Belize - General Information
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Belize | General Information

General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.

  ATMs Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip. Ensure you keep your travel money in your primary chequing account as some ATMs default to this account and will not allow you to choose another. Withdrawal fees are generally much higher outside your home country. The main banks are Alliance Bank (tel 501/223-6064), Atlantic Bank (tel 501/223-4123), Belize Bank (tel 501/227-7132), FirstCaribbean International Bank (tel 501/227-7211) and Scotiabank (tel 501/227-0497). Alliance Bank ATMs don't accept foreign cards; however, you can purchase a BTM card in any amount, which functions like a debit card for use with their ATMs. ATMs are located at their branches in Belize City, Independence, Pomona and on Ambergris Caye (San Pedro). Atlantic Bank ATMs accept MasterCard, Visa and any bank card on the Cirrus and Plus networks and dispense Belize dollars. They are located in Belize City (corner Freetown Rd and Cleghorn St, Albert St and 1.5 Miles Western Hwy Old Belize), Belmopan (Garden City Plaza, Forest Dr), Brodies (Northern Hwy), Caye Caulker, Corozal (corner of 4th Ave and 3rd St N), Ladyville (Esso Gas Station, Phillip S W Goldson International Airport), Placencia (Main St and downtown by the Tutti Frutti Ice Cream Parlor), San Ignacio (Columbus Park/Burns Ave) and on Ambergris Caye (Alijua Hotel Building in San Pedro). Belize Bank ATMs accept MasterCard, Visa and any bank card on the Cirrus, Plus and Visa Electron networks and dispense Belize dollars. They are located in Belize City (60 Market Sq, 1.5 Miles Northern Hwy and on the corner of Ebony and Vernon sts), Belmopan (corner of Constitution and Melhado Dr), Corozal (corner of 5th Ave and 1st St N), Dangriga (24 St Vincent St), Ladyville (Phillip S W Goldson International Airport), Orange Walk (34 Main/Park St and at the Shell One Stop on Belize Corozal Rd), Punta Gorda (corner of Main and Hospital sts), San Ignacio (16 Burns Ave) and on Ambergris Caye (San Pedro). FirstCaribbean ATMs accept Visa and any bank card on the Electron network and dispense Belize dollars. They are located in Belize City (21 Albert St and San Cas Plaza, Belcan Bridge), Belmopan (Market Sq), Dangriga (1 Commerce St) and on Ambergris Caye (45 Barrier Reef Dr in San Pedro). You can obtain cash advances using Discover and MasterCard inside their branches. Scotiabank ATMs accept MasterCard, Visa and any bank card on the Cirrus and Plus networks and dispense Belize dollars. They are located in Belize City (2.5 miles Northern Hwy and 4A Albert St), Belama (within city limits), Belmopan (1915 Ring Rd and at the University of Belize), Corozal (4th Ave), Dangriga (10 St Vincent St), Orange Walk (corner of Main and Park sts), Placencia (Main St), Punta Gorda, San Ignacio (corner of Burns Ave and Riverside St) and on Ambergris Caye (12 Coconut Dr in San Pedro). BANKING HOURS
Atlantic Bank - Airport: Mon-Fri 9:30am-11:30am and 12 noon-3:30pm, Sat 9am-11:30am and 12 noon-2:30pm - Belize City (Freetown & Albert St): Mon, Tue, Thurs 8am-3pm, Wed 8am-1pm, Fri 8am-4:30pm - Freetown drive thru: Mon, Tue, Thurs, Fri 8am-6pm, Wed 8am-4:30pm, Sat 9am-12 noon - Corozal Freezone: Mon-Fri 9am-3pm, Sat 9am-12 noon - San Pedro, Caye Caulker and San Ignacio: Mon-Fri 8am-3pm, Sat 8:30am-12 noon - Corozal, Placencia and Belmopan: Mon-Thurs 8am-3pm, Fri 8:30am-12 noon - Ladyville: Mon-Fri 9am-12 noon and 1-3pm
Belize Bank Mon-Thurs 8am-3pm Fri 8am-4:30pm Airport branch only: daily 8:30am-1pm and 2-4pm
FirstCaribbean Mon-Thurs 8am-2:30pm Fri 8am-4:30pm
Scotiabank Mon-Thurs 8:30am-2:30pm Fri 8:30am-4:30pm Sat 9am-12 noon CHURCHES/RELIGIONS Predominantly Roman Catholic. Protestant, including Anglican, Methodist, Mennonite, Seventh-day Adventist, Pentecostal and Jehovah's Witness, also represented. CURRENCY AND CREDIT CARDS The local currency is the Belize dollar (BZ$ or BZD), which is fixed to the US dollar at BZ$2 = US$1. Paper money runs in denominations of BZ$1, BZ$2, BZ$5, BZ$10, BZ$20, BZ$50 and BZ$100 bills, and coins in 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢ and BZ$1 pieces. Most hotels, resorts, restaurants and tour operators accept US dollars, traveller's cheques and major credit cards. Note: Most establishments add a 5% service charge if you pay by credit card. To ensure hassle-free purchases during your trip, you may want to contact your credit card company and let them know you will be travelling abroad. EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS
