Top 12 Things to have in mind when coming to Belize
You are about to journey into a developing country. Infrastructure and utilities while visiting Belize may not exactly be what you are used to – this is all part of the grounding experience.
Drinking water from the tap isn’t recommended unless boiled or filtered.
Customer Service is really a world away from what you may know. Don’t be shy to ask questions seeing that some things which might be obvious to you are not necessarily a part of the culture.
Lodging in the jungle is an extraordinary experience and one must be ready to embrace fully the way of life. Electricity and drinking water may be hard to come by. Certain areas may not have air conditioned rooms and the ones that do may ask for you to turn everything off during day time, and those amenities are only reserved for when you are actually in the room.
Access to internet, phone, TV, etc… may be very limited in the jungle – even in places that advertise it, simply due to the infrastructure, weather conditions, power outages, etc… If you know you will absolutely require those services, you may want to book a room in town.
Let it be known that it gets quite hot in the summer months. It is common to see people walking with umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun. Don’t play around with your health, bring natural organic sun protection (certain places do not allow you to get into the water with regular sunscreen due to the chemicals contained in those products), hats, etc…
People greet each other everywhere. Belize is one of those friendly countries where children and adults alike will give you a little “Hello!” with a smile as they walk by you. Don’t be shy, greet back!
Now get ready to enter a world where life has its own beat and isn’t walking to the North American or European fast paced tempo. Take a walk, enjoy the stroll, the delays, and the rhythm of it all…take it slow and enjoy.
When traveling in Belize, keep in mind that you can actually get from North to South within about 6 hours driving a car, and can take no more than 2 hours from East to West (Belize City to the Guatemalan border).
Getting around in Belize is most commonly done by bus.
A good amount of roads are unpaved; you may want to consider getting a good back massage!!
Ask us about the following options:
-Flights to/from Mexico and Guatemala ** limited to the destinations offered by Tropic Air
-Ground transfers within Belize
Average temperatures in Belize range in the mid 80’s◦F (low 30’s◦C) with a cool draft either from the ocean, or a gentle rainforest breeze.
This is a sub-tropical climate with a high humidity index. June through December is our rainy season, with certain regions getting up to 150 inches. Although Belize isn’t directly located in Hurricane Alley, it does get the end tail of certain tropical storms, but nothing to worry about!
From mountain to coastline, you will need to gear up for the terrain. Here is a packing list of some of the useful items to bring:
- Hiking / trail shoes / water shoes
- Long pants for jungle treks
- Rain jacket (K-way)
- Long sleeves; the jungle gets wet – always bring a change of clothes, once they are wet, the humidity will make it hard for them to dry
- Natural insect repellent
- Organic sunscreen
- Camera with lanyard and batteries
- Dry bags of various formats
Water sports and activities are in the top things to do while in Belize, here are some of the available options during your trip:
- Sea or River Kayaking
- Scuba Diving
- Paddle Board
There are plenty of land activities to pick from while in Belize, among the top things to do:
- Mountain biking
- Horseback Riding
- Cave exploration
- Mayan Ruins
- Culinary Experience
- Garifuna or Creole Drumming
- Jippy Jappa Basket weaving
- Local Markets
- Iguana Project
- Butterfly Farm
- Bird Watching
Red Beans and rice are common place here. You’ll also find a lot of stews; stewed fish, chicken or pork. Chances are, you’ll find something spicy on your plate (there’s a strong love for peppers here)!
Taco vendors can be found in many street corner, and you should find meat pie trucks / bicycles in just about every town, along with Dukunu (the local tamales). Seafood is a must-try, given the wealth and freshness of the surrounding sea life.
With a strong influx in tourism, international cuisine has also made its way into Beautiful Belize.
Daily specials may run out quickly in restaurants, and menus may have limited choices. Selections of meat are limited, and beef is not up to the same standards as home. The sure bets here are chicken, pork and fish.
Some things you may want to clarify with the waiter as soon as you order:
– If you are in a bit of a hurry, you may want to ask for the bill as soon as you order
– If you require separate bills
– If you would like to all be served at the same time
The Lionfish invasion:
In the past years, the Indo-Pacific Lionfish has been invading the Caribbean and Atlantic oceans from tank dumping off the coast of Florida. It is, to this date, one of the worst marine invasion. This fish has virtually no predators and is rapidly destroying a fragile ecosystem.
