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Belize - Useful Information

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You have chosen a destination which offers a friendly welcome, natural wonders, spectacular beaches and coral reefs. To help you in planning for your trip, we offer the following information.

Climate And Seasons
The climate is sub-tropical and there is generally a brisk prevailing wind from the Caribbean Sea. The rainy season is June through August with an additional short dry time in August. Annual rainfall ranges from 170 inches in the south to 50 inches in the north. Summer highs are rarely above 95 F and winter lows are rarely below 60 F.

Clothing +
Casual clothes - slacks, jeans, shorts, bathing suits, etc. - are appropriate for almost all daytime and evenings activities. Slightly dressier clothing is appropriate for evenings out in Belize City resort nightclubs.

Useful items to include in packing list:
For Ambergris Caye
Snorkeling and diving equipment (Also available for rent)
Suntan lotion, sunscreen, wide brimmed hat and sunglasses
Mosquito repellent
Binoculars, camera and plenty of film

For Belize Interior (San Ignacio, Corozal, Dangriga, Placencia) Or Tikal
Lightweight trousers and long-sleeved shirts
Lightweight plastic raincoat / umbrella
Small flashlight
Mosquito repellent
Sneakers or hiking boots
Extra pair of sneakers (These may get wet)
Binoculars, camera and plenty of film

It is handy to take a small bag for overnight excursions to the beach or to the country. We suggest a fold-up expandable type that can be carried in your large suitcase. A backpack is a necessity for those who plan to do a lot of bird watching or hiking through the jungles.

United States citizens need only a valid passport for travel to Belize. Others should contact the Belize Tourist Board for entry requirements.

Currency And Exchange Rate
The currency of Belize is the Belize Dollar (BZ$), but U.S. dollars, traveler's checks and major credit cards are accepted as payment in many hotels, restaurants and shops. The exchange rate is fixed at BZ$2 to US$1.

Taxes And Tips
As in most countries, taxes are unavoidable and tips are given on the basis of the quality of service rendered. The amounts suggested for tips in this section are a guideline for appropriate tips for average to good service. Note: It is helpful to carry a small quantity of US $1 bills for tips and easy change.

Hotels: A 5% tax is levied on all room charges. Bellboys and maids are generally tipped for their services on the average of $.50 per bag and $.50 to $1.00 per room per night of accommodation respectively.

Restaurants: Gratuities are sometimes added to totals. Otherwise, a 15% tip is customary.
Taxis: Taxis are not metered, but charge standard fees. They are recognizable by their green licence plates.
Tour guides and drivers: On group tours, the average tip for a tour guide is $3.00 to $4.00 per person for full day tours and $2.00 per person for half day tours or 10% of tour cost. The drivers tip is usually half of what is given to the guide. For private car tours, guides generally receive at least $10.00 per full day tour and $5.00 per half day.
Airports: On international departures there is an exit tax of $10.00 and a security tax of $1.25.
We suggest that while touring or shopping you leave your passport and the bulk of your money in the hotel safe; only take with you the money you intend to spend or exchange at that particular time. It is also helpful to take a copy of the picture page of your passport to carry in your wallet because it is sometimes needed to exchange traveler's checks. This copy can also be useful in the event your passport is lost or stolen.

No inoculations are required for travel to Belize, but anti-malaria tablets are recommended for extended stays in the jungle.
Electric Current
The electric current is the same as in the United Sates, 110 volts AC.
Time Differences
The hour in Belize is the same as Central Standard Time in the United States. Daylight savings time is not observed.

The official language is English. Spanish, Maya, Garifuna and Creole are also spoken.

Business Hours
Banks: 8:00am/1:00pm Monday - Thursday
8:00am/1:00pm and 3:00pm/6:00pm Friday
Shops and Shopping Centers: 8:00am/5:00pm Monday - Friday
Commerce and Industry: 8:00am/12:00pm and 1:00pm/5:00pm Monday - Friday
Some businesses are open on Saturdays.

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