Belize officially reopened Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) to international visitors for leisure travel on October 1, 2020, lifting all previous travel bans due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restricting tourists to hotels that had been approved by Belize’s Safe Corridor program.
As of January 2021, Belize moved on to Phase 4 of its reopening plan with the full reopening of the overnight tourism sector and allowing visitors to move about the country freely. (Keep in mind, a curfew is in place between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily.) The dates for Phase 5—when the cruise industry will be allowed to resume—are still to be determined.
Currently, all inbound travelers must provide proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test results within 96 hours of arrival or rapid antigen test results taken no more than 48 hours prior to travel. Visitors must also have reservations at hotels that have been approved by Belize’s recently expanded Safe Corridor program in order to enter the country.
Here’s what we know so far about traveling to Belize.
What is the current COVID-19 situation in Belize?
As of February 2, 2021, there have been 11,945 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 302 resulting deaths in Belize, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University.
On January 12, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory to Belize due to COVID-related conditions. The CDC currently says, “Travelers should avoid all travel to Belize.” It ranks the destination as a Level 4 (Very High Level of COVID-19) in a travel notice that was last reviewed on February 2.
What do travelers need to do before going to Belize?
International travelers must have approved Gold Standard accommodations reserved before they can enter Belize. Within 96 hours of their flight to Belize, travelers must also take a COVID-19 PCR test and upload the relevant information to the Belize Health App within 72 hours prior to departure. Rapid antigen test results taken no more than 48 hours prior to travel are also accepted. Face masks are required throughout airports and passengers are asked to maintain six feet of distance from other travelers.
Upon arrival at the airport in Belize, travelers will proceed to a health screening area to verify their certified COVID-19 test results. People who arrive in Belize without test results will need to get a swab test at a cost of $50 inside the airport’s testing area and self-isolate at their accommodations until results come back from the Ministry of Health. If travelers receive positive results during their trip, they will be placed in a minimum 14-day quarantine at their hotel—at their own expense—until the Ministry of Health gives them clearance to leave. If travelers show any symptoms during their stay, the Ministry of Health also reserves the right to test them and place them in quarantine until negative results are received.
Travelers with verified negative test results will be allowed to proceed through immigration and go to their reserved Gold Standard hotel by approved ground or air transportation.
What commercial flights to Belize are available?
As of February 2021, nonstop flights are available to Belize on American Airlines from Miami, Dallas, Charlotte, and Los Angeles. Delta offers flights