As one of only 15 countries in the world at Level 2, the U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has dropped its travel alert as Belize becomes a safer destination by the day. With almost 40,000 people vaccinated in country—including tourism frontline workers—travelers can bask in wide open spaces, alongside enhanced health and safety protocols. In March, Belize became the first Caribbean country to waive entry testing requirements for fully vaccination travelers, too. The CDC has stated that it’s low risk for vaccinated people to travel. While Belize continues to see a decreasing trend of cases, the destination is committed to being more accessible to North America.
Meanwhile, the US State Department has added a “Do Not Travel” advisory to about 66% of countries/regions worldwide, following “unprecedented risk to travelers” from the coronavirus pandemic.
Specifically, the US State Department puts countries into one of four categories, based on a risk assessment:
- Level 1 is “exercise normal precautions”
- Level 2 is “exercise increased caution”
- Level 3 is “reconsider travel”
- Level 4 is “do not travel”
So, how significant are these changes?
- Previously 34 countries were Level 4, while 137 countries are now Level 4
- With this update, there are only four countries that are Level 1, 21 countries that are Level 2, and 46 countries are Level 3
Besides being the first in the Caribbean to waive an entry COVID-19 test, Belize also becomes one of the first in the world to accept fully-vaccinated tourists. If you’ve been fully (or will soon be) vaccinated, here are some travel changes to know about visiting Belize.
1. Pre-Visit Requirements
Visitors must book their stays at state-approved Gold Standard accommodation. Additionally, visitors must download and complete the Belize Travel Health app in the 72 hours before travel. Those without immunization (un-vaccinated travelers) must take a RT-PCR COVID-19 test taken within 96 hours of travel or Rapid COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of travel.
2. Arrival Requirements
On arrival, travelers without a negative pre-entry COVID-19 test can take one inside the airport’s testing clinic for US$50 per person. Those arriving with a negative pre-entry COVID test or proof of immunization can immediately proceed to customs & immigrations.
3. Enjoying Belize
Belize still enforces face masks in public spaces, social distancing and increased hand sanitation. Learn more about all of Belize’s newly relaxed measures here.
CDC Travel Advisory Threat Level
Level 2 (exercise increased caution), last updated April 20, 2021.
State Department Travel Advisory Level
Level 2 (reconsider travel), last updated April 20, 2021.
Current COVID-19 Numbers in Belize
COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Belize, with 9 new infections reported on average each day as of April 23, 2021. At 17 new average infections per 100k people, that’s 3% of Belize’s peak — the highest daily average reported on December 8. Get the latest data from the WHO here.
Belize received upwards of 350,000 American tourists a year prior to the pandemic and is looking to revive its tourism economy. Beaches, resorts, restaurants, and tourist services have all resumed operations as of October 1st. American tourists are encouraged to limit their interactions with locals and stay within resort areas to help protect the population and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Vaccination Progress in Belize
Experts agree: the more vaccinations increase, the more everyone’s risk of infection drops. At time of writing, Belize has administered at least 38,211 doses of COVID vaccines so far. With use of AstraZeneca where every person needs 2 doses, that’s enough doses to vaccinate about 4.9% of the country’s population.
Travel restrictions and advice can change rapidly. For the latest advice, visit the official Belize Tourism website at TravelBelize.org. Header image via Raphael Rivest/Shutterstock.