Destinations Belize

We're all about your Belize vacation.

Helpful Information

Culture

Destinations

  • Ambergris Caye Site:  Chock full of information about Belize as well as excellent information on Ambergris Caye.   The Webmaster, Marty Casado, does an amazing job with hurricane information and response. (https://ambergriscaye.com/)
  • Belize Travel Magazine:  Good overview of the most popular Belize places to go, people to see and things to do. (https://www.belizetravelmag.com/)
  • Caye Caulker:  Good assortment of information about Caye Caulker. (https://belize.com/caye-caulker/)
  • Corozal:  Officlal Website for Corozal, includes articles on history, culture, local government, area attractions, business listings and calendar of events. (https://corozal.com/)
  • Government of Belize:  Official Web portal for the Belize government, including contact information, links to other government Websites, and information about government programs and initiatives. (https://www.belize.gov.bz/)
  • National Institute of Culture and History:  Umbrella site for the Belize Institute of Archaeology, the Belize Institute of Creative Arts, Museums of Belize/House of Culture and the Belize Institute for Social and Cultural Research. (https://www.nichbelize.org/)
  • Placencia:
    • Placencia BTIA Site:  Listings and webpages for the Placencia Peninsula (including Seine Bight and Maya Beach) including lodging, restaurants, tour operators and tour guides, taxis and gift shops.  (Sponsored by the Placencia chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association) (https://www.placencia.com)
    • Placencia Breeze On-line edition of the Placencia Breeze, a monthly newspaper of the Placencia BTIA, including feature articles, event announcements, classifieds and contact information for local businesses -  last publication date was March 2020 - the beginning of Covid. https://issuu.com/theplacenciabreeze)
  • Toledo District:  Things to do, places to go and people to see in Toldeo, the southernmost district of Belize. (https://www.southernbelize.com)

History

Sport Fishing

  • Belize Coastal Zone:  Belize sport fishing licenses may be purchased on-line through this site. (https://www.coastalzonebelize.org)
  • Basic Guide to Saltwater Fishing:  Although the focus of this article is on Southwestern Florida, its basic information is pertinent to all saltwater flyfishing, regardless of location. (https://www.marco-island-florida.com/don/home.htm)
  • Reel-Time Internet Journal of Saltwater Fishing: Good commercial site that offers some excellent articles on saltwater fishing. (https://www.reel-time.com/)

Health and Medical Care in Belize

Health

  • Covid 19 (Coronavirus):  Belize has re-opened its international borders (land and air) for international tourists.  However, the borders with Guatemala and Mexico are still not open for regular travel due to high rates of Covid in surrounding Central American countries.  Tourists who are fully vaccinated may enter the country by presenting their passports and vaccination cards.  Unvaccinated tourists must present negative Covid test results.  Curfew is in place from 10 PM to 6 AM and masks must be worn at all times except when actually eating and drinking or riding in a vehicle - the fine is US$250 for non compliance with mask requirements.  Keep up to date on changes in Covid restrictions at https://belizetourismboard.org/belize-covid-19-update-for-travellers/
  • Medical Care:  Belize is a third world country, and only basic first aid is available in many parts of the country.  More advanced medical care is available at regional government funded hospitals in Belize City, San Ignacio, Dangriga and Orange Walk, with the most advanced medical care available at private clinics and hospitals in Belize City.  For serious medical conditions, treatment in Guatemala, Mexico and the US may be advisable.  You should bring proof of medical insurance with you, and review your health insurance coverage to make sure that it includes medical care outside your country of origin as well as emergency medical transportation coverage.  (Note:  you may have to pay for your medical care upfront and be reimbursed by your insurance carrier even if you do have medical insurance.)  If your medical insurance does not include medical transportation coverage, then travel insurance that does is strongly advised.

