THIS IS BELIZE
“If the world had any ends, “Aldous Huxley wrote in 1934, “Belize would certainly be one of them. It is not on the way from anywhere, to anywhere else.”
Much has changed since 1934. The secret’s out. If Aldous Huxley were to visit Belize today, he’d see that the remarkable multi-cultural country, tucked under the Yucatan Peninsula, has become a sought after destination among wander lusters and adventure seekers from all corners of the globe.
Mostly covered by rainforest and jungle, Belize has one of the lowest population densities in the world. Even with the recent increase in tourism, Belize still feels like the remote paradise Huxley once spoke of. It’s 175 miles of coastline along the Caribbean Sea are protected by a great barrier reef, second only to the Great Australian Barrier Reef. More than 200 subtropical islands dot its turquoise waters and the Great Blue Hole, a site made famous by Jacques Cousteau, is a geological wonder. Belize was once the very center of ancient Maya Civilization. With over 900 historic sites, tours of these sacred areas remain favorites among visitors.
For its geography alone, some might say Belize is the world’s largest playground. Dive or snorkel with whale sharks, go cave tubing through the majestic Mayan underworld, fish and kayak along the coast among abundant marine wildlife, go rappelling and ziplining at Mayflower Falls, hike or climb through Jaguar Reserve, learn how to make chocolate on the banks of the Sittee River, or simply spend an afternoon swinging on a hammock strung between two coconut trees.
Time observed year-round is the same as United States’ Central Standard Time. Although, Daylight Savings Time is not observed in Belize.
Belize is a safe country. However, like everywhere else, you need to exercise caution. Do not wear flashy jewelry and carry large amounts of cash.
Geography & Location
Belize covers an area of 8,867 square miles. More than 65 percent of the country is forested with over 150 offshore islands. Belize boasts the second largest barrier reef in the world.
Population & Language
Total population of Belize is 351,755. Belize differs from the rest of Central America in that it was previously ruled by Great Britain, not Spain. It only gained its independence in recent years, the official language is English. Still, you’ll hear Creole, Spanish and Garifuna spoken throughout the country.
Currency & Economy
The official currency for Belize is the Belize Dollar. The exchange rate is BZ$2 to US$1 and currency can be exchanged at banks and hotels. Most businesses accept US Dollars and Credit Cards (American Express, Discovery, Master and Visa Cards). The tourism industry is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by marine products, citrus, cane sugar, and bananas.
Visitors who travel to Belize require a valid passport and in some instances, an entry visa. US, British, and Canadian citizens do not require entry visas. However, visas are required for Belize travel by citizens from the following countries: China, Cuba, Columbia, South Africa, Taiwan, India, and Libya. It is always best to check with your travel advisor. Your passport should be valid for six months past your date of departure from Belize.
Travelers to Belize are permitted to stay for 30 days. Extensions to stay longer can be processed through the Immigration Office in Belize City for a fee of BZ$25.00. The departure tax is US$39.25 per person paid at airport, and US$18.75 per person at northern or western borders.
In order to have mobile cellular service in Belize, an unlocked GSM (Global System Mobile Communication) 1900 MHz cellular phone is required.
When traveling to Belize, please remember to bring all your prescription medication with you. There are small pharmacies throughout the country but some may be limited in supplies.
Driving in Belize is safe in the more populated areas as the roads are paved. For Belize adventure touring, it is recommended to get a four wheel drive vehicle if you are exploring a great deal of the country. The vast majority of the drive from Belize City to Hopkins is on the stunning Hummingbird Highway.
Belize enjoys a subtropical climate characterized by two seasons. Wet (June to November) and dry (December to May). Spring is a great time to visit.
Casual Clothing for Belize Travel
Belize is an informal country, with a very casual lifestyle. Bring your shorts, T-shirts and bathing suits, as well as some comfortable shoes. Hopkins is rustic charm at it’s best! Other suggestions for your Belize adventure tours:
A cap to protect your head from the tropical sun when you are boating or fishing.
Loose fitting, light colored cotton pants and shirts, along with a comfortable pair of hiking shoes for exploring the mainland or trekking through the rain forest.
A backpack, water bottle, snacks, camera and binoculars are also handy accessories for travel in Belize.
Evenings can be cool in the winter seasons and a light wrap is suggested.
Voltage is 110 like in the USA. Outlets are the same as in the USA.