Wedged between Mexico and Guatemala, the tiny and eclectic country of Belize has become one of the most popular eco tourism destinations in Central America for the intrepid traveler.
Lush tropical rain forests, pristine beaches, ancient Maya cities, diverse flora and fauna, and the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere are just a few of the many natural attractions that allure the adventure traveler to visit.
Below are a list of travel tips that you need to review before you visit Belize.
There is no clear answer to the question when is the best time to visit Belize? because there is always something exciting to do and see in the country. The drier, warm months are more popular with tourists, but the off-season rainier months can be a great opportunity to partake in fishing, snorkeling, or diving. With plenty of colorful and lively festivals occurring throughout the year, visitors to Belize are sure to find plenty of excitement no matter when they arrive.
All international flights to Belize arrive at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA/BZE) on the outskirts of Belize City. With a long main runway measuring 9,700 feet, PGIA is able to receive full-size aircraft. American Airlines, Copa Airlines, Delta, TACA, Southwest Airlines, United and U.S. Airways all provide non-stop service to PGIA from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, New York City and Miami in the United States and Cancun and Flores, Mexico, San Salvador, El Salvador, three cities in Honduras, and Panama City, Panama.
The cheapest way to get around Belize is by public bus. With a nationwide network and busy schedule, public buses connect to nearly every town and village in the country. Known locally as “chicken buses,” public buses make frequent stops and are, therefore, the slowest way to get somewhere in the country.
Taxis can be hired to go to any destination in Belize, including private residences. Be aware, however, that taxi fares can be expensive and should always be negotiated before departure. All licensed taxis bear a green license plate.
Belize is typically hot and humid day and night year-round. Temperatures vary by only about 4°C between the coolest part of the year (December to March) and the hottest (May to September). The daily temperature range is around 10°C from the hottest part of the day to the coolest part of the night. In the uplands (Mountain Pine Ridge and the Maya Mountains) you can expect temperatures to fall by about 3°C for every 1000ft rise in altitude, making things noticeably more comfortable.
Belize has distinct wet and dry seasons. The wet season runs from mid-May to November in the south and from mid-June to November in the north. November to February is a transitional period, with the year’s coolest temperatures and a limited amount of rain. The true dry season is February to April. There’s quite a large difference in rainfall between the north of the country (around 1500mm or 60in a year) and the south (about 4000mm or 160in). In the north and center of the country there’s a dip in rainfall in August, between peaks in July and September.
One location. Countless quests.
Jungles. Ceremonial Caves. Reefs. Ancient Mayan temples. No matter your desires, you’ll find everything here. Just be sure to remember to take some time off.
Belize is a spectacular country full of cultural and ecological diversity seen nowhere else in the world. Hike the ancient Maya ruins, lost for centuries to the dense jungles. Swim with the creatures that make up the second largest barrier reef in the world. Explore the beauty of the underground through the caves carved by the country’s rivers.
Due to the long centuries of British colonial rule, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language. Taught in schools and used for all legal and judicial proceedings, English is the primary language used in English, although there are several other languages which are important.
Belize Is Very Safe To Visit
Generally, Belize is a very safe and peaceful country where tens of thousands of tourists visit every year without incident. But as in all countries, it’s always a good idea to use common sense and take normal precautions so that you too can experience a safe and enjoyable vacation.
For more than 1,000 years, upwards of 2 million Maya lived, prayed, and worked in the area that is now the modern nation of Belize. Strategically located along several key trade routes, the Ancient Maya civilization built hundreds of stone cities, making Belize today home to more Maya ruins than anywhere else. While nobody knows quite what led to the collapse of the Mayan Empire around the year 1200 A.D., today visitors can explore a rich legacy of palaces, temples, monuments, and pyramids.
In the past century alone, explorers have documented more than 300 different caves in Belize, making it an exciting destination for visitors.
Archeologists have documented 198 different caves as being important religious and ceremonial sites used by the ancient Maya culture that once dominated Belize. Evidence such as Maya sacrificial burials, skeletons, altars, and artwork can now be seen in many of these sacred caves. The ancient Maya believed that caves were a passage to the home of the gods, and conducted ceremonies within to communicate with the underworld. The Maya culture celebrated caves as places for both death and creation.
For a relatively small nation, Belize is blessed with more beachfront than many larger nations, and its coastline is a model of pristine sand and water, enjoyed by tourists who come to the nation strictly for beach time.
At 386+ km, visitors who aren’t content to dig their feet into the sand find plenty to do along these beaches that range from kayaking and swimming to scuba diving and sailing.
With an abundance of cayes in close proximity (200+), vacationers enjoy time splashing in the Caribbean Sea while exploring offshore islands. Many are uninhabited and make ideal launching spots for swimming, diving, fishing, surfing and other water sports. Plenty of visitors come to picnic and relax.