    Most importantly, review your health insurance to determine whether it will pay for emergency medical evacuation if you become seriously ill or are seriously injured during your vacation. (Most health plans will not, including Medicare.) Belize medical facilities are adequate for basic medical care, but you will require emergency medical evacuation for anything more serious. Emergency medical evacuation is very expensive (US$50,000-US$100,000 average), and if your health insurance doesn't cover it, we strongly urge you to purchase travel insurance, or at a minimum, med-evac insurance. (For an example of this type of policy, see https://www.travelguard.com/travelinsurance/products/medevac.asp

    Please also note that your health insurance may not cover medical expenses while you are out of the country, or you may have to cover your own medical expenses and then be reimbursed after you return home from your vacation. (For more information on what to look for in emergency medical coverage, see https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/How-One-Familys-Medical-Emergency-Reinforces-Need-for-Travel-Insurance)

    Also note that pregnancy is almost always excluded from travel insurance except for medical conditions that are made worse by being pregnant. And, if you have to cancel a trip because of a pregnancy related problem (such as severe morning sickness), your travel insurance likely will not cover the cancellation. (For more information, see https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Pregnancy-Could-Cause-Travel-Insurance-Complications)

    In addition, you need to take extra precautions if you or a family member (even one not traveling with you) have a pre-existing condition, including purchasing your insurance within usually 7-21 days after you make your deposit. (For more information, see https://www.insuremytrip.com/travel-insurance-plans-coverages/pre-existing-conditions/ and https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Travel-Insurance-Lawsuit-Highlights-Issue-Of-Pre-Existing-Conditions#disqus_thread). If you have a serious pre-existing condition that could interfere with travel, it also may be a good idea to get a written approval from your doctor for your travel, just to make sure that the pre-existing condition exclusion doesn't apply to you.

    Finally, take a look at the travel insurance information regarding adventure travel (including links) at https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Adventure-Travel-is-Not-Always-Covered-by-Travel-Insurance#disqus_thread. (Note that Travel Guard also offers adventure travel insurance - see https://www.travelguard.com/travelinsurance/adventure) Another user-friendly link - https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/is-travel-insurance-worth-it

  • Health Precautions to Take Before Your Trip:  Make sure that your tetanus vaccination is up-to-date and that you bring any necessary medications with you (including any essential over-the-counter medications).  You may also want to discuss hepatitis vaccinations with your medical provider because the risk of contracting hepatitis is now a very real one in all parts of the world, including the US.  While we have no knowledge of any of our clients ever contracting malaria during their Belize vacation, the US Center for Disease Control recommends anti-malarial medication for travelers visiting all parts of Belize except Belize City.  Therefore, you should also consult your physician regarding malaria prophylactics and other health considerations connected with travel to the tropics.

Diet:   Belize restaurants and resorts/lodges can accommodate almost any type of special diet - but, if you're going to be at a jungle lodge or a resort on a caye, please do let the lodging staff know ahead of time if you have any dietary restrictions so that necessary supplies are available.  (Produce is sometimes limited in Belize, so if you're vegetarian, you'll be able to eat, but choices may be limited.)

Belize Money and Communications

Money:

