Belize FAQ's

I booked my trip to Belize back in February and every time I tell family and friends and coworkers that I'm going there, they ask, "Wait, where is that?" I wrote a little "Learn About" post back in March and shared a few fun facts in that post but today, I want to share a bit more practical information.

Let me quote from my own post: "Belize in Central America, bordered to the north by Mexico and to the west by Guatemala; the rest of it is coast." Here's a map if you prefer a visual:

When I plan trips abroad, I usually think about three specific things first: language, currency, and electricity. Of course there are other things I also wonder about, like cell service, wifi, time zone, visas, etc. but let's start with the basics.
  • The primary language spoken in Belize is English, though many other languages are spoken as well.
  • Belize has its own currency but USD is generally accepted. The exchange rate is $2 Belize dollars for every $1 American dollar. Easy. And an FYI, sales tax is 12.5%.
  • Belize uses the same voltage as the US (110 V) and has the same outlet shape/size as the US as well, so Americans don't need to bring an adapter.
  • I thought maybe because Belize is so jungle-y and island-y that cell service and wifi would be hard to come by. I will generalize and say that yes, you will probably be able to get cell service in Belize, as long as you have a GSM capable phone, though unless you get a foreign SIM card or some sort of travel plan, the roaming charges will be disgusting (re: expensive). I read somewhere that for a while, Skype was blocked on wifi but recently, the block has been removed. So for people like me, who prefer to use Skype instead of paying for cell service abroad, this is great news.
  • Belize is in the Central Time Zone, but they don't observe daylight savings time. This means that in the Spring and Summer, they are 2 hours behind me (in the Eastern Standard Time Zone) vs. 1 hour behind in the Fall and Winter.
  • US, EU, and many other countries don't need a visa to enter Belize (for a holiday that's shorter than 30 days). I like to always check visa requirements, lest I get kicked out of the country as soon as I land.
  • Malaria is a disease of concern in Latin American countries. However, the CDC says that there's a low risk for contracting malaria in Belize. We'll take precautions with bug spray and by staying indoors at night time.
  • In most areas of Belize, the tap water is potable. However, I expect we'll be drinking bottled water, just in case.
This is also a work in progress, but let me share my own marked up Google Maps map. I read somewhere that stores are always moving or shutting down and new places pop up all over, so I expect this map to be quite obsolete within the year, but hey, it's helpful now.

Four days to go!