Some general information of the Country
On the Caribbean coast, bordered to the north by Mexico, west and south by Guatemala and east by the Caribbean Sea.
Approximately 249,000 inhabitants: 44 percent are mestizo, 30 percent are Creole, 11 percent are Maya, and seven percent are Garifonos (besides a large population of immigrants from neighboring countries).
The official language is English, though many speak Castilian. Besides English speaking Creole, Mayan and Garifonos.
Subtropical with a rainy season from June to August. The average temperature is 27 ° C.
When to go?
Most tourists visit the country between November and May are the driest months. However, during the summer (the rain) and hotel rates are down and there is less congestion of people. The showers tend to be short and sporadic during these months (do not forget that hurricane season runs from July to November).
GMT -6.00 (As summer is unchanged).
Currency and credit cards
The Belize dollar (BZ $) with a fixed exchange rate of U.S. $ 1 per BZ $ 2.
You can change any currency at all banks, although it may get better exchange rate on the street or across borders. Some ATMs accept foreign cards. Accepted U.S. dollars and major credit cards
You can transfer money via MoneyGram at any branch of the Belize Bank Limited.
Government offices: Monday to Thursday from 08:00 to 17:00 and Friday from 8:00 to 16:30 hours.
Banks: Monday to Thursday from 08:00 to 13:00, Fridays from 8:00 to 12:00 pm and from 14:00 to 16:30 hours.
All businesses are open on Saturdays.
110V, 60 Hz
We require a valid passport and a ticket home. European nationalities, including British citizens and American citizens do not need a visa.
For international commercial flights leaving Belize must pay $ 10 airport departure tax. It also takes a security tax of $ 1.25 plus U.S. $ 3.75 for the Conservation Fund for Protected Areas (PACT).
It allows U.S. residents to a maximum of $ 400 per person (or $ 1,000 per family) in tax-free items to return to the U.S.. They also allow up to a quart of alcohol and 200 cigarettes.
Tipping is at your discretion. In the most expensive restaurants a tip of 10 percent of consumption is sufficient.
Unique Suggestions: Belize's reef is one of the longest in the Western Hemisphere with 290 km in length. In this emerging coral reef many keys. The two largest and most visited are the Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. The first is considered the ideal island for economy class travelers, while the latter has more class resorts.
These are certainly a paradise for watersports enthusiasts, with diving and diving to the head. The underwater landscape that gives this area of Belize has made these practices the most popular nautical locals and tourists. But there are also facilities for swimming, sailing, windsurfing and fishing.
Ambergris Caye is the largest of all and has most of the tourist infrastructure. It has a population of 2,000 and is 58 kilometers north of Belize City. The population is concentrated in the town of San Pedro, where you should find the restaurants, clubs, bars and hotels, here visitors will find what you are looking for transportation without further their own feet. Life is completely informal, read: sport shirts, shorts, shoes zero and go! The reef is located about half a kilometer from the beach of Ambergris Caye, where facilities are also diving. There will organize day trips to various places to dive, as the Blue Hole (Hole Blue), Half Moon Cay and the Turneffe Islands atoll. One of the most popular places for diving is Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which is 10 minutes by water from San Pedro.
Caye Caulker (population 800) is located well north of Belize City, but unlike Ambergris Caye, is mostly covered by mangroves and palms. Its shores are also a paradise for snorkeling and diving. A number of marine species make their home in the Coral Garden (Coral Garden) and Caulker Marine Reserve, where visibility can reach 60 meters
Fun Alternatives: Lamanai
This is one of the largest ceremonial centers of Belize, which is still in full excavation and restoration. Lamanai was occupied from 1500 BC C. until the nineteenth century, besides the Mayan ruins still exist the ruins of two indigenous churches (test conversion attempts by the Spanish) and the remainder of an English-built sugar mill. Today only Lamanai can be reached by road during the dry season and with a suitable vehicle. The most popular route is by boat, sailing about 90 minutes along the New River to River Lagoon new.es The ship passes near Shipyard, a Mennonite village and will have opportunity to observe hundreds of birds fluttering in the bank (perhaps to see a crocodile!) When you come to the mainland continues the adventure through the jungle until you reach the ruins. Take a couple of hours to consider well the ruins, which include a baseball field, a small temple and a very high building Preclassic period. It is open daily from 09:00 to 17:00 and there is a small admission charge.
Caracol is an impressive archaeological site in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. It was discovered in 1938, but it was not until 1986 that he understood its importance as the supreme Maya city. The highest pyramid, Cane, is considered the tallest structure in the country built by humans, with 140 feet high.
