What To Know About Crossing Belize’s Land Borders, Now Open For Tourists

by Carolee Chanona

Belize’s cross-border ban, in effect for more than a year since the on-set of COVID-19, is now seeing a phased reopening as of May 31 for foreign tourists only. Visitors with the explicit purpose of recreation or vacation may cross either of Belize’s land borders—Benque Viejo Del Carmen at Belize’s Guatemalan border in the west or the Santa Elena border in the north that borders Mexico—with a negative COVID-19 test and Gold Standard Certified Accommodation in hand. All visitors to Belize must present a valid passport before entering the country, valid for at least three (3) months after the date of arrival.

Requirements for Entry

  1. Only Foreign Tourists traveling to Belize using the passport of a country other than Belize Shall be eligible for entry.
  2. Foreign Tourists must show proof of booking for at least three nights at a Belize Tourism Board Gold Standard Certified Hotel or Accommodation.
  3. Foreign Tourists are permitted to enter with their own private vehicles and utilize their personal transportation for travel within Belize.
  4. Foreign Tourists who do not enter with a private vehicle must be transported from the border facilities by a certified Gold Standard transport operator.
  5. All travellers, both vaccinated and unvaccinated entering Belize through the Northern and Western Borders will be administered a Rapid Test for COVID-19 by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, at their own expense. No external COVID-19 PCR or Rapid Test will be accepted at these points of entry.
  6. Any person, upon arrival, presenting flu-like symptoms will be administered a Rapid Test by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, at their own expense.

The Western Border and the Northern Border shall be open to foreign tourists from: Monday- Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday and Sunday morning 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.

Nationals of the following countries don’t need a visa to visit Belize: United States of America, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Barbados, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, South Korea, Mexico, Israel, the United Kingdom, Germany, Guatemala, Spain, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Uruguay, Malaysia,  Jamaica, Honduras, Panama Ireland, Switzerland, Italy, Venezuela, The Republic of China (Taiwan), Trinidad & Tobago, Norway, and Sweden. Don’t see your country of origin? Apply for a visa here.

Gold Standard Accommodation & Gold Standard Transport Required

Sunbreeze Hotel is one example of a Gold Standard hotel in San Pedro, Belize.

Because the first phase of Belize’s land border reopening includes recreational/vacation purposes only, all incoming travelers must show proof of a Gold Standard Accommodation confirmation. A booking minimum of three (3) nights is required. Find a comprehensive list of Gold Standard Accommodations in country, approved by the Belize Tourism Board, available here.

Additionally, incoming travelers must be transported from the border facilities by a Gold Standard transport operator.

Belize’s Phased Land Border Opening

The re-opening of the Ports of Entry will take place under the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Foreign Tourists Only (or travelers with special permission)
  • Phase 2: Foreign Tourists and Visitors of Friends, Family & Relatives
  • Phase 3: Full Re-opening

Under the first phase, the direct transit of travellers from border to border (in-transit passengers) will not be permitted. Entry or exit by Belizeans, diplomats, military personnel, permanent residents, etc. will continue on a restricted basis and still requires official permission from the relevant agencies.

Rapid Tests available for untested travelers

Available at their own expense, travelers at either border entry points without a negative COVID-19 test result—either PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival or a Rapid Test 24 hours to arrival—will be tested on arrival. In addition, the Ministry of Health and Wellness reserves the right to randomly test any person entering Belize.

Header image courtesy Belize Tourism Board

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