|Still current at: 06 November 2012|
Updated: 06 November 2012
|No restrictions in this travel advice||Avoid all but essential travel to part(s) of country||Avoid all but essential travel to whole country||Avoid all travel to part(s) of country||Avoid all travel to whole country|
Safety and Security - Terrorism
There is a low threat from terrorism. 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 our terrorism abroad page.
Safety and Security - Crime
There have been incidents of violent crime and physical assaults, including armed robbery and rape, targeted at tourists. Armed criminal gangs from Guatemala have been known to operate in the past around densely forested areas of Belize and close to a number of tourist sites. These incidents are now uncommon and the Belize Defence Force patrols these areas.
For more general information see our Rape and Sexual Assault Abroad page.
Mugging is a risk to travellers. Although the majority of reported incidents are in Belize City, crime occurs in all districts including tourist spots such as San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Placencia. Muggings can occur at any time. Avoid dark alleys, keep valuables out of sight, and do not wear jewellery. Where possible you should travel in groups. You should use a qualified guide for trips off the beaten track. In some areas of Belize City there has recently been an increased risk of gang related violence. We advise visitors to avoid the areas around George Street and Kraal Road and to exercise caution when walking in the city.
A lack of resources and training impedes the ability of the police to investigate crimes effectively and to apprehend serious offenders. As a result, many crimes remain unresolved. Nevertheless, victims of crime should immediately report to the police all incidents of assault, robbery, theft or other crimes.
When a crime is reported, the police will take a statement and investigate the matter. Victims should be aware that this may take several weeks. You can pay a fee at any point during the process to receive a copy of the report when it is completed. Regardless of where you gave your statement, payment for a copy of the report can only be made at the main police stations: Belize City, Belmopan, Benque Viejo, Corozal, Dangriga, Orange Walk, Punta Gorda, San Ignacio and San Pedro.
For more general information see our victims of crime abroad page.
Safety and Security - Local travel
There have been a number of adventure sports-related incidents which have resulted in injuries to foreign tourists, including fatalities. Some of these incidents have involved water sports such as snorkelling and diving. Severe weather conditions and local tour operators applying inadequate safety precautions have been cited as causes. You should consult local weather forecasts before undertaking any sporting activities and only use registered and licensed operators.
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.
There have been armed attacks on tourists travelling to tourist destinations in Guatemala, including Tikal in the Peten region. See Guatemala Travel Advice for further information.
You can find more information on local travel on the Belize Tourism Board's website.
Safety and Security - Local Travel - 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. You should exercise caution during rainy conditions as the main roads can become slippery. In southern parts of the country, particularly in Stann Creek and Toledo, temporary bridges and causeways in low-lying areas may flood during severe weather conditions.
For more general information see our driving abroad page.
Safety and Security - Political situation
You should not become involved with drugs of any kind: possession is considered a serious crime in Belize and can lead to a fine and/or imprisonment.
Overt homosexuality is generally considered to be socially unacceptable and some homosexual acts are illegal. There are no openly gay bars or clubs, though there are some unofficial gay hangout spots in Belize City, Caye Caulker and San Pedro.
You are not required to carry identification whilst in Belize, but it can be useful to carry a picture ID.
Entry Requirements - Visas
British nationals can visit Belize for up to 30 days without a visa. Ensure that your passport is stamped on entry as lack of proof of entry can result in either a fine and/or imprisonment. Visitors can obtain an extension to their visas for 30 days at any immigration office countrywide. The fee is BZD$60 for each extension.
Entry Requirements - Passport validity
You must hold a valid passport to enter Belize. Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Belize.
Entry Requirements - UK Emergency Travel Document (ETD)
UK ETDs are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Belize.
Entry Requirements - Travelling with children
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children are required to provide documentary evidence of parental responsibility before being allowed to enter the country and, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.
Entry Requirements - Departure tax
The departure tax is US$35 which can be paid only in US dollars or with a credit/ debit card. It is included in some air tickets, though by no means all. There is a bank inside the airport where travellers can convert Belize dollars to US dollars to a maximum of BZD$1000. Larger amounts require a day’s notice. Passengers will need to provide the teller with their passport and boarding pass.
Contact your GP around eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and useful information about healthcare abroad, including a country-by-country guide of reciprocal health care agreements with the UK, is available from NHS Choices.
Medical facilities in Belize are limited. Serious medical cases are normally evacuated to the United States (at the patient’s expense). Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
In the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 4,400 adults aged 15 or over in Belize were living with HIV; the prevalence percentage was estimated at around 2.3% of the adult population compared to the prevalence percentage in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more information see our HIV and AIDS page.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Our travel health pages offer further advice on how to stay healthy when overseas.
Natural Disasters - 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 information and advice on what to do if you are caught up in a hurricane or tropical storm see our tropical cyclones page.
Natural Disasters - Earthquakes
Belize does not suffer from earthquakes, but tremors from earthquakes in neighbouring countries can occasionally be felt in Belize.
General - Insurance
You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. Check for any exclusions, and that you policy covers you for all activities you may wish to undertake. For more general information see our travel insurance [page.
If things do go wrong when you are overseas see our When Things Go Wrong page.
General - Registration
Whether you live or are travelling overseas, we advise you to register with our LOCATE service so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.
General - Passports
The British High Commission in Belmopan does not issue passports. Applications for new passports are accepted but are processed at the British Embassy in Washington. This may take up to six weeks. The courier cost is borne by the applicant. Before travelling you should ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months and has a plentiful supply of unused pages.
General - Money
ATMs are readily available in the larger towns and generally accept UK cards. Credit cards are not widely accepted, but this is starting to change. US dollars are accepted as currency (US$1 = BZ$2).
General - Consular Assistance Statistics
8,199 British tourists visited Belize in 2011 (Source: Belize Tourist Board). 24 British nationals required consular assistance in Belize in the period 01 April 2011 - 31 March 2012, including for four deaths, two hospitalisations and four arrests.