Geographically this country is small in size (8,866
square miles), but, it's gigantic in attractions and
diversity. The mainland and coastal cayes are remarkable
wonders. The topography changes rapidly as do compass
points. Travelers see estuaries, rivers, jungle, mountains,
coral reefs, expansive underground caves, glorious waterfalls
and an incredible collection of wildlife.
Every year more and more visitors are discovering Belize.
Most come to dive, fish, enjoy the wildlife and explore
ancient ruins. Some come to relax, some for the education,
and many for the diving.
The busier time of the year for travelers to Belize
is November to May, which are the winter months of the
Northern Hemisphere. Still, many visitors prefer the
more quiet days of the summer months from June to October
for their vacation in Belize. 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 adventure you crave.
International flights to Belize go through Charlotte,
Dallas, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles and Montego Bay,
Jamaica. Flights arrive in Belize City, then if you
are heading to the offshore cays and atolls, you will
travel from here either by boat or small private charter
plane, depending on location.
Airlines servicing Belize are:
(Saturday Service Only)
With the exception of cruise ship passengers, all visitors
to Belize must present a valid passport before entering
the country. Passports must be valid up until time of
departure. In cases where a visitor remains in the country
for over 30 days, an extension of entry must be requested.
Extensions are available for an additional fee
United States and Canadian citizens, nationals of Caricom
countries and of the European Community member nations
(Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands,
Denmark, Ireland, UK, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria,
Finland, Sweden), Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway
and Venezuela do not require visas.
Entry visas should be obtained outside of Belize. For
the nearest place to obtain a visa please visit: Belize
Consuls and Embassies.
Visas are required for nationals of the following
countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina,
Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Central African
Republic, Chad, China, Columbia, Cuba, El Salvador,
Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, India, Japan, Korea (North
and South), Libya, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Nicaragua,
Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, Taiwan,
Thailand, Ukraine, and Zaire.
If you are short on time or would like to forego the
scenic highways, flying is safe, fast and efficient
The least expensive way to get around Belize on a day
to day basis is by bus. Buses run regular schedules
and by other Central American standards, Belizean buses
are clean, roomy and efficient.
No reservations are required though often recommended
as some bus routes fill up quickly and completely.
Taxis are available in towns and resort areas, and they
are easily recognized by their green license plates.
Unless specific arrangements are made prior to your
arrival at Belize International Airport (P.S.W. Goldson),
taxis are available at the entrance to the main terminal.
Although there are no meters on the taxis, the drivers
do charge somewhat standard fares, but it is always
important to understand what your fare will be, prior
to hiring a taxi.
You won't find telephones on every corner of the open
road in Belize. If you plan to rent a car and discover
Belize at your own pace, its smart to pack your cellular
phone or arrange for one through Belize Telecommunications
Ltd. when you arrive. Also, some rent-a-car companies
now offer cellular phones. It might spare you a headache
in the event of a breakdown.
What to Wear
If you are visiting the Cayes and/or the Barrier Reef,
bring your shorts, T-shirts, and bathing suits, as well
as some comfortable tennis shoes or deck shoes. As the
sun is probably more intense than what you are used
to at home, bring a cap to protect your head from the
tropical sun when you are boating and/or fishing and
use sunscreen protection.
Loose fitting, light colored cotton pants and camping
shirts, along with a comfortable pair of hiking shoes
or boots are appropriate for exploring the Mainland
or trekking through the rain forest. When visiting the
Maya Ruins or traipsing through the jungle, a hat with
a wide brim will provide shade from the tropical sun,
as well as provide protection from a tropical shower.
Ambergris Caye, the largest of about 1000 cayes (islands)
located in the northern most waters of Belize, Central
America. This narrow strip of paradise surrounded by
the azure Caribbean, is approximately 25 miles long
and was once a part of the Yucatan Peninsula. Get there
by small plane or water taxi.
Caye Caulker is located 12 miles from the mainland.
It is only 5 miles long and seperated into 2 parts.
The main village is on the southern portion. Get there
by small plane or water taxi.
Banks: Monday - Thursday 8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. Friday
8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.
Commerce & Industry: Monday - Friday 8:00 A.M. to
12:00P.M. 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. Some businesses are
open on Saturdays
Although most of the electricity is provided by Diesel/Generator
Sets, the power is stable at 110 Volts A.C., which is
the same voltage as in the United States.
There is a well staffed hospital and several private
doctors in Belize City. Also the District Towns and
larger Villages have hospitals or clinics.
Potable water is available in most areas of Belize,
but it is advisable to ask, and if in doubt, to drink
boiled or bottled water.
