Belize Announces Land Borders to Reopen May 31 For Tourists ONLY

by Carolee Chanona

In a press release from the Government of Belize on May 20, Cabinet gave its approval for the reopening of land and sea border points to received foreign tourists. Namely, the Santa Elena Northern Border, Benque Viejo del Carmen Western Border, San Pedro (Ambergris Caye), and Punta Gorda borders. The borders will be opened by May 31st for foreign tourists who wish to visit Belize for recreation and vacation purposes only. However, only tourists who are pre-booked at Gold Standard certified accommodations will be allowed entry into Belize.

Belize Land Borders

In March of 2020, Belize closed its Mexican border given the exponential increase in cases inside the neighboring country.  Land-based border tourism accounted for approximately 14 percent of Belize’s tourism market in 2019.

Belize: A Curious Destination Now Open

Belize has reopened to all travelers and various flight carriers have resumed service, with brand new routes even. All visitors ages five and older are required to test negative for COVID-19—with the option to present a PCR test taken within 96 hours of arrival or be tested at the airport for $50—though some pre-tested travelers may be randomly selected for a second test upon arrival. However, fully vaccinated or immunized travelers can bypass testing altogether by provided proof of vaccination or recent recovery.

Tourist arrivals at Belize’s Philip Goldson International Airport. Photo courtesy BTB

Travelers can only stay at approved Gold Standard Hotels (list here), which offer full services and amenities for guests, including airport transport, isolated tours, pool or beach access, and in-house restaurants or food delivery. Though restrictions in the fall mandated that travelers stay within their hotels and approved “Safe Corridors,” visitors can now move freely throughout the country. Social distancing and masks are required in public, although not on golf carts.

ncl norwegian spirit cruise

Photo by Devon Stephens/Alamy

Belize has done exceptionally well at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus. This success has allowed the country to move into the final stages of its travel reopening plan. The Philip Goldson International Airport reopened in October 2020 as Phase 3. The marine seaports reopened for small vessels opened earlier this year under Phase 4, while land borders will reopen before June 1. The fifth and final phase of Belize’s Travel Reopening Plan—Cruise Tourism—is slated for August 2021 with the return of the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL).

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