  • US dollars (paper money, not coins) are freely used in Belize (and most businesses would rather receive US dollars than Belize dollars).  So, no need to exchange money at the bank or elsewhere. 
  • Do bring smaller denominations to avoid problems getting change. 
  • Banks will give credit card advances for $5-$10 USD per advance.  If you use a Visa debit card, you can avoid cash advance interest charges, but it has to be a Visa or Mastercard debit card, a bank issued card won't work in Belize.  ATMs that will process credit, debit and ATM cards issued outside Belize are not available everywhere, and the ones that supposedly do, don't always work.  Therefore, if you really need cash, make sure to get to a bank during banking hours (usually between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.) so that you can get a cash advance inside the bank if the ATM doesn't work (or if the banks near you don't have international ATMs).
  • Locations of international ATMs are:  Orange Walk, Corozal, San Pedro, Belize City, Belmopan, San Ignacio, Dangriga, Placencia and Punta Gorda.
  • Belize banks will give generally NOT give you the official exchange rate of 2:1 when cashing traveler's checks -- sometimes not even for US dollars!  However, you don't need to cash your traveler's checks or exchange money at the bank, because local merchants WILL give you a 2:1 exchange rate.
  • Travelers checks are not used in Belize very often anymore, but if you still want to use them for some reason, use American Express, which are the most commonly used traveler's checks in Belize.  When using a traveler's check, don't fill in the date or the name of the merchant, otherwise the merchant will have to deposit the check and the banks hold them for 40 days before making the money available.  (If the date and the name of the merchant are not filled in, the traveler's checks are used pretty much as cash and somehow eventually find their way back to the States where they're cashed and deposited in someone's account, somewhere.)  Also, make sure that your signature looks like the signature you used when you purchased your traveler's checks.
  • Visa is the most commonly accepted credit card, American Express and Discovery aren't accepted by very many businesses.  MasterCard is now only accepted by larger businesses that have an electronic credit card processing machine. (MasterCard imposed a $0 floor limit on all Belize businesses, which means smaller merchants that have to call their bank for a credit card approval won't accept MasterCards -- especially during non-business hours.)  Also, many businesses charge a service charge for the use of a credit card, so make sure to ask first (the service charge is usually 5%).  Note:  we do NOT add any service charge to credit card transactions.
  • Many credit card issuers charge a currency conversion fee, and some charge a currency inversion fee.  (You can get cards that do not charge currency conversion or inversion fees - Bank of America's travel Visa is one and Capital One also offers a travel card, for example.)  Please note that your issuer can charge a currency conversion or inversion fee even if a Belize merchant actually processes your transaction in US dollars.  The merchant has no control over whether a currency conversion or inversion charge is assesed on a transaction -- this is entirely a function of the terms of your credit card issuer.  If you don't know whether your issuer charges a fee or how much that fee is, check with the issuer -- and if you have time, it may be worthwhile to get a credit card that doesn't charge currency conversion fees to use for your international transactions.

Communications:

  • If you absolutely must stay in touch by phone with home or office during your Belize vacation, please consider renting a satellite phone and bringing it with you, or renting a cell phone from Belize Telecommunications Limited (BTL) at the International Airport, because even if your cell phone company tells you your cell phone will work in Belize, it may not.  You'll have to buy pre-paid phone cards to use with the cell phone, but the rates won't be quite as high, and you'll also know exactly how much you're spending.  (Note:  the situation IS getting better and better and Verizon seems to work well throughout most of the country.)

    Please note:  you will need a pre-paid BTL phone card to make local calls within Belize from pay phones.  You can purchase a card at the international airport and from local merchants who display the BTL phone card sign.

  • Internet:  Internet cafes and Internet connections at resorts are extremely common throughout the entire country of Belize, so you shouldn't have any trouble staying in touch via email during your trip. 

Our Belize Travel Agency

Destinations Belize (formerly Kevin Modera Guide Services), a member of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, was established in 1998. 

Mary Toy of Destinations Belize is a past secretary of the Placencia Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, a founder and past president of the Placencia Humane Society, a founder of the Placencia Sidewalk Fund, founder of Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development, and an inactive member of the Missouri and Illinois Bar Associations.

Destinations Belize is not affiliated with any hotel, guest house, resort or other tourism business because we believe our independence allows us to best serve our clients by offering them unbiased advice on where to stay and what to do in Belize.

And our goal is simple - to help our clients and other visitors to Belize enjoy and learn about our home in the way most comfortable for each of them.

We are also very committed to responsible and sustainable tourism that values Belize’s rich cultural diversity, its locally owned businesses and its unique habitats and environments, from the Maya Mountains to our tropical forests, coastal plains, cayes and Barrier Reef.

Therefore, we only work with hotels, guides, tour operators and other tourism businesses that share these values and strive to offer their clients and guests a genuine Belize experience, while conserving Belize’s precious natural resources, using local products whenever possible and employing local Belizeans in all phases of their operations.

