Belize City Travel Information
Local time is GMT -6.
Electrical current is 110/220 volts, 60Hz. Flat blades with round grounding pin or rectangular blade plugs are used. Most of the electricity is provided by Diesel/Generator Sets.
English is the official language and the one most commonly spoken, but you will hear Creole, Spanish, Garifuna and Mayan as well.
No vaccinations are required for entry to Belize. Travellers arriving from a yellow-fever infected area require a vaccination certificate. Cases of dengue fever have occurred, and seem to be on the increase, so insect repellent is strongly advised. Malaria prevention is recommended for those travelling outside Belize City. Potable water is available in most areas of Belize but it is advisable, if in doubt, to drink bottled or boiled water. Medical facilities are poor in the city, and almost non-existent elsewhere. Cases of severe illness or injury usually require expensive medical evacuation. Adequate medical insurance is therefore vital. For divers there is a hyperbaric chamber at Ambergris Caye.
Tipping in Belize is voluntary but as in any country, good services should be rewarded with a 10% tip. Upscale hotels and resorts may add a 10% service charge to guests' bills and this usually goes to the porter and maid who assisted you. Tour guides should be tipped a few extra dollars for their effort and taxi drivers should be tipped only if they help carry your bags or take you on a guided tour.
Although most visits to Belize are trouble-free, there have been incidents of tourists falling victim to violent crime. Muggings have been reported in San Pedro, Caye Caulker and Placencia and in parts of Belize City. Visitors should take sensible precautions to minimise the risks. These would include not wearing expensive jewellery, keeping valuables out of sight, staying in groups, avoiding dark alleys and not walking alone on the beach at night. It is also advisable to use qualified guides for exploratory trips off the beaten track. The country is prone to hurricanes between June and November; on 21 August 2007 Hurricane Dean caused severe damage to the northern Belize coast, particularly the regions of Corozal and OrangeWalk.
Homosexuality is illegal and considered to be socially unacceptable.
Belize has a fairly informal business style, although punctuality and politeness are appreciated. Handshaking, the exchanging of business cards and some small talk is expected before getting down to business. Dress is usually casual, but neat, with men in short-sleeved, collared shirts without a tie; however government-related business is more formal. Business hours are usually 8am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm Monday to Friday.
The international dialling code for Belize is +501. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). The area code for Belize City is (0)2. International Direct Dialling is available. Mobile telephone coverage is available throughout most of the country with the Belize Telemedia Ltd GSM 1900 network, and cellphone rental is available. There are two Internet service providers in Belize, with Internet cafes in urban centres and tourist areas. Postal services are reliable.
Travellers over 18 years do no have to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g tobacco; wines or spirits not exceeding one litre and personal goods or souvenirs to the value of BZ$200. Restricted items include plants, meat and meat products, live animals and processed food items.
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