Traveling during a global pandemic comes with extra hurdles and extra costs to ensure that you and the local population remain safe. Since reopening its airport in October 2020 Belize has made a tremendous effort to welcome back international visitors safely.
I have traveled to Belize four times since reopening and have personally experienced the changing travel requisites to enter the country. I hope my experiences can help you prepare for your trip.
Please note that this information is constantly being updated and has already changed several times over the last year so please be sure to always check with the official government website for updates.
Here is everything you need to know before traveling to Belize.
1. Who can visit Belize?
Currently, there are limited restrictions for travelers to Belize. "As of December 6, 2021, The Government of Belize states that every person who enters Belize and who has traveled from Botswana, Eswaniti, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa or Zimbabwe, shall be put into mandatory quarantine for a period of ten days at a government designated quarantine facility in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry responsible for health."
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2. Testing negative for COVID-19 is an entry requirement for all travelers, both vaccinated and unvaccinated; travelers have several testing options:
Present a negative Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Covid-19 test taken within 96 hours of arrival.
Present a negative Rapid Antigen, Sophia, SD Bisensor, ABBOT (Panbio) test results taken no more than 48 hours of arrival in Belize.
Take a rapid test (at your own expense $50USD) upon arrival. Only cash is accepted. You can pay in USD, keep in mind ATMs are not available in the Health Testing Unit. If you test positive you will have to quarantine at your own expense at your Gold Standard accommodation until you have been cleared for return to your home country.
Although there are several testing options I definitely recommend arriving with your test results. Electronic results are accepted, but I suggest taking a screenshot and saving it in case you are unable to load results without internet. I would only test upon arrival if for some reason you don't receive your results in time. Depending on where you are coming from I know it isn't always easy to get test results in a timely manner so it is nice to know that will not be a deterrent for your travel plans.
Important tip: with COVID-19 travel restrictions constantly changing airlines may give you a hard time if you show up without your results. Just be patient but insistent on what current travel guidelines to Belize allow. I recently had this experience with American Airlines and was able to reference the Belize government website but more importantly AA's website outlining the same test upon arrival alternative.
3. Tourists visiting Belize have to book their stay at a Gold Standard accommodation. An extensive list of options is available through the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) website. Please note your airline may ask for your reservation when checking in for your flight.
4. Specific measures are being taken in Belize to protect visitors from contracting the virus such as:
Mandatory use of face masks in public spaces, it's the law. Enforcement of social distancing measures in public spaces such as restaurants, bars, grocery stores, retail stores, etc. Introduction of a “Tourism Gold Standard Program”. The program seeks to enhance the tourism industry’s health and safety standards by adopting new procedures to ensure both employees and travelers are confident in the cleanliness and safety of Belize’s tourism product. Capacity restrictions for all tourism sites to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
Important to note that there is currently a curfew in place for everyone in the country, 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. from Sundays to Thursdays and 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Please remember that there are many restrictions during international travel right now, it is important to respect and follow all guidelines when you are a guest in another country. Above all be responsible and conscious of others.
5. What to expect when you land
After you disembark the plane passengers will be guided to a health screening before passing to customs and immigration. You will be directed to the corresponding line depending on if you have your COVID-19 results or require testing upon arrival. Once you present your results you will proceed to the immigration line.
Keep in mind it can get quite warm and the lines can be long if multiple flights arrive at the same time. I recommend wearing layers so you can take off your jacket once off the plane.
Lastly, above all patience is required when traveling during these times. Don't question regulations just follow them. Remember, traveling right now is a privilege and you are a guest.
You are now ready to start planning the fun part of your holiday! For more resources to enjoy your time in Belize visit my Instagram guide.
For travelers returning through or to the United States you will require a COVID test within 24 hours of your departure from Belize. For more information and local testing sites check out this post. Note that most hotels can facilitate testing for you on site for a small additional charge. I think it is well worth it to continue enjoying your last hours of vacation.