Places in Belize
Nature is one of Belize's main attractions
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Nature is one of Belize's main attractions

© CTO – Demian Solano, Belize Tourist Board

Belize Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

22,965 sq km (8,867 sq miles).

Population

366,942 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

14.8 per sq km.

Capital

Belmopan.

Government

Parliamentary democracy and member of the Commonwealth.

Head of state

HM Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, represented locally by Governor-General Froyla Tzalam since 2021.

Head of government

Prime Minister Johnny Briceño since 2020.

Electricity

110 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style plugs with two flat pins are standard; sockets don't usually have holes for a third grounding pin however, so you may need an adaptor if your plug has a third pin.

Sandwiched between Mexico, Guatemala and the shimmering Caribbean Sea, Belize occupies a slice of paradise that is packed with culture, wildlife and a wondrous selection of historical sites. Much of the mainland remains swathed in jungle, where the vestiges of ancient cities punctuate verdant forest canopies. Caracol is the most famous. Its crumbling temples and stone pyramids stand as powerful reminders of the Maya civilisation.

The history is fascinating for sure, but most people visit Belize to see its natural wonders and admirable conservation work; the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary was the first jaguar sanctuary in the world; the island of Half Moon Caye has been entirely dedicated to the conservation of birds; and the protected Belize Barrier Reef harbours an incredible array of marine life. Visitors can swim with sharks and stingrays along colourful walls of coral, or explore the Blue Hole, renowned as one of the world’s best dive sites.

Numbering fewer than 335,000, Belizeans have surprisingly diverse roots: the country is a melting pot of Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, Spanish, Maya, English, Mennonite, Lebanese, Chinese and East Indian heritage. Racial harmony, religious tolerance and a relatively peaceful political culture, have allowed these different elements to blend successfully and have given Belize a reputation as a friendly, laidback destination.

Belize’s towns and cities are small and, on the whole, pleasantly unexciting. San Ignacio is a charming enough stop-off for those disappearing into the jungle and Punta Gorda offers insightful home stays with some of the country’s last remaining indigenous communities. The somewhat bland capital, Belmopan, however, is hardly worth going out your way for and bustling Belize City, though energetic and ruggedly charming, is used largely as a gateway to the islands.

And what exquisite islands they are. Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye, Cayo Espanto (to name a few) are everything you expect from the Caribbean and more; swaying palms, pellucid waters, sandy shores, ramshackle beach bars and charming restaurants. All that’s missing are the crowds. Go figure.

Travel Advice

If you are not a tourist, you can request, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to depart via the northern border into Mexico for essential travel only. To request permission, you need to email director@ins.gov.bz copied to protocolbelize@mfa.gov.bz. You must:

  • Put in the subject field “Requesting Permission to Exit Northern Border – SURNAME”.
  • Attach a copy of the passport bio-data page of all persons requesting to travel.

Future travel options

The UK government is working closely with airlines, the Belize authorities and other governments to make sure that when options are available for you to return to the UK you are made aware as soon as possible.

This travel advice will be updated when departure options become available. Sign up for travel advice email alerts and follow the British High Commission on Facebook.

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Belize on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

Commercial flights to and from Belize remain limited. Check with your travel company for the latest information. See Return to the UK

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Belize.

Returning to the UK

Travelling from and returning to the UK

Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting. If you will pass through a red list country, book your hotel quarantine package before travelling to the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities. See Healthcare in Belize for further information.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes that may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Belize

Regulations remain in force to prevent, control, contain and suppress the spread of coronavirus. The Government of Belize has announced a nationwide curfew to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until further notice. The curfew is active from Sunday to Thursday 10pm to 4am the following morning and from Friday to Saturday 11pm to 4am the following morning for adults and 6pm to 4am for minors every day.

Regular updates are made to the Statutory Instruments that set out the COVID regulations. Updates to these regulations can be found on the requirements in Belize can be found on the Government of Belize website.

The Belize authorities will be strictly enforcing the statutory instrument measures, including for:

  • Not social distancing
  • Not wearing of masks
  • Public transport, public services and commercial companies being held accountable for customers who do not adhere to the law in their establishments.
  • Entering Belize illegally
  • Caught with contraband goods from those who entered Belize illegally.
  • Bribing any member of the security forces
  • Members of the security forces extorting money from individuals

If you violate these measures, you will be returned to your port of entry at your own expense. If you cannot be returned immediately, you will be placed into mandatory quarantine at a government-designated facility, which may be at your own expense.

Tourism

Belize land and sea borders have reopened to foreign tourists who wish to visit Belize for recreation and vacation purposes only. A Tourism Gold Standard program has been specifically developed for hotels, restaurants, tour operators and other relevant businesses to enhance their health and safety standards.

Before travelling, you must book an approved Gold Standard accommodation for a minimum of 3 nights’ stay and present confirmation on arrival.

