Time Zone: -6 hours GMT
Tel. Country Code: 501
USADirect Tel.: 811
Electrical Standards: Electrical current 110/60 (voltz/hz). North American Style Adaptor Plug and United Kingdom Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plugs A, C.
Travel Advisory - Belize
Travelers to Central and South America and the Caribbean need to protect themselves against mosquito-transmitted viruses, such as dengue and Zika, as well as nighttime biting mosquitoes in countries where there is the threat of malaria. I recommend all travelers use a combination of DEET or Picaridin repellent on their skin and Permethrin fabric insecticide on their clothing for greater than 99% protection against mosquito and tick bites.
Dr. Rose Recommends for Travel to Belize
The American Citizen Services provides a wide range of services to U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Belize.
• Emergency Services - Arrests, deaths, serious illness, victims of crimes, lost or stolen passports. Can be provided during normal duty hours Monday - Friday 8:00a.m. - 5:00p.m as well as through the after-hours emergency number 610-5030
• Nonemergency Services - Normally by appointment unless a Consular Officer is able to make an exception for extraordinary circumstances. Passport renewals and extra visa pages, Monday afternoons (1:00p.m.-5:00p.m) and Thursday mornings (8:00a.m. - 12noon); notary services, Wednesday mornings (8:00a.m. - 12noon), Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, Wednesday afternoons (1:00p.m. - 5:00p.m.).
HIV Test: Required for all persons applying for residency permits.
Required Vaccinations: Yellow fever vaccine is required for all travelers >1 year of age arriving from any country in the yellow fever endemic zones in Africa or the Americas; not recommended or required otherwise.
Passport/Visa: All U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport valid for the duration of their visit to Belize. U.S. citizens do not need visas for tourist visits of up to thirty days, but they must have onward or return air tickets and proof of sufficient funds to maintain themselves while in Belize. Visitors for purposes other than tourism, or who wish to stay longer than 30 days, must obtain visas from the government of Belize. All tourists and non-Belizean nationalities are required to pay an exit fee of U.S.$35 when leaving Belize.
• Additional information on entry and customs requirements may be obtained from the Consular Section of the Embassy of Belize.
Vaccinations: Recommended and Routine
Yellow fever vaccine is required for all travelers >1 year of age arriving from any country in the yellow fever endemic zones in Africa or the Americas; not recommended or required otherwise.
Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not previously immunized.
Hepatitis B: Recommended for all non-immune travelers who might be exposed to blood or body fluids from unsafe/unprotected sexual contact; from injecting drug use with shared/re-used needles and syringes; from medical treatment with non-sterile (re-used) needles and syringes. Recommended for any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B infection.
Influenza: Vaccination recommended for all travelers >6 months of age who have not received a flu shot in the previous 12 months.
Rabies: Recommended for travelers spending time outdoors in rural areas where there is an increased the risk of animal bites. Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals and may not report bites. Pre-exposure vaccination eliminates the need for rabies immune globulin in the event of a high-risk animal bite, but does not eliminate the need for treatment with the vaccine.
Routine Immunizations: Immunizations against tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine) and varicella (chickenpox) should be updated, if necessary, before departure. MMR protection is especially important for any female of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
• The new Tdap vaccine, ADACEL, which also boosts immunity against pertussis (whooping cough) should be considered when a tetanus-diphtheria booster is indicated.
Typhoid: Recommended for all travelers with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels, such as business travelers and cruise passengers.
Hospitals / Doctors
Medical facilities in Belize are limited. All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as antibiotics to treat travelers diarrhea or other infections; they should bring drugs for malaria prophylaxis, if needed according to their itinerary. Travelers who are taking regular medications should carry them properly labeled and in sufficient quantity to last for the duration of their trip; they should not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in this country - the equivalent drugs may not be available; or be of unreliable quality.
Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage. Policies should cover: ground and air ambulance transport, including evacuation to home country; payment of hospital bills; 24-hour telephone assistance. In the event of a serious illness or injury that can't be treated adequately in this country, the traveler should be flown by air ambulance to Miami or Houston.