We do hope we'll be able to assist you in planning your Belize vacation, and we promise to do our best to help you make the most of your time in our country.

We also want and welcome your comments about our services or any other services you use in Belize.  

So, please don't hesitate to contact us about whatever assistance you might need.  We're looking forward to hearing from you.

(Destinations Belize LLC is registered with the State of Florida as a Seller of Travel.  Registration no. ST-40655.)

Sun Protection in Belize

The sun just doesn't seem stronger in the tropics - it is! And sun protection is vitally important - especially for children and young adults.

Fortunately, sun protection can be obtained in a number of different ways - clothing, chemical sunscreens (and sunblocks), and simply staying out of the sun. For most people (including children), a combination of all three works best in the tropics.

General Sun Facts

Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR): The sun produces ultraviolet radiation (UVR) that gives us light to see, warmth, and fuel for the growth of plants.

  • UVR has 3 different bands - UVA, UVB and UVC. Very little UVC reaches the earth's atmosphere. UVB is the strongest band and causes most sunburns. UVA is weaker than UVB, but about 100 times more UVA than UVB rays reach the earth's surface, meaning UVA protection is still important.
  • Skin cancers, cataracts and 90% of visible aging (wrinkles) are caused primarily by UVB and UVA rays. Sunburn is caused primarily by UVB rays.
  • The risk of skin cancer is believed to double for people who receive just one or two severe sunburns during childhood. In fact, researchers believe that 80-90% of the skin damage that causes wrinkles and skin cancer is received before the age of 18.
  • Sunburn shows damage to the skin caused by UVB rays. However, just because the skins shows no visible signs of a burn does not mean it is not being damaged by the sun.


SPF Ratings:  The SPF (or sun protection factor) measures the amount of sun protection provided against UVB rays ONLY. SPF does NOT measure the amount of protection provided against UVA rays. The SPF rating indicates how much longer it takes to get a sunburn using the sunscreen than it would without using the sunscreen. For example, an SPF rating of "2" means it takes twice as long to get a sunburn, a rating of 10 means it takes 10 times as long.

  • A tan only provides about the same amount of sun protection as a sunscreen of 3 SPF.


Skin Types: Skin is divided into 6 types for sun protection purposes. The Skin Types are:

  • Type 1: Always burns, never tans (fair skin, light-eyes, freckles)
  • Type 2: Usually burns, tans with difficulty
  • Type 3: Sometimes burns, sometimes tans
  • Type 4: Burns minimally, always tans
  • Type 5: Rarely burns, tans profusely
  • Type 6: Never burns, deeply tans (dark skin, dark eyes)


The Ozone Layer: Ozone is the gas that filters UVB rays from the atmosphere (ozone does not filter UVA rays). The size of the ozone layer (and the protection it provides from UVB) varies based on the time of day, location, season and altitude.

  • The ozone layer is at its thinnest in the tropics (UVR levels are 1,000 times higher at the equator than at the North or South Poles).
  • The ozone layer is also thinner during the summer and fall, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sand increases the intensity of UVRs by reflecting back most of the UVRs that reach the earth's surface - intensity can be increased by as much as 80%.
  • Surprisingly, water reflects very little UVR and cloud cover reduces UVR that reaches the earth's surface - but the amount of protection is determined by the density of the cloud cover.
  • The ozone layer provides much less protection from UVR at high altitudes

Sun Protection Methods

Clothing:  As with sunscreens, sun protection from UVB rays provided by clothing and fabrics is expressed in terms of an SPF rating.

