Places in Belize
Nature is one of Belize's main attractions
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Nature is one of Belize's main attractions

© CTO – Demian Solano, Belize Tourist Board

Belize Travel Guide

Key Facts

22,965 sq km (8,867 sq miles).


366,942 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

14.8 per sq km.




Parliamentary democracy and member of the Commonwealth.

Head of state

HM King Charles III since 2022, represented locally by Governor-General Froyla Tzalam since 2021.

Head of government

Prime Minister Johnny Briceño since 2020.


110 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style plugs with two flat pins are standard; sockets don't usually have holes for a third grounding pin however, so you may need an adaptor if your plug has a third pin.

Sandwiched between Mexico, Guatemala and the shimmering Caribbean Sea, Belize occupies a slice of paradise that is packed with culture, wildlife and a wondrous selection of historical sites. Much of the mainland remains swathed in jungle, where the vestiges of ancient cities punctuate verdant forest canopies. Caracol is the most famous. Its crumbling temples and stone pyramids stand as powerful reminders of the Maya civilisation.

The history is fascinating for sure, but most people visit Belize to see its natural wonders and admirable conservation work; the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary was the first jaguar sanctuary in the world; the island of Half Moon Caye has been entirely dedicated to the conservation of birds; and the protected Belize Barrier Reef harbours an incredible array of marine life. Visitors can swim with sharks and stingrays along colourful walls of coral, or explore the Blue Hole, renowned as one of the world’s best dive sites.

Numbering fewer than 335,000, Belizeans have surprisingly diverse roots: the country is a melting pot of Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, Spanish, Maya, English, Mennonite, Lebanese, Chinese and East Indian heritage. Racial harmony, religious tolerance and a relatively peaceful political culture, have allowed these different elements to blend successfully and have given Belize a reputation as a friendly, laidback destination.

Belize’s towns and cities are small and, on the whole, pleasantly unexciting. San Ignacio is a charming enough stop-off for those disappearing into the jungle and Punta Gorda offers insightful home stays with some of the country’s last remaining indigenous communities. The somewhat bland capital, Belmopan, however, is hardly worth going out your way for and bustling Belize City, though energetic and ruggedly charming, is used largely as a gateway to the islands.

And what exquisite islands they are. Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye, Cayo Espanto (to name a few) are everything you expect from the Caribbean and more; swaying palms, pellucid waters, sandy shores, ramshackle beach bars and charming restaurants. All that’s missing are the crowds. Go figure.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice

Before you travel 

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and see support for British nationals abroad for information about specific travel topics. 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated. 

Travel insurance 

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency. 

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel. 

The authorities in Belize set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Belize High Commission in the UK

COVID-19 rules 

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Belize.  

Passport validity requirements 

To enter Belize, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ more than 3 months after the date you arrive. Some airlines may refuse entry if the expiry date is not more than 6 months after the date you arrive.  

Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.  

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen. 

Visa requirements 

You do not need a visa to enter Belize. On arrival, you will be allowed to stay in Belize for 30 days.  

If you want to extend your stay, it will cost 200 Belize dollars for each additional 30 days. You should go to the nearest office of the Belize Immigration and Nationality Department and request a new stamp.  

Departure tax 

If you leave Belize by land, or by water crossing to Guatemala or Mexico, you must pay a departure tax of 40 Belize dollars or 20 US dollars at the border. If leaving by air, the tax is usually included in the airfare.  

Travelling with children 

Children aged 17 and under who are travelling on their own, or with an adult who is not their parent, must carry a notarised letter to prove parental responsibility, or consent to travel from the parent or guardian. Children travelling with one parent must also have a notarised letter of authority from the other parent giving consent for travel.  

Vaccination requirements  

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Belize guide.  

Customs rules 

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Belize. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty. Items that need to be declared will be listed on the customs declaration form. Contact the Belize Customs and Excise Administration for more information.  

Any COVID-19 tests brought into the country are likely to be confiscated if found. 


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.      

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad

Terrorism in Belize 

Although there is no recent history of terrorism in Belize, attacks cannot be ruled out.  

Political situation  

Political demonstrations take place in Belize City and Belmopan, but most are peaceful. Follow the local media and avoid large gatherings and demonstrations. 

Travel near the Belize-Guatemala border 

Only use officially recognised border crossings. The official land border with Guatemala is the Western Border at Benque Viejo Del Carmen. You can also go by boat from Punta Gorda to Puerto Barrios or Livingston.  


