Belize - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel. 
 

Last published date: 2021-09-23

Business Customs

Foreign businesspeople should not expect to find their Belizean counterparts in suit and tie, but rather business casual for the conduct of official business. Appointments are preferred and punctuality is encouraged and appreciated in business settings.

Travel Advisory

Detailed and updated travel information on Belize is available through the U.S. Department of State Consular Information Sheet at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/belize.html.

Visa requirements

U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link:  State Department Visa Website.

Currency

The Belize dollar is pegged at $2 Belize = $1 USD. The U.S. dollar is readily accepted at most places of business. Traveler’s checks and credit card payments are also accepted but often require valid identification to be presented. ATMs are also available across the country to facilitate local currency cash transactions in.

Telecommunications/Electronics

The Belizean telecommunications service providers charge some of the highest rates in the region. There are two main telecommunication companies in the country, Belize Telecommunications Limited- DigiNet and Speednet Communications – Smart Belize Limited. Land-line telephone and internet services are relatively good. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services are available as well. However, the cost of internet in Belize is higher than other Caribbean nations. Cellular phone service is available country wide, with 98 percent of the population covered by a mobile–cellular network. However, poor reception may be experienced while travelling through the hills on the Hummingbird and Southern highways, as well as through heavily forested and rural areas. Most hotels offer free or for-fee wireless access to the internet.

Belize voltage is 110 V and the plugs used are B or G.

Transportation

Belize has opened all its borders for air, land, and sea passenger travel. However, COVID-19 related travel requirements are available at on the website of the Belize Tourism Board at https://belizetourismboard.org.

International air transportation connections are relatively good between the United States and Belize City, with direct flights generally available to Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Houston, and Miami. Seasonal direct flights normally open during the tourism peak season to Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, and Seattle. Copa also offers flights to Panama via El Salvador. Tropic Air, Belize’s domestic air carrier, also offers flights to neighboring Cancun, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Despite COVID-19, trade in goods continued unimpeded. Marine ports in Belize City and Big Creek in southern Belize handle regularly scheduled commercial cargo from the United States and the UK. The Belize City Port suffers from inefficiencies, such as having only one berth and frequent tension with stevedores. There are two private cruise ship port facilities, one in Belize City and another on Harvest Caye in southern Belize. For additional details, please see “Distribution and Sales Channels” above.

Traveling by road in Belize can be challenging. Belize’s highways are two-lane paved roads, many with unmarked speed bumps, no shoulder, and often with pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Most roads lack adequate markings or reflectors. Even in urban areas, few streets have lane markings, leading many motorists to create as many lanes as possible in any given stretch of road. Portions of the country’s highways become slick when wet and are not engineered to prevent hydroplaning. Reducing travelling speed during these conditions is highly recommended. There are five major highways in Belize (Philip Goldson Highway, George Price Highway, Hummingbird Highway, Southern Highway, and Coastal Highway) and a total of 4,515 km of roads, of which only 791 km are paved. Road and infrastructure improvements are currently a national priority with several major road construction, expansion, and safety projects underway. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles without functioning lights can pose an increased risk of driving at night, in addition to wildlife crossings.

The least expensive way to travel around Belize is by public bus. Buses and vans are in poor condition, lack safety equipment, and are often slow. There are, however, several car rental firms, including U.S. franchises such as Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Thrifty.  Traditional taxis are available. There are no trains or ride-sharing services.

Belize has reasonably inexpensive water taxis that travel between the mainland and all major island tourist destinations. There are two major commercial domestic air transportation providers that fly within Belize, one of which also offers flights to destinations in neighboring countries.

Language

The official language is English and is widely spoken. Belize’s second-most common language is Spanish. Locals often speak in Belizean Creole, which is derived from the English language.

Health

Belize is generally safe for travelers in terms of general pollution and hygiene. Most piped water is potable, and the air is free of pollution except for a few weeks in spring when crops and brush are burned to clear land.

Medical care for minor conditions is generally available in urban areas. Trauma care or advanced medical care is limited to the only public tertiary healthcare facility in the country in Belize City. Emergency services, such as ambulances, are seriously limited, even in urban areas. Serious injuries or illnesses often necessitate evacuation to another country. Americans are urged to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling to Belize to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses, such as a medical evacuation. Tourists are strongly encouraged to obtain medical insurance that would pay for medical treatment and medical evacuation before traveling to Belize.

Like other countries globally, Belize has not been spared the effects of COVID-19 and its transmission among the general population. COVID-19 related travel requirements are available at on the website of the Belize Tourism Board at https://belizetourismboard.org. While in Belize, tourists are vulnerable to mosquito-borne diseases including dengue, chikungunya, and zika. While the risk of malaria is low in Belize, travelers to certain areas are at higher risk and may need to take extra precautions. They should also be up to date with routine vaccinations such as measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), and to get travel vaccinations for diseases such as hepatitis A and B, rabies, and typhoid. The country suffers from the highest rate of HIV infection in Central America and the Caribbean. For further information, please see the Center for Disease Control at https://www.cdc.gov/.

Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays

Belize’s Standard Time is six hours behind UTC/GMT and Daylight-Saving Time is not used. This is equivalent to Central Standard Time year-round.

Normal business hours for the private sector are from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Government offices follow the same schedule except on Fridays when they close at 4:30 p.m. The one-hour lunch hour is strictly adhered to, but lunch meetings at restaurants are common. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business hours have varied. It is advisable to call in advance and confirm opening hours.

A listing of national holidays is available at https://www.pressoffice.gov.bz/public-and-bank-holidays-2022-updated.

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings

The Belize Customs Department allows temporary entry of certain items into Belize, providing that the items are not modified or transformed while in Belize. Businesspersons traveling with items such as laptop computers and exhibit materials generally do not have any difficulty in getting a temporary permit to bring these items into the country.

Travelers are allowed to enter and exit the country with a maximum of US $5,000 in cash, cheques, or negotiable instruments. A traveler must declare any currency exceeding this amount upon entry into the country to Customs officials or face penalties of incarceration or fines for violations.

If a traveler is unvaccinated or cannot show proof of vaccination upon entry into Belize, A COVID -19 test will be administered upon entry into the country at the cost of US $50, to be borne by the traveler. Since February 2022, all foreign travelers to Belize must purchase travel health insurance while in Belize. Other COVID-19 related travel requirements are available at on the website of the Belize Tourism Board at https://belizetourismboard.org.