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Visiting Belize

1. Travel Tips

The winter months of the Northern Hemisphere, November through May, attract the most visitors to Belize. Still, many visitors prefer to come during the quieter summer months from June to October. Both times of the year have their own unique attractions, and the choice of when to visit is totally up to you, your budget, and the adventures you crave.

Belize in Winter

Belize has proven to be the choice location for those wanting to escape the harsh winter of the North. Besides the favorable temperature, Belize is also a favorite destination because of the following:

– Belize is one of the most accessible of all tropical locations by geography and entry requirements
– Belize is English speaking, making it easy for you to get around by yourself, with a group, or if you have special needs
– This is the dry season in Belize which means that you should have no problem predicting bright, sunny skies during your vacation.

Belize in Summer

Belize is also the ideal place for those needing a summer break. Although Belize is a tropical country, the offshore breezes often provide cooler temperatures during the summer months than experienced in many cities to the north. During the summer months it is also true that:

– Belize receives fewer visitors, which gives you the opportunity to find the privacy and isolation you desire.
– Although it is the rainy season, showers are sporadic, and short, and followed by clear skies and sunshine.
– The best feature about spending a summer vacation in Belize is the savings. Rates start from around May 1st and remain significantly – lower until November as compared to prices encountered during the winter months.
– All guides, tour operators, and hotels are required to be licensed by the Belize Tourism Board. The Belize Tourism Board, with the assistance of educational institutions and other tourism groups, holds training and certification programs several times a year throughout the country.
– Find a tour guide, tour operator, or hotel.

Visitors are advised to pack casual clothing in addition to their more relaxed beach and outdoor wear. Below is a sample packing list for a 7-10 day visit which you can adjust accordingly.

Pack according to:

– Mobile or stationary – traveling a lot or staying in one place
– Mode of transportation – bus, flights, biking, etc.
– Activities while in country – camping, diving, fishing, etc.

Keep in mind… rolling suitcases and large bags are difficult to maneuver in sand, in and out of buses, up and down steps and when there is adverse weather (rain, heat).

Clothing

short sleeve or sleveless shirts (cool & easy to dry)
thin long-sleeve shirt (protection from sun & insects)
shorts
long pants (jeans or khakis, nylon)
skirts or dress (Relaxed and confortable)
bathing suits
sandals (waterproof is good, but not necessary)
closed toed shoes (tennis or hiking)
thin socks (if hiking, bring more) sleepwear
nylon windbreaker or long sleeve heavier shirt hat

Toiletries

personal toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, shaving stuff, toothpaste, brush, etc.)
personal medicines (advil, motion sickness, all prescribed medications)
hand sanitizer or wet wipes (when soap & water is not available to wash hands)
sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher)
insect repellant
after bite lotion
contact solution (if you wear contacts)
small first aid kit

Equipment

daypack (small backpack/carry-on)
multi-purpose tool (leatherman/swiss army knife) watch
water bottle
small sewing kit
polarized sunglasses & eyeglasses (plus a spare pair)
your favorite snacks (i.e. granola bars, dried fruits)
a few ziplock bags (large & small)
camera
small flashlight or headlamp (with extra bulb and batteries)
binoculars
small packable towel
handkerchiefs or bandanas
folding umbrella or raincoat
address list for a few postcards
activity equipment (depends on your interests-diving, snorkeling, fishing, birding, hiking, caving, camping, biking, photography, etc.)

Documents

airline tickets & itinerary

passport and 1 photocopy of your passport (keep photocopy separate from original)
insurance information (both travel insurance & home country medical info.)
money and associated records
credit card information (keep a separate list of number & phone number if lost or stolen)
medical letter from your doctor (if you have a specific condition)
emergency contact information (keep 2 names & numbers with your passport)
SCUBA certification card and dive log

2. What to do 

– Visit the Mayan historical sites or other archeologic trips
– Caving
– SCUBA/Snorkeling, Windsurfing, Sailing and other watersports
– Canoeing or Kayaking
– Fishing
– Birding
– Golfing

3. Getting Here

International flights to Belize are via Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Miami or Los Angeles. By road visitors can drive into Belize from Guatemala or Mexico, a temporary importation permit must be secured at the point of entry.
Permits are valid for one month but can be extended by applying to the Customs Department. To get a permit, present the following at the point of entry:

– Travel documents and identification
– Proof of ownership (vehicle registration)
– Proof of insurance – available from any of the companies at the borders
– Rental documents (for vehicles rented in Mexico or Guatemala)

Bus travel to Belize from the US border cities via Cancun, Mexico City and Chetumal is comfortable, relatively fast, and inexpensive. All-weather highways connect Mexican cities with the border city of Chetumal. From there, regularly-scheduled Belize buses make runs to Belize City with stops in the Northern towns of Corozal and Orange Walk.

Safe and regular bus connections from Guatemala City are another reasonable and exciting way to get to Belize. This option holds special appeal for travelers who want to tour the Peten Region before entering Belize via the Western border, near Benque Viejo del Carmen Town. From there, buses run to San Ignacio, the capital city of Belmopan, and Belize City. From these points, travelers can connect to buses traveling to almost any destination in the country.

By sea, the maritime ports of entry are Belize City, Corozal, Dangriga, Big Creek, San Pedro, and Punta Gorda. You are required to report your entry to the police or immigration authorities as soon as possible after entering Belizean territory. Personal water crafts coming to Belize should reference the sailing page for additional information about arriving by boat.