The Caribbean is now gearing up against it and spearfishing this species is common place. The meat is absolutely succulent. Give it a try, you’ll be doing your taste buds and the world a favour! (You’ll also find beautiful jewelry made from the bones in local markets).
Belizean dollar is set according to US dollar: $1US = $2BZ – most banks do charge 1% exchange rate. US bills may be accepted in most places, but change will be handed back in BZ currency. US change is not accepted, although US change might be mixed in to the change you receive from retailers.
Many places now also accept VISA and MASTERCARD, make sure you contact your bank prior to leaving on your trip to let them know you intend on using your credit cards.
Sales tax is 12.5%, lodging tax is 9%, and service charges are 10% (tips – only for hotel staff). Tips for tour guides are not included in this service charge or any package prices either.
110V is what you will find in Belize – essentially the same as in North America. You will usually find enough sockets in your rooms to charge your equipment.
During jungle excursions, sockets may only be found in the main palapa. There would be a common area for people to gather and plug in electronics while the generator is on. For those needing electrical medical devices, please arrange with your provider to carry a battery while traveling, just to be on the safe side.
Although Belize is not the most high-tech country you will visit, modern technologies are still quite accessible in cities with high speed internet, 4G, cable television, etc…
As of recently, Skype was also authorized in the country so you can stay in touch with family throughout your trip.
WIFI is also available in most hotels.
English and Spanish are Belize’s official languages, however several dialects are also commonly spoken throughout the country:
- Kek’chi Maya
- Mopan Maya
- Yucatec Maya
Special diet, allergies, diabetes, wheel chair accessibility, or any severe health issue should be mentioned at the time of booking to ensure we can accommodate.
The Terms and Conditions cover the following:
- Booking policy & procedure
- Payment details: price validity, refunds, surcharges, payment type & protection, transaction fees
- Deposit & Cancellation policies: dates, late bookings, minimum of passengers
- Tour information: baggage restrictions, inclusions, exclusions, accommodation, insurance
- Intellectual Property Rights
- Disclaimer & limitation of liability
BOOKING POLICY & PROCEDURE
We do have a booking policy in place which consists in a fee of 50$US upon opening a file with us including a limited research time to build customized packages. This fee is deductible from the total package price at the time of final payment. We require your collaboration in filling up the questionnaire found at www.ecocaminobz.com/contact/. Tourism infrastructure and communications in Belize are different than in industrialized countries. Please note that delays can occur during special Holidays, or in the rainy season. For the ones having special dietary needs, kindly inform us at the time of booking -diabetes, allergies, any severe health problems that we should be aware of. Some additional charges may be required and some restrictions apply (i.e.: wheel chair, zip lining and cave-tubing may have requirements such as measuring a min. of 48in/122cm). It is your responsibility to inform us 48 to 72 hrs before traveling if there is any changes in the flight schedule. The same applies for the return flight and Eco Camino will not be responsible for any negligence or inconvenience caused by a delayed or canceled flight by the airline company.
Approximately four weeks before the start, we will be providing:
- location of meeting point and time of meeting in Belize;
- climate and clothing recommendations;
- a checklist with any important details;
Prices are in US dollars, per person, starting from… Eco Camino reserves the right to modify the rates advertised without notice in case of exchange rate fluctuation, new government taxes, fuel surcharges, cancellation of a passenger, and any other cause independent from Eco Camino’s will. Rate is valid for the season 2016-2017 only. Despite careful planning, it is possible that Eco Camino needs to modify routes, itineraries, and hours of departure in case of necessity resulting in bad weather conditions or any other cause independent from our will (i.e.: roads inaccessible, flooding of caves, water level rising, etc.). No refund will be made in those situations that Eco Camino has no control on. Alternatives will be offered by the tour guide to accommodate the client. In case of changes affecting flights, extra charges occurring from those changes are at your own expenses. Once the invoice is sent to you, prices are guaranteed against any fluctuation increase not bound to the variations of the exchange rate, fuel surcharges, as well as on the application of new laws by the government. The attributable increases on application of new statutory measures, concerning taxes for example, will be invoiced as well adjustments made upon cancellation of a passenger. Anyone aged of twelve and older is considered an adult.
