The small tropical paradise of Belize surprises with ancient Mayan ruins in the thick jungle of its hinterland, a former capital and cultural center on the Caribbean peninsula, and colorful marine life for top snorkeling and scuba diving experiences.
Mayan history, a multicultural population that influenced Belize's cuisine, dance, and music, and perfect postcard cover island paradises are a just few reasons why the little country often exceeds travelers' expectations.
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🇧🇿 Entry requirements for Belize
- Valid visa: Apply for the visa before traveling.
- Covid-19: Proof of vaccination or negative Covid-19 test result is no longer required.
- Travel health Insurance: Effective July 2022 Travel health insurance is no longer mandatory but still advised by Belize Tourism Board.
✈️ How to get to Belize
- Plane: Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) is the largest airport in Belize. The majority of direct flights are coming from the USA, Canada, and neighboring countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, and Nicaragua. Currently, there are no non-stop flights from Europe to Belize. The shortest flight option is from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) with a brief stop in Miami.
🚌 Public transport
- Taxi: You can recognize licensed taxis by their green number plate but don't expect a meter. The fee within a town should be between 8 to 10 BZD (Belize Dollar), so 4-5 Euro. If you take longer rides, make sure to agree on the price beforehand.
- Shuttle bus: A more efficient way to travel around Belize is by taking a shuttle bus, which takes you reliably from A to B.
- Water taxis: From Belize City, you can take water taxis to go to the island of Caye Caulker or San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. The water taxis from Belize City to Caye Caulker take about 45 minutes and tickets should be around 20 BZD (10 Euro) per person. Belize City to Caye San Pedro takes about 1.5 hours and costs about (15 Euro).
- Golf cart taxis: Don't be afraid to use golf cart taxis on the islands.
- Bicycle: Cycling is a great way to visit ruins and explore the countryside. Especially San Ignacio and Placencia are great places for leisure cyclists.
🏡 How to find a place
- Hotels: Belize provides a pretty affordable range of hotels and you can get decent accommodation for 20 Euro per night.
- Airbnb: Yeah, it has to be part of the list. So check it out if you find better deals on Airbnb, maybe cool apartments or affordable studios.
🏘 Where to stay in Belize City
- Fort George: The Fort George neighborhood at the eastern tip of the city is one of the most upscale and picturesque areas of Belize. Some of the city's best hotels are located here as there is a beautiful seaside promenade, good choices of restaurants, and a small Memorial Park.
- Barracks Road: If you want to avoid the bustle of downtown, Barracks Road could be your option. It runs along the Caribbean Sea with middle-class homes, seaside settings, parks, and good Restaurants.
🧑🏻💻 Where to work from in Belize City
- Le Petit Cafe: Located in the Fort George area, the cafe offers delightful coffee and pastry options. Working online with their Wifi-connection works in the indoor and outdoor areas.
🏘 Where to stay in San Pedro
- San Pedro: As Ambergris Caye is such a small Caribbean island there are no special districts or neighborhoods. However, living in San Pedro means that you can walk pretty much everywhere you want to go. The cost of renting a studio or one-bedroom apartment close to the beach starts at 1,000 Euro per month.
🧑🏻💻 Where to work from in San Pedro
- Lavish Habit Café: This charming café serves great coffee, tasty paninis or waffles with high-speed internet and comfortable seating. Vegan and gluten-free options are also available.
- Rum+Beam: The little coffee shop serves multiple different types of caffeine to get you through that early morning, tasty pastries, and free high-speed internet.
- Cool Beans Café: This spot is a go-to address for coffee lovers. Located on a pier you can enjoy working while enjoying the Caribbean Sea vibe.
🚊 How to travel around
- Local bus: The cheapest option to travel around Belize is by taking the local bus. The bus network connects nearly every town and the longest trip in Belize is between Belize City to Punta Corda and takes 6-7 hours. The bus from Belize City to Orange Walk takes 1.5 hours, and Belize City to Placencia is about 5 hours. Bus tickets are between 2 and 20 BZD (Belize Dollar), meaning between 1 and 9 Euro. You can spot the bus by its yellow color, as you will ride in one of the old American school buses. Local buses operate from Monday to Saturday only.
- Plane: Belize has two domestic airlines, Maya Island Air and Tropic Air which operate between Caye Caulker, Placencia, Corozal, and Ambergris Caye. Domestic air travel is not on cheap site though, a round trip from the mainland to the islands costs most likely between 100 and 200 Euro.
- Belize City: It is most likely that you will either arrive or depart in/from Belize City, the largest city in the country and the main transportation hub for international travelers. The former capital is still the best place to see modern Belize and enjoy architecture, nightlife, culture, and food. The city is the best-connected place in the country. From here, you can take water taxis to islands, take busses to the inland's Mayan ruins or hop on cross-country busses to Mexico.
