Being closely connected to the Caribbean, Belize is a very casual place to visit. Shorts, flip-flops and a T-shirt will pretty much take care of any dress requirements you will find. The average temperature in Belize is a pleasant 81°F, with summer highs in the upper 90’s and lows that rarely ever fall beneath 70°F.
Most of the time you won't even need the flip-flops. Be sure to bring lots of sunscreen with you to protect yourself from the beautiful, balmy Caribbean sun. A good pair of polarized sunglasses will make sure you're able to see everything around you, instead of squinting your eyes against the bright light. Bug spray is always a must, especially if you are going to be traveling during the wet season (roughly from June-November).
If you have any special needs items, i.e. medications, supplements, contacts/glasses etc…, be sure to bring those with you with extras if you can. It can be very hard to track down specialized items in Belize, as these may not be commonly stocked in stores. Belize uses 110 volt, 60 cycle electricity, which is the same as the U.S. Outlets are typically the 2 pronged flat type so U.S. travelers will not need a specialized adapter.
If you have any questions or concerns about what to bring with you, please feel free to give us a call or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We're more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
The following items are exempt from duties and taxes:
Clothing, jewelry, and toiletries that are for personal use during your stay in Belize;
Wines or spirits not exceeding one liter in total;
Tobacco, not exceeding 250 grams or less than 50 cigars, or less than 200 cigarettes;
Goods less than $200BZ through the airport and $50BZ elsewhere that belong to the visitor and are for personal use, such as gifts or souvenirs.
Visitors may claim these items no more than twice a year through the airport, and no more than once a month through other entry points.
To avoid paying duty on the foreign-made high-ticket items that you already own and will take on your trip to Belize, register them with customs before you leave the country. Consider filing a certificate of registration for items such as laptops, cameras, watches, and other digital devices identified with serial numbers or other permanent markings; you can keep the certificate for other trips. Otherwise, bring with you a sales receipt or insurance form to show that you owned the item before you left the United States.
TIP #1 - ONLY PACK THE ESSENTIALS - Save yourself some hassle and stress when traveling and only carry the essentials. Cover all the basics and make a list of things you absolutely need. To develop your list, search through blogs and websites to see what others recommend.
TIP #2 - FIT MORE INTO YOUR SUITCASE - The best way to gain space in your suitcase is by rolling your clothes. You will end up making less of more and possibly not have to pay extra baggage fees.
TIP #3 - BUY STUFF AT YOUR DESTINATION - Take into account that Belize will have tons of stores where you can buy stuff that you will need. I recommend that you only pack the essentials and then make a list of the things that you can get at your destination.
TIP #4 - BELIZE HAS SEASONS - December, January, February, March, April and until mid-May is Belize's dry season. The heat makes for a fun time in Belize but you must pack for it - use appropriate clothes and protect yourself against the sun (bring sunblock). June, July, August, September, October and November is the rainy season. For a couple of hours a day, there may be unexpected rain outbursts and a poncho can come in handy.
TIP #5 - USE LAYERS - Heavy clothes can be comfy and warm but it takes up a lot of space in your luggage. It is better to bring lighter clothes and layer up for the same effect.
TIP #6 - SET ASIDE HEAVY ITEMS - Heavy items can be worn during transit. I usually wear my jacket, thick jeans and sturdy boots since it frees up some space and makes my bags lighter.
TIP #7 - DRESSY vs. CASUAL - Contrary to you traveling to Paris or NYC, tropical destinations are all about dressing casually. Most of the time you will be hiking and beach lounging so it is all about dressing comfortably. Plus, being overdressed will make you stick out like a sore thumb and may draw unnecessary attention.
TIP #8 - OVER-PACK vs. UNDER-PACK - What's worse to over-pack or under-pack? People that prefer over-packing say that even though you don't end up using some things, the security of having it is reassuring - people who are against over-packing say large bags are too much of a burden and why bother since it is always possible to just buy stuff at your destination if you ever need it.
Let's just say that it is best to do what makes you happy and try to strike a balance. Personally, I just travel with a carry-on so you can imagine that I don't bring alot of stuff with me.
WHAT TO PACK FOR A 1 (to) 2 WEEK STAY - IN BELIZE
Regular T-shirts & long sleeved T-shirts for sunburn protection & jungle hiking.
Couple dress shirts or blouses.
Shorts or skirts (preferably cotton), remember you're in the tropics.
Beachwear/swimwear - Women a sarong is multipurpose and very handy.
Two pairs of long pants. Sometimes dressy & somethings for the jungle.
Underwear, of course.
A lightweight jacket or raincoat. Something waterproof to keep you dry and warm if the temperature drops.
Comfortable socks, nothing to thick.
A hat to cover your face from the sun. A baseball cap or some other type of hat
Hiking or walking shoes (best to wear these when traveling, so it doesn't weight down your suitcase).
One or two beach sandals or slip flops.
Toothbrush & toothpaste
Shampoo & body soap
Brush or comb
Deodorant & Antiperspirant
Cosmetics & other personal items (such as body lotion, antibacterial wipes, etc.)