Research on clothing and UVR protection has found that:

  • One hundred percent (100%) polyester has the highest SPF of all fabrics, providing 2 to 3 times more sun protection that any other fabric.
  • Darker colored clothing has a much higher SPF than light colored clothing (black clothing provides 5 times more protection than white clothing - a white T-shirt has only a 5 SPF rating).
  • Knits have a higher SPF than woven fabrics, and nylon spandex knits have a very high SPF, regardless of color.
  • The heavier the weight of the fabric, the higher its SPF. A double layer of fabric almost doubles the SPF of clothing. This is true regardless of fabric type (the same for cotton, silk and polyester, for example).
  • More tightly woven fabrics help reduce UVR transmission to the skin, but not as effectivley as heavier-weight fabrics.
  • Wet fabrics INCREASE the amount of UVR that reaches the skin - by as much as one-third.


What does this all mean for clothing in the tropics?

  • In very hot weather, wear loose fitting, tightly woven clothing. The folds of loose fitting clothing provides sort of a "double layer" of fabric, thereby doubling the SPF of the clothing. The tight weave helps reduce UVR transmission when it's too hot for more effective heavier-weight fabrics.
  • When snorkeling or swimming for long periods, wear a dark-colored t-shirt for extra sun protection.   Not only does a light-colored t-shirt offer limited SPF protection, the fact that it's wet INCREASES the UVR that reaches the skin, rather than DECREASING it.  Bicycle shorts are also not a bad idea when snorkeling.
  • Put on dry clothes (or at least cover-up) after swimming and snorkeling.
  • Wear a cover-up on the beach since UVR rays are intensified by the sand.

Sunscreens and Sunblocks

Important: Never use sunscreens of any kind on babies not yet 6 months old. Test sunscreens for allergic reactions in children by applying the sunscreen to a patch of skin. Baby oil does NOT contain sunscreen.

Sunscreens are either "organic" or "inorganic" (inorganic sunscreens are also called "physical" sunscreens). "Organic" does NOT mean the sunscreens are naturally produced. Rather, an "organic" sunscreen is one which is composed of carbon and hydrogen (among other things).

Organic sunscreens are absorbed into the skin to some extent. PABA (para amino benzoic acid) is the most famous sunscreen because of the allergic reaction it causes in so many people. Many people are also allergic to the common organic sunscreen Benzophenone (Oxybenzone), which also kills coral - so don't use it!

Most organic sunscreens block only UVB rays. For UVB protection, SPF 15 is adequate for most skin types since an SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 95% of UVB rays while an SPF 30 sunscreen stops only about 2% more (97%).

Inorganic or physical suncreens are really microscopic solid pieces of sunscreen - the most common being zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Most physical sunscreens are now microfine and with particles so small they cannot be seen (unlike the thick white paste of past lifeguard movie fame). Zinc oxide is generally considered very safe and causes very few allergic reactions.

Titanium dioxide blocks some UVA and zinc oxide blocks more UVR than any other single ingredient. No sunscreen will completely block UVA rays.

Tips on Choosing a Sunscreen:

  • Don't rely simply on statements of "protection" against UVA since some researchers believe many of these sunscreens only offer an SPF of 3 or 4 for UVA rays, even if the SPF is much higher for UVB rays. Instead, look for a sunscreen labeled "broad spectrum" that contains zinc oxide and has a minimum SPF rating of 15.
  • Apply sunscreen about 20 minutes before sun exposure to allow it time to "set up" on the skin. Reapply every two hours when swimming or sweating.
  • Use at least 1 full ounce of sunscreen per adult per application (SPF ratings are based on this amount). Using a smaller amount of SPF 30 does NOT equal a greater amount of SPF 15!
  • Make sure sunscreen/block is coral safe and doesn't contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, 4-MBC and the common preservative butylparaben, all of which can kill coral - you may have to order this type of sunscreen on-line because it may not be available in your local store. 
  • SPF Sunscreen Recommendations based on skin type:
    • Type 1 (always burns, never tans): 30 SPF
    • Type 2 (usually burns, tans with difficulty): 20 SPF
    • Type 3 (sometimes burns, sometimes tans): 15-20 SPF
    • Type 4 (burns minimally, always tans): 15 SPF
    • Type 5 (rarely burns, tans profusely): 15 SPF
    • Type 6 (never burns, deeply tans): 15 SPF


Other sunscreen tips:

  • Pay special attention when applying sunscreen to your ears, nose, shoulders and tops of feet.
  • When snorkeling, pay particular attention to the back of the calves and thighs.

