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.
One of the best ways for visitors to enjoy their time in Belize is by renting a vehicle. Instead of relying on overcrowded public buses or expensive shuttle services, having your own rental vehicle gives you the freedom to explore the natural beauty and top sites in Belize like Dangriga, San Ignacio, Placencia, and Belmopan as well as national parks and ancient Maya ruins like Caracol, Xunantich, and Altun Ha.
Any visitor with a valid driver’s license in their home country can rent and operate a vehicle in Belize. Just as in the United States, driving is on the right-hand side of the road, gasoline is sold by the gallon (approximately $5/gallon), and distances are measured in miles.
There are four modern, paved highways in Belize that connect all the major metropolitan areas. The speed limit on the highways is 55 miles an hour, making it easy to get to nearly any destination in the country in three hours or less. Belize also has a large network of smaller roads, many of which are unpaved, which is why Tour Belize Auto rents durable all-wheel drive vehicles that make negotiating smaller roads easy.
There are no traffic lights in Belize, even in the bigger cities. Instead, Belize relies on speed bumps, affectionately known as “sleeping policemen” in and around all inhabited areas. Driving is not recommended at night time due to insufficient lighting in some areas as well as both pedestrians and wildlife that can enter the roadway.
Perhaps the only unique driving custom that visitors should be aware of in Belize is the procedure for making left-hand turns. In Belize, many drivers pull over to the right in order to wait for traffic to clear before executing a left hand turn. Other than that, driving in Belize is generally safe, with regular police road blocks to verify the sobriety and legality of all drivers operating motor vehicles in the country.
Renting your own vehicle is the perfect way to see sites of unforgettable beauty, including misty mountain vistas, lush rainforests teeming with wildlife, majestic waterfalls, and the ghostly remains of ancient Maya cities.
Tour Belize Auto Rentals is the premier Belize car rental company in Belize to rent a car from. Tour Belize Auto Rentals has two convenient locations in the country, one in central Belize City and one at the international terminal at the Philip Goldson airport.
Belize is a small country but it is an incredibly beautiful land blessed with both picturesque offshore islands and lush rainforests in the interior. The least populated country in Central America, Belize is a small country, making it easy to explore all of the natural beauty when you rent your own vehicle.
Indeed, many people say that getting there is half the fun as there are so many amazing things to do and see. Here are a few reasons why you’ll be glad you rented a vehicle on your Belize vacation:
Set Your Own Pace
Instead of worrying about bus, plane, or shuttle schedules, you can explore Belize at your own pace with a rental vehicle. Whether you want to head into historic Belize City to see the Belize Museum or want to stop off at the Belize Zoo to learn more about wildlife in the country, you can follow your own itinerary. And if something catches your eye along the way, it’s easy to stop for a moment and snap an unforgettable photo!
All international flights land in Belize City, and Tour Belize Auto Rental has an office located right at the international terminal. Belize City is connected by four modern highways to all points in the country, and most destinations can be reached in three hours or less. Whether you’re interested in touring the colorful San Ignacio market in the west or want to relax on a beach in Placencia in the east, having your own vehicle makes it convenient to see all the sights on your itinerary.
Nature is definitely Belize’s biggest draws, whether it’s the misty mountaintops of the Maya Mountains or the tallest waterfalls in Central America in the vast Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. With your own vehicle, you can find that perfect picnic spot or stop for a refreshing swim at the Inland Blue Hole on the Hummingbird Highway.
Having a vehicle allows you to find the hidden “nooks and crannies” of the country, whether that’s stopping off at a small Garifuna village to witness their incredible music and dancing or visit Dangriga, the bustling cultural capital of the country. With your own vehicle, you can stop anywhere you like, a great way to meet the incredible people of Belize that make the country such an amazing place.
Contact Tour Belize Auto Rental today to book your vehicle and get some great ideas about all the best things to see and do in the country.
