to look at Belize’s holidays.

BELIZE ELECTRONIC ESSENTIALS

Besides money, required ID and your ticket, Belize’s voltage are 110 and 220 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz, so they use both Type A and Type B adapters, like the U.S.  Although you don’t have to bring an adapter, check your electronics – if you have one requiring a 3-prong outlet you may want to bring a Type B adapter just in case.  Remember, most smart phones, tablets and laptops don’t require a converter, but double-check your device(s) before you leave home.  If you are going to another country on your trip other than Belize, you can check the global adapters list to make sure you’re prepared. I have also provided suggested global adapters below for your convenience.

Ceptics Travel Adapter with Types A-M Plugs, Travel Plug Adapter Set Compatible with Power Sockets in All Continents, Compact World Travel Adapter, International Plug Adaptor Kit, Set of 12,GP-12PK
471 Reviews
Ceptics Travel Adapter with Types A-M Plugs, Travel Plug Adapter Set Compatible with Power Sockets in All Continents, Compact World Travel Adapter, International Plug Adaptor Kit, Set of 12,GP-12PK*
  • A Powerful Set of 12 Adapters - Our all-in-one international travel adapter set features 1 universal input socket that allows you to connect a plug from almost any country worldwide, including the 2-prong and 3-prong North American plugs.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS FOR BELIZE

From the U.S., you will need a valid passport.  No tourist visa is required if your stay is 30 days or less. Make sure your passport expiration date is greater than 6 months from your return to the U.S. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to to Belize.  It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.  If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

VACCINATIONS FOR BELIZE

There are normally no vaccinations required for Belize.  The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when traveling to Belize.  It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.  If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.

BELIZE TRAVEL BOOKING

BELIZE ECOTOURISM TIPS

There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Belize. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.

ECO-FRIENDLY AIR TRAVEL

Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.

Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

ECO-FRIENDLY GROUND TRANSPORTATION

The best eco-friendly forms of ground transportation in Belize are walking or renting a bicycle or electric scooter.

ECO-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATIONS

Look for accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:

Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for Belize and other Caribbean Green Global members.

Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.

Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.

LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for Belize certifications.

Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.

GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.

Another way to find an establishments implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is through Booking.com in which you’ll need to find and review each establishment’s ‘Sustainable Initiatives’ within the booking process. Starting 2022, however, you’ll be able to filter searches for accommodations with the Travel Sustainable badge. Finally!

ECO-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES

Belize has ecotourism vacations and information available to explore for your next vacation.

Search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in Belize. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.

To protect the coral reef and marine biodiversity, many locations in Belize are banning non reef-safe sunscreen. Unfortunately, there are no places in Belize to buy reef-safe sunscreen so it is important you get it before your trip departure. Here are a few of the best recommended reef-safe sunscreens to get you started:

MORE ECO-TRAVEL TIPS

There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel.  Read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.

BELIZE SAFETY TIPS

HOW TO TRAVEL BELIZE SAFELY

Theft or pickpocketing, which could happen in most places to be honest, could be a concern.  Be careful not to wander or bike at night by yourself.  If you do walk at night, make sure it’s in well-lit areas and with plenty of people. If need be, take a taxi.

Beyond that, there is nothing I can recall from Belize making it more of a “safety concern” than traveling in my own home country, so my standard tips for female and solo travelers are:

  • always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
  • always be “street wise”.
  • always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
  • never leave your food or drink unattended.
  • keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
  • be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
  • research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
  • if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.

BELIZE BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS

BEST TIME TO VISIT BELIZE

The high season in Belize is late November to early April when it cooler but full or tourists. The rainy season in Belize is June to November, but the rains can start in May, making May to early June the lower season of less tourists and better prices; however, it is also a lot hotter in these months so, ensure you go at a time that is right for you. Mid to late-April is slower than the high season, of course, and not as hot. If you can afford it, try going then.

Bonus:  If you dive, April is also the whale shark migratory season.

PERSONAL STORY

Having wanted to visit Belize for many years due to hearing of the many marine activities available and being passionate about protecting the environment myself, the feeling was compounded when I started to scuba dive.  The Belizean government is trying hard to protect the barrier reef that its country is home to.  The Belizean Barrier Reef, second largest in the world, is key for the Belizean main exports of conch and lobster, not to mention is it critical for its tourism industry.  I wanted to start volunteering around the world to participate in marine or coral reef protection work and Belize was my first experience in this arena.  If you’d like to read about it you can see a link to the post below. 

BELIZE PHOTOS

BELIZE BLOG POSTS

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