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Travel Tips to Belize, Central America

8 July 2009 No Comment

VISAS
All travelers entering the country must have a valid passport (valid for up to six months after visit) and a proof of return to their country. No visas are required for citizens of the United States, United Kingdom and the majority of Caribbean Islands. Visitors from other countries must check for information about obtaining a visa. Belize allows visitors a maximum of one-month stay in the country before they require an extension.

DEPARTURE TAXES & FEES

Departure taxes that were once collected at the Philip Goldson International Airport are now included in the cost of the airline tickets. Please confirm with your airline that the fee is included at the time you purchase the ticket.

Departing the country through land borders requires payment of the land border exit fee of US$18.75 per person.

A portion of the departure tax goes toward the protection and preservation of the environment. Due to the country’s effort to effectively manage their abundant protected areas, visitors are asked to pay a conservation exit fee at any of the exit or entry points. The proceeds from this fee goes to the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT), which is then distributed and used to sustain the protected areas in Belize.

There is a standard 9% hotel tax that is added to your hotel bill (7% until April 1, 2005). In some of the more exclusive resorts and hotels, a service charge of about 10% is charged to your hotel bills (restaurant, bar and room), while in other locations, tipping is optional. A 9% sales tax is also attached to most goods and services in the country.

HEALTH INFORMATION

Belize considers public health a high priority. Most visitors leave the country as healthy and probably happier than they arrived. Belize has public hospitals in every major town and a host of private doctors countrywide. Though not endemic to Belize, visitors who are coming from well-known ‘high-risk’ areas (parts of South America and Africa) are required to get the Yellow Fever vaccination before entering the country. Visitors may at their discretion take precaution by receiving medication before leaving for their trip.

A small case of diarrhea is probably the worst-case scenario, and is not particularly exclusive to Belize. Most visitors are prone to diarrhea when exposed to a completely different environment than they are used to, with different types of food, drinks, ingredients and bacteria. Most tap water in major towns and villages are safe to drink and there is bottled water available countrywide, if visitors desire. To be on the safe side, you may want to get advice from your doctor or local health clinic before embarking on your journey to Belize.

For most visitors the temperature in Belize will be much warmer than they are accustomed to. The risk of suffering from dehydration and heat strokes are likely if visitors are not careful. Drinking lots of water and wearing the proper attire like light cool clothing, a hat/cap and sunscreen is highly recommended until the body adjusts to the temperatures.

CURRENCY
The Belizean dollar is the standard currency but almost all places accept U.S. dollars.   The exchange rate is BZ$2.00 to US$1.00 and can be done in banks, ‘casas de cambio’, hotels and most businesses. Most weekday banking hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m and few open from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturdays.

2009 National Holidays 

Source: Government of Belize Website


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