- Altun Ha: Just an hour's drive from Belize City is the ancient Mayan ruin of Altun Ha which were undiscovered and hidden by jungle until 1964. You can see the pyramids rising through the forest.
- Caye Caulker: This is the diver's paradise as it is only 2 km from Belize's Barrier Reef. Snorkelers, sun-worshipers, beach lovers, and hammock addicts will be very satisfied on this little island. It is the perfect backpacker and diver's island, as it comes with lots of hostels and budget places.
- Ambergris Caye: The main village of Ambergris island is San Pedro, a laidback and relaxed little town with stunning views, a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene, and some really cute cafés. The southern tip of the island is the beautiful Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which is a fun day trip from San Pedro. The reserve has mangroves, seagrass beds, the shark-ray alley, and the reef.
- Tobacco Caye: This palm-fringed five-acre islet is part of the South Water Caye Marine Reserve and is an exotic gateway for everyone who is seeking alone time, silence, and hammock time. Me-time. It is like a Caribbean Silence Retreat for newbies. There is no stable internet connection on this islet, also no public phone service nor landlines, nor TVs.
- San Ignacio: Located on the mainland, San Ignacio is a good place for outdoor sports like hiking and mountain biking. But the area is most famous for its ancient Mayan ruins - a must-visit.
- Placencia: This little coastal town located on a peninsula was once home to Mayan salt traders and is today a famous spot for diving or explorations in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary: Established in 1984, the wildlife sanctuary is the world's only jaguar sanctuary, dedicated to providing a safe home to these majestic wild cats. But before I get you too excited, if you choose to visit Cockscomb, you will see colorful birds, a lush jungle with mature trees, and all the little creatures that come along with the forest. But you will not see jaguars, as their very existence is about seeing and not being seen.
💡 Good to know
- Internet: The average internet speed for fixed broadband is about 41 Mbps download and 28 Mbps upload.
- Sim cards: Get a DigiCell sim card for around 20 BZD which gives you the best coverage within the country.
- Socket Type: Type A, B, G.
- Currency: The Belize dollar is the official currency of Belize. 1 Euro equals 2,18 BZ$ and 1 BZ$ is 0,46 Euro.
- Climate: Belize has a sub-tropical climate with a dry season between February to May and a wet season between June and November. The average temperature in the coldest month of December is 21 degrees Celsius and 29 degrees Celsius in the month of July. From July to November, Belize can experience typhoons (hurricanes). In 2000 a typhoon devasted Belize and its infrastructure and tens of thousands of people were displaced.
- Safety: Belize is fairly safe, but there are certain areas you should avoid, especially some parts of Belize City which are ruled by gangs that cause violence and rising crime rates. Most tourist areas are along the coast, and border areas, especially Guatemala should be avoided.
- Digital nomad all-inclusive: The Noma Collective offers monthly stays at the Umaya Resort. An alternative for those looking to meet new people in an instagramable location and not afraid to spend money.
- English: The level of English is pretty high in Belize, as every second person speaks at least a minimum level that will help you to get the basic information.
- Did you know? Although we mentioned Belize City a few times already, did you know that Belize City is not the capital of Belize? In the 1970s, a big flood destroyed the former capital city (Belize City), and the government moved the capital to Belmopan.
- Cuisine: Belizean dishes are named Boil Up, Black Dinner, and Fry Jack. For more national dishes in Belize, check out this handy article
🚧 What to avoid
- Crime: Parts of Belize City are ruled by gangs and cartells that cause violence and rising crime rates. Also, border areas, especially to Guatemala should be avoided.
- Sitting under a palm tree: We admit, this sounds a bit random, but did you know that people die from falling coconuts? Always check what's hanging in the trees.
- Depending on credit cards: Depending on where you go, paying with credit card can get harder, especially on the islands and in remote areas. Cash is king. Talking about cash, Belize accepts USD, so you don't need to exchange all your dollar notes.
🚴🏻♀️ How to stay healthy
- Watersports: Besides snorkeling and diving in the beautiful Belize Reef, or at one of the many tropical islands, Belize has great kayaking spots too.
- Hiking: The 4 km long Tiger Fern Trail brings you uphill to a 279 elevation and a waterfall. Another intermediate hike of 4 km is the Ben's Bluff Trail, or if you feel adventurous, try out the Victoria Peak multi-day cave adventure trek.
- Walking: Including walks into your daily life, e.g. 1-hour beach walk, a 1-hour evening stroll through your neighborhood in Belize City, a 1-hour morning walk to listen to your favorite audiobook, podcast, or the news is another easy way to integrate fitness into your life in Belize.
- Water Quality: You should not drink tap water in Belize.
- Air Quality: The air quality in Belize is good.
Where to travel next? Destinations close to Belize.