The currency used throughout the country is the Belize dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are readily available.
The official language of Belize is English. There are eight regional languages spoken throughout the country. Spanish is also common.
Best time to go
Late November to mid-April is the best time to visit Belize. Although it is warm year-round, this is the country’s dry season.
Belize has a subtropical climate, with stable temperatures throughout the year averaging 26C (79F) and high humidity. The hottest time of year is from May to September, with December to May being only about 4C cooler. The wet season goes from mid-June to November, though it starts a little earlier in the country’s south. If visiting the uplands of Belize, including Mountain Pine Ridge and the Maya Mountains range, temperatures tend to fall by about 3C for every 304.8m (1,000ft) rise in altitude.
Belize is known as a beach and nature destination, with its turquoise waters and national parks being the main attraction. Relaxing on the beaches and exploring nature are a typical Belize combination, inviting retirees, nature and wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, self-discoverers, and educational travellers alike. Belize is also a great destination for adventure and thrill seekers with many outdoor activities such as snorkelling or diving.
Getting There From North America
Major Airports or ports of entry
Belize has one international airport, Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport located in Belize City. The Airport is located about 30 minutes by car from the center of Belize City.
Major Air Routes from the United States
In the United States, a variety of airlines have direct flights to Belize from
Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Denver, Orlando, and Houston. Seasonal flights also operate from Seattle, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago, New York City. Some of these routes are operated by low-cost airlines and may include restrictions, so check with your ticketing agent if you're unsure.
Major Air Routes from Canada
In Canada, both Westjet and Air Canada offer nonstop flights from Toronto, with Westjet offering nonstop service from Calgary. From the rest of Canada, travellers will have to connect via Toronto, Calgary or the United States.
Essential Sights in Belize
Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize and is the starting point to visit the Blue Hole. It is a well-known spot for water sports, diving, spectacular beaches, and snorkelling on the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
This low key fishing village is a popular destination. The Placencia Peninsula offers 16km of white sandy beaches alongside an emerald sea so calm it feels like being on a lake. Relax on the beach or enjoy water activities like kayaking, snorkelling and fishing. The main street offers a range of lovely shops, cafes and restaurants.
More than half of Belize is rainforest and many areas are protected by the government. Tourists can find plenty of accommodations in Ecolodges and participate in a variety of activities connected to wildlife and nature. Our best recommendation is the Cayo district, which includes the Mountain Pine Ridge, the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins and a number of caves that travellers can explore via cave tubing.
Other Highlights of Belize Off the Beaten Path
The famous Blue Hole is located near the center of the Lighthouse Reef, 100km from the mainland coast of Belize. It is a must for expert divers, supporting saw sharks, various species of fish, giant goliath groupers and nurse sharks among others. The Blue Hole is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Punta Gorda, located in the Toledo district, is in an unspoiled southern region of the rainforest that includes Mayan ruins, access to Rio Blanco National Park and an abundance of other outdoor activities. 160km from the city of Belize, it’s also a great escape from larger tourist areas, so you can relax and get to know a little of the locals.
Lamanai is a Mayan archaeological site located in the Orange Walk District. The main attractions here are the Temple of the Masks and the Temple of the Jaguar Masks. Once considered a major city of the Maya civilization, it is a definite treat for the history buff.
Top Activities and Experiences in Belize
Diving and Snorkeling
Home to one of the largest Barrier reefs in the Northern Hemisphere, Belize is known for its beautiful marine fauna. Travellers can enjoy spectacular sites such as the Belize Barrier Reef or the Blue Hole.
Because Belize has not developed industrially, it still has many natural sites to see more than 100 species of birds. You'll be astonished at what you can see in just a few days due to the preservation of Belize's ecosystems, making it a birdwatcher’s or nature lover’s dream.
Belize has a vast amount of limestone underneath its forest and mountains, including a large cave system with networks of sinkholes and caverns. Belize boasts spectacular caves where travellers can explore these jewels of nature and be in awe of their intricately shaped stalactites, stalagmites, crystal columns and veils. Altun Ha is one of the most popular excursions, combining beautiful natural formations with fascinating Mayan artefacts.
Essential Belizean Foods to Try
One of the most popular dishes in Belize, this dish has a number of subtle variations. It tastes sublime with its mix of spices, cooking tender chicken in a delicious sauce. The final dish is usually served with rice and potato salad or rice and beans.
Spectacular fish soup made with fresh seasonal fish, coconut milk, green bananas and okra, served with cassava bread and coconut white rice.
A traditional meal, consisting of fish cooked in coconut milk and served with mashed green bananas. It is cooked with different local variations.
Known to the outside world as empanadas, Panades are stuffed with fish, red or black beans and whatever else the cook adds to them, making each one unique and delicious.
Most Popular Itineraries for Belize
The Belize Jungle and Beach Experience offers 7 days to explore the rainforest and the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in the Cayo district and the beautiful beaches of San Pedro. There are also a number of high-end Stays of Distinction available to make your Belize escape that little bit special. Ka’ana Boutique Luxury Resort positions you in the heart of the rainforest in western Belize with cultural, historical and eco-adventure attractions nearby. Cayo Espanto Belize is set on the private island of Cayo Espanto, surrounded by the wonders of the Belize Barrier Reef. Meanwhile, Hidden Valley Jungle Resort is located in the Mountain Pine Ridge reserve, surrounded by incredible flora and wildlife.
Tips for Sustainable Travel
Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world. If you are going diving or snorkelling in this area, pay attention to environmental recommendations for the preservation of these ecosystems. Visitors to Belize are advised not to purchase products derived from any of the protected or unprotected animal species. If you visit the jungle, do your best to avoid contaminating the area, do not throw plastic bottles (bring reusable bottles!) or any other type of object that doesn’t belong there. Belize has a forest preservation program and visitors must contribute to this mission through conscientious behaviour.
Where to Go Next
If you like Mayan archaeology, continue though the Mexican Mayan Riviera to visit more interesting temples and cities, plus great beaches for relaxation. You can also pop across the border to Guatemala, where you will find more Mayan archaeology including the glorious city of Tikal, located in the middle of the Guatemalan rainforest. This is one of the largest Maya archaeological sites and is easy to access from Belize. It contains old ceremonial palaces and temples, including the Mayan Lost World Pyramid, also known as the Great Pyramid, and the Temple of the Grand Jaguar. If you happen to be a Star Wars fan, you’ll recognise one of the most famous shots (above the treeline) from Episode IV: A New Hope.
12 Aug 2020, 5:11 p.m.