Belize is the only English speaking British Commonwealth Country in Central America. Cocooned between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize opens out her heart into the Caribbean Sea. Very close to the United States and Canada, only a couple of hours of flying will bring you here. Enjoy activities such as hiking, horseback riding, bird-watching, caving, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, tubing, scuba diving and fishing in Belize at affordable costs.
Or, simply relax with the sun, water, and the quiet.
A valid passport good for at least 6 months past the departure date is required along with proof of return. Citizens of the United States, British Commonwealth Nations, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay and Canada can be here without visas. Others should enquire at their local Belizean Consulate or Embassy for visas. A stay of 30 days is normally granted for the tourists, and one can go to Belize City and apply for the stay to be extended for six months by paying a small fee.
Airways into Belize
If you want to bring in your own aircraft, you must enter Belize through Philip Goldson International Airport in Belize City. Make sure to obtain permission from the Chief Civil Aviation Officer, 48 hours prior to your arrival. Documents shall be inspected and a normal flight plan must be filed along with the requisite fee. Apart from your own aircraft, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Taca and Aeromexico are operating regular flights. It only takes a couple of hours to be here from Miami, Florida, Houston, Texas, or New Orleans, Louisiana.
Passport and travel documents must be made available to go through the customs. Apart from your personal items only 200 cigarettes or ½ pound of tobacco goods, 20 ounces of alcohol, and a bottle of personal perfume are allowed.
Waterways: Sail in your way
The sea route can be adventurous and perfectly enjoyed. The Caribbean Sea is beautiful, and the voyage could add an enjoyable part to your journey into Belize. However, the boats must clear customs and enter at Belize City, Dangripa, Punta Gorda, Big Creek or San Pedro on Ambergris Caye.
Arriving by Land : Drive in
Choose this route if you are willing to enjoy the rough-and-tough. The rough roads will almost take three to six days from Texas through Mexico. Make sure to bring along your driving license, or permit along with vehicle registration certificates. You would need a temporary import permit for the vehicle to cross the Mexican border, and which the Belize Customs Officials would very well provide. Do not speed, and stick to the right side of the roads.
A liability or third party insurance is also required. Also, if you do not have an International Driving Permit, you would require a temporary driving permit, and this can be obtained from the Chief Licensing Officer in Belize City. You could even bring in your Caravan, however overnight parking in public places is not allowed.
You could also rent a car or a golf-cart in Belize City for which a valid driver’s license is required. Having a car is a great way to experience Belize.
Belize is only 68 miles wide, and 180 miles long. So fill in your gas tanks, and remember not to pick-up hitch-hikers, or to drive overnight. Bus services are also available around Belize. Novello’s, Z-Line, Betty’s and Venus can take you to all major towns.
Room & Boarding Costs
If you are travelling on a budget, you can vacation for as little as $40 a day on mainland Belize, while transportation will be extra. Room and boarding in upscale lodges and good hotels runs from $100 to $150 per day. Outfitted group adventure trips at upscale all inclusive lodges range from $100 to $150 a day. Reservations are always a good idea and don’t forget to ask for group discounts.
There are several commercial banks in Belize City. Atlantic Bank Limited, Alliance Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, Barclay’s Bank PLC and Belize Bank Limited would be eager to help you if required.
Credit Cards & Travelers Checks
Most hotels, restaurants and stores accept all major credit cards. Small vendors and storekeepers in rural areas may accept only cash, or traveler checks. All major credit card companies may be contacted at all of the commercial banks in Belize City.
Currency Exchange Rate
The local currency is the Belize dollar. One US dollar is equal to two Belize dollars. However US dollars are also accepted countrywide.
So Long – for now
It may be hard to say good-bye to Belize, however, consoling yourself that you’d soon be back may help. The days of the Sun, Water and Quiet would always be here for you, whenever you like or you may wish to buy your dream vacation Belize property from one of the more reputable community in Belize.
A US $20 tax is charged while leaving Belize, and payable only in cash. This is however not applicable if you are leaving Belize within 24 hours. A US $.75 security fee is payable when entering Belize by plane, and going onto another in Belize flights. There is a visa charge of US $5 on entering Guatemala (for site seeing) through the western border; and a departing tax of US $3.50 is charged while leaving Belize on this western side.
This charge is deductible at the Airport from the US $20 departure tax when you are leaving Belize.
However, remember that Belize is ever willing and always inviting.
So long for now!
Dustin Hart is not a quintessential writer – rather he is a back-packer who lives off his ultra-light folding bike. He lives (or tries to live) in the state of Washington – with his dog Toobs. He recently caught up with Larry Schneider of Eco Holdings Limited in relation to the eco-friendly tourism & real estate in Belize.