You should report all incidents of crime, including assault, robbery and theft to the police. Call the police on 911 to make a statement. Investigations could take several weeks. For a fee, you can get a copy of the police report. Police capacity is limited and many crimes remain unsolved. 

Violent crime and criminal gangs 

Belize has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Cases of armed robberies, burglaries, theft, rape and sexual assault are on the increase. 

Serious gang-related violence happens in Belize City, particularly in the area to the south of the Haulover Creek (known as Southside). Tourists are not normally the targets of gang violence, but anyone near an incident could be affected. You should: 

  • follow the advice of your hotel and local authorities  
  • be watchful of your surroundings 

On 26 March, in response to escalating public safety concerns following a recent spate of shootings and retaliations in specific areas, the Government implemented a State of Public Emergency in Southside Belize City, Hattieville area and parts of the Cayo District: Roaring Creek Village, Another World area and Young Bank area, Camalote village). Heightened security in those areas includes a greater police presence and a curfew for minors from 8pm to 6am unless accompanied by an adult.

Armed criminal gangs have been active in the remote forested areas of Belize, particularly the border area with Guatemala and close to tourist sites. However, the area is patrolled by the Belize Defence Force and incidents of crime affecting tourists are uncommon. 


Most muggings happen in Belize City, but can also take place elsewhere, including tourist destinations such as San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia and San Ignacio. You should: 

  • avoid dark alleys 
  • not hitchhike or accept lifts from strangers 
  • keep valuables out of sight  
  • be aware that wearing expensive jewellery could attract attention 
  • try to travel in groups 
  • use a qualified guide for trips off the beaten track 
  • only use accommodation and campgrounds that appear genuine and established

Laws and cultural differences  

Illegal drugs and prison sentences 

Possession of illegal drugs can lead to a fine and prison sentence.  

LGBT+ travellers 

Same-sex activity between consenting adults is legal.  

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism  

Find more information on local travel from the Belize Tourism Board

Swimming safety 

There have been injuries and fatalities from adventure sports activities, including snorkelling and diving. The main causes have been inadequate safety precautions and severe weather conditions. Check local weather forecasts and only use registered and licensed operators. 

Transport risks  

Road travel  

If you are planning to drive in Belize, see information on driving abroad.   

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Belize for up to 3 months. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence. For longer stays, you must get a Belize driving permit from the Department of Transport in your district.  

Driving standards 

Road traffic accidents are common. Local driving and vehicle maintenance standards are poor. Public buses are not well maintained and many do not have seatbelts. Take care when driving, particularly during rainy conditions. If you need to drive at night, be aware of the risks, including: 

  • high levels of drink-driving  
  • mostly unlit highways 
  • roads with potholes, unpaved dirt shoulders and few lane markings  
  • flooded temporary bridges and causeways during severe weather in southern parts of the country, particularly in Stann Creek and Toledo


Only take registered taxis with green licence plates. Always ask the fare before getting in, and expect to pay in cash.  

Extreme weather and natural disasters 

Read more advice on what to do if you are caught up in extreme weather or natural hazards


The hurricane season normally runs from June to November. Monitor local weather updates from the National Meteorological Service of Belize and follow any advice from the National Emergency Management Organisation


Heavy rainfall can cause flooding. Follow the weather forecasts from the National Hydrological Service.  


Belize is not directly affected by earthquakes, but tremors from earthquakes in neighbouring countries can occasionally be felt in Belize. There can occasionally be tsunami warnings.   

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.   

Before you travel check that: 

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need 
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation 

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant. 

Emergency medical number 

Call 911 and ask for an ambulance. 

Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment. 

Vaccinations and health risks 

At least 8 weeks before your trip check: 


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. 

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad

Healthcare facilities in Belize  

FCDO has a list of medical facilities in Belize

There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Belize.  

Medical facilities in Belize are limited and availability of prescription medicine is unreliable. Serious medical cases are normally evacuated to the US, at the patient’s expense.  

Travel and mental health 

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel. 

Emergency services in Belize 

Telephone: 911 or 90 (ambulance, fire, police) 

Contact your travel provider and insurer 

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do. 

Refunds and changes to travel 

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first. 

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including: 

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider 
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim 

Support from FCDO 

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including: 

Contacting FCDO 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated. 

You can also contact FCDO online.  

Help abroad in an emergency 

If you are in Belize and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Consulate in Cancun where we provide consular assistance for Belize.  

FCDO in London 

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad. 

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours) 

Find out about call charges 

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.