Belize Travel Advisory
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.
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 advised to use only the officially recognised border crossings.
You can find more information on local travel on the Belize Tourism Board's website.
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.
Local laws and customs
You are not required to carry identification whilst in Belize. However, it is advisable to do so.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised its Pandemic Threat Alert Phase to Level 6. The WHO website at www.who.int has further details. You should monitor local media reports for any developments and advice. 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 at www.dh.gov.uk.
There is currently an outbreak of a flu-like illness on the island of Caye Caulker, one of the main tourist destinations in Belize. The school on the island has temporarily been closed. and the island's Belize Independence celebrations has been postponed until late October. All other facilities on the island remain opened.
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.
You should 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 are advised to exercise caution when travelling by road during rainy conditions as the main highways tend to be slippery. In the south of the country, particularly in the districts of Stann Creek and Toledo, several 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 see Tropical Cyclones.
Tremors from quakes in neighbouring countries are a rare occurrence in Belize.
• An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale took place on 28 May off the coast of Honduras near to the Bay Islands. Tremors from the quake were felt in Belize, particularly in the south, where some damageto roads and buildings has been 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 following website: http://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/keepsafe/readyearth.html.
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. For more general information see Travel Insurance.
If things do go wrong when you are oversees then this is How We Can Help.
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. More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here.
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 six weeks. If a courier is used, the cost will have to borne by the applicant.
ATMs are readily available in the larger towns. However, credit cards and travellers cheques may only be used in large tourist facilities.