For travelers wanting to explore the country at their own pace, the best option is to rent a car in Belize. Anyone with a valid driver’s license in their home country can legally drive a car in Belize, one of the best ways to see the gorgeous countryside and lush nature that make the country such a popular destination.
Here are four reasons why you should choose to rent a car in Belize on your vacation:
1 – Faster and More Convenient
Belize is a relatively small country, but trying to navigate it using the public bus network can challenge all but the most determined budget travelers. Having your own car allows you to see the sites that you want to see without having to negotiate complex schedules and multiple stops. And with your own car, you’ll never have to worry about shuttle schedules or waiting for tour groups to assemble before you can depart.
2 – Allows You to Get Off the “Beaten Path”
In Belize, escaping the beaten path is something a quite literal adventure in navigating bumpy, unpaved roads to find hidden gems of nature or mysterious ancient Maya ruins. Tour Belize Auto Rental has a wide selection of all-wheel drive vehicles perfectly suited for navigating the hidden lanes and byways of the Belizean countryside.
3 – Cheaper
There is a well-developed domestic flight network in Belize, but taking a 45-minute jaunt to popular destinations can sometimes cost an arm and a leg. Renting your own vehicle is usually cheaper and a more affordable option for getting around, and the drive is usually half the fun of getting there!
4 – More Comfortable
Whether it’s crowded public buses or riding in a taxi, a lengthy journey in Belize can tax any travelers. When you rent your own vehicle, you’ll travel in comfort and style. Whether you choose to drive with the windows down or you engage the air-conditioning, you’ll feel refreshed and rested when you get to your destination when you drive your own rental vehicle. Every vehicle in the Tour Belize Auto Rental fleet is a modern, well-maintained car with ample room for passengers and luggage.
If you are visiting and want to rent a car in Belize, look no further than Tour Belize Auto Rental. The company has two convenient locations in the country, including one in downtown Belize City and the other at the international terminal of the Philip Goldson airport.
Tour Belize Auto Rental has two convenient locations, one at the international terminal of the Philip Goldson Airport and another in downtown Belize City. Tour Belize Auto Rental has a large fleet of modern, well-maintained vehicles perfectly suited to exploring this beautiful country at your own pace.
Tips for Driving in Belize
In order to have a safe and enjoyable time while driving in Belize, we’ve provided the following useful tips:
- If you have a valid driver’s license in your home country, you can rent and drive a vehicle in Belize.
- Just like in the United States, distances are expressed in miles, gasoline is sold by the gallon (approximately $5/gallon), and drivers drive on the right-hand side of the road.
- Belize has four national highways that are paved and well-maintained, but some smaller roads may be unpaved and difficult to negotiate following heavy rains.
- There are no stoplights in Belize, even in the larger cities. Instead, Belize relies on speed bumps, known locally as “sleeping policemen.” Always watch out for these speed bumps as they must be crossed at low speed to avoid doing damage to your vehicle.
- When you pull up to a gas station, an attendant will pump the gas for you. No tip is necessary. At night, you’ll need to prepay and pump your own gas. Most gas stations accept both Belizean and American dollars, but only a few accept credit/debit cards.
- The police in Belize operate several checkpoints, but there is no risk of being shaken down for a bribe. Simply present your passport, driver’s license, and registration papers.
- Most streets and highways in Belize are unlit at night. Travel at nighttime should be avoided whenever possible to avoid striking pedestrians and animals in the roadway.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers.
- To make a left turn, pull over to the right and let vehicles behind you clear the intersection before making your turn.
- All road signs are in English.
- When renting your vehicle, be sure to inquire about what to do in case of a breakdown. There is no national service like “AA” that provides tow service, so each rental company is responsible for their vehicles.
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) coverage is optional and usually runs between $10-15 per day. Most CDW coverage includes a large deductible.
- Give yourself time for unplanned stops as the views from Belizean roads are some of the most beautiful in the world!
If you’re looking to rent a car at the Belize International Airport, look no further than Tour Belize Auto Rental. The company has two convenient locations, one right at the international terminal at the airport and the other in downtown Belize City.