Caracol only be visited during the dry season and need to obtain a permit from the Archaeological Department in Belmopan (most travel agents can arrange excursions, some on horseback). No services at Caracol, so come prepared with food, water and other articles of prime necessity (bring binoculars: the fauna is impressive!)
- Diving and Snorkeling
C & N Golf Carts a nasty rip-off
Although located real near the air strip, C&N Golf Carts is owned by an ex-policeman who rips off tourists. When my daughter ran into a pot hole and bent the swing arm. he charged me $700 US for a $150 part saying I could have the used parts. When I went back to pick up the parts, he and his family beat my crippled wife and hit me with a bat. Of course, the island police were no help at all. There is a much nicer place near the electric generating station in town.
Unique Suggestions: Just open your wallet and close your eyes.
- Budget Travel
watch out for thieves!
please be warned about the "reef house" on caye caulker.
it's not secure, and thieves will come in and steal your belongings while you sleep at night. very disturbing to say the least.
while we were at caye caulker, our rental was broken into 2 times. (around $1200. in stolen items)
be 'ware, caye caulker is a trap.
Unique Suggestions: make sure to secure your cash at a local bank or be very creative about where your belongings are.
Fun Alternatives: rent a secure place. check locked doors to make sure they really are locked. don't think it's secure till you test it.
Where not to go - San Pedro
Do not go to San Pedro.
We went there after the Hol Chan swim with Rays and Sharks and it was horrible. Too crowded, too many old vehicles and trucks, too many tourist traps, etc.
Couldn't wait to get back to Caye Caulker.
Caye Caulker - Rasta, raggae and Rum - Part 6
After another joyful afternoon at the split and delicious Chinese-Belizean food we headed down to a little bar on Backstreet that was equipped with a pool table. A local junior Rastaman joined us soon after we launched the first game and we decided to form teams to play a double. While Ron chose to play with the newcomer, I was left with our Texan girl Gabriela. The first match was pretty much even, yet the Texan/Austrian team was meant to win. So was the second game, however with a bit more luck and as we had won the best-of-three series anyway already we did not really pay much attention anymore. A view minutes later we saw only nine balls left on the green, which were our seven plus the white and the notorious No.8. However, luck was on our side this night and as our counterparts failed to touch the black round we left the scene with a flawless 3:0 victory. We started performing cheer dances and explaining our tactics to the unlucky ones. Defense is the best offense.
Unique Suggestions: The next day we all met again at the split and this time we did not want to give the fishes another chance. We spent some time chatting with Dice, The President, Robin and some other characters and then decided to borrow some fishing line, hooks and bait from a heavily tattooed body building local guy. Line fishing was new for me, however, after ten minutes I believed my first catch. I felt that my hook had something on it, but it was too heavy to pull it out off the water. I tried, and tried yet no success. It took me about 15 minutes to figure out that my catch was nothing else but the pier I actually sat on. The current washed my hook and line underneath the demolished concrete pier and got stuck in some reinforcement bars. I had to cut the line, did not tell anybody about this accident and left the fishing to the Rasta kids again. Nevertheless, the same night we had an awesome fish barbecue with Kenny and a Belgian couple we ran into earlier. We bought fish from local fishermen right after they returned from their tour, marinated it with any kind of spices we found in the grocery store and Kenny’s kitchen and grilled the fresh barracuda on our coke bottle lit fire.
Fun Alternatives: Nights on the Caye usually end at midnight since all locales are obliged to close their doors at this time. This night was a bit different though and after we disturbed The Rasta Dude practicing for us unintelligible rituals on the concrete pier from which he sent us away with the words “I will not take any responsibility” we returned to the Oceanside and heard to our surprise some music behind the closed doors. We acted fast and sneaked towards the backdoor of the joint. A minute later we sipped some Caribbean drinks and encountered the Wisconsin Bros. for the first time, exchanged more spring break experiences with Scotty and watched The Nurse intensively parodying a Chilli Pepper song. We happened to be part of an unofficial Oceanside after-hour party with free drinks and hula hoop contests. We heavily enjoyed watching Scotty sipping his Coke’n Rum from his oversized plastic mug, Wisconsin I almost falling asleep on the bar and Sven the Swede sliding over the sandy dance floor to the rhythm of The Wailers. We had a blast and Gabriela entertained us with some impressive Texan dancing steps. We made the Wisconsin twins believe that she was the double for Madonna’s “Music” video clips, had Jenn serve more free beer than the bar sells during regular bar hours, and Scotty miss his 7:30 A.M. water taxi to Belize City.
- Budget Travel