Belize Travel Advisory

  • An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale took place on 28 May off the coast of Honduras near to the Bay Islands. The tremors from the quake were felt in Belize.   Damage to roads and buildings has been reported in the southern part of the country.

  • The hurricane season in Belize normally runs from June to November.  See the Natural Disasters section of this advice and Tropical Cyclones for more details.

  • Around 10,100 overnight British Tourists visited Belize in 2008 (Source: Belize Tourist Board).  Most visits to Belize are trouble-free. The main types of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Belize in 2008 were for replacing lost or stolen passports (12 cases)and dealing with arrests or detentions (5 cases).  However, you should be on your guard and exercise caution, as there have been occasional violent incidents against tourists.

  • There is a low threat from terrorism in Belize.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign nationals.

  • We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.  See the General (Insurance) section of this advice and Travel Insurance for more details.
  • Safety and security

    Terrorism

    There is a low threat from terrorism in Belize.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. 
     
    For more general information see Terrorism Abroad

     
     
    For more general information see Victims of Crime Abroad.
       
    Political Situation

    Belize Country Profile
     
    Political demonstrations can occur in Belize City and Belmopan, often at short notice.  Though most are peaceful, some demonstrations have resulted in civil disorder. You should avoid getting caught up in demonstrations.

    You should monitor local media and avoid large gatherings of people or demonstrations.

    Local Travel

    There has been a number of sports-related incidents resulting in injuries to and fatalities of foreign tourists.  Some of these incidents involved water sports such as snorkelling and diving.  Severe weather conditions and inadequate safeguards being applied by local tour operators have been cited as causes.  You should consult weather forecasts locally and ensure that you use registered and licensed operators before undertaking any sporting activities.

    You should exercise particular care when travelling in the Belize/Guatemala border area because of the ongoing dispute between the two countries.  You are advised to use only the officially recognised border crossings.

    You can find more information on local travel on the Belize Tourism Board's website.

    Road Travel

    You can use your UK Driving Licence or an International Driving Permit to drive in Belize for visits under three months.  For longer stays, an International Driving Permit is required.

    Road traffic accidents are a common occurrence and local driving standards are poor.  You should take great care when driving.
     
    For more general information see Driving Abroad.

    Local laws and customs

    You should not become involved with drugs of any kind:  possession is still considered a serious crime in Belize and can lead to a fine and/or imprisonment.
     
    Homosexuality is generally considered to be socially unacceptable and some homosexual acts are illegal.

    You are not required to carry identification whilst in Belize.  However, it is advisable to do so.
     
    For more general information for different types of travellers see Travel Advice Relevant to You.

    Entry requirements

    Visas
    British nationals can normally visit Belize for up to 30 days without needing to obtain a visa.  However, you must ensure that your passport is stamped on entry as failure to do so can result in either a fine and/or imprisonment when you come to leave the country.
    Passport validity
    Your passport should have at least six months’ validity before travelling to Belize.
    Travelling with children
    Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. 

    Health

    There are confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus Swine Flu in Belize. The Government of Belize is not imposing quarantine measures.  The Belize Ministry of Health suggests that symptomatic persons voluntarily stay at home. Their advice at this stage is for people to practice good personal hygiene and ‘cough and sneezing’ etiquette; to check with their doctor and avoid crowds if they have any symptoms. You can check the Belize Ministry of Health website (www.health.gov.bz) for updates 

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised its Pandemic Threat Alert Phase to Level 6. The WHO website at www.who.int has further details.  You should monitor local media reports for any developments and advice. There is a dedicated Swine Flu page on the FCO website.  Guidance on Pandemic Flu can be obtained on the UK Department of Health website at www.dh.gov.uk.  
     
    There is currently an outbreak of a flu-like illness on the island of Caye Caulker, one of the main tourist destinations in Belize.  The school on the island has temporarily been closed. and the island's Belize Independence celebrations has been postponed until late October. All other facilities on the island remain opened.

    Dengue Fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year, there have been confirmed cases in Belize.

    In the 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 3,400 adults aged 15 or over in Belize were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at around 2.1% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%.  You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.

    You should seek medical advice before travelling to Belize and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the  NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

    Medical facilities throughout Belize are limited.  Serious cases are normally evacuated to the United States at the expense of the patient.  Your insurance policy should cover medical evacuation by air ambulance.

    For more general health information see Travel Health.

    Natural disasters

    You are advised to exercise caution when travelling by road during rainy conditions as the main highways tend to be slippery.  In the south of the country, particularly in the districts of Stann Creek and Toledo, several temporary bridges and causeways are in low lying areas which tend to flood during severe weather conditions.

    Hurricanes

    The hurricane/tropical cyclone season in Belize normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the  World Meteorological Organisation and the National Hurricane Centre. For more general information see Tropical Cyclones.

    Earthquakes


    Tremors from quakes in neighbouring countries are a rare occurrence in Belize.

    • An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale took place on 28 May off the coast of Honduras near to the Bay Islands. Tremors from the quake were felt in Belize, particularly in the south, where some damageto roads and buildings has been reported.

    • In the event of an earthquake, you should drop to the ground and take cover under sturdy furniture, in a doorway or next to an inside wall, away from windows or objects which may fall.  Cover your head with a pillow or your arms and wait for the earthquake to stop before moving to a safe area outside.

    • Further advice may be found on the following website: http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/keepsafe/readyearth.html.

    General

    Insurance

    We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.  For more general information see Travel Insurance.

    If things do go wrong when you are oversees then this is How We Can Help.

    Registration

    Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.  More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here.

    Passports

    The British High Commission in Belmopan does not issue passports and, before setting off, you should ensure that your passport has sufficient validity and a plentiful supply of unused pages.  Applications for new passports are accepted but forwarded to the British Embassy in Mexico City for processing.  This may take up to six weeks.  If a courier is used, the cost will have to borne by the applicant.

    Money

    ATMs are readily available in the larger towns. However, credit cards and travellers cheques may only be used in large tourist facilities.