South America Natural Adventures
nature travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Chile, Peru, Central America, Brazil and Antarctica
BELIZE INFORMATION AND PACKING LIST
A passport, current for six months beyond your return date, is required for travel to Belize. It is recommended that all travelers have their own passport. If you are traveling with a minor, you will need written authorization from both parents for him/her to leave the country. US and Canadian citizens do not require a visa to visit Belize as tourists staying for up to 30 days. Travelers of other nationalities should contact a Belizean Embassy for their requirements. More details about entry regulations can be obtained at www.embassyofbelize.com, or at 202 332-9636. There is a departure tax, and other fees, of $US35 to be paid in US dollars upon departure. Domestic flights attract a $BZ1.50 tax. Visitors to Belize are permitted to bring in typical amounts of duty-free cigarettes, alcohol, electronics etc. Please note that although strictly speaking personal items in excess of the approved dollar limit are supposed to be owned by you for 12 months prior to arrival, this is not a problem unless you’re carrying suspicious quantities.
LUGGAGE AND PACKING
First and foremost – pack light! Most people take far more than they need. If you’re an experienced traveler, you’ve probably met someone whose luggage went missing, so they had to buy things for their trip at their destination. Invariably they buy very little, but have as great a vacation as everyone else. There’s a lesson there! Using a laundry just once on a trip can saves a week’s worth of clothes. The key to light packing is layering and multi-use. Two normal shirts = one thicker shirt; the outer one will be available for later use without washing. Belize is tropical, but nights can get cooler October to January. If you expect to be on the water – canoeing or boating - remember wet cotton will make you colder, not warmer – so have a synthetic material top for warmth. Take a small ziplock bag of detergent with you – this can also be used for your smalls in the hotel room.
Please ensure that valuables, medicines, etc are in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. We suggest packing about a week before you leave, and a few days later carry your bags around the house, upstairs and down. Then look at what you can remove, do so, and re-pack - the maxim to follow is “when in doubt, leave it out.” If it’s heavy to handle at home, it will be even more so while traveling, especially with the addition of souvenirs. In some lodges and hotels luggage service will not be available, so you may be toting your bags yourself to your room. You will also need to be handling them yourselves at airports, so please be sure that you have packed appropriately. It’s often said to bring a change of clothes in your carry-on in case your luggage is lost. While this is not necessary for most destinations, there are few facilities in Belize City International Airport, and most itineraries take you out of Belize City immediately, so this may be a wise precaution.
Depending on your itinerary you may need a towel for the beach, river or other water area. As these are bulky, buy one there – either to bring home as a souvenir, or a cheapie to leave there.
On flights to Belize on American and Delta Airlines each person (including children) is allowed 2 checked pieces, not to exceed 50lb each; the maximum size per piece is 62” (length+height+width). We can think of no reason why you would need anything approaching this limit! For carry-on luggage the allowance is one piece of maximum dimension 45”, plus a personal
item such as a purse, camera bag etc. Regardless of permitted size, the carry-on must be able to fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat; these spaces will vary with different aircraft types. Please be aware that if in the opinion of the airport staff your carry-on will not fit, or if it is too heavy it must be checked and will become part of your checked allowance. If you already have two other pieces, you will be subject to expensive surcharges. This limit of one main carry-on includes Business and First Class due to US security concerns. Within Belize, on Tropic Air carry-on is restricted to a maximum weight of 30 lbs., 40 linear inches and being no larger than 8"x20"x8" and must fit under the seat. Two checked bags are allowed, each with a maximum weight of 35lbs, 62 linear inches with a width limited to 30 inches and height of 15 inches. Excess and oversized baggage will be evaluated, charges assessed, and will be shipped on a space available basis. Some Maya Air flights use smaller aircraft and luggage may be further restricted.
Don’t put your home address or phone number on your outside luggage tags; use a work one, as you don’t want to alert anyone that your house will be empty for some time. Put your work phone number and address inside each of your bags, as well. If they are lost, and the outside tag is missing, the airlines can still track you.
FREQUENT FLIER & SEAT REQUESTS
Please note we cannot arrange frequent flier travel; this can only be done through the relevant airline. If we are ticketing your travel we will include your ff number in your air record if requested; but please retain all boarding pass stubs in case mileage is not credited – we or our partners are not responsible for accreditation. If you lose your boarding pass stubs and need ticket copies to establish mileage there will be a fee charged. Seat requests will be made by us for you, but cannot be guaranteed as it is under the control of the airlines and may be changed without notice.
Belize is tropical, but it can get cool in the mountains of the interior. Generally lightweight, sun-resistant clothes are suitable all year round, with a light jacket or sweater for the evenings. Rain is possible at any time, but can be heavy and more prolonged in the September-October-November wet season. October and especially November also tend to be windier, a factor if you are planning off-shore fishing or other recreation.
Belize is on US Central Time, and does not have Daylight Saving.
Belize has a decimal dollar, stable at two Belizean dollars to one US dollar. Denominations are coins – cents – of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50; notes 1,2 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars. Although credit card acceptance is reasonably common in larger shops and hotels, lodges etc, at least in the cities and larger towns, many places will not accept them for small payments, and in many others it is cash only. Those places that do accept credit cards will often add a fee. If such areas are in your plans, make sure you have small notes and coins, as shops may not have sufficient change for the larger ones. US dollars notes
are also accepted everywhere, but sometimes getting adequate or correct change can be more difficult, and it will usually be in Belize denominations. We feel that part of being in a foreign country is enjoying the differences, including the money. You should also advise your credit card company(s) that you are traveling abroad, otherwise the sudden change in spending patterns could trigger a card alert and charge denial. Most places that take credit cards take Visa and Mastercard, and many take American Express and Diners, but none take Discover. Most debit cards which utilize Plus or Cirrus systems (there’ll be a logo on the back of the card) can be used at foreign ATMs, with the usual charge. Many credit card companies are charging a 3% fee for international credit card transactions; but given the bulk exchange rate they utilize, this is still usually cheaper that purchasing local currency. However, you may wish to check and use a fee-free card, especially if you intend to make expensive purchases. Use an ATM if there’s one; despite the added fee, it’s usually the cheapest exchange rate. Our experience has been that it is cheaper to exchange money in the destination country rather than here at home.
Food and water in Belize are generally safe to consume, but it’s still best to drink bottled water.
Belize is generally safe, with a low crime rate, especially outside the cities. However, wealth always attracts criminals, and so avoid obviously seedy area, don’t flash expensive jewelry, designer bags, or cash, and keep valuables well tucked away. If you know how to wander about any major city in the US, then you shouldn’t have any problems in Belize.
Belize is a metric country. To convert, use the following approximations:
Peru is a metric country. To convert, use the following approximations:
Add 2 to the US size, so an 8 in the US is a 10 in Belize.
Shoes : Try ‘em on as the two systems don’t
have an exact match. However, as a general guide