There are no serious epidemic diseases in Belize. No
inoculations are required for entry, but anti-malaria
tablets are recommended for extended stays in the jungle.
Everyone in Belize speaks English.
Tip if you find the service good. Tipping can range
Belize Telecommunications Limited provides telephone
communication between Belize and the United States and
Canada. Direct dial service is available.
Time observed year round is GMT-6, which is the same
as United States Central Standard Time. Daylight Savings
Time is not observed in Belize
The climate is subtropical, with a brisk prevailing
wind from the Caribbean Sea. The country has an annual
mean temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity
is nicely tempered by the Sea breezes.
Variation in weather features, emphasizes the interesting
difference in elevation, geology, plant and animal life.
A summer high temperature, usually never exceeds 96
degrees Fahrenheit, and winter lows are seldom below
60 degrees Fahrenheit, even at night.
Saltwater temperature varies between 75 degrees Fahrenheit
and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
Annual rainfall ranges from 50 inches in the North to
170 inches in the South. Although the rainy season is
usually between June and August and the dry season is
between February and May, global weather changes are
making historical predictions somewhat invalid. At the
end of October, the weather does become cooler, and
from November to February, it is pleasant with showers
of rain. Average humidity is 85 percent.
Indeed, Belize's barrier reef has been named one of
the Seven Underwater Wonders of the World. Water visibility
commonly reaches 100+ feet; water temperature hovers
around 80 degrees Fahrenheit; and the barrier reef makes
for calm water most of the year. SCUBA divers have three
major options when deciding how to experience the underwater
world of Belize.
Belize is a perfect place to indulge in the fabulous
sport of windsurfing. The Cayes have it all, flat water
created by the reef and the constant onshore/sideshore
wind provide an ideal location for the beginner to try
a first lesson or take a course. For the intermediate
it is fantastic for blasting and chop hopping. Runs
of 10 miles plus are possible on either tack; perfect
for practicing waterstarts and carve gybes.
Belize is a mecca for those interested in fishing. All
kinds of fishing - spin, fly, trolling - can be experienced
all year long, and the abundance of game fish guarantees
excellent sport. The estuaries, inlets and mouths to
the many rivers are known for their tarpon, snook and
jacks. The lagoons and flats are known for the bonefish,
permit and barracuda. The coral reefs support grouper,
snappper, jacks and barracuda while the deeper waters
off the drop off are home to sailfish, marlin, bonito
Because of Belize's small population and lack of industry,
much of Belize has remained virtually undisturbed. About
66% of the country is still forested. Birders in particular
will have the opportunity to observe hundreds of different
species of birds. It is not uncommon to view 50 in a
single outing. Belize has recorded over 500 species
of birds within its borders. Any of the national parks
make excellent locations to bird.
Belize is an ideal location for the formation of caves.
With abundant limestone and a wet climate, caves abound
in many places throughout Belize. Caving is a dangerous
sport, and it is adviseable to check with the locals
before exploring any caves on your own. Because of the
isolation of many caves, they have not been thoroughly
Though Belize is a relatively small country, with very
low-lying land, it receives plenty of rain during the
winter season, and supports 20 major river systems and
smaller streams. These many waterways are potential
outdoor adventures for the kayak and canoe lovers. This
is an excellent way to birdwatch and view wildlife along
the banks. You will also experience the flow of human
life in Belize as the rivers of the country are still
major gathering places for fishing, cleaning and transportation.
Belize shares a rich Maya heritage with neighboring
countries like Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras and is
considered to have been the heart of Maya civilization
during the classic period. Although Belize's Maya occupation
began as early as 1500 BC, during the classic period
of 250 AD to 900 AD the population is said to have exceeded
one million people. Archaeological remains of the ancient
Maya include pottery, skeletons, stellae and tall palaces
and temples with ceremonial centers.
Some popular Maya sites from north to south of Belize
- Corozal District: Cerros and Santa Rita
- Orange Walk: Lamanai, Nobmul and Cuello
- Belize District: Altun Ha
- Stann Creek District Mayflower
- Cayo District: Xunantunich, El Pilar, Cahal Pech,
Pacbitun and Caracol
- Toledo District: Nim Li Punit, Ukhenba and Lubaantun.
The Zoo is located 29 1/2 miles west of Belize City
on the Western Highway, and is open daily - except on
Good Friday and Christmas Day - from 9:30 A.M. to 4:00
P.M. The nominal admission fee of US$5.00 is used to
support the facility and all of the associated education
for more information.