With crystal blue waters, a short flight from the U.S. and English as its official language, Belize is the best of both worlds — Central American culture and beaches paired with relative traveling ease. Relaxation, fun, and beauty, together in one place.
I’ve put together a list of the top items I needed on my trip, including what to wear in Belize, what NOT to bring, and FAQs.
Above all, be sure to bring a big smile, a sense of adventure, and your appreciation for local cultures and cuisines. Enjoy your trip!
1) Universal Waterproof Phone Case – Our phones are our links to the world, and if you’re anything like me, you carry your phone everywhere. Since Belize is a place filled with adventure and water sports you’ll want to be protected. This case sheilds your phone from dust and dirt, scratches, and water damage, all for an affordable price tag. And it still allows for photo and video use even underwater!
2) Packing cubes – When you’re traveling you want your belongings to be organized, easily accessible, and compact. These fantastic packing cubes really do save a lot of trouble by accomplishing all of those goal. They’re easy to move from one bag to another, they are a set of multiple sizes for different uses, and they’re easily washable. Anything that makes your travel-life easier is worth having, and these certainly do.
3) Activated Charcoal – With travel often comes stomach upset, whether it’s caused by the traveling itself or by eating something that doesn’t agree with you. Either way, activated charcoal is an absolute must-have. The charcoal absorbs toxins in your system and helps you move on to the many fun parts of traveling.
4) Virtual Private Network (VPN) – Until recently, I thought VPNs were just a way to increase or unrestrict one’s own personal access to the internet. They certainly are, but it turns out they do a lot more than that, especially where security is concerned.
A good VPN like NordVPN provides an additional level of security that could mean the difference between safely going online at cafe’s, airports, and BnBs etc and having your private information like credit card numbers hacked or stolen. It’s a scary prospect, but this inexpensive and easy-to-use service can keep you safe with one touch of a button!
5) Neck Wallet – It’s not the best idea to leave valuables in your room, and you may end up needing to keep your passport and small amounts of cash on you while you explore Belize. It can be hard to keep your wallet completely safe when you’re doing so many activities, so it’s better to use something like this to protect your valuables, and to keep them out of sight.
6) Reef-Safe Sunscreen – Belize is known for its reefs, and once you see them you’ll know why – they’re gorgeous! Reefs are delicate ecosystems, though, and it’s very important to remember that when you’re selecting sunscreen and other lotions/oils. This reef-safe sunscreen allows you to protect yourself from the harsher Belizean sun while still respecting and protecting the aquatic environment and its inhabitants – no toxic chemicals to harm the coral and fish means a healthier reef.
7) Flotation Strap – In addition to the waterproof phone case I also highly recommend bringing a flotation strap to help keep your device safe and avoid it sinking should it fall into the water! This is a must if you bring your phone on a boat, paddle board or while snorkeling etc.
8) Affordable Underwater Camera – Belize is all about the water, and even when you’re not in the water you’ll want to be sure your camera isn’t susceptible to water damage. Capturing those unBelizeable memories is easy when you have a handy little camera like this one. It’s waterproof, sturdy, and light-weight, which means it’ll go wherever you do so that you don’t have to miss a moment. It’s also a more accessible and less expensive option for those who don’t want to sped more on a GoPro or a DSLR camera.
9) Women’s and Men’s hiking shoes – So many of the activities in Belize involve walking or hiking, and it’s important to wear shoes that won’t hurt your feet or leave you sore at the end of the day. Decent hiking shoes provide support, and these ones are even water-resistant in case your jungle hike is a little muddy or rainy.
10) Water bottle with built-in filter – In many towns and areas of Belize, the tap water is considered questionable or unsafe to drink. It’s incredibly important to stay hydrated in such a warm climate and while engaging in activities in the sun, so having a water bottle with a built-in filter is a great idea. It allows you to keep fresh, safe water with you at all times, and it will save you from having to buy bottle after bottle of water from vendors.
