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Summary

Entry and exit

Visas

You may be eligible for a tourist visa on arrival. For other kinds of travel you will need to apply for a visa in advance. You may be required to show evidence of an onward ticket and sufficient funds upon arrival.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Belize, or visit the official Belize Tourism Board website for up-to-date information.

If you are travelling to or from Belize via the United States (including Hawaii), you will need to meet US entry/transit requirements. Check your visa needs well in advance of travel with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of the United States.

More information: Travel advice for the United States

Other formalities

A departure tax of US$35 applies, but is normally included in the cost of your ticket. Check with your airline.

If you are travelling to Belize with children, you may need additional documentation if only one parent or legal guardian is travelling with them. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Belize, or visit the official Belize Tourism Board website for information on what is required.

If you are travelling to Belize from a country endemic for yellow fever, you will need to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate on arrival.

More information: WHO list of countries and regions that are endemic for yellow fever

Passport

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia. Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

By law, you must, as soon as possible:

If you require a replacement passport, you will likely face delays and expense, as there is no resident Australian mission.

Money

The local currency is the Belize dollar (BZD), though US$ is widely accepted. You can travel with up to BZD 10,000. Declare higher amounts.

Credit cards and travellers cheques can only be used in large tourist facilities in Belize.

Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Belize.

Safety and security

Crime

Exercise a high degree of caution in Belize because of high levels of serious crime.

Violent crime, including assault, rape and armed robbery, has increased in recent years. In the southern parts of Belize City there is a risk of gang-related violence. The areas around George Street and Kraal Road are particularly dangerous. Crime also occurs in known tourist areas such as San Pedro, Caye Caulker, San Ignacio Corozal and Placencia.

Muggings are common, especially in Belize City and other urban centres. Tourists have been the victims of armed robbery, particularly near and around Caracol on the border with Guatemala. Criminals have targeted travellers at Mayan archaeological sites in that region.

Persons travelling alone can be victims of harassment and violent sexual assault. Security risks increase after dark.

To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime:

  • use only licensed taxis and do not let the driver pick up additional passengers
  • use a reputable tour company
  • do not travel alone, especially after dark
  • pay close attention to your personal security at all times
  • monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.

If you become a victim of violent crime, especially rape, seek immediate medical attention. There is a high HIV/AIDS infection rate.

Civil unrest and political tension

Demonstrations, protests, marches and strikes may occur at any time throughout the country. Avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings as they may turn violent.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. 

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Belize has an ongoing border dispute with neighbouring Guatemala. Only use officially recognised border crossings when travelling between the two countries. 

There have been reports of travellers becoming stranded in the jungle following heavy rains and flooding. If your plans include adventure activities or jungle treks, check local weather conditions and use the services of a reputable tour operator.

Road travel

Driving in Belize can be hazardous due to poor roads and vehicles, local driving practices, including drink driving, and inadequate street lighting. Cyclists often disregard traffic laws and run red lights. Besides the major highways, most other roads are unpaved and can become flooded, especially in low-lying areas during the rainy season. Use caution when crossing bridges on highways as they are often only a single lane.

You are four times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Belize than in Australia.

More information: Road travel

Driver's licence

You can drive for up to three months on an International Driver's Licence, which you must obtain before arriving in Belize. For longer stays, you will need to apply for a local licence from the Department of Traffic.

Motorcycles

Avoid using motorcycles due to the low standard of driving and road maintenance. Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when riding a motorcycle. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet.

Taxis

Use only licenced taxis or reliable limousine services, preferably arranged through your hotel. Licenced taxis have green licence plates.

Public transport

Some public buses are unsafe due to poor vehicle maintenance. Services may be unreliable, particularly in rural areas.

Tours

The safety standards that Australians might expect of tour operators are not always met, especially for adventure sports, such as scuba diving. Diving equipment may not be properly maintained and safety equipment, including life jackets, is not always provided.

Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if the locals don't. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, use another provider. Ensure you use registered and licensed operators.

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Belize.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences, including possession, are severe and include lengthy imprisonment served in local jails.

More information: Drugs

Other laws

Serious crimes, such as treason and murder, may attract the death penalty.

It is illegal to possess pre-Colombian artefacts without a permit.

It is illegal to photograph official buildings. Check with local authorities before taking photos.

In 2016, a Supreme Court ruling decriminalised homosexual activity between consenting adults. The ruling is under appeal. LGBTI travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Belize, as it is still considered socially unacceptable to be openly homosexual. More information: LGBTI travellers

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

The government of Belize recognises dual nationality.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

It's important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry on your person a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only. If you arrive without a prescription for medication you're carrying, you could be refused entry or prosecuted.

Before you leave Australia,check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Mosquito-borne illnesses

There is some transmission of Zika virus in Belize. If you are pregnant, discuss any travel plans with your doctor and consider deferring non-essential travel to affected areas.

Local transmission of chikungunya occurs and the number of cases is increasing. Malaria is a risk throughout the year in all areas except Belize City. Other insect and mosquito-borne diseases (including Chagas' disease, leishmaniasis, dengue fever and chikungunya) are also a risk to travellers, particularly during the wet season (April to November).

Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, always using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
  • consider taking prophylaxis against malaria.

Seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

More information:

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is a significant risk in Belize. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Other diseases and health issues

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, typhoid, cholera and tuberculosis) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time.

  • Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.

Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities are basic in Belize City, and are very limited or non-existent in rural areas. Doctors and hospitals may require cash payment prior to providing medical services, including emergency care.

Belize has one decompression chamber which is located in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you would need to be evacuated to the United States, where the cost of treatment is very high.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer or airline. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergencies

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 911
  • Medical emergencies: 911
  • Criminal issues, contact police:  911 or nearest police station.

Always obtain a police report when reporting a crime.

Australian Government

Read the Consular services charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Belize. If you need consular assistance, contact the Australian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago:

Australian High Commission, Port of Spain

18 Herbert St, St Clair
Port of Spain
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Telephone: (1 868) 822 5450
Facsimile: (1 868) 822 5490
Website: trinidadandtobago.highcommission.gov.au
Email: australianhighcommission.pos@gmail.com
Facebook: Australia in the Caribbean

Check the Australian High Commision website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the Embassy, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

If a natural disaster occurs:

If you're travelling during hurricane season, or after a natural disaster, contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected.

Hurricanes

Belize is subject to hurricanes and associated landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services.   The hurricane season is June to November, but tropical storms and hurricanes can occur in other months. The low-lying coastal islands of Belize are particularly vulnerable and may be cut off from communications and outside assistance during hurricanes.

The direction and strength of hurricanes can change with little warning.  

If you are travelling during hurricane season:

  • know your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans
  • carry your travel documents at all times or secure them in a safe, waterproof location
  • contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected.

If there is a hurricane or one is approaching:

  • identify your local shelter
  • follow the instructions of local officials
  • monitor local media reports
  • check the latest hurricane information at the National Hurricane Center website or monitor local weather at Belize National Meteorological Service
  • contact friends and family in Australia with updates about your welfare and whereabouts.

Flights in and out of hurricane-affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. Contact your airline for the latest flight information. A hurricane could also affect access to sea ports in the region.

In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe hurricane may not be available to all who decide to stay.

More information: Severe weather

Earthquakes and tsunamis

Belize is located in an active earthquake zone. All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but Belize's susceptibility to earthquakes makes destructive tsunamis more likely.

More information: Earthquakes

Additional Resources