Belize

Belize

Use High Level of Caution

Belize (formerly British Honduras) is located in Central America between Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea. It has a diverse population composed of many cultures. With only 8,867 square miles of territory and an estimated population of 320,000 people, Belize has the lowest population density in Central America. Belize, the only country in Central America with a British colonial history, gained independence in 1981.

The government of Belize is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The head of government is a prime minister.

Tourism is the backbone of the economy. Annually Belize attracts more than 850,000 visitors and is a popular cruise stop. UNESCO has designated the Belize Barrier Reef System as a World Heritage Site, the reef being second in size to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The country has unique ecosystems, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and Mayan sites.

Currency BZD: Belize dollar
Language English. Spanish and other local languages are also spoken.
Capital Belmopan
Recent Alerts 2
Latest Alert November 11, 2019 - Dengue Fever in Belize

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Belize. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Malaria

There is a low risk of malaria in rural Belize, including some areas of Stann Creek and Toledo. There is no risk of malaria in Belize City and islands frequented by tourists.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Belize.

Hepatitis B

There is a risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Belize.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Belize, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever outbreaks have occurred in Belize, and the risk to travellers is significant.

Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease carried by sand flies in Belize, especially in the central area.

Chagas Disease

American trypanosomiasis is also known as “Chagas disease” and occurs throughout Central and South America, including Belize.

Chikungunya Fever

Chikungunya fever has occurred in this country.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in Belize. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Yellow Fever

There is no risk of yellow fever transmission. However, Belize requires all persons one year of age or older to have proof of the yellow fever vaccination if arriving from a region where yellow fever is present, including travellers having transited through an airport in a country/territory at risk for yellow fever transmission and travellers in transit in Belize.

Zika Fever

There is transmission of the Zika virus in this country.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Belize.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country. Therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country. Therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities, rural areas, or staying with friends and family.

Yellow Fever Vaccine

There is no risk of yellow fever transmission. However, Belize requires all persons one year of age or older to have proof of the yellow fever vaccination if arriving from a region where yellow fever is present, including travellers having transited through an airport in a country/territory at risk for yellow fever transmission and travellers in transit in Belize.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, bikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Belize.

Anti-malarial Drugs

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends malaria prophylaxis for high-risk patients, such as pregnant and immuno-compromised patients. The World Health Organization recommends mosquito bite prevention only. The British NaTHNaC recommends malaria prophylaxis in low-risk areas in rural Belize. For malaria prophylaxis, chloroquine may be recommended.

Safety and Security in Belize

Emergency Numbers

911

Personal Safety

Travellers should note that petty and violent crime has become a problem in Belize. Always be alert to your personal safety. Keep valuables secured and out of sight to avoid becoming a target for theft. Safeguard your important documents, such as your passport. Do not accept drinks or food from strangers and never leave your drinks out of your sight. Travel in groups and avoid isolated areas. Use taxis rather than walking at night, and never walk alone in the dark.

If travelling to Mayan archaeological sites, do so only as part of a reputable tour group.

Road travel may be dangerous due to poor road conditions, debris, animals on roadways and reckless driving. Exercise extreme caution in rural areas where roads may be unpaved and unlit at night. Avoid travelling after dark. Avoid using public transportation. Only use registered taxis with green license plates.

Exercise extreme caution when participating in outdoor adventure activities as safety standards may not be adequate. Ensure the activities are covered by your travel insurance policy.

Same-sex relations and behaviours are prohibited in Belize.

Areas To Avoid

Avoid the southern parts of Belize City as these areas are particularly dangerous due to gang violence and gun crime.

Armed robberies sometimes occur near the western border with Guatemala, including in and around Caracol. Travel to areas near the border and across the border should be done during daylight hours only. Use only official border crossings.

Political Unrest

Demonstrations sometimes occur in Belize. Sitata reminds travellers to minimize risk by avoiding large public gatherings and demonstrations due to unpredictability of these situations.

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