Belize

Belize

Use Normal 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 1
Latest Alert March 21, 2017 - Zika virus in the Caribbean - update

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.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis occurs in Belize. Travellers to this country are at risk for tuberculosis if visiting sick friends or family, working in the health care field, or having close prolonged contact with the general population.

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.

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.

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

Most travellers have no trouble in Belize. However, there have been reports of both petty and violent crime that involved tourists. Travellers should be alert to surroundings and personal security. To minimize risk, keep valuables out of sight and avoid showing signs of affluence, such as expensive jewelry or watches. Travel in groups and avoid isolated areas or dark streets. Use taxis rather than walking at night, and never walk alone in the dark. Never accept food, drinks or transportation from strangers.

Areas To Avoid

Avoid the George Street and Kraal Road areas of Belize City. 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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