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TRAVEL TIPS  
Entry requirements are fairly straight forward. If you are an U.S. citizen a visa is not required but all visitors must have a valid passport. Visitors from countries other than the U.S. should check with the Belize Embassy nearest to you for current regulations pertaining to them. You may also want to contact the Belize Tourism Board at 1-800-624-0686 or info@travelbelize.org if you have any questions.

Duty free importation is allowed for baggage accompanying passenger, wearing apparel, jewelry, binoculars and cameras. Each person is allowed to import one carton (200 only) of cigarettes and one bottle of alcoholic beverage, duty free.

Following are a few tips to help you plan your visit to Belize.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The busier time of the year for travelers to Belize is November to May, which are the winter months of the Northern Hemisphere. Still, many visitors prefer the more quiet days of the summer months from June to October for their vacation in Belize. Both times of the year have their own unique attractions and the choice of when to visit is totally up to you, your budget and the adventure you crave.

Belize in Winter

Belize has proven to be the choice location for those wanting to escape the harsh winter of the North. Besides the favorable temperature, Belize is also a favorite destination because of the following:

  • Belize is one of the most easily accessible of all tropical locations by geography and entry requirements.

  • Belize is English speaking thus making it easier for you to get around by yourself, within a group or if you have special needs that need to be addressed.

  • This is the dry season in Belize which means that you should have no problem predicting bright, sunny skies during your vacation.

Belize in Summer

Belize is also the ideal place for those needing a summer break, which although tropical, may provide cooler temperatures than home. During the summer months it is also true that:

  • Belize receives less visitors giving you the opportunity to find the privacy and isolation you desire.

  • Although it is the rainy season, these showers of blessing are sporadic and short in duration, thus not likely to ruin your vacation plans.

  • The best feature about spending a summer vacation in Belize is the summer savings. Rates start falling from around May 1st. and remain slashed until November at most places.

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WHAT TO BRING - CLOTHING

Belize is a very informal country, with a very casual life-style. Unless you are invited to a Government function, please leave your "After Five" attire at home.

Leave your jewelry and expensive watches at home because you will not need them. If you must have a watch, bring an inexpensive watch that is suitable for diving and hiking.

If you are visiting the Cayes and/or the Barrier Reef, bring your shorts, T-shirts, and bathing suits, as well as some comfortable tennis shoes or deck shoes. As the sun is probably more intense than what you are used to at home, bring a cap to protect your head from the tropical sun when you are boating and/or fishing. In addition to protecting your eyes from both the sun and the reflective glare off of the water, a pair of "polarized" sun glasses will enhance the variable colors of the coastal waters of Belize.

Loose fitting, light colored cotton pants and camping shirts, along with a comfortable pair of hiking shoes or boots are appropriate for exploring the Mainland or trekking through the rain forest. When visiting the Maya Ruins or traipsing through the jungle, a hat with a wide brim will provide shade from the tropical sun, as well as provide protection from a tropical shower.

Be aware that water, beverages, and snacks are not always readily available while sightseeing- so a day pack, to carry a water bottle, energy bars, camera, film, binoculars, poncho, hand towel, etc., is a welcomed accessory. Although you do not wear it, a hiking staff can prove to be a valuable aid to climbing ruins, crossing streams, or walking up or down steep trails.

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WHAT TO BRING - OTHER

Passport, Visa (if applicable), Prescription Drugs, Personal Items, Spare Eye-glasses, Sunglasses, Sun Tan Lotion, Sun Screen, Sun Burn Cream, Insect Repellant, Camera/Film, Batteries, Cash, Travel Checks, Credit Cards

Personal Equipment:

SCUBA diving gear with certification card and dive log, snorkeling gear, binoculars, fishing tackle, etc.

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MONEY

The currency exchange in Belize is $2.00 Belize to $1.00 U.S. dollar. All businesses accept U.S. currency. Some smaller places do not accept credit cards so bring travelers checks or cash. The only banks in Stann Creek is in Dangriga. The villagers do not accept credit cards, travellers checks or personal checks. Be sure to have small denominations of US or BZE dollars.

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SAFETY

The crime rate in Stann Creek is relatively low. Most communities are closely knit and live together peacefully. Although it is always best to be cautious, problems rarely arise. Stay away from any kind of illegal drugs - it just isn't worth it. AS with any location in the world, it is best to use common sense when moving about at night. Travel with friends and if you have far to walk, take a taxi. Use the same common sense you would at home.

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ELECTRICITY AND PHONE

Dangriga, Placencia, Hopkins and Sittee River have a steady supply of electricity (120V-AC) and telephone usage. Although some villages do not have access to electricity or private phones, most do have a community telephone that is accessible during daylight hours and for emergency purposes.

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HEALTH

While living and health conditions of the more remote villages may appear primitive compared to western standards, the villages are clean and the people are healthy. All cooking and drinking water is drawn from pump wells. Each village has a trained community health worker.

All the larger twons have health clinics and Dangriga has a modern regional hospital - The Southern Regional Hospital.

Food:

Snacks and bottled water are easily accessible in all the larger towns. However, purified water is not sold in the villages, and snack variety is very limited. Cold, bottled soft drinks are sold in most villages.

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GAS STATIONS

Gas stations are few in Stann Creek. It is best to gas up your car in Belmopan or Belize City before heading south. An ESSO station is located just before the cut off to the Southern Highway 6 miles from Dangriga. Dangriga Town has two major stations with diesel and unleaded gas. After Dangriga the next gas station on the Southern Highway, known as "The Dump", is about 14 miles before Punta Gorda.

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GUIDES AND TOUR OPERATORS

All guides, tour operators and hotels are required to be licensed by the Belize Tourism Board. The Belize Tourism Board, with the assistance of educational institutions and other tourism groups, holds training and certification programs several times a year throughout the country.

If you have any doubt please email The Belize Tourism Board or when in the country call them at 223-1913.

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