- Area Belize is tiny! It’s only some 23,000 square kilometers (8,867 square miles). Belize’s mainland is approximately 290 kilometers (180 miles) long and no more than 110 kilometers (68 miles) wide. Belize also comprises more than 200 cayes (islands), ranging in size from a few hundred meters to 40 kilometers (25 miles) long and four miles wide, most of which are located inside the Belize Barrier Reef.
- Location Belize lies on the eastern coastline of Central America, bordered on the north by Mexico, on the west and south by Guatemala, and on the east by the Caribbean Sea. It is separated by sea from its neighbor to the southwest, Honduras.
- Language English is the official language and is widely spoken, as is Spanish. Other languages include Creole, German, Mayan and Garifuna.
- Time Zone Central Standard Time. Belize does not observe daylight-saving time.
- Climate Belize’s weather is characterized by two seasons: rainy and dry. Most of the year’s rainfall occurs during the period from June to November, known, of course, as the rainy season. The transition from dry to rainy is very sharp. Belize annual rainfall ranges from 150 centimeters (60 inches) in the north to 400 centimeters (160 inches) in the south. The mean temperature varies from 27°C (81°F) along the coast to 21°C (69°F) in the hills. The coolest month is February, while the warmest is May.
- Clothing Light, informal clothing is recommended, except for jungle excursions, where thick forest growth and insects should be taken into account. A sweater or jacket for cool inland mornings and evenings is advisable.
- Population The population of Belize is approximately 350,000, with a great deal of ethnic diversity among Belizeans, who include Hispanic, Creoles (African-European), Mestizo (Spanish-Indian), Mennonite, Garifuna (African-Indian), Mayan, Anglo-European, Middle Eastern and Asian. The largest single group is Hispanic.
- Government Belize is an independent country with a democratically elected parliamentary government. It is a British Commonwealth member.
- Currency Exchange Local currency is the Belize Dollar, or Bz. One US dollar is worth $2BZD.
- Taxes There is a 9% government/hotel tax. A general sales tax of 12.5% has been implemented and is applicable to goods and services.
- Tipping/Gratuity/Service Charge Tipping is voluntary. Usually 10% is acceptable, with 15% for exceptional service. In some cases a gratuity/service charge may be added to your check. Ask before paying the bill.
Getting There: International Carriers
Flights to Belize are frequent and is outfitted with daily flights from several international airlines: American Airlines, United, Delta Airlines, Avianca, Tropic Air, COPA, Southwest Airlines and WestJet Airlines.
|American Airlines||+(501) 225-4145||www.aa.com|
|Maya Island Air||800-225-6732||www.mayaairways.com|
|Southwest Airlines||+(501) 225-4902||www.southwest.com|
|Tropic Air||+(501) 226-2012||www.tropicair.com|
Renting a Vehicle
As tiny as Belize is, some people may choose to rent a car to get around. In Belize, driving is done on the right hand side of the road.
There are Belize Car Rental agencies at the airport, as well as other locations throughout Belize. Your international or U. S. driver’s license will work in Belize. You will required be to leave a deposit and purchase insurance- at the car agency.
Driving Directions from Phillip Goldson International Airport to Mystic River Resort.
- Follow signs out of airport road until you reach an intersection (Sky Supermarket)
- Then turn left onto northern highway
- Drive a few miles up until you reach another intersection
- Turn left onto Burrell Boom Road (this turn is vital as if you miss it you’ll be on your way to Mexico!)
- Follow this road through until you reach a roundabout
- At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Western Hwy
- At the other major roundabout in Belmopan, take the 1st exit again to stay on the Western Hwy
- Continue straight and stay on the Western Hwy until you reach mile 64 in Santa Elena
- Watch for “CP Gas” sign on the right, you’ll take the 1st left after the gas station.
- Take that left (stay on the paved section!) and follow for 6 miles.
- Please note that the first 4 miles of your journey will be on an unpaved road.
- After 6 miles, you will see our sign on the right. The entrance is 3/4 mile away on another bumpy road!
- Follow the signs into Mystic River Resort
Driving Directions from Guatemala/ Western Border:
- Follow road from the Western border which is Western Highway for approximately ¾ of a mile
- When you reach the end of the road, make a right at the river and continue onto Western Highway
- Follow this road approximately 7.25 miles
- You will arrive at the Resort on your right hand side
Airport Departure Tax
At present there is an airport departure tax of $39US which includes a security tax and a PACT fee, used to promote, enhance and conserve Belize’s protected areas.
Visitors to Belize are required to be in possession of valid passports and return/onward tickets. Visas are not required for citizens of the US, European Union, Commonwealth nations, Caricom nations, Mexico, Austria, and Costa Rica. Visas are required for all other nationalities and can be obtained from any Belizean Embassy, consulate or British Embassy. For specific information, please contact the Immigration and Nationality Department. Anyone traveling with an infant must provide proper documentation for the child, including a valid passport and a letter of consent from the other parent if traveling solo and if applicable.
There are two official crossing points on the Mexico – Belize border. The more frequently used is at Santa Elena, 9 miles from Corozal Town in Belize and 7 miles from Chetumal in Mexico. The all-paved Northern Highway runs from the border to Belize City. The other crossing is at Blue Creek, 34 miles southwest of Orange Walk Town. The only land crossing between Belize and Guatemala is a mile west of the Belizean town of Benque Viejo del Carmen at the end of the all-paved Western Highway.
Entering Belize is a simple, straightforward process. You must present a passport that will be valid until you leave the country. It’s advisable to have at least six months of validity remaining. Officially, visitors are also required to be in possession of an onward or return ticket from Belize and funds worth BZ$120 a day for their stay in the country, but it’s rare for tourists to be required to show this. Tourists are generally given a 30-day stay which is extendable at a local Immigration Office.
Flights are now available from Belize International Airport to San Ignacio via Tropic Air. CLICK HERE for Tropic Air Flights Information.
Renting a Vehicle
Belize may be small, but it is spread out in a way that you will need a car to get around. There are Belize car rental agencies at the airport, as well as other locations throughout Belize. Your international or U. S. driver’s license will work in Belize, though you will have to purchase insurance, available at the Belize rental car agencies. In Belize, you will be driving on the right side of the road.