Things to Know Before You Head to Belize
A small Central American country located just 2-5 hours’ flying time from the United States and Canada, Belize is often described as a slice of paradise. With gorgeous tropical islands, lush rainforests, and jungles teeming with exotic wildlife, Belize is a popular vacation destination.
But before you pack your bags, here are 7 things you need to know before traveling to Belize:
World-class Snorkeling and Diving
Once largely unknown to the outside world, the beautiful islands, atolls, and lagoons of Belize were popularized in 1971 when French marine biologist Jacques Cousteau visited the area. After exploring the waters of the enormous Belize Barrier Reef, Cousteau declared that Belize was one of his top 10 favorite diving spots in the world.
Just as in the United States and Canada, Belize uses 220-volt electricity with the same two-prong plugs as in North America. If your device works in the USA or Canada, it’ll work just fine in Belize.
A former British colony, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language. Many people in Belize also speak Spanish or a variety of minority languages, including Garifuna (an Afro-Caribbean tongue), Mayan, and Mennonite German.
The official currency in Belize is the Belize dollar, often abbreviated as BZD. Because the Belize dollar is permanently pegged to the US dollar at 2:1, you’ll never have to worry about converting prices. American dollars are accepted everywhere, and the preferred method of payment is cash, although upscale hotels and restaurants do accept credit cards.
If you’re looking for fancy shopping malls or fast food chains, Belize is definitely not right for you. Belize is proud of its Caribbean heritage, and the tastiest foods you’ll find are often found at local mom and pop style restaurants. And leave your formalwear at home, as shorts and flip-flops are the unofficial “uniform” in Belize.
Belize Maya Ruins
Once the heart of the vast ancient Maya civilization, Belize has more ancient Maya ruins than anywhere else in the world. Visitors can climb soaring pyramids or plumb the depths of caves once used to perform bloody religious rituals.
If you have a valid driver’s license in your home country, you can rent your own vehicle in Belize. Just as in the United States, everyone drives on the right, gasoline is sold by the gallon, and distances are measured in miles. Having your own rental vehicle is a great way to discover the natural beauty and wonders of the Belizean countryside.