The Caribbean, which has handled the pandemic well thanks to its small populations and large safety measures, make for a fantastic destination. In fact, if you have never before considered the Caribbean owing to the obvious reasons of expense, you’ll be happy to know that it’s more affordable today than five years ago. And with flights from major U.S. cities in three hours or less, accessibility isn’t a hassle either. Discover Belize: a bite-sized beauty perched in eastern Central America while facing the Western Caribbean that boasts over 200 islands, the world’s second longest barrier reef, and lush jungle interiors. Mayan ruins concealed within the rainforest offer an insight into a fascinating history. Meanwhile, adventure travelers can feed on adrenaline-charged activities, like waterfall rappelling and sky diving over the Great Blue Hole. When planning a visit Belize, get familiar with its three major mandatory entry requirements.
1. Book with a Certified Gold Standard Accommodation
All visitors to Belize must book with a certified Gold Standard accommodation approved by the Belize Tourism Board; they can be identified by a seal of approval. At Belize’s reopening on October 1, the country introduced a “Tourism Safe Corridor,” a network of certified Tourism Gold Standard hotels, restaurants, tour operators, and attractions. Tourists today can explore freely outside its expanded corridor, although they must still use certified tour operators and overnight accommodations, but are recommended to use Gold Standard certified businesses. After all, each certified property completed a nine-step program to confirm they were equipped and adhering to the safety protocols and guidelines developed by Belize’s Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Health.
The requirements of the nine-point checklist include appointing a Gold Standard Program Manager; implementing guest monitoring with temperature checks; ensuring local distancing protocols are observed for staff and visitors; enhanced sanitization and cleaning procedures; installing sanitization stations; and having a response plan in place in case of a suspected COVID-19 case.
2. Download & Complete the Belize Travel Health App
Within 72 hours of travel to Belize, all visitors must download and complete the Belize Travel Health app as an entry requirement; the app is available on Apple and Android. Don’t have a smart phone? Access the Self Reporting Form via Belize’s Ministry of Health. Free of cost, the Belize Travel Health app records all relevant travel data before departure and once in country, is used for daily health monitoring and contact tracing in the case of infection. Once completed, be sure to take a screenshot of the unique QR code to present to your airline when checking in for your flight. Please note: the app requires iOS 10.0 or later, and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch; information is not required until 72 hours prior.
On arrival to the Philip Goldson International Airport, arriving passengers go through seven checkpoints before exiting towards their Gold Standard certified transfer to accommodation. Although a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of boarding allows passengers to “fast track” through the airport, it is not mandatory. Those arriving without can opt for a double rapid test inside the airport’s on-site health clinic for US$50 per person; thereafter, they will have to wait for results at their hotel. If negative, you are free to roam (responsibly). Nonetheless, each and every arriving passenger to Belize must test negative for COVID-19 to proceed with their vacation. Should a visitor be positive on arrival at the airport, they will be subject to for a mandatory, minimum 14-day quarantine at their own expense.
Belize’s current Statutory Instrument came into effect on November 28, 2020 for the next 21 days to curb the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about Belize’s entry requirements and more here. Header photo by Duarte Dellarole.