5791 St. Thomas Street
Kings Park, Belize City
24-hour emergency room.
Belize's main referral hospital
Princess Margaret Drive
La Loma Luz Clinic and Hospital is a private non-profit organization operated by Mission Proedjects endeavor by Seventh-day Adventist laymen in cooperation with the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. Established in the early 1970's by Dr. R.V. Mundall, La Loma Luz now offers quality health care to the peole of belize and surrounding areas.
San Ignacio Town
Primary care; 24-hour emergency services.
Phone: 501-226-3195 Emergency
Destination Health Info for Travelers
AIDS/HIV: More than half of Latin Americans living with HIV reside in the four largest countries of the region: Brazil, Columbia, Mexico and Argentina. The most severe epidemics are found in smaller countries such as Honduras and Belize, which have HIV prevalence rates of 1.5% and 2.5% respectively. The majority of countries in the region have prevalence rates of less than 1%, but the prevalence among specific groups, such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and commercial sex workers, is often very high. In almost every Latin American country, the highest levels of HIV infection are found amongst MSM. This problem is largely hidden, since homophobia and a machismo culture are common throughout the region and sex between men is highly stigmatized. The extent of HIV infection amongst MSM is downplayed in many countries, and prevention campaigns often neglect this group. (Source: Avert.org)
• Transmission of HIV can be prevented by avoiding: sexual contact with a high-risk partner; injecting drug use with shared needles; non-sterile medical injections; unscreened blood transfusions.
• The threat of HIV/AIDS should not be a primary concern for the traveler. However, there may be a concern for a subset of travelers who may be exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through contact with the body fluids of another person or their blood. Although travel has contributed in a general way to the global spread of AIDS, fear of traveling because of this disease is not warranted.
Accidents & Medical Insurance: Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travelers under the age of 55 and are most often caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; drownings, aircraft crashes, homicides, and burns are lesser causes.
• Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travelers.
• Infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travelers, but, overall, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.
• MEDICAL INSURANCE: Travelers are advised to obtain, prior to departure, supplemental travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should provide for direct payment to the overseas hospital and/or physician at the time of service and include a medical evacuation benefit. The policy should also provide 24-hour hotline access to a multilingual assistance center that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care and determine if medevac or air ambulance services are required.
Cholera: No recent cholera cases or outbreaks have been reported from Belize, but there is a slight risk (cases were reported in 2000). Cholera is an rare disease in travelers from developed countries. Cholera vaccine is recommended only for relief workers or health care personnel who are working in a high-risk endemic area under less than adequate sanitary conditions, or travelers who work or live in remote, endemic or epidemic areas and who do not have ready access to medical care. Canada, Australia, and countries in the European Union license an oral cholera vaccine. The cholera vaccine is not available in the United States.
• The main symptom of more severe cholera is copious watery diarrhea.
• Antibiotic therapy is a useful adjunct to fluid replacement in the treatment of cholera by substantially reducing the duration and volume of diarrhea and thereby lessening fluid requirements and shortening the duration of hospitalization.
• A single 1-gm oral dose of azithromycin is effective treatment for severe cholera in adults. This drug is also effective for treating cholera in children. (Reference: NEJM)
Chickengunya Fever: There is a widespread outbreak of this mosquio-transmitted viral disease in the Caribbean. Symptoms consist of high fever, headache, severe muscle and joint pain that may persist for many months, and a rash. There is no vaccine. You should prevent daytime mosquito bites with a DEET-containing repellent (such as Ultrathon) and permethrin-treated clothing.
Dengue Fever: Year-round risk, countrywide, especially in both urban areas. Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted, flu-like viral illness widespread in the Caribbean and is the most common cause of fever in travelers returned from this region. Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted, flu-like viral illness occurring throughout South America. Symptoms consist of sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash. A syndrome of hemorrhagic shock can occur in severe cases.