11) Sarong – I will never travel without a sarong. I have found so many uses for mine – pillow case, privacy screen, beach wrap, travel blanket – that it’s one of the first things I recommend that any traveler bring with them to almost any destination. It’s small and lightweight so it adds almost no bulk, and it will come in very handy.
12) Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger – This portable, lipstick-sized charger is one of my new favorite travel must-haves because it makes keeping my camera and phone charged so much simpler. It can hold multiple charges and uses simple USB output to connect to your devices. You can even continue your activities while you’re recharging your devices, because this charger can continue charging while safely inside a backpack or bag.
13) Leave-In Hair Conditioner – Sun and swimming are rough on your hair, and you don’t want to let an otherwise amazing trip ruin your hair for when you get back. Leave-in conditioner is an easy answer, and it really works wonders, not only protecting your hair but also repairing existing damage! As an added bonus, you’ll smell lovely all day.
14) Rain jacket: Women’s and Men’s – Rains are common in Belize, and they can soak you to the core if you’re not protected from them. Being chilly and soggy is not an enjoyable feeling, so bringing a packable and lightweight jacket is always a good idea. This one will fit inside your daybag so you can take it with you everywhere and you’ll never be caught unprepared.
15) Travel Insurance for Belize – This is an absolute must for traveling in Belize. If something bad happens on your trip – theft, accident, medical emergency – you’ll need a plan, and travel insurance from World Nomads is the answer. We swear by it. Plus it’s affordable and an easy way to relieve the worry of potential problems so that you can fully enjoy your trip.
16) Backpack – Since most of your belongings will stay back at the caye while you’re out during the day, you’ll want to bring a small to mid-sized daypack with which to hold your gear and water. Something durable and comfortable, but not heavy is key – this one is highly rated for its comfort and ease of use!
17) Female Urination Device – Believe it or not, toilets are not quite as modern or even as easy to find in many parts of Belize. With this in mind, I recommend bringing this female urination device to help ensure that when you have to go, you can. It is an extremely handy item to have with you in so many world regions, and it’s highly-rated and very easy to use.
Plan to bring easy, casual outfits that you feel comfortable in and which can transition from daywear during activities and beach time to evening wear for dinner and lounging. Avoid jewelry and items you wouldn’t want to get wet or dirty, and of course bring at least one (if not several) swimsuits!
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
Shorts, sundresses, sarongs, and tank tops are perfect for women here. Local women wear shorts, dresses, and skirts, which help them stay comfortable in the climate.
Sometimes locals will wear pants; keep in mind, they’re likely more acclimated to the heat than you are as a visitor. Loose clothing is ideal because it will keep you feeling cool in the humidity. To shield yourself from the sun, bring a pair of loose-fitting linen pants, a maxi dress, and a sunhat. Sandals are the ideal footwear for Belize, but pack a pair of hiking sandals or shoes for active days. If you visit during the dry season, it can be chilly at night; pack a sweater and a pair of pants in case of emergency.
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
Casual clothing is the norm in Belize. The local uniform favored by men and women in Belize consists of shorts and t-shirts (sometimes with a collar!), and visiting men can plan to dress the same. Shorts accompanied by a loose-fitting shirt and sandals will keep you feeling fresh and comfortable during your stay. For active days, synthetic exercise clothing does well to wick sweat and often offers extra UV protection that’s built into the fabric. A straw hat and polarized sunglasses will give you additional protection and relief from the strong Belizean sun.
Belize is so far south it only really has two seasons: wet and dry. Temperatures stay fairly stable year-round, though humidity in the wet season will amplify it, and breezes in the dry season will give some relief. This paradise is all about relaxed, beachy vibes, so keep your outfits breezy and your colors vibrant and fun!
DRY SEASON – January, February, March, April, May:
The dry season is considered the “cool season” because the daily average is just a touch lower than that of the wet season, and because the dryness makes the heat feel a little less intense.
As you approach the wet season (early to mid-May), sporadic rain showers are more common. You can pack a rain jacket to keep you dry in case of a downpour, and a travel umbrella is also a wise thing to have on-hand. Temperatures average between 80°F to 88°F (27°C to 31°C) much like the rest of the year, but it’s drier and breezier during this season.