Formerly a Thrifty Car Rental franchise, Tour Belize Auto Rental is now an independent firm, the only vehicle rental company in Belize that offers unlimited mileage with every rental. Tour Belize Auto Rental has more than a decade of experiencing in pairing visitors with exactly the right vehicle so that they can explore top destinations like San Ignacio, Placencia, and Hopkins.
In the past year, Southwest Airlines, the largest low-cost carrier in the United States, has added three non-stop flights to Belize from their hubs in Houston, Denver, and Ft. Lauderdale. Southwest joined the red-hot Belize travel market after the biggest three airlines in the country began competing to deliver tourists, retirees, and adventure travelers to Belize from major cities all across America.
Not to be outdone, Canadians too can now enjoy affordable airfare to Belize. In October 2016, WestJet became the first Canadian airline to offer non-stop service to Belize from its hub in Toronto. Air Canada, the eighth-biggest airline in the world, then announced that it will be offering nonstop service to Belize City from Toronto beginning in December 2017. In response, WestJet announced that it will begin flying from Calgary to Belize in November 2017, making it easier than ever before for Canadians to enjoy a fabulous vacation in Belize.
Once you’ve arrived and have outfitted yourself with a vehicle from Tour Belize Auto Rental, you can begin to enjoy exciting destinations like San Ignacio, the eco-tourism capital of Belize, the gorgeous coastal village of Hopkins (rated as the friendliest village in the country), and the Garifuna cultural center of Dangriga, home to a thriving musical scene.
Other top destinations that you can easily visit with a vehicle from Tour Belize Auto Rental include the Placencia Peninsula, home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, the Cockscomb Basin Nature Reserve, and dozens of ancient Maya ruins like Xunantunich and Altun Ha.
Tour Belize Auto Rental offers free pick-up and drop-off at the Belize City Municipal Airport (officially the Sir Barry Bowen Airport), the water taxi stand and bus station in Belize City as well as all hotels in Belize City.
Often nicknamed “Patriotic Month” due to the many national holidays and festivals, September is one of the best times to visit Belize. Many Belizeans working abroad come home to visit friends and family during September, and the entire month has a very festive air.
The celebrations kick into high gear on September 10, the national holiday with the extra long name of The Battle of St. George’s Caye Day. In Belize, islands are known as “cayes” (pronounced “keys”) and St. George’s Caye was the original colonial capital. Located just offshore from Belize City, the island was where a scrappy band of English colonialists defeated a Spanish fleet in 1798.
This seminal event is what led to Belize becoming the only British colony in the region, and now every September 10 is a national holiday as Belizeans celebrate their heritage with patriotic music, street dancing, parades, fairs, live music, and marches in every village, town, and city.
The festivities continue right on through to September 21. On that day in 1981, Belize became a fully independent nation. Every city and town explodes with people, shops, and street lamps bedecked in the national colors (red, white, and blue). Big name acts play live concerts and every small town holds a fair, parade, or festival with plenty of games, arts and crafts, and dancing.
Every Independence Day has its own special theme. In 2017, September 21 will be celebrated with the theme of “Confronting Challenges! Celebrating Triumphs! Renewing our Resolve!” that both reflects the country’s rich heritage as well as optimism for an even better and brighter future.
A Great Time to Visit
September is also a month to gather with family, enjoy leisurely picnics in one of the country’s many parks, and marvel at the flowering plants that spring up at this time of year. September is also the perfect month for visitors to enjoy uncrowded access to popular sites like ancient Maya cities, animal sanctuaries and rescue centers, bird watching, horseback riding, zip lining through the jungle, and cave tubing (floating down underground rivers on an inner tube).
One of the best ways to ensure that you can catch all the celebrations in September is with a vehicle rental from Tour Belize Auto Rental. All bookings made before October 31, 2017, will receive a 20% discount off the normal price. Tour Belize Auto Rental has two convenient locations in the country, including one at the international terminal of the Philip Goldson Airport.