• Dengue is transmitted via the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. Aedes mosquitoes feed predominantly during daylight hours. All travelers are at risk and should take measures to prevent daytime mosquito bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent (such as Ultrathon) to exposed skin and applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.
• There is no vaccination or medication to prevent or treat dengue.
A worldwide dengue fever map is here.
Food & Water Safety: While tap water is generally regarded as safe for consumption, bottled water is readily available and recommended. Food and drink in resorts is generally safe. Milk may be unpasteurized and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised, but make sure that it is reconstituted with pure water. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.
Hepatitis: All travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Travelers who are non-immune to hepatitis A (i.e. have never had the disease and have not been vaccinated) should take particular care to avoid potentially contaminated food and water. Travelers who will have access to safe food and water are at lower risk. Those at higher risk include travelers visiting friends and relatives, long-term travelers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.
• Hepatitis E may endemic and sporadic cases may occur, but incidence is unclear. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals may serve as a viral reservoir. In developing countries, prevention of hepatitis E relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• Hepatitis B is moderately endemic. The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at 4% to 11%. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from non-sterile medical or dental injections, and acupuncture; from unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin lesions of an infected person. The average traveler is at low risk for acquiring this infection. Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for: persons having casual/unprotected sex with new partners; sexual tourists; injecting drug users; long-term visitors; expatriates, and anybody wanting increased protection against the hepatitis B virus.
Note: Acute hepatitis B is the most common cause of viral hepatitis in some regions of Belize, but the modes of transmission remain obscure. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11693876)
• Hepatitis C is endemic at a low level, with a prevalence estimated at 0.1% in the general population. Most hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread either through intravenous drug use or, in lesser-developed countries, through blood contamination during medical procedures. Over 200 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C - an overall incidence of around 3.3% of the population of the world. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Leishmaniasis: Year-round risk, especially in rural forested areas. Prevalence is highest in the central part of the country, lowest in the south. Increased transmission occurs May through December. Cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis have been reported among tourists and field study participants. The parasites that cause leishmaniasis are transmitted by the bite of the female phlebotomine sandfly. Sandflies bite in the evening and at night and are usually found in forests, the cracks of stone or mud walls, or animal burrows.
• Clinical features: A typical lesion is a painless ulcer with a raised, indurated, margin and a necrotic base that is often covered with an adherent crust of dried exudate. Most patients have 1 or 2 lesions, usually on exposed sites, varying in size from 0.5 to 3 cm in diameter. See your doctor for any non-healing skin sores occurring after travel to this country.
• All travelers should take measures to prevent sandfly bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, permethrin (spray or solution) to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet.
Malaria: There is a low risk of malaria (See map) in rural Belize year-round in all rural areas of the country under 400 meters elevation, but especially during and after the rainy season.
There is no risk of malaria in the center of large towns. Malaria risk, almost exclusively due to P. vivax, exists in all districts but varies within the different regions. (No chloroquine-resistant strains of P. falciparum have been reported.) The risk is highest in western and southern regions with highest risk in Toledo and the Stan Creek Districts, moderate risk in Corozal and Cayo and low risk in the Belize District and Orange Walk.
• Chloroquine or mefloquine prophylaxis is currently recommended for overnight visits to rural areas, rain forests, or the offshore islands.
• Malaria is transmitted via the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Anopheles mosquitoes feed predominantly during the hours from dusk to dawn. All travelers should take measures to prevent evening and nighttime mosquito bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet. DEET-based repellents (such as Ultrathon) remain the gold standard of protection under circumstances in which it is crucial to be protected against mosquito bites that may transmit disease. Nearly 100% protection can be achieved when DEET repellents are used in combination with permethrin-treated clothing.
• You should consider the diagnosis of malaria if you develop an unexplained fever during or after being in this country. The incubation period of some strains ov Vivav malaria can be as long as 8 months after exposure.
