Belize is a vibrant and beautiful country with friendly people. Of course you want to visit. We understand. But there are some things you should know before you come.
Not all of Belize is the same. Northern Belize and southern Belize are very different. The inland jungle areas are not anything like the coastal beach areas. The first thing when planning a trip to Belize is to decide what part of the country you want to visit. If you are looking for nightclubs and shopping, go to Ambergris Caye. Want a little more laid back atmosphere but still want a Caribbean island vibe, Caye Caulker may be a good choice. Looking for massive pyramids and mostly paved roads, look into the Cayo (San Ignacio/Santa Elena area). Want a beach scene try Hopkins or Placencia. Interested in getting away from people and want to see authentic rain forest jungle and Mayan culture, the Toledo area is where you want to be.
The southernmost district in Belize is the Toledo district. Comprised mostly of small rural villages and one larger city-Punta Gorda (population 5,000) here you can really get away from everyone else. In Toledo we have waterfalls, reefs to snorkel, Mayan ruins, caves, chocolate farms and so much more. Just without the crowds! But be prepared to be remote. Cell phone coverage is very poor here. Most of our roads are gravel. It can rain a lot here during the summer/fall months. People are very friendly.
There are no Walmarts or Target super centers in all of Belize. Instead we have smaller stores run by local business owners. Sometimes you can find things you would find on the shelf in a major store in the US or Canada. Sometimes not. If you are worried you might need something (a particular organic bug spray or medication) bring it with you. If not, we can try to find something that will work here for you.
When you enter the country you will have to go through customs and immigrations. Please always remember that Belize is a developing country in Central America. Sometimes thing are really smooth and fast, and sometimes not smooth or fast. Expect to be in line waiting to get your passport stamped for up to an hour. Your luggage will likely be searched upon arrival. You might get asked questions such as "are you bringing anything into the country for someone already here?". Just say no, and realize the custom's officer is doing their job.
If you are going to come to Belize, or any other country it is best to know what you can and can't bring with you. As a tourist you will be visiting on a tourist visa (stamped in your passport when you go through the immigration booth at the airport). This visa allows you to bring items that are used for personal reasons while on vacation. If you can justify and explain how you personally will use the item in Belize you can probably bring it. If not, don't. You will pay a fine and a minimum of 40% duty on the item's value before you leave the airport. Jewelery for personal use, a snorkel set, some books, clothes, or even a flashlight is not a problem. A suitcase full of jewelry or makeup is going to be seen as you trying to sell something and you will be fined/taxed. A camera is fine. Hand tools are not. You are allowed to bring sealed small snacks with you. No fresh fruit. Also, be aware that Drones are illegal. If you bring a drone and they see it when your bag is searched, they will confiscate it and destroy it.
If you are traveling with children there is one other very important thing to know about entering Belize. You have to be traveling with both parents or have a signed and notarized letter from the parent not present stating that they have agreed to allow the child to travel with just one parent. If you try to enter Belize with your child and don't have this notarized letter or the other parent you will be denied entry. You can read more about the immigration laws here
Vacationing in Belize is awesome. But knowing a few basics will make things that much more awesome! If you have any questions please email us your questions. We are happy to help you plan a great vacation here in beautiful Belize. We hope you enjoy your time here!