Some tourists come to Belize to dive. Others to hang out at hot spots like Ambergris Caye and Placencia. Everyone comes to behold the wonder of nature within the borders of this small nation. Visitors arrive fresh and curious thanks to short plane rides that get them to Belize in hours, and the fact that everyone speaks English can come as a welcome surprise. But it’s Belize’s natural wonders that capture hearts and minds. From trails to rainforests and from waterfalls to caves and reefs, there is no equal on the Caribbean rim.
Truly one of the great natural wonders of the world, the Belize Barrier Reef is home to one of the most abundant and diverse marine ecosystems found anywhere on the planet. Measuring more than 190 miles long, the reef is part of the bigger Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System that stretches from Mexico to Honduras, making it the second biggest coral reef system in the world, and the largest in the hemisphere.
Because Belize does not change its clock seasonally to adjust for Daylight Savings Time, it can be difficult to calculate the current time in Belize off the top of your head.
Officially, Belize is in the Central American Time Zone. During the summer months when the most of the United States is on Daylight Savings Time, the time in Belize mirrors that of the Mountain Time Zone. In other words, the time in Belize is the same time as in Denver.
During the winter months, however, when most of the United States is on standard time, the time in Belize mirrors that of the Central Time zone. In other words, the time in Belize is the same time as in Chicago.
Have you ever tried to pick just the best Belize all inclusive resorts out of the hundreds sprinkled like sugary sands across Belize? It’s no easy job; there are amazing places everywhere you look. But as the saying goes, somebody’s got to do it, so we are tackling the challenge. Grouped by destination, any one of these gems will delight, surprise and pamper you.
Belize is the true definition of a melting pot, a land where many different cultures have blended together to form the special laid-back identity of a Belizean. With an open-minded attitude towards interracial unions, several distinct cultures still exist in Belize today, a mix of Creoles, European Mennonites, East Indians, Chinese, Garifuna, Maya, and Mestizo peoples. Despite their very unique origins, today these traditions and cultures have blended together in Belize to create a harmonious society.
While Belizean cuisine is not well-known outside the country, visitors to the country rave about the delicious mix of culinary influences and fresh, local ingredients that make Belizean fare so delicious. A true melting pot society, Belize borrows from its native Creole, Mestizo, Caribbean, Garifuna, Maya, and British populations to offer tasty treats for every palate.
The wisest move you can make when planning your Belize trip is to fill your itinerary with variety. Sure, you want beach time, hammock time and your fill of fabulous restaurants, and if you read more than one guide book, you’ll spot commonalities despite different editor picks. But why bother to read guides when our list of Top 10 things to do in Belize includes all of the hot spots? After all, we want you to spend that extra time shopping for flip-flops and bathing suits!
The money used in Belize is called the Belize dollar, often abbreviated as BZD. The official exchange rate is permanently set at 2 BZD to 1 US dollar, although some banks provide a slightly different rate.
Many visitors from the United States to Belize choose not to exchange money at all as the US dollar is accepted and warmly welcomed everywhere. The Belize dollar is only valid currency inside the borders of Belize, and it can be difficult to exchange it outside the country except at border towns in Mexico and Guatemala.
Cash is the most popular form of payment in Belize, although major hotels, resorts, lodges, and restaurants do accept credit cards, primarily Visa. Only a limited number of businesses accept MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.
One of the most important factors to consider when visiting or moving to another country is the quality and nature of the health care available at your destination. Belize is a small country with a strong commitment to developing and improving infrastructure, including health care. If you are coming to Belize, here is what you need to know about health care in the country.
Belize has a rich and varied musical history, partly in due to the contributions of various cultures and groups living in the country. Whether it is modern genres like punta rock or traditional dances inherited from the long centuries of Maya presence, the music of Belize is truly unique.
The calendar in Belize is jam-packed with exciting festivals, competitions, sporting events, and other public celebrations. Whether it’s a town celebrating a local event or a nationwide holiday, you can always count on lots of delicious food, homemade crafts, and live music.
One of the hottest spots for North American and European ex-pats to buy real estate is in Belize. The tropical beaches and sunny skies are a big draw, but also the tourism economy in Belize is booming. It’s expected to make even bigger gains in the coming years. If that all sounds great, then you’re probably wondering how you can buy real estate in Belize as a foreigner.
Belize has a very unique history, being the only country in Central America where English is the official language.
Approximately 3000 years ago, the original Maya culture began moving into the area now known as Belize, establishing an extensive trading network that would flourish until approximately the year 1200 A.D., building the enormous stone cities of Cahal Pech, Caracol, and Altun Ha.