Tourists can move around freely in Belize but are highly encouraged to remain within the safety corridor and use Gold Standard restaurants, tour sights, gift shops and certified transportation.

If you develop Covid-like symptoms during your stay, you should immediately notify your hotel’s front desk and they will implement their Covid Response Plan. If you test positive, you will be required to enter mandatory quarantine for a minimum of 14 days, at your own expense. Hotels and resorts offer special rates to facilitate guests who must quarantine.

Further information can is available from the Belize Tourism Board, Travel Belize or Belize Port Authority.

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Belize. You may need to quarantine, subject to testing, at your own expense.

All tourists must comply with the current Statutory Instrument. See Travel in Belize.

Public spaces and services

The wearing of face masks and social distancing is mandatory at all times. Public transport is running with 75% seated capacity. Public services have also resumed and commercial businesses are open. This includes shops, hotels, and restaurants. Protocols have been put in place to adhere to social distancing and hand sanitising on entry. Please follow the guidance at each location.

Healthcare in Belize

If you are showing COVID-19 symptoms (cough, cold, fever, sneezing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, body aches and pains) you must call one of the following numbers before going into a health care facility:

  • COVID-19 Hotline: 0800 MOH CARE / 0800 664 2273.
  • COVID-19 Emergency: + 501 613 0787

By District:

  • Corozal: +501 625 6667 / +501 660 1115
  • Orange Walk: +501 614 8091 / +501 677 2839
  • Belize City: +501 615 7973 / +501 223 2722
  • Belmopan: +501 634 2870 /+501 600 2544
  • San Ignacio: +501 600 7506 / +501 621 6687
  • Stann Creek: +501 607 0133 / +501 634 8648
  • Independence: +501 624 0839 / +501 600 8167
  • Toledo: +501 614 1417 / +501 624 7619

For further information health care services in Belize, visit Belize: medical facilities.

Belize’s Ministry of Health and Wellness has partnered with private health facilities to expand testing capabilities across the country. See the Travel Belize website for a current list of approved COVID-19 testing facilities.

See Health for further details on healthcare in Belize.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Belize

We will update this page when the Government of Belize announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Belize national vaccination programme started in March 2021 and is using the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Government of Belize has stated that British nationals resident in Belize are eligible for vaccination. You can now register for your Covid-19 vaccination appointment online, by calling COVID-19 Hotline: 0800 MOH CARE / 0800 664 2273 or the local registration numbers at the district level for more information. Further information on the vaccination programme is also available on the Government of Belize Ministry of Health and Wellness website or follow the instructions in the tutorial video.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Belize, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

The British High Commission in Belmopan remains open and operational but staff are working remotely to comply with local Ministry of Health guidelines. We are committed to supporting British Nationals in Belize for the necessary consular services during this time.

Crime

Belize has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world. There have been increased incidents of violent crime (armed robberies, home incursions, murders) against long-term expatriate residents; and physical assaults, including rape, of tourists. Armed criminal gangs have also been known to operate in the past in the densely forested areas of Belize, particularly around the border area with Guatemala, close to tourist sites. These incidents are uncommon and the areas are patrolled by the Belize Defence Force.

The majority of muggings occur in Belize City but are common in all districts, including tourist destinations such as San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia and San Ignacio. Avoid dark alleys, do not hitchhike or accept lifts from strangers, keep valuables out of sight and be aware that wearing expensive jewellery could attract unwanted attention. If possible, travel in groups and use a qualified guide for trips off the beaten track.

Incidents of serious gang-related violence do occur in Belize City, most commonly in the area to the south of the Haulover Creek (known as Southside). Effective 18 August, a state of Emergency has been declared for the Southside for a period of one month. While tourists are not normally the targets of gang violence, anyone in the vicinity of an incident could be affected. You should exercise particular caution and remain vigilant of your surroundings if in and around these areas, especially at night.

You should immediately report all incidents of crime, including assault, robbery and theft to the police, who will take a statement and investigate the matter. This may take several weeks. You can pay a fee at any point during the process to receive a copy of the report when it is completed.

Local travel

There have been a number of injuries and fatalities resulting from adventure sports activities including snorkelling and diving. Severe weather and inadequate safety precautions are the main causes. Check local weather forecasts and only use registered and licensed operators.

Take particular care in the Belize/Guatemala border area because of the ongoing dispute between the two countries. Only use officially recognised border crossings.

You can find more information on local travel on the Belize Tourism Board’s website.

Road travel

You can drive using your UK Driving Licence or an International Driving Permit for up to 3 months. For longer stays, you’ll need to get a Belize driving permit from the Department of Traffic in the district you’re in.

Road accidents are common and local driving standards are poor. Take great care when driving, particularly during rainy conditions when roads can become slippery. In southern parts of the country, particularly in Stann Creek and Toledo, temporary bridges and causeways in low-lying areas may flood during severe weather.

