What Extra Perks and Options Do Vaccinated Travelers Have In Belize?

by Carolee Chanona

For one: peace of mind. See, the relative strictness or leniency of entry requirements in the Caribbean is reshaping travel trends in the region. Travel trends are showing unvaccinated travelers are gravitating to the islands that will let them in, while the vaccinated want places that keep the unimmunized out. As a growing number of cruise lines, destinations and hospitality operators roll out strict Covid vaccination requirements, many travel advisors report that traveling-while-vaccinated is quickly becoming something of an industry standard. Besides your own protection, does your vaccination status actually affect what extra perks and options (or hassles) you’ll experience while on a Caribbean holiday, especially in Belize?

The Caribbean Destinations Open to Vaccinated Travelers Only

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young speaks with officials during a tour of the Piarco International Airport yesterday, ahead of the opening of the borders. Image by Abraham Diaz/Trinidad & Tobago Guardian

At least seven Caribbean nations and territories have announced mandatory vaccination policies for incoming adult travelers — Anguilla, Grenada, St. Barts, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, as well as the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands plan to admit vaccinated travelers from Sept. 9 to Oct. 13 during the third phase of its structured reopening. Thereafter, the territory may let unvaccinated travelers enter if they quarantine for 14 days.

“People have more interest in traveling to islands where there are vaccination protocols in place,” he said. “And their interest among other islands without vaccination protocols is waning.”

– Eric Bamberger, Zeta Global 

Data from travel marketing company Adara indicates enthusiasm for vaccinated-only entrance policies. Searches and bookings spiked when Trinidad and Tobago announced it was reopening only to immunized travelers — and then again when the policy was implemented.

Belize’s Vaccination Policy

Staff of Splash Dive Center proudly shows off their vaccinations.

At time of writing, COVID vaccinations are not mandatory to enter Belize. Back in March 2021, Belize became the first in the Caribbean and one of the first destinations in the world to waive pre-flight testing for vaccinated travelers. But amidst the global presence of new COVID variants, Belize re-instated a negative COVID test results for all travelers—regardless of vaccination status. Still, there are no quarantine requirements, once testing negative.

Whether arriving by air, land border, or via cruise, it’s no question that being vaccinated has become the standard in mitigating any potential stress or headaches while traveling. Some in-country destinations are even offering extra perks for vaccinated travelers.

Extra Savings for Vaccinated Travelers

For example, the local jungle lodge at Ian Anderson Caves Branch is offering 20% off your stay with a copy of your vaccination cards, valid until October. Old Belize Adventure, home to the charming and unique historical train tour alongside its manmade Kukumba Beach, implemented a vaccination policy for all visiting adults as of the end of August: show your vaccination card or enter with a negative COVID test. Considering face masks aren’t the best beachside accessory, especially with food and drinks available for sale, this is one step to ensuring all visitors can enjoy themselves at Old Belize—safely.  Incoming cruise ships to Belize are already operating above 90% vaccinated, so this is just one more destination that cruise guests can visit without any hassle during their day tether to Belize City.

Kickback at the Big Dock Bar in Hopkins, Belize. Image courtesy The Belize Collection/Monica Gallardo Photography

About 40% of Belizeans have received at least one vaccine dose, while just shy of 17% have been fully vaccinated with two doses. Notably, Belize ranks within the top 5 CARICOM members with the highest vaccination rates regionally, as an aggressive vaccination campaign continues in full force alongside the prestigious “Safe Travels” seal from the World Tourism & Travel Council. If you’ve been one of the many travelers contemplating a vacation, especially if you’ve been vaccinated, now may be the time to cash in all those PTOs

Header image courtesy Old Belize

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