This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary (removing reference to Hurricane Dean). The overall level of the advice has not changed.
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 against in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. For further information read Security and General Tips
and Risk of Terrorism when Travelling Overseas
There have been incidents of violent crime and physical assaults, including armed robbery and rape, targeted at tourists. Armed criminal gangs have been known to operate in and around densely forested areas of Belize and close to a number of tourist sites.
Mugging is a risk to travellers especially in Belize City and other urban and tourist centres. Muggings can occur at any time: day or night. Avoid dark alleys, keep valuables out of sight, do not wear jewellery. Where possible you should travel in groups. You should use a qualified guide for trips off the beaten track.
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: Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize City, San Pedro, Belmopan, San Ignacio, Benque Viejo, Dangriga and Punta Gorda.
Political demonstrations can occur in Belize City and Belmopan, often at short notice. Though most are peaceful, some demonstrations have resulted in civil disorder. You should avoid getting caught up in demonstrations.
You should monitor local media and avoid large gatherings of people or demonstrations.
There has been a number of 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 strongly advised to use only the officially recognised border crossings.
You can find more information on local travel on the Belize Tourism Board's website at: http://www.travelbelize.org
You can use your UK Driving Licence or an International Driving Permit to drive in Belize for visits under 3 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.
Homosexuality is generally considered to be socially unacceptable and some homosexual acts are illegal.
For more general information for different types of travellers see: Travel Checklists
British nationals can normally visit Belize for up to 30 days without needing to obtain a visa. However, you must ensure that your passport is stamped on entry as failure to do so can result in either a fine and imprisonment when you come to leave the country.
Your passport should have at least 6 months’ validity before travelling to Belize.
Travelling with children
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. For further information on exactly what will be required at Belizean immigration you should contact the Belizean High Commission in London: Belizean Representation in the UK
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.
Dengue Fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year. In 2007 there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of dengue.
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at: NHS Direct (0845 46 47) can provide you with advice on vaccination requirements for Belize.
For further information on endemic diseases, like rabies, health outbreaks and vaccination requirements for Belize you should check the websites of NaTHNaC
and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel
The hurricane season in Belize normally runs from June to November. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation
. You can also access the National Hurricane Centre
for updates. Please also see Hurricanes
for more detailed information about what to do if you are caught up in a hurricane.
Hurricane Dean passed through Mexico and northern Belize, on Tuesday 21 August. You should be aware that it caused extensive damage to infrastructure in the northern regions of Corozal and Orange Walk.
We strongly 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. Please see: Travel Insurance
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is What We Can Do To Help
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 Mexico City for processing. This may take up to 6 weeks. If a courier is used, the cost will have to borne by the applicant.
You are not required to carry identification whilst in Belize. However, it is advisable to do so.
ATMs are readily available in the larger towns. However, credit cards and travellers cheques may only be used in large tourist facilities.