The hurricane season in Belize normally runs from June to November. See the
section of this Travel Advice.
Over 8500 overnight British Tourists visited Belize in 2009 (Source: Belize Tourist Board). 10 British nationals required consular assistance in Belize in the period 01 April 2009 – 31 March 2010 for the following types of incident: deaths (3 cases); hospitalisations (2 cases); assault (1 case); missing persons (1 case); and arrests, for a variety of offences (3 cases). During this period assistance was also requested with regard to lost or stolen passports (9 cases).
Most visits to Belize are trouble-free. However, you should take the usual precautions against muggings, be on your guard and exercise caution, as there have been occasional violent incidents against tourists. You should also avoid certain areas of Belize City, including George Street and Kraal Road, where gang violence including gun crime is on the increase, especially at night.
There is a low threat from terrorism in Belize. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign nationals.
We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See the General (
) section of this Travel Advice.
Safety and security
There is a low threat from terrorism in Belize. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. For more general information see terrorism abroad
There have been incidents of violent crime and physical assaults, including armed robbery and rape, targeted at tourists. Armed criminal gangs from Guatemala have been known to operate in the past around densely forested areas of Belize and close to a number of tourist sites. These incidents are now uncommon and the Belize Defence Force patrols these areas.
For more general information see Rape and Sexual Assault Abroad
Mugging is a risk to travellers especially in Belize City. Although the majority of reported incidents are in Belize City, crime occurs in all districts including tourist spots such as San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Placencia. Muggings can occur at any time: day or night. Avoid dark alleys, keep valuables out of sight, and do not wear jewellery. Where possible you should travel in groups. You should use a qualified guide for trips off the beaten track. In some areas of Belize City there has recently been an increased risk of gang related violence. We advise visitors to avoid the areas around George Street and Kraal Road and to exercise caution whilst walking in the city.
A lack of resources and training impedes the ability of the police to investigate crimes effectively and to apprehend serious offenders. As a result, many crimes remain unresolved. Nevertheless, victims of crime should report immediately to the police all incidents of assault, robbery, theft or other crimes.
When a crime is reported to the police they will take a statement and investigate the matter. This may take several weeks. You can pay a fee at any point during the process to receive a copy of the report on completion. Regardless of where you gave a statement, payment for a copy of the report can only be made at the main police stations: Belize City, Belmopan, Benque Viejo, Corozal, Dangriga, Orange Walk, Punta Gorda, San Ignacio and San Pedro.
For more general information see victims of crime abroad
Belize Country Profile
Political demonstrations can occur in Belize City and Belmopan, often at short notice. They are less frequent than in the past, and most are peaceful, though some demonstrations have resulted in civil disorder.
You should monitor local media and avoid large gatherings of people or demonstrations.
There have been a number of adventure sports-related incidents resulting in injuries to and fatalities of foreign tourists. Some of these incidents involved water sports such as snorkelling and diving. Severe weather conditions and inadequate safeguards being applied by local tour operators have been cited as causes. You should consult weather forecasts locally and ensure that you use registered and licensed operators before undertaking any sporting activities.
You should exercise particular care when travelling in the Belize/Guatemala border area because of the ongoing dispute between the two countries. You are advised to use only the officially recognised border crossings.
You can find more information on local travel on the Belize Tourism Board's
You can use your UK Driving Licence or an International Driving Permit to drive in Belize for visits under three months. For longer stays, an International Driving Permit is required.
Road traffic accidents are a common occurrence and local driving standards are poor. You should take great care when driving.
For more general information see driving abroad
Local laws and customs
You should not become involved with drugs of any kind: possession is still considered a serious crime in Belize and can lead to a fine and/or imprisonment.
Overt homosexuality is generally considered to be socially unacceptable and some homosexual acts are illegal. There are no openly gay bars or clubs, though there are some unofficial gay hangout spots in Belize City, Caye Caulker and San Pedro.
You are not required to carry identification whilst in Belize, but it is useful to carry a picture ID.
For more general information for different types of travellers see your trip
British nationals can visit Belize for up to 30 days without needing a visa. Ensure that your passport is stamped on entry as the lack of proof of entry can result in either a fine and/or imprisonment. Visitors can obtain an extension to their visas for 30 days at any Immigration office countrywide. The fee is BZD$60 for each extension.
Your passport should have at least six months’ validity before travelling to Belize.
Travelling with children
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that it is required to provide documentary evidence of parental responsibility before being allowed to enter the country and, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.
The departure tax is US$35 which can be paid only in US dollars or with a credit/ debit card. There is a bank located inside the airport where travellers can convert Belize dollars to US dollars to a maximum of BZD$1000. Larger amounts will require a day in advance notice. Passengers will need to provide the teller with passport and boarding pass.
There is a dedicated swine flu page on the FCO website. Guidance on Pandemic Flu can be obtained on the UK Department of Health website.
Dengue Fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year, there have been confirmed cases in Belize.
In the 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic the UNAIDS/WHO Working Group estimated that around 3,400 adults aged 15 or over in Belize were living with HIV; the prevalence rate was estimated at around 2.1% of the adult population. This compares to the prevalence rate in adults in the UK of around 0.2%. You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.
Seek medical advice before travelling to Belize and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
Medical facilities throughout Belize are limited. Serious cases are normally evacuated to the United States at the expense of the patient. Your insurance policy should cover medical evacuation by air ambulance.
For more general health information see travel health.
You should exercise caution when travelling by road during rainy conditions as the main highways are very slippery. In the south of the country, particularly in the districts of Stann Creek and Toledo, some temporary bridges and causeways are in low lying areas which tend to flood during severe weather conditions.
The hurricane/tropical cyclone season in Belize normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation and the National Hurricane Centre. For more general information se tropical cyclones.
Tremors from earthquakes in neighbouring countries are a rare occurrence in Belize.
- An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale took place on 28 May 2009 off the coast of Honduras near to the Bay Islands. Tremors from the quake were felt in Belize, particularly in the south, where some damage to roads and buildings was reported.
- In the event of an earthquake, you should drop to the ground and take cover under sturdy furniture, in a doorway or next to an inside wall, away from windows or objects which may fall. Cover your head with a pillow or your arms and wait for the earthquake to stop before moving to a safe area outside.
- Further advice may be found on the Red Cross website.
recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any what your policy covers you and for any relevant exclusions. For more general information see travel insurance
If problems occur see When Things Go Wrong.
Register with our LOCATE service
to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.
The British High Commission in Belmopan does not issue passports and, before setting off, you should ensure that your passport has sufficient validity and a plentiful supply of unused pages. Applications for new passports are accepted but forwarded to the British Embassy in Washington for processing. This may take up to six weeks. The courier cost is borne by the applicant.
ATMs are readily available in the larger towns and generally accept UK cards. Credit Cards are not as widely accepted as in larger countries, but more companies offer this facility than previously. US dollars are accepted as currency (US$1 = BZ$2).