Marine Hazards: Swimming related hazards include jellyfish, spiny sea urchins, and coral.
• Ciguatera poisoning is prevalent and can result from eating coral reef fish such as grouper, snapper, sea bass, jack, and barracuda. The ciguatoxin is not destroyed by cooking.
• A decompression chamber is located in San Pedro. Note: Divers Alert Network (DAN) maintains an up-to-date list of all functioning hyperbaric chambers in North America and the Caribbean. DAN does not publish this list, since at any one time a given chamber may be non-functioning, or its operator(s) may be away or otherwise unavailable. Through Duke University, DAN operates a 24-hour emergency phone line for anyone (members and non-members) to call and ask for diving accident assistance. Dive medicine physicians at Duke University Medical Center carry beepers, so someone is always on call to answer questions and, if necessary, make referral to the closest functioning hyperbaric chamber. In a diving emergency, or for the location of the nearest decompression chamber, call the DAN Emergency Hotline:  919-684-8111 or  919-684-4DAN (Collect).
Other Diseases/Hazards: Amebiasis and giardiasis (low incidence)
• Chagas’ disease (endemic at low levels in Cayo District)
• Cutaneous larva migrans (travelers should avoid walking barefoot on beaches or any place where cat and dog feces may contaminate the ground)
• Cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis (Espundia)
• Cutaneous myiasis (caused by larvae of the human bot fly)
• Histoplasmosis (outbreaks associated with guano in bat caves)
• Venezuelan equine encephalitis (mosquito-transmitted)
Rabies: Low risk. One or two cases of human rabies are reported each year. Dogs are main vectors, but vampire bats may also transmit disease.
Rabies vaccine is recommended for: persons anticipating an extended stay; for those whose work or activities may bring them into contact with animals; for people going to rural or remote locations where medical care is not readily available; for travelers desiring extra protection. Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals and may not report bites.
• Pre-exposure vaccination eliminates the need for rabies immune globulin, but does not eliminate the need for two additional booster doses of vaccine. Prompt medical evaluation and treatment of any animal bite is essential, regardless of vaccination status. Note: If adequate rabies treatment is not available locally, immediate medical evacuation is advised to a facility that can provide treatment.
Travelers' Diarrhea: Moderate risk except for tourist resorts, where the risk is low. Raw sewage emptied into the ocean is a cause of beach contamination. Outside of hotels and resorts, we recommend that you boil, filter or purify all drinking water or drink only bottled water or other bottled beverages and do not use ice cubes. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products. Do not eat raw or undercooked food (especially meat, fish, raw vegetables). Peel all fruits.
• Wash your hands with soap or detergent, or use a hand sanitizer gel, before you eat. Good hand hygiene reduces the incidence of travelers’ diarrhea by 30%.
• A quinolone antibiotic, azithromycin, or rifaximin (Xifaxin), combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis, amebiasis, or cryptosporidiosis.
• Seek qualified medical care if you have bloody diarrhea and fever, severe abdominal pain, uncontrolled vomiting, or dehydration.
Tuberculosis (TB): Tuberculosis is highly endemic in Belize with an annual occurrence was greater than or equal to 40 cases per 100,000 population. Tuberculosis (TB) is transmitted following inhalation of infectious respiratory droplets. Most travelers are at low risk. Travelers at higher risk include those who are visiting friends and relatives (particularly young children), long-term travelers, and those who have close contact, prolonged contact with the local population. There is no prophylactic drug to prevent TB. Travelers with significant exposure should have PPD skin testing done to evaluate their risk of infection.
Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is the most serious of the Salmonella infections. Typhoid vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all people (except short-stay visitors and cruise ship passengers) traveling to or working in Central America, especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water. Current vaccines against Salmonella typhi are only 50-80% protective and do not protect against Salmonella paratyphi, the cause of paratyphoid fever. (Paratyphoid fever bears similarities with typhoid fever, but the course is generally more benign.) Travelers should continue to practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions, even if vaccinated.