Hats and Sunglasses

Hats: Hats should ideally have at least a 3" brim all the way around. Baseball caps or visors offer limited protection to the neck and ears. However, a baseball cap brim will shelter the eyes from about 50% of the sun's rays.

Sunglasses:  Sunglasses are manufactured in accordance with ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards and fall within the following 3 categories:

    1. Cosmetic use: blocks at least 70% UVB, 60% UVA

    2. General use: blocks 95% UVB, 60% UVA

    3. Special Purpose Intense Sunlight: blocks 99% UVB, 98% UVA

For tropical use, try to find sunglasses rated "Special Purpose Intense Sunlight." Sunglasses should fit tightly to block UVR from the sides and have lenses large enough to cover the entire eye area, including eye lids.

Color is irrelevant in terms of UV ratings (UV coating is clear, and doesn't affect the color of the sunglasses).

Polarized sunglasses cut down glare, but don't block UV rays. Always look for the ANSI rating - even on polarized sunglasses.

At present, UV absorbing contact lenses do not have enough UV protection.

Structural Protection:  Staying out of the Sun

  • When possible, avoid the sun from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. when the ozone layer is weakest - and UVR the strongest.
  • Avoiding the sun doesn't necessarily mean staying indoors, however. If on a boat, use the bimini top. Seek out shade on the beach (to avoid the intensification of UVR by the sun's reflection off the sand).
  • Take a break and have lunch in a shady spot or in a restaurant

Responsible Travel and Tourism in Belize

For you, the traveler, responsible travel means minimizing the potentially adverse impacts of your travel on the places you visit, not only your environmental impacts, but also your economic, cultural and social impacts. 

For us, a tourism business, responsible tourism means running and managing our business so that Belize and the people of Belize directly benefit from your travel with as little harm as possible to local cultures, the environment and social structures.  Specificially, that, money stays in local communities through patronizing local businesses, resources such as clean water remain available for everyone, not just tourists and travelers, Belizeans are not confined to low-level service jobs, but instead have opportunities to work and grow professionally within their own tourism industry, women and children are protected from exploitation - and that our clients have authentic opportunities to learn about Belize and Belizeans.    

Obviously, responsible travel and responsible tourism go hand in hand, and if achieved, give you a great and memorable vacation in a Belize that is a better place because you were there. 

So to make that achievement happen, we only work with Belize hotels, resorts, lodges, guides and tour operators that actively conserve and protect Belize's precious environment, buy local products, hire local employees, respect local cultures and cultural practices, and work to limit the adverse social impacts of tourism, especially with respect to children and young adults.

And to help you get the most of your travel to Belize, we offer the following suggestions, information and resources:

