Anytime you travel, whether domestic or international, there are bound to be questions. Through our own personal travels we have asked many questions ourselves and we know when planning your trip there are many things you'd like to know both about your destination, how to plan, what to expect. We've compiled a list of questions we've been asked since moving here to Belize and our answers are based on our own experience as well as research. If there are any questions we have not addressed, please feel free to contact us and we'll do our best to provide a response.
ABOUT BELIZE: - Belize is located in Central America between Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west, and south, with the Caribbean Sea to the east. - Belize is about 2 hours by air from the United States. - Local currency is the Belize dollar (BZD) fixed at a rate of US$1.00 to BZ$2.00 - The climate is subtropical with an average temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and overnight temperatures average in low to mid 70's. - Belize's mainland is 180 miles long and about 68 miles wide. There are over 200 Cayes (islands) and Belize boasts the longest Barrier Reef in the Western Hemisphere (185 miles long), including 3 of the 4 coral atolls in this area. - The earliest inhabitants of the country (that is now Belize) were the Maya, which at the time estimates are the population of Maya who lived here to be more than 1 million more than 3 times the present population. Today the population is approximately 330,000, consisting of Creole (African-European), Mestizo (Spanish Maya), Maya, Hispanic, Mennonite, Garifuna (African-Carib), European, Middle Eastern, East Indian, and Asian. - The capital of Belize is Belmopan, and English is the official language, but Kriol and Spanish are widely spoken. Three Maya languages, Garifuna, Low German, Chinese, and Hindi are also spoken. - Belize offers an opportunity to sample a variety of cuisines. The national dish, of Creole origin is rice and beans, served with stewed meat, chicken, fish or game meat, potato salad and fried plantain.
FAQ'S 1. Can we use Credit Cards in Belize and do you accept Credit Cards? Most places in Belize will accept credit cards, primarily only Visa & MasterCard, although there are a few that may accept Discover, but not many. Debit Cards as far as we know are generally not accepted and from what we've heard traveller's checks are not accepted and banks here will not accept them. If you plan on using a credit card (Visa &/or MasterCard) we recommend you contact them to let them know you will be travelling to Belize. Cash, US currency and Belize currency are accepted everywhere. If you use USD, remember, it's $1.00USD = $2.00 Belize
Falcon Hill Lodge is not set up to accept credit cards, we accept cash only (US &/or Belize), and we also accept deposits and payments for accommodations through PayPal.
2. Can we use our current driver's license to drive in Belize? Yes, as long as it is not expired and is current.
3. Is it easy to drive around Belize? Yes, there are only 4 major highways - Northern, Southern, Western, and Hummingbird. All highways are 2 lane and you drive on the right hand side of the road (like the US), and the same driving rules apply (i.e. use a seat belt, use turn signal). As for road conditions, they're mostly not too bad, although you'll come across places just like in the states with potholes. The one thing you should be aware of are speed bumps, especially in the small towns and villages, they are mostly signed, however, you will encounter some without any signage, so just be watchful.
If your travels take you to the Cayes, the only way to get there is by air or water taxi. Once on the Cayes transportation is limited to golf carts, bicycles, etc. (the Cayes are so small you don't need a vehicle and it's a lot of fun to take a golf cart and go exploring all over the Cayes!).
4. When is the best time to visit Belize? The obvious answer is anytime! Weather is beautiful year round. Belize has basically 2 seasons the 'dry season' (December - May), and the 'rain season' (June - November). Now please don't let these names fool you, just because it's the 'rain season' does not mean it rains every day, not at all, there may be a quick rain shower and then it clears up and it's warm and sunny, there may be no rain at all or just at night, and you can get rain during the 'dry season'. Bottom line, anytime is a good time to visit Belize, and even more so when it's cold, damp, dreary, and snowy then there's even more reason to escape and come to Belize.