On-line Payment (e-packages)
We strictly accept payments (Visa or Mastercard) via our online payment gateway. Upon reception of your request, Eco Camino will send you an email with a reference number. This is the number you would use to make a payment on www.ecocaminobz.com/payment-process/. This secure solution with authentication and verification elements allows you to pay online and in real time. At no time, the card numbers are transited nor stocked on our servers, which guarantees you the highest security when it comes to payment. Both Eco Camino and the customer receive immediate confirmation of payment.
If you are provided with a user identification code, reference number, password or any other piece of information as part of our registration & payment process, you must treat such information as confidential. You must not disclose it to any third party. You are responsible for the acts or omissions of any third parties using your login details or account with or without your permission, including any infringement or claim arising from downloads of any Content. When you provide any personal registration information this will remain private within Eco Camino.
DEPOSIT AND CANCELLATION POLICIES
Please read the Terms and Conditions of sale carefully before proceeding with booking. Anyone booking under the name of the group has to accept the Terms and Conditions of sale and is held responsible for all payments due. On reservation of a package, a non-refundable deposit of 50% is required. Full (non-refundable) payment must be done within 90 days prior to departure to Belize. If the trip is booked within 90 days before departure, the total payment is required. We reserve the right to cancel any tour for which there are not enough bookings; less than four. In this case, any bank fees incurred by a refund from us will be deducted from the refund and the booking fee of 50$US remains non-refundable. No refunds will be given for unused hotel rooms, meals, sightseeing trips or tours for any reason whatsoever when it comes to the passenger’s decision. Land cost is quoted as a package and credits are not given for services not used.
Baggage restrictions -domestic flights & local transportation
Eco Camino has to work within the restrictions laid down by any carrier we use. Those restrictions will be communicated at the time of booking, depending on the choice of local carrier. Please note that these domestic carriers could possibly be more restrictive than the international carriers. (i.e.: Two checked pieces at 25 lbs (11.36kg) each *not exceeding 62 in. length + 30 in. width + 15in. height “no charges”. Allowable carry on size accepted are personal bags with a max. weight of 15lbs). Eco Camino is not responsible from any baggage loss, theft or damage caused during international or domestic flight, and during any transportation within Belize.
What is included in the price of a Package?
- Travel from the meeting point to your return to the departure point (within Belize);
- Accommodation (dbl occ.) and meals (unless otherwise) starting from dinner on D1 to breakfast on last day;
- Drinking water & healthy non-alcoholic beverages during meals: juice, water, coffee & tea;
- Services of a local ENGLISH tour guide;
- Park entrance fees;
- A donation to a designated conservation project (only when specified);
- Taxes; Service charge (to hotel staff) when specified.
What is NOT included?
- Return flights to the tour destination;
- Costs incurred before boarding transport at the meeting place and after being transferred to the dep. point;
- Superior accommodation category & single occupancy;
- Food and drinks over and above what we include during meals and activities -sodas, beers, alcoholic bev., etc.;
- Services of a French interpreter (on request, $$);
- Travel insurance or any other insurance;
- Passport and visa costs;
- Vaccinations and medication, before, during;
- Personal items;
- Gratuities to guides & drivers.
Accommodation can be arranged reasonably close to the sites of visit or off the beaten path.
- We reserve the right to change the choice of accommodation for one of the same category;
- Belizean standards differ from industrialized countries as there is no classification. Please, read our FAQs section www.ecocaminobz.com/faqs/ to familiarize with expectations you may have in general or towards customer service;
- Eco Camino favors small charming family-run hotels. If internet is primordial to you, you might want to book in town where services are accessible. Some may not have electricity in the rooms, air conditioning and fans. If they do, please be considerate of the high costs of electricity generated.
Please note that individual travel insurance is not included in the package price. Medical fees and related costs are at the charge of the customer. We recommend to our clients to have their own insurance, in particular for the active packages. In a more general way, we recommend to our clients to contract a complete insurance before departure in case of unforeseen circumstances. Eco Camino is not a service provider for travel insurance nor is an interpreter for travel insurance offered from local insurance providers –i.e.: catamaran, kitesurf, diving companies, etc.
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The organizers at Eco Camino act as agents to travelers and shall not be liable of the quality of services offered in hotels, and on any ground, sea & air transportation utilized during their trip, for delayed, loss or any baggage issue, and for any accidents incurred to passengers following the use of these mode of transportation, regardless of cause.