Planning a Covid Safe Journey to Belize
It’s been a year since we’ve travelled internationally - we nearly got stuck in the Arctic Circle in Finland as the world scrambled with travel restrictions and border shut downs at the start of the pandemic. So when we decided to travel in 2021, we wanted to go somewhere not too far from home in Silicon Valley and to a country that had proper Covid protocols in place, with an array of private islands to rent and for that, we’d highly recommend travelling to Belize.
We were fortunate enough to experience on our own private island when we travelled to Belize in February 2021. Check out my blog on our Private Island AirBnb in Belize during Covid - the nightly rate can be steep for some budgets, but the nightly rate includes return airport transfer from the local airstrip in Dangriga to the Hopkins marina, a boat transfer to and from the island, and island staff consisting of a concierge, grounds keeper and a chef who prepared three locally sourced meals a day, along with local beer, spirits and wine. The island staff also took us island hopping, lobster hunting and Belize Barrier Reef snorkeling and arranged for our rapid covid test before heading to the airport.
Belize has laid out a three step plan for travelling to this gloriously lush Caribbean destination and info is easily available at Travel Belize.org:
Download the Belize Health app and answer questions about your health and where you plan to stay 72 hours prior to arrival. Once the questionnaire is complete a QR code is generated which is required for entry.
Travellers are only allowed to stay at properties that have been awarded the Covid Gold Standard certification. This means they’re set up to comply with an array of rules around Covid safety which also includes weekly testing for all staff
A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before landing in Belize is required for entry into the country. If you don’t have a test then you must take one at the airport and wait for results before entry is allowed.
We were prepared with all of the above items when we landed at Belize International Airport and we absolutely breezed through customs and passport control. We were impressed at how smoothly it all went and how well organized the airport and staff were, it was brilliant.
When most people think of planning a trip to Central America, they think about traveling around Mexico or Guatemala. Belize is often overlooked, but it’s truly a hidden paradise. The minute you arrive, you will be greeted with warm smiles from the locals, stunning dense jungles, impressive Mayan ruins, and the beautifully clear blue water of the Caribbean.
The best time to visit Belize is during the dry season which is from late November to mid-April. The downside to these months is the fact that it is peak season, meaning thousands of tourists flock to the country. So if you would like some peace and quiet then research your accommodation thoroughly, as plenty of villas, resorts and private islands are available for booking.
Come June (through mid-November), expect showers, intense humidity, and strong winds. These months also bring hurricanes to the coast so if you’re willing to risk it, be sure to check the weather forecast beforehand.
The official language of Belize is English, making it the only country in Central America that speaks English, however, you’ll find an array of languages and dialects throughout this culturally diverse country. We learned that there are populations within this small Caribbean country that originated from slaves who escaped from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as a large population of Mayan people. This made for culinary and cultural treats as we explored Belize, enjoying local treats like the traditional dish of rice and beans and all types of exotic fruit juices.
We were delighted with our trip to Belize, there is truly so much to do, however many ventures are closed due to Covid. We enjoyed a variety of activities during our stay, such as snorkeling, lobster hunting, island hopping, visiting the Belize Barrier reef, the second largest in the world, kayaking, and visiting the world renowned Mayan Ruins known as Xunantunich (pronounced “CHEW-nahn-too-neech”) is located only ten miles from the Guatemalan border.