American Express: lost or stolen card, 336/393-1111 (call collect); lost or stolen cheques or cheque cards, 801/964-6665 (call collect)
Discover Card: 801/902-3100
MasterCard: 636/722-7111 (call collect)
Visa: 410/902-8022 (call collect)
Western Union: Atlantic Bank (Belize City), 227-1225 DEPARTURE TAX
Air: An international departure tax of US$35 should already be included in the cost of your airfare. If not, it is payable in US cash at the airport. A domestic departure tax of US$0.75 or BZ$1.50 is payable in cash at the airport.
Land: A departure tax of US$18.75 is payable in cash at the border crossing (children under 12 years are exempt).
Sea: A departure tax of US$3.75 or BZ$7.50 is payable in cash at Punta Gorda, Dangriga or San Pedro. ENTRY REQUIREMENTS All visitors must present a passport valid for six months past the date of their departure from Belize, as well as proof of a return or onward ticket. Nationals of countries other than Canada, the UK and US may require a visa and/or clearance from the Director of Immigration. Consult your nearest Belize consulate/embassy or call the Belize Immigration and Nationality Department at 501/822-2423.
Note: As of January 23, 2007, all persons travelling by air, and as of January 1, 2008, all person travelling by land or sea (including ferries) to the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico and Bermuda will require a valid passport or other documents as determined by the US Department of Homeland Security to enter and/or re-enter the United States in accordance with the US Government's Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. For more information visit the US Government's Bureau of Consular Affairs website at www.travel.state.gov. Some countries require single/lone parents or other adults travelling alone with children to provide documents showing evidence of parental/custodial and/or access rights, and/or documents authorizing consent from the parents, legal guardian, and/or the court for the children to travel. Parents of adopted children, particularly those of a different nationality, should carry the proper documents.
British High Commission: 822-2146 (Belmopan)
Consulate of Canada: 223-1060 or 224-4399 (Belize City), 502/2-363-4348 (Guatemala; also for after-hours emergencies), 613/996-8885 (call collect to Ottawa)
US Embassy: 822-4011 (Belmopan) EXCHANGE RATES
As of July 4, 2007 US$ BZ$/BZD
British pound sterling 2.01698 4.02872
Canadian dollar 0.94571 1.88896
European Union euro 1.36164 2.71974
Japanese yen 0.008171 0.01632
Swiss franc 0.82418 1.64623
US dollar -- 1.99740
HEALTH STANDARDS The primary hospital is Karl Huesner Memorial Hospital/KHMH (tel 223-1548), located on Princess Margaret Dr in Belize City. Other public hospitals include Belmopan Hospital (tel 822-2263), Dangriga Hospital (tel 522-3830), Corozal Hospital (tel 422-2076), Orange Walk Hospital, Punta Gorda Hospital (tel 722-2026) and San Ignacio Hospital (tel 824-2066). The government also runs a network of health centres around the country. Private facilities include Belize Medical Associates hospital (tel 223-0302) and the Belize Diagnostic Centre (tel 223-3112), both in Belize City; the San Pedro Lions Club Polyclinic II inter-community hospital (tel 226-2536 or for emergencies, 226-2555) on Ambergris Caye; and the La Loma Luz Hospital (tel 824-2087) in Santa Elena. There is a hyperbaric chamber (tel 226-3195; emergencies 226-2851) in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Trauma and advanced medical care is limited and serious cases require airlift to the US. Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage, and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended. For all emergencies dial 911. ILLEGAL ITEMS There are harsh penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs; possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition; and possession, sale or export of artifacts and the attempt to sell or export artifacts. Import permits are required for certain live animals, foodstuff, plants and plant materials. For more information contact the Belize Customs House at 501/227-7092. LANGUAGE English is the official language. English Creole is widely spoken. Spanish is common in the north (Orange Walk and Corozal) and west (Cayo), and Garifuna or Maya is common in the south (Stann Creek and Toledo). POSTAL SERVICES The main post office (tel 227-2201 or 227-2330) is located on North Front St in Belize City. A sub post-office (tel 227-1155) is located on Dolphin St. Branches are located in Belmopan City (tel 822-2122) in Independence Sq, Benque Viejo del Carmen (tel 823-2073) on George St, Caye Caulker (tel 226-0325) on Estrella St, Cayo (tel 824-2049) on Hudson St, Corozal (tel 422-2462) on Fifth Ave, Dangriga (tel 522-2035) on Ganey St, Independence (tel 523-2012) on Pine St, Ladyville (tel 225-2765) on the Northern Hwy, Orange Walk (tel 322-2345) on Queen Victoria Ave, Placencia (tel 523-3104) on Main St, Punta Gorda (tel 722-2087) on Front St, and on Ambergris Caye (tel 226-2250) on Barrier Reef Dr in San Pedro. They are open Mon-Thurs 8am-5pm and Fri 8am-4:30pm. Airmail to North America can take one to two weeks and to the UK, two to three weeks. Courier service is also available. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS Jan 1 New Year's Day Mar 9 Baron Bliss Day Mar/Apr (varies) Good Friday Mar/Apr (varies) Holy Saturday Mar/Apr (varies) Easter Monday May 1 Labour Day May 22 Sovereign's Day Sept 10 National Day Sept 21 Independence Day Oct 12 Day of the Americas Nov 19 Garifuna Settlement Day Dec 25 Christmas Day Dec 26 Boxing Day Note: Holidays that fall on Thurs, Sat or Sun are observed on the following Mon. TAXES Hotels add a 9% room tax to bills. A 9% sales tax applies to most goods and services. TELECOMMUNICATIONS The phone system in Belize is modern and Internet and cellular services are available. The country code is 501. Local phone numbers have seven digits. For directory assistance dial 113 and for operator assistance dial 115. To make an international call dial 00 + country code + area code + local number. Belize Telecommunications Limited/BTL (tel 223-2868) provides telecommunications services. Pay phones only accept BTL Regular PrePaid phone cards, which can be used to make local, national, international, pager or cellular calls. They are available at any BTL Customer Services Center or agent, such as grocery stores, countrywide. Follow the instructions on the card to make a call. Although US national toll-free numbers (ie, 1-800, 1-855, 1-866, 1-877 and 1-888 numbers) do work in Belize, they are charged at regular international rates (ie, they are not toll free). Dial 00 first and then the number. Collect calls can be made direct to certain foreign-country operators at specified BTL phones and pay phones at Philip Goldson International Airport, some major hotels and BTL offices. Collect calls can only be made to the following countries: Antigua, Anguilla, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, St Lucia, St Kitts, Trinidad & Tobago, St Vincent, United States, US Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom. Calling cards are accepted for calls made to Canada, the UK and the US. For more information see the section in FAQs: Can I use my calling card from here? BTL/DigiCell (toll free tel 0-800-CALL BTL) provides cellular services. Check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with them. You can rent a cellular phone at the BTL Airport Customer Service Center. TEMPERATURES The annual mean temperature is 79°F. Summer highs usually never exceed 96°F and winter lows rarely go below 60°F. The rainy season usually lasts from June to Aug. Dial 121 for the local temperature, time and date. TIME ZONE The island is on Central Standard Time year round, which is six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Belize does not observe daylight savings time. Dial 121 for the local temperature, time and date.
Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All information should be verified prior to travel.

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