While not yet reaching 2019 levels, travel is going to feel busier than normal during the upcoming peak travel period. After all, the best time to visit Belize is from November through to the following April, only because the crisp, sunny weather is absolutely perfect. Despite pulling its own draw of tourists, traveling during ‘peak’ season is an easy sacrifice to make for the tropics and easy access to the country’s top attractions. But not to worry: prepare accordingly with a little planning and research, a few tips, a dose of patience, and you’re guaranteed stress-free holiday travels. Here are 5 tips if you’re traveling through Belize’s one and only international airport (BZE) during the festive season to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.
1. Wear a mask throughout your travels.
It’s required by federal law to wear a mask on public transit in the U.S., so that means at the airport, on buses, and while flying. While that mask mandate was extended through Jan. 18, 2022, in America, you can expect pretty much the same while traveling in Belize.
2. Complete your two-sided Immigration & Customs Form while on the plane.
En route, every flight crew distributes Belize’s two-sided immigration and customs form while in the air. All passengers must complete: one side is arrival details, including address, passport information, residency status, occupation, and countries visited in the last 30 days. Flipping it over, the other side is a basic customs declaration form.
This is the only form required to be filled out for entry to Belize since the destination did away with its health app earlier this year.
3. Get a negative COVID-19 test before arrival, or pay US$50 to test on arrival inside the airport.
For international travel, understanding what testing and vaccination requirements are in place at your destination is vital. Currently, Belize requires all incoming travelers to test negative for COVID-19. A negative result of a PCR test taken within 96 hours prior to arrival or a negative result from any approved Antigen Rapid Test taken 48 hours prior to arrival is required.
Arriving passengers are divided into two lines: One line for those arriving without a negative COVID-19 test, and another for those bringing a negative test result.
While the physical copy is accepted, it’s best to always keep a copy of important documents digitally (like your negative COVID test and your vaccination card, if applicable). Didn’t come with one or did your testing window expire? Test inside the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE: PGIA) for US$50. Children under the age of 5 years are exempt.
After verifying test results, travelers move onto Immigration, Customs, then Baggage Claim.
4. Arrive early for your departure.
We’ve all heard it said before, but the busy holiday season is not the time to test your luck on cutting it too close at the airport. All travelers arrive at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) in Belize City, and it’s very user-friendly. Impossible to get lost in, it’s also one of the smaller airports in Central America, so be sure to arrive early and beat any long queues for your departure. Even more so if you plan to get tested for any pre-flight entry requirement, which is offered inside the airport at US$50 for a Rapid Test.
5. Stick with “private” transportation to the airport.
There aren’t any public shuttles beside taxis or your lodging’s transfer, so don’t take the chance and think you can even walk from the highway entrance into the airport hub itself. Travelers can now take the John Smith Link Road, which officially opened in September 2020 as a quick and easy connector between the airport (BZE: PGIA) and the George Price Highway, which leads directly to the country’s capital City of Belmopan.
The holidays are stressful. The pandemic has drained so many of us not only of quality time and missed opportunities for creating memories with loved ones but also our patience. Remember, a little kindness to fellow passengers, airport employees, TSA agents, and flight staff goes a long way. Safe travels to you and yours this festive season!