WET or RAINY SEASON – June, July, August, September, October, November, December:
The wet season in Belize starts in June and usually goes through December, though it can vary by a couple of weeks give or take. The hurricane season also falls within these months. During this time, rain showers are frequent. Though they don’t tend to last more than a few hours, they are very intense and can occur fairly suddenly.
Humidity during this season intensifies the heat, so the temperature will feel hotter than it really is.
Carry a rain jacket and a travel umbrella with you at all times, and wear waterproof active shoes when you’re out and about. Hiking sandals are perfect for Belize, and will dry quickly. Don’t forget quick-dry fabrics – linen pants and shirts are your best friends, as are activewear materials. Try these moisture-wicking scarves to keep you comfortable and dry – they’re like magic and can be used as headbands or head/neck scarves. Temperatures average between 80°F to 90°F (27°C to 32°C) like the rest of the year, but with plenty of humidity and rain.
Diving/snorkeling – Whether you’re headed off to dive the Blue Hole or to another of Belize’s marine reservations, you’ll want to be sure to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect your skin from the rays. Wear a rashguard for extra UV protection while snorkeling. Additionally, a dry bag or waterproof backpack will help keep your belongings dry while in the boat all day.
Visiting Mayan Ruins – Once part of the Mayan empire, Belize has many ancient ruins to be explored. Plan to wear comfortable footwear because extensive walking is in order. Light, loose-fitting clothing will be most comfortable in the heat and humidity, and of course, a sun hat and sunglasses are essential. A crossbody purse or small backpack comes in handy for carrying snacks and water.
Cave tours – Cave tours involve jungle trekking, swimming, and clamoring over slippery rocky surfaces. Wear a swimsuit and synthetic clothing that will dry quickly when wet, because you’ll be in and out of the water. This type of outing calls for sensible shoes; wear sandals with secure straps, or water shoes with good grip. A dry bag will protect your belongings along the way.
Lounging by the water – There’s no doubt that you’re going to spend much of your time lounging by the ocean or pool during your visit to Belize. Swimwear is essential, as well as a swimsuit cover-up to offer your skin relief from the sun. Take a beach bag or small backpack to carry your reading material and water bottle.
What NOT to bring to Belize:
1) DON’T BRING valuables: While generally safe, there are pockets of higher crime areas — particularly in cities — in Belize. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so pack only the essentials and keep valuables at home. This includes jewelry, electronics, and any keepsakes that you wouldn’t want to lose or have stolen.
2) DON’T PACK cold weather clothing: It stays warm year-around in Belize, so you’ll likely never need more than a light long-sleeve — and that’s only if you’re there during the winter. Most of the time it’s warm and humid, even at night. Leave these extra items at home and save space in your suitcase for things you’ll really need.
3) DON’T TAKE your computer: Unless it’s completely vital, keep that screen at home. If you do feel the need to bring your computer, a lightweight one is best, but I still don’t recommend it because it’s an incredibly valuable piece of equipment. Enjoy the time to “unplug” and escape the daily grind.
4) DON’T PACK denim or other heavy fabrics: Honestly, a hot and humid climate like that in Belize is not the place for thick materials like denim – especially white denim. It looks great, but you’ll regret wearing it. Opt for lighter, fast-drying materials like linen or moisture-wicking athletic and active fabrics.
5) DON’T BRING nice jewelry or fancy clothes: The dress code is casual, regardless of the activity. Unless you’re staying at a higher-end resort or feel the need to splurge, you’ll often find yourself eating outdoors or at an open-air restaurant with your feet in the sand, soaking in the relaxed atmosphere. At most, pack one nicer outfit if you plan on having a fancy date night or something, but keep it fun and light.
6) DON’T TAKE heavy books: You may find time to read in this gorgeous locale, but you certainly won’t want to bring actual books. They’re heavy, they’re bulky, and they run the risk of being ruined in the humid atmosphere or on the beach. Bring a Kindle instead, and load all of your desired reads onto it. Seal it into a protective, waterproof cover if you’re worried about it around water.