BOOKS & DOCUMENTS
A good guidebook (i.e. a bird identification guide).
Reading materials to use during transit.
A passport that will not expire in the next six months. Have photocopies (paper & digital).
Identification cards (driver's license) and insurance card with emergency contact information.
Most credit cards and debit cards are accepted in Belize and there are Banks/ATM's scattered around town.
If you wear prescriptions glasses, pack a spare pair or bring a floating strap if you'll be kayaking or canoeing.
Bring your contact lenses and cleaning solutions. Eye drops if you have them.
Important medicines and vitamins or doctor prescriptions.
Insect repelent - you will need copious amounts for jungle hikes.
Sunblock is your friend. Choose one that is highly water resistant and coral reef friendly.
A small flashlight
Binoculars for birding
Laptop or tablet
Cell phone - if you have a good international roaming plan or just to take Instagram photos
Day pack for day activities is very useful
Don't forget the chargers for all your electronics
Headphones for flight time
Address of family and friends for sending postcards or emergency contacts.
PACKING FOR RAINY SEASON - IN BELIZE
Light Rain Jacket & Small Umbrella Since “the weather” can come and go quickly, it’s always a good idea to travel with a light jacket (with hood) and a small umbrella. Make sure it's waterproof and breathable. Can you buy it in Belize? Good ones? No. Most locals take a large black leaf bag, cut a hole for your head and arms and use that. So bring something with you when you come.
Zip-lockbags No matter when you are traveling (or where), bringing a few extra Ziplock bags is always a good idea. Great to take on a snorkeling trip for your camera or, just in case it starts to rain to protect your phone or your wallet. Can you buy these in Belize? Absolutely, but they'll be 2-3x's the price compared to home. So bring some with you.
Water Proof (non-slip) Sandals Flip flops are the perfect island shoe, but become pretty useless for walking in when it rains. Bring with you a good pair of waterproof (non-slip) sandals. If you are planning on any jungle or Mayan ruin excursion, bring with you a good pair of hiking shoes.
Mosquito Repellent & Anti-Itch Cream Can you buy these in Belize? Yes, but they'll be 2-3x's the price compared to home. So bring your favorite brand with you.
PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM BUGS THAT BITE - IN BELIZE
THE MOSQUITO: Most people already know how to deal with these guys. Warm climates, fresh water, and rainy season, bring them out. In Belize, the time mosquitoes are most prevalent are May to November. If you plan on doing any jungle tours or trips to Mayan ruins, then you will experience these guys regardless of the time of year. They are worst in the early morning and in the evening and during those times, spray is a must. Bring some insect repellent with you when you come. Those containing light DEET or picardin work best for me. If headed into a mosquito-rich area, try some of the heavier sprays – ones that have a bit more oilyness to them. They tend to last longer when sweating and help protect against other nippers.
SANDFLIES: Sandflies are tiny bugs that you can hardly see. Locally, they are known as "no-see-ums". They are super annoying, bite like hell, and leave a raised red bump on your skin. They are common on or near sand where these fiends lay their eggs. For beaches that are common raked or heavily used, there are less sandflies. On Ambergris Caye, you will find less as you get closer to town. In more remote areas, they can be annoying, especially as the sun sets and the wind is low. An oily barrier works best from protecting your tender skin from these little jerks. They are so small that it prevents them from biting. I like a nice oily bug repellent that leaves them choking and drowning, it does double duty but coconut oil or baby oil seems to do the trick.
BOTLASS OR “BATTLE ASS” FLIES: These bugs live up to their name. You don’t really even notice them, until you see a droplet of blood on your ankle. At this point, prepare yourself for a bite that is SO itchy (come evening), that you will want to rip off your own foot. The bite turns red, almost purple and itch uncontrollably. At this point, Benadryl and lots of it is your only remedy. Avoid these bugs at all cost. Have hoses and socks, and lots of heavy oily bug spray to keep these guys away. Don't mess with baby oil, go for the bug spray with DEET.
DOCTOR FLIES: I have no idea where they got their names, but they're bite is not nice. They can be aggressive about following you, but easy to kill. They seem to come out about the time when bushes and scrubs start to flower and fruits are blooming (late spring/early summer).
FIRE ANTS: Most bugs bite to protect, no so with fire ants. They just bite to bite. If you're in a forested area, wear closed shoes. If you on a sandy or dirt area, just simply look down for any any piles nearby. If you look down and there is a red ant on your foot…kill it quick, if there's one, there are more. You will immediately start to feel a burning sting, step away from where you are standing and brush off your legs and feet.
My suggestions for these nuisances when visiting Belize:
Don’t freak out! Bugs in Belize are manageable. Sometimes non-existent depending on the time of year.
Come prepared. Repellent is EXPENSIVE here, so bring some with you.
Bring some anti-itch cream (liquid Benadryl), no one likes to be on vacation with itchy skin.
Bring medication if you are highly allergic to bites.