  • If you're interested in an overview of Belize politically, environmentally and socially, read Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw.  It's not a dry text book, it's a good read, and offers excellent insights about Belize.
  • While in Belize, be patient.  Belize time is a little slower than the time you might be used to.  Guides, tours operators and hotels are generally aware of time considerations and will make sure you get to your plane, boat or bus on time.  However, restaurant and shop service  might be little slow at times - slower in some parts of the country than others.  There's nothing you can do about it, anyway, so just enjoy the more laid back pace.
  • At Belize beach destinations, be aware that most Belizeans are fairly modest, and nude sunbathing on a beach is not really a good idea.  (That doesn't mean you can't do it, but it's not all that respectful of the local cultures.)  Walking around a village or town in a swimsuit is also not the most culturally respectful thing to do.
  • Belizeans do not like to encourage begging - especially by the young and/or able-bodied.  This extends to not offering candy, money or toys to kids, even if you do mean well.  (After all, they shouldn't be accepting things from strangers, should they?)
  • If you're staying in a beach area that offers nearby restaurants and shops, spend some time patronizing local businesses.  Your tourism dollar will spread much further and benefit a lot more people locally, especially if your resort is foreign owned, with most of your tourist dollars leaving the country.  However, not every "all-inclusive" beach resort is a bad deal locally.  In fact, some fairly all-inclusive beach resorts in Belize are models of sustainable and responsible tourism.  Just be aware of the issue and do some research if necessary.  (We'll be happy to help you sort through this.)
  • Unlike most beach resorts and hotels, Belize jungle lodges pretty much have to be all-inclusive - they are in the jungle, after all, and the jungle doesn't offer many dining opportunities, for example.  (That is, unless you're into a diet of insects and leaves.)  However, some are better then others in terms of giving back to nearby communities, environmental conservation and social responsibility.  (Again, we can help you sort through these issues.)
  • Be very careful when purchasing seafood if you will be preparing it yourself. 
    • By Belize law, lobster must have a tail weight of at least 4 ounces and a minimum 3" carapace. Lobster season is closed from 15 February to 14 June.  However, some resorts have licenses to sell lobster year round provided the lobster was legally caught within the open seasaon.  Our lobster stocks are in decline, and we don't think this is a good policy.  So, please, don't eat lobster out of season, even if your hotel is legally allowed to sell it. 
    • Selling, buying, purchasing or consuming sea turtle meat, eggs or the turtle shell is illegal - period. 
    • Selling, buying, purchasing or consuming bonefish, tarpon and permit is illegal - period. 
    • The shell of a legal conch must be longer than 7 inches and cleaned meat must weigh more than 3 ounces.  Conch season is closed from 1 July - 30 September. 
    • The season for Nassau grouper is closed from 1 December to 31 March.
  • Belize's road system (or lack thereof), coupled with very expensive fuel, makes recycling difficult.  Therefore, buy as little plastic as possible, take the plastic bottles you brought with you back with you so that they can be recycled, and bring a reuseable water container with you rather than constantly buying individual bottles of water. (The kind that fits on a belt is very helpful on ruins and jungle trips).
  • Members of traditional Mennonite communities do not like to have their pictures taken.
  • Older women are often called "mommy" by younger Belizean men.  This is a sign of respect, don't take it personally if it happens to you. :)
  • You should tip, particularly tour guides and hotel/restaurant personnel.
  • On tours, pay close attention to instructions from your guide.  For example, on snorkle and dive trips don't sit, stand, walk on or touch coral.  Also, be careful that your fins are not stirring up sand that can cover coral and smother it. 
  • Buy locally produced souvenirs - why bother to travel to Belize only to take home a memento made in China?  Good souvenirs/gifts include locally produced rum and hot sauces, wood and slate carvings, Mayan embroidery and Jippa Jappa baskets, drift seeds and local artwork.
  • Don't pick up sea creatures without putting them back where you found them.  It's really sad to come across a dead sea star that kids decided to play with and then left behind to die a slow and painful death on hot sand.  And, do you really need to kill a living sand dollar for a souvenir?  How about a nice carving or painting of a sand dollar instead? 
  • People speak English in Belize, have an English common-law legal system, and a British colonial background.  That's doesn't mean Belize is a British -- or American -- country.  It's Belize - part Caribbean, part Central American, part European, part African, part East Indian, part Asian, part Lebanese, part Mestizo - a land of many veils, some say.  So treat it as a mysterious gift to unravel, rather than an outpost of North America or Europe, and you'll love it even more.

Other Belize Information

This section of our Website includes miscellaneous information about Belize, such as money and communications information, tips for staying safe in the sun, transportation, and a separate section on Placencia, where we're located. 

This section also includes information about Destinations Belize, responsible travel (so that we all benefit from tourism, you, our Belize tourism industry and our local communities) and a site index in case you can't find something you're searching for.

Please let us know if you think other information helpful to travelers ought to be included in this section, and we'll do our best to accommodate.

Happy Surfing!