Information & Facts
Belize has a fairly informal business style, although
punctuality and politeness are appreciated. Handshaking, the
exchanging of business cards and some small talk is expected before
getting down to business. Dress is usually casual, but neat, with
men in short-sleeved, collared shirts without a tie; however
government-related business is more formal. Business hours are
usually 8am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Belize weather features a temperate climate marked by two
distinct seasons, the rainy and the dry. There is a notable
transition from the one to the next. Rainfall during the rainy
season occurs between June and November with rainfall averages
ranging between 60 inches (1,524mm) in the north to 160 inches
(4,064mm) in the south. Except for the southern regions, the
rainfall is variable from year to year. Average temperatures range
from 81°F (27°C) along the coast to 69°F (21°C) in the hills. The
coldest month is January and the warmest temperatures are
experienced in May.
The international dialling code for Belize is +501. The outgoing
code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the
United Kingdom). The area code for Belize City is (0)2.
International Direct Dialling is available. Mobile telephone
coverage is available throughout most of the country with the
Belize Telemedia Ltd GSM 1900 network, and cellphone rental is
available. There are two Internet service providers in Belize, with
Internet cafes in urban centres and tourist areas. Postal services
Homosexuality is illegal and considered to be socially
Travellers over 18 years do no have to pay customs duty on 200
cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; wines or spirits not
exceeding one litre and personal goods or souvenirs to the value of
BZ$200. Restricted items include plants, meat and meat products,
live animals and processed food items.
Electrical current is 110/220 volts, 60Hz. Flat blades
with round grounding pin or rectangular blade plugs are used. Most
of the electricity is provided by Diesel/Generator
No vaccinations are required for entry to Belize. Travellers
arriving from a yellow-fever infected area require a vaccination
certificate. Cases of dengue fever have occurred, and seem to be on
the increase, so insect repellent is strongly advised. Malaria
prevention is recommended for those travelling outside Belize City.
Potable water is available in most areas of Belize but it is
advisable, if in doubt, to drink bottled or boiled water. Medical
facilities are poor in the city, and almost non-existent elsewhere.
Cases of severe illness or injury usually require expensive medical
evacuation. Adequate medical insurance is therefore vital. For
divers there is a hyperbaric chamber at Ambergris Caye.
English is the official language and the one most
commonly spoken, but you will hear Creole, Spanish, Garifuna and
Mayan as well.
The unit of currency is the Belize Dollar (BZD), which is fixed
against the US$ as BZ$2 = US$1. Most tourist resorts, hotels,
restaurants and tour operators accept US currency and travellers
cheques. Credit cards are also accepted, and most banks in Belize
City and Belmopan will advance cash against Visa or MasterCard.
When using credit cards most establishments will add a 5% service
charge to the bill. First Caribbean International Bank has several
ATMs in Belize City. Always make sure you understand which dollar
rate is being quoted, either Belize Dollars or US Dollars.
All visitors to Belize (except cruise ship passengers) must
produce a passport valid for at least the period of their intended
stay. All visitors should also have return tickets and documents
for onward travel, and funds amounting to US$50 per person per
Although most visits to Belize are trouble-free, there have been
incidents of tourists falling victim to violent crime. Muggings
have been reported in San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Placencia and in
parts of Belize City. Visitors should take sensible precautions to
minimise the risks. These would include not wearing expensive
jewellery, keeping valuables out of sight, staying in groups,
avoiding dark alleys and not walking alone on the beach at night.
It is also advisable to use qualified guides for exploratory trips
off the beaten track. The country is prone to hurricanes between
June and November; on 21 August 2007 Hurricane Dean caused severe
damage to the northern Belize coast, particularly the regions of
Corozal and OrangeWalk.
Local time is GMT -6.
Tipping in Belize is voluntary but as in any country, good
services should be rewarded with a 10% tip. Upscale hotels and
resorts may add a 10% service charge to guests' bills and this
usually goes to the porter and maid who assisted you. Tour guides
should be tipped a few extra dollars for their effort and taxi
drivers should be tipped only if they help carry your bags or take
you on a guided tour.