Belize Information

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This information is provided because many people want to visit Belize but know so little about it.  I don't know much but have visited three parts of the country and enjoyed it all.  This is by no means complete.

Belize used to be British Honduras.  That may help some of the older readers relate.  It is located in Central America, just below Mexico on the Caribbean.  It is easy to fly there.  Flights will go into Belize City.  By most US standards it is a small international airport but it gets the job done.  As a US citizen you need a US passport for entry.  No visa is required for short visits.  Nearly all the citizens speak English.  There really aren't many communication problems.  When you leave the country, you need to pay approximately $37 US for the privilege.  It may be included in the cost of your airline ticket.

The people in Belize tend to be very nice.  They work hard so that we can enjoy their country.  That is part of what makes Belize a nice place to visit.  The country certainly isn't crime free but we've never had any troubles.

The Belizean currency is $2 for each US $1.  Either currency may be used and may be mixed in a transaction.  There aren't many ATM's in the country so don't count on having one available.  Traveler's checks are widely accepted.  Visa is pretty much accepted but don't be surprised it they add a fee for the privilege.

There are basically three schools of thought in visiting Belize.  One seems to be rent a car and make no reservations and go exploring.  One is make your plans and reservations in advance whether you have a car or not.  The third would be take your backpack and head across the country without a car or reservations.  None of the approaches are wrong, it just depends on what you like.  Obviously there are other ways to travel but these seem to be the main ones.  We've never rented a car there so I don't know about that.  If we care about where we stay, we get reservations.  If not, we explore.

We've stayed in Placencia which is at the end of a peninsula in the southern part of the country.  We visited the Cayes off the Eastern coast of the country and San Ignacio in the West Central part of the country.

Getting to the Cayes can be done via Water Taxi or airplane.  Not sure one is better than the other.  The water taxi terminal in Belize City is a $25 cab ride from the airport.  When you arrive, you will be offered more assistance than 6 people would need and they all want a tip.  The boat ride is 45 minutes and costs around $17 round trip.  The boat ride itself is nice but the terminal can be a pain.  I don't know what the plane costs but it should be around $65 each way.  Its probably more civilized than the water taxi but more expensive.  You also don't see countryside and Belize City on your way.

When you arrive in the Cayes, you need to figure out how to get to your accommodations if you have reservations.  I'd work it out in advance with them.  They may pick you up or tell you that there are plenty of cabs available.  Bear in mind that on Caye Caulker, at least, cabs are large golf carts and there aren't a lot of them.  Ambergris Caye has a large assortment of more conventional cabs.

We flew into Placencia.  The drive looked intimidating so we hopped on a plane.  We saw much of that part of the country on tours.  I think I preferred that over driving even though it was more expensive.  I doubt the resorts would pick you up at the airport, but you could always ask.  We let the resort set up the tours because we figured they wouldn't steer us wrong.  It cost about $15 extra, I think.

When we visited San Ignacio, we had the resort pick us up at the airport.  We weren't really interested in a car but it would have been a fairly easy drive.  I don't actually know if you can fly there.  Many of the ruins are in or near that area as are many of the jungle lodges.  There seemed to be accommodations to  suit all budgets and tastes.  You can let the resorts plan your tours or use the companies in San Ignacio. 

Finally, the beer.  The national beer is Belikin.  It is about the only kind you can buy but that's OK.  Its surprisingly good.  Its also in the heaviest bottle I've ever seen. 

One source of information is www.belizeforum.com where you can find all sorts of opinions about Belize.  Another is www.BelizeFirst.com.  Lan Sluder has research many of the places to stay in Belize and has a wealth of information.