A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Belize is hot and humid year round with high temperatures ranging from mid-70’s F in January to mid 90’s in August. Cooling Caribbean breezes bring respite from the sub-tropical climate. Winter lows rarely drop below 60. The wet season extends from June through September, with annual rainfall heavier in the south. Casual clothing that is comfortable, lightweight and loose fitting is recommended, as is strong sunscreen. Sturdy, comfortable shoes with closed heel and toe are a must for hiking. A lightweight windbreaker or disposable rain poncho may come in handy.
The official currency of Belize is the Belizean Dollar, which uses the same “$” sign. $1.00 U.S. is equal to $2.00 Belize. U.S. dollars are widely accepted throughout the country and it’s easy to exchange U.S. dollars just about anywhere. Major credit cards and traveler’s checks are accepted at most hotels and restaurants. Belizean ATMs will not accept foreign cards.
U.S. residents are permitted a $400 duty-free tax exemption per person when returning to the U.S. Visitors are NOT allowed to leave Belize with certain items including pre-Columbian artifacts, marine products and unprocessed coral or turtle shells. Those who try will most likely have the items confiscated and could even land in jail.
A U.S. $39.25 departure tax is charged when you exit Belize and must be paid in cash unless included in the price of your airline ticket. Most major U.S. carriers now include the tax but check with your airline to be sure.
The standard in Belize is the same as in the United States: 110 volts AC (60 cycles).
Visitors need a valid passport with an expiration date at least six months past your intended stay and a round trip ticket or a ticket to an onward destination. No visa is required of nationals of the United States, Canada or British Commonwealth countries.
Common sense precautions are recommended for protection against bothersome insects, especially when visiting dense rainforests and beach areas or when walking at dusk. Insect repellent is highly recommended.
Most communicable diseases have been eradicated from Belize but some authorities advise preventative measures when traveling to remote regions and for patients with particular health problems. Consult your doctor. For the latest health information contact the Centers for Disease Control’s International Travelers’ Health Fax Service at 888-232-3299 or visit their web site at www.cdc.gov.
English is the official language of Belize, but Spanish is widely spoken. Maya, Garifuna and Creole are also spoken.
Bordered by Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west and south, Belize is approximately 750 miles and 2 hours by air from Houston, Miami and New Orleans.
Public offices, banks, many businesses and shops will be closed on these days:
Jan 1- New Year’s Day
Mar 9 – Baron Bliss Day
Mar/Apr – Easter Week
May 1 – Labor Day
May 24 – Commonwealth Day
Sep 10 – St. George’s Day
Sep 21 – Independence Day
Oct 12 – Columbus Day
Nov 19 – Garifuna Day
Dec 25 – Christmas Day
Dec 26 – Boxing Day
Belize is on Central Standard Time, 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. Belize does not observe Daylight Saving Time, so the time difference is an additional hour from April through October.