Ten things to know before traveling to Belize
Know before you travel to Belize
Belize is the vacation destination of a lifetime waiting to happen. It is incredibly beautiful and warmly welcoming. It comfortably close to home for Northern American visitors. It is surprisingly affordable and is sure to provide tons of fun for all members of the family but before booking your adventure vacation to the “Jewel” here’s what you need to know.
1.) It was home to ancient Mayan cities and civilizations and there are many ruins and archaeological sites scattered across the country. These mysterious historical monuments offer a glimpse into the past of the people who once inhabited the land.
2.) Belize was first occupied by Spain but later became a British colony. It was granted independence from Great Britain in 1981 and remains a member of the Commonwealth nations.
3.) It is locked in an age-old territorial dispute with Guatemala, which claims Belize as part of its territory. The countries are currently in the process of arranging measures to settle the dispute in the International Court of Justice.
4.) Early in the country’s development, its economy depended heavily on agriculture and later oil but now tourism is the number one foreign exchange earner hence its emphasis on providing an excellent tourist experience.
5.) The exchange rate from Belize to US dollars is 2:1 meaning tourists get more bang for their buck. Credit cards are accepted but having cash on hand is encouraged since ATMs are few and most businesses charge 5 percent for using credit cards.
6.) There are no Visa requirements for citizens of the European Union, CARICOM, the US, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, Iceland, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, Uruguay and Commonwealth territories.
7.) There is a US $35 departure tax to be paid when leaving the country.
8.) Visitors can legally drive in Belize with an international driver’s license and a passport.
9.) There are plenty of bugs and insects in Belize so visitors are advised to keep bug spray and repellent handy.
10.) Tipping is not mandatory but is encouraged. Also, some restaurant bills come with a 10 percent service charge added on.
Once you know the basics then it’s time to hit the beach at any of the award-winning world class resorts in dreamy coastal towns such as San Pedro, Caye Caulker or Placencia. If you fancy something a little less salty there are plenty more resorts located inland with spectacular mountain and jungle views. The small size of the country means getting from the beach to the mountains is just a short drive away.
Belize is a wonderful destination for an unforgettable romantic getaway or a relaxing family retreat. Belize is also the only Central American nation with English as its first language. It’s also home to the second largest barrier reef system in the world. Its small population (360,000) includes a richly diverse cultural mix and the residents are friendly, hospitable and are willing to accommodate. Many tourists come to Belize and enjoy the experience so much they keep coming back for more!