Dressy clothing is not necessary when visiting Belize. Of course, there are occasions where formal dress is appropriate, mainly if you’re staying in an upscale resort, but otherwise it isn’t necessary at all. Because the temperature is so hot and humid, it’s best to avoid heavy cotton clothing like jeans and sweatshirts. Due to the humidity, these fabrics will never dry if they become wet, and you’ll feel miserable wearing them. Pack layers if you’ll be visiting during the winter months, but opt for synthetic or lightweight materials such as activewear and linen.
FAQs for traveling to Belize
Is it safe to drink the water in Belize?
Drinking water varies in the country, with mixed information on its safety. To err on the side of caution, most accommodations provide drinking water, either via bottle or large filtered gallon jugs. It’s best to pack a water bottle with built-in filter if you want to be absolutely sure you always have a supply of drinkable water.
When should I visit Belize?
Typical high season is from December to April, with cooler temperatures and less chance of rain. The rainy season is June through November. Belize is in the path known for hurricanes – hurricane seasons are in August and October.
The low season, while a higher chance of rain, can still be a great time to visit, since it boasts fewer tourists and lower prices. I traveled there in June and rain was never a problem.
Where to go and what to do?
The first decision to make is which “caye” – Belizean island – you’ll want to call home while in Belize. No matter which you choose, you’ll almost certainly love it, so don’t stress too much about your options.
Ambergris Caye is one of the most popular, with many shops and restaurants, but it’s also one of the most crowded. This may dissuade you if you’re looking more for a peaceful escape without a lot of other tourists.
My choice was Caye Caulker because it was laid back with a handful of delicious restaurants — but nice and quiet. As for how to spend your time, you have a variety of choices based on your interests and location, including:
Visit Mayan Temples
Boat trip and beach BBQ
Nightlife — restaurants and beach bars
Are any vaccinations recommended?
The CDC typically recommends Hepatitis A and Typhoid, alongside routine shots like MMR, chickenpox and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis. Additional vaccinations may be recommended depending on location and long term travel itinerary. Travel recommendations can certainly change – make sure you check the CDC Belize recommendations page for updated information.
What is medical care like?
While healthcare is not as high-quality as other countries in the region, most minor issues should be able to be taken care of at clinics in more populated areas. However, for serious issues, make sure that you have an insurance policy that will cover you — or look into getting additional Travel Insurance to cover the gap in coverage.
What’s the best way to get around Belize?
As mentioned, many of the cayes — or islands — require a ferry to get to. Upon landing in Belize City, you’ll head to the port and take off from there. Also several cayes don’t allow cars, so once you reach your island, a golf cart will carry you the final stretch. Check with your accommodation, which can help coordinate. Otherwise, walking is a pleasurable and easy way to venture around. On my trip, one of the best parts of walking back from dinner was scoping out the street food vendors for dessert. My favorite: the cake lady (yes, that is what she called herself).
Do I need a plug adaptor?
Electrical outlets in Belize take the same voltage as the U.S., 110 volt, 60 cycle. However, it would be wise to bring an adapter if you plan to visit or pass through any other countries on your trip.
Do I need a visa to visit Belize?
No visas are required for U.S. citizens for up to 30 days, but you must have a valid passport for the duration of your stay and proof of departure. Visas are required for those wishing to stay longer than 30 days.
What’s the Belizean food like?
With an eclectic mix of the flavors of the region, seafood is the highlight here. If you wish, you can catch your own dinner if you’re taking a fishing trip, and ask a local restaurant to fry it up for you for dinner. Not into the DIY seafood? Many restaurants will simply line the day’s catch on ice trays out front. You can point to exactly what you want. Otherwise, a dish of rice and beans is a mainstay. Additionally, expat-owned spots cater to western palates with pizza joints and bars. Belize is also known for its cashews, and if you take a day trip away from the coast you’ll likely spot stalls selling cashew
wine along the side of the road. Be sure to sample some — it can be great to sip as you’re floating down a river while cave tubing. Otherwise, Belikin Beer is the drink of choice for many.