Many people have seen the gorgeous photos of Belize online before booking their trip, but it’s important to be prepared so that you know what to expect when you arrive. In this article, we’ll tell you all the Belize travel information that you’ll need to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience in the country.
Visas and Passports
If you’re a citizen of the United States, Canada, the European Union, or a dozen other countries, you don’t need a visa to enter Belize and stay up to 30 days.
It is essential; however, that you have at least six months left before your passport expires.
Health and Safety
You do not need any vaccines or shots to enter Belize. There are clinics throughout the country that can easily handle any minor issue. Pharmacies are common throughout Belize and stock a full range of goods and over the counter medications.
No country is ever 100% safe from crime, but tourism is an important part of the Belizean economy and tourists are rarely the victims of serious crimes.
Belize uses the same plugs and voltage as in the United States and Canada. Any appliance or device that works in North America will work in Belize.
Belize has a year-round balmy climate and a very casual dress code, so you won’t need to pack formal wear or winter clothes. Visitors are recommended to bring light, loose, comfortable clothing and a sweater or jacket for occasionally chilly nights.
For excursions into the interior, long-sleeve shirts and pants are recommended along with insect repellent and sturdy hiking shoes.
Belize has thousands of islands as well as rivers, lagoons, and waterfalls, so most visitors bring a swimsuit. For individuals with fair skin, it is imperative to bring a hat, sunglasses, and/or sunscreen.
Tap water is safe to drink in Belize, although bottled water is widely available. Because of the strong sun and warm temperatures, visitors are strongly encouraged to remain vigilant about staying hydrated.
Renting a Vehicle
If you have a valid driver’s license in your home country, you can rent and drive a vehicle in Belize.
If you’re looking to rent a vehicle in Belize, Tour Belize Auto Rental is the premier rental company in the country with two convenient locations, including one at the terminal of the international airport and the other in Belize City.
Tour Belize Auto Rental is now offering a 20% discount on every vehicle in their fleet during the summer of 2017. The special reduced price is available beginning now until October 31, 2017, on any vehicle rental from Tour Belize Auto Rental.
Summer is a great time to visit Belize and the special summer pricing of 20% off allows visitors to explore the country during the summer and see all the best parts of Belize.
Summer in Belize is a time of warm days and ample sunshine, but not the excessive heat found in many places across North America. Daytime highs average 82F (28C) and nighttime lows average around 79F (26C) with steady offshore breezes that keep humidity at bay.
September and October are both great months to visit Belize. The month of September is the most patriotic month on the calendar as locals celebrate two important national holidays.
September 10 is St. George’s Caye Day, a holiday that celebrates the decisive naval victory of British and local forces over a Spanish fleet off the coast of St. George’s Caye (an island just offshore from Belize City). September 21 is Independence Day when Belizeans celebrate becoming a sovereign nation in 1981. Throughout the entire month, visitors can attend street parties, see parades, hear patriotic poems and songs, and see the entire country decked out in the national colors of red, white, and blue.
Visitors coming to Belize in September can avail themselves of the new reduced price on vehicle rentals from Tour Belize Auto Rental to enjoy all of the festivities and fun. Tour Belize Auto Rental rents a variety of 4WD and 2WD vehicles perfectly suited to the terrain of Belize.
October is another prime month for budget travelers as it falls during the historic “low season” with fewer crowds and great prices on accommodations and tours. Tour Belize Auto Rental’s special 20% reduced prices are valid until the end of the month, allowing visitors to travel the country and visit the hidden gems in the country.
Tour Belize Auto Rental has two convenient locations in the country, including an office at the international terminal of the Philip Goldson Airport and another office in Belize City.
Tour Belize Auto Rental also offers free pick up and drop offs of clients from the Sir Barry Bowen Airport (Belize Municipal Airport), the Belize City bus station, the water taxi terminal in Belize City, and any hotel in Belize City whenever they rent a car.