Political situation

Political demonstrations can occur in Belize City and Belmopan, often at short notice. Most are peaceful, although some have resulted in civil disorder.

Follow local media and avoid large gatherings of people or demonstrations.

Do not become involved with drugs of any kind: possession is considered a serious crime in Belize and can lead to a fine and/or imprisonment.

A Supreme Court ruling in 2016 decriminalised homosexual activity between consenting adults, however being open about being LGBT is generally considered to be socially unacceptable. There are no openly gay bars or clubs. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

You are not required to carry identification whilst in Belize, but it can be useful to carry a picture ID.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Belize, attacks can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Belize set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Belize

All travellers (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) entering Belize through the Philip Goldson International airport, or by sea, will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test.

Travellers arriving by land must undertake a COVID-19 test at the border. This will be administered by the Ministry of Health and Wellness at the traveller’s expense. External COVID-19 test results will not be accepted.

Land and sea borders (Santa Elena, Benque Viejo Del Carmen, San Pedro and Punta Gorda) are open for foreign tourists who wish to visit Belize for recreation and vacation purposes only, with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

On 18 March, the Government of Mexico partially closed its land borders with Belize, the United States and Guatemala as a preventive measure against COVID-19. This measure applies to non-essential travel across land borders. International air travel is not affected. If you were planning to enter Mexico by land from Belize, you can contact the Mexican Embassy in Belize for more information on the current restrictions.

There are no direct flights between the UK and Belize. The regulations of countries that you may pass through and / or UK requirements on travel from transit countries may affect your travel. For more information see FCDO Travel Advice on the countries through which you may travel or transit.

If you wish to travel to Belize, prior to arrival:

  • Anyone aged 5 years or older (vaccinated or unvaccinated) must present a negative PCR test within 96 hours prior to travel or Rapid Antigen, Sofia, SD Blosensor, and ABBOTT (Panbio) COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to arrival by air or sea
  • If you are unable to take a test prior to travel, you must take a test on arrival at your own expense for US$50 per passenger
  • If entering by land border, external PCR or Rapid tests will not be accepted. A Rapid Test will be administered by the Ministry of Health at your own expense.
    If entering by sea, you must give 72-hour notice of arrival and use a Shipping Agent specially licensed to enter non-commercial vessels. There is a set tariff of no more than US$150.00
  • If you receive a positive test result, you will be required to undertake a mandatory quarantine for a minimum of 14 days at an approved quarantine hotel at your own expense.

If you receive a positive test result, you will be required to undertake mandatory quarantine for a minimum of 14 days at an approved quarantine hotel at your own expense. The Ministry of Health will monitor each case. A negative test is required as proof of recovery.

Protocols and procedures are subject to change at short notice. Further information is available from the Belize Tourism Board, Travel Belize or Belize Port Authority.

Everyone must comply with the current Statutory Instrument. See Travel in Belize

Demonstrating your COVID-19 status

Belize has not yet confirmed that it will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record. You should follow the entry rules for unvaccinated people. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

British nationals do not need a visa to enter Belize. On arrival, you’ll be allowed to enter for a limited period. Any extension to remain in the country will incur a fee of BZD$200 for each month’s extension.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Belize.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Belize.

Travelling with children

Single parents or adults travelling with children under the age of 18 are required to provide notarised documentary evidence of parental responsibility, or consent to travel from those with parental responsibility. Such documentation is often required before being allowed to enter Belize and, in some cases, before permitting children to leave the country.

Departure tax

When leaving by air the departure tax is BZD$111 or US$50, though it’s often included in the air fare. Make sure you have enough cash with you, as it isn’t always possible to pay by card.

When leaving by land the departure tax is BZD$40 or US$20, which must be paid in cash.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Belize on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Belize.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist are available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Medical treatment

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Medical facilities in Belize are limited and availability of prescription medicine inconsistent. For a full list of health care providers and services, visit Belize: medical facilities. Serious medical cases are normally evacuated to the United States (at the patient’s expense) – this could take longer than usual with COVID-19 protocols in place. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Other health risks

UK health authorities have classified Belize as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Cases of Chikungunya virus
have been confirmed in Belize and the number of reported cases in the region is increasing. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Hurricanes

The hurricane season in Belize normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation and the National Hurricane Centre. For advice on what to do if you are caught up in a hurricane or tropical storm, see our tropical cyclones page.

Earthquakes

Belize does not suffer from earthquakes, but tremors from earthquakes in neighbouring countries can occasionally be felt in Belize. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, see this advice from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.

ATMs are widely available in larger towns and they generally accept UK cards – but sometimes can be temperamental, so allow time for the unforeseeable. The local currency is Belize dollars. However, US dollars are also accepted as currency.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.