For People Traveling To Belize
Most of Mexico follows Day Light Savings. However the Mexican State of Quintana Roo is no longer involved in this foolishness. As of February 1, 2015, Mexico has shifted the time zone of the State of Quintana Roo from Central time to Eastern Standard Time. This means that Quintana Roo, which includes Chetumal, Bacalar, Mahaual, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, etc. is now permanently 1 hour ahead of Belize, which has never recognized Daylight Savings Time. (The Mx State of Sonora also does not observed DST because of its important economic ties with the US State of Arizona which never has observed DST.)
Quintana Roo (Chetumal) Mexico
While the use of credit cards is becoming more prevalent, most business in Belize still will accept only cash. Personal checks are accepted by many businesses, but don't count on it. Always expect to pay cash, USA or Belize dollars. Other currencies, including Canadian Dollars, EUROS, British Pounds and Mexican Pesos, are not generally accepted.
USA and Belize dollars trade on fixed $2BZ to $1US here in Belize and usually at the Mexican or Guatemalan borders. If you try to exchange you BZ dollars elsewhere you will be very disappointed. When you pay with USA dollars you will receive any change in Belize dollars. Some shops in Chetumal will accept Belize Dollars, but not many.
Avoid Credit Card Problems
Before leaving your home country, be sure to notify you credit card company that you will be traveling to Belize. A lot of card companies will decline your credit card when it is used outside your normal shopping area. Not only is this a little embarrassing, but it can add $20-$30 dollars to your bill to call your bank or credit card company since most toll free numbers are not toll free from outside the USA or Canada.
With the exception of cruise ship passengers, all visitors to Belize must present a valid passport before entering the country. Please note that driver's licenses and birth certificates are not approved travel documents and cannot be used to enter Belize. Passports for all nationals must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay.
All USA Citizens are now required to have passports for any foreign travel.
In cases where a visitor remains in Belize for over 30 days, an vias extension must be obtained. Extensions are available from any immigration office at a cost of BZ$50 per person during the first 6 months of your visit and BZ$100/month thereafter. At this time it is not possible to obtain a visitor's visa or extension thereof for greater then 30 days, so if you are staying, plan on a visit to Immigration once a month. Don't forget! There is a substantial fine for overstaying your visa, and Immigration will fine you.
Nationals of the following countries DO NOT require visas to enter Belize:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- United States
- CARICOM member states
- European Community countries
Nationals of other countries require a visa prior to traveling to Belize.
For Inquiries or questions, Please Contact:
Belize Immigration and Nationality Department
Belmopan, Cayo District
Belize, Central America
Or Write to:
The Belize Embassy
2535 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20008
Telephone: (202) 332-9536
Fax: (202) 332-6741
Can I bring my pet with me?
The importing of a pet into Belize is regulated by the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA).
Domestic pets will be allowed to enter the country provided that owners present the following:
* valid import permit
* international veterinary certificate (completed not more than 7 days from arrival in Belize)
* valid rabies vaccination certificate
* inspection by quarantine officer (done at the port of entry)
* US $30 entry fee + US $12.50 fax fee
To apply for an import permit call the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) 011-501-822-0197 or 011-501-822-0818. The very nice and professional lady there will take your information, including date of arrival and port of entry. The permit will be faxed to the appropriate quarantine officer.
Note: this is not the official procedure, but it works and is the easiest way to arrange to bring you pet.
Public and Bank Holidays:
- January 1 - - - - - - - - New Years Day
- March 9 - - - - - - - - - Baron Bliss Day
- Varies - - - - - - - - Good Friday
- Varies - - - - - - - - Holy Saturday
- Varies - - - - - - - - Easter Monday
- May 1 - - - - - - - - - - Labor Day
- May 24 - - - - - - - - - Commonwealth Day
- September 10 - - - - - St. George's Caye Day (National Day)
- September 21 - - - - - Independence Day
- October 12 - - - - - - - Columbus Day
- November 19 - - - - - Garifuna Settlement Day
- December 25 - - - - - Christmas Day
- December 26 - - - - - Boxing Day
Sun and Sunscreen:
Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen. Even if you think you have a good 'Northern Tan'. The sun below latitude 20 is A LOT more intense then in the more northern climates. Plus, on the Cayes and beaches the sun reflects off the water becoming even more intense, and the cool ocean breezes will fool you. Don't ruin your vacation with a serious sunburn. SPF 30 or higher is needed for noses, ears and necks. Start with SPF 30 for the rest of the body, lowering to SPF 15 after a few days in our tropical sun.
Most places in the Tropics have a large mosquito population. Belize is no exception. Like most tropical locations, we also have an abundance of sand flees, known as "No-See-Ums". Be prepared, bring a good insect repellant, like Deep Woods Off.
If you use a taxi for any travel, be sure to negotiate your fare in advance. Some folks have been shocked by the fees charged for relatively short trips. Get the fare up front and avoid unpleasant surprises!
Notice about Belize Auto Insurance:
Insurance is required to drive in Belize. Most people opt for the "Road Act" insurance. It runs about Bz$380 per year. This is the least expensive but remember, it is 3rd party only. It doesn't cover you, your passengers or your vehicle. You also should be aware that there are a lot of Private Roads in Belize. For example, all the roads in Consejo Shores are private. Regular "Act" insurance will not cover you on any private roads. "3rd Party Private" coverage is only about Bz$40 per year more and is probably a good investment.