5. Do I need shots before travelling to Belize? From our experience and that of many others who have either travelled to or moved to Belize from the US, Canada, Europe, the answer is NO. However, if you are concerned, to get the most up to date information on malaria pills and other immunizations you may need to travel to Belize, check the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
6. Do I need bug repellent? This is completely up to you. We would recommend you bring some although we don't have problems here at Falcon Hill and we've never had to use any, but you may want to have some with you for tours and adventures, just in case.
7. What type of clothing should I pack? Lightweight, comfortable clothes (shorts & summer shirts). Comfortable shoes for walking/climbing (depends on the type of activities you'll be doing). Bring along a lightweight jacket, sweatshirt, or lightweight fleece shirt as evenings and mornings can sometimes be cool. Long sleeve shirts and pants if you plan on horseback riding or hiking in the jungle. Swim attire and a beach towel.
8. Will my cell phone work in Belize? We recommend you check with your cell phone carrier, some may have international plans. We do get reception here at Falcon Hill and we do have phones, so you can always use ours.
9. Do you have internet service? Yes, believe it or not, here in the jungle we have a HughesNet Satellite which provides our internet service. Limited Wi-Fi internet access is available in our dining area only, at no extra charge. However, we highly recommend you leave your laptops, tablets, ipads at home, you're on vacation....if you need to check email you can always use our computer.
10. Do you have electricity, if so, can I bring my hair dryer/curling iron? Here at Falcon Hill Lodge we harness our electric from the sun. We have a solar system and back-up generator if needed. We have lights and outlets throughout our lodge, we have sufficient power to run our lodge, and to charge your cameras, phones, pc's/tablets/ipads, however, we do ask you, for those appliances that use a lot of electric (i.e. hair dryer, curling iron), please leave these at home.
11. Where do you get your water and can we drink the water? We at Falcon Hill Lodge rely on rainfall to collect our water for showering, toilets, laundry, washing dishes. We have a Reverse Osmosis system for cooking and drinking. Because of our reliance on rain, we do ask you help us conserve (don't leave water running when brushing teeth, don't take long showers, and as the old saying goes 'if it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down').
12. Is it safe where you are, in the jungle? We feel completely safe. It's like anywhere, are there areas or places where you live that are dangerous or where you should not go? The way to remain safe is to know the risks and be prepared to deal with them. Yes, in the jungle you could encounter a poisonous snake (which we've not yet encountered all the while we've lived here (3 years), just be aware, careful, wear shoes, use a flashlight at night, and watch where you're going. As far as other people, again, we feel safe where we are, we can't necessarily speak to the rest of the country, however, common precautions should prevail, don't be flashy (lots of jewellery), don't carry lots of cash in one place, lock your vehicle, keep track of expensive electronics, and basically just don't be a target, and mainly be respectful to locals.
FINAL THOUGHTS / CHECKLIST: - Airline tickets to Belize & travel arrangements in Belize (we can help you with this as well as assist in arranging your tours & adventures) - Accommodations booked (with Falcon Hill!!!) - Passport (and/or VISA if required by the country you're travelling from) - Driver's License (if you plan on driving while in Belize and make sure it's not expired and current) - Credit Cards, US Currency (don't forget to call your credit card company to let them know you're travelling to Belize). Remember it's $1.00USD = $2.00 Belize - Immunizations (if you desire) - Comfortable clothes and shoes (jacket or long sleeve shirt, pants), swim attire, and beach towel. - Bug repellent (if you desire) - Binoculars (if you desire) - Flashlight &/or Headlamp (we have flashlights available for your use, but you can always bring your own or bring a headlamp) - Camera / video camera - Cell phone (check with your cell phone carrier for international plans, you can always use our phone if you need to call home) - Laptop, tablet, ipad (we recommend you leave at home, you can always use our computer to check email) - Leave your hair dryer, curling iron, and other appliances that use a lot of electricity at home - Leave all expensive jewellery at home - Don't forget any important medications / prescriptions
You're on Vacation...Leave your stresses and worries at home...
Come relax and enjoy the wonders Belize has to offer!!!
Contact us today and we'll help with your travel arrangements, accommodation, tours & adventures.
We want to help make your trip to Belize and your stay with us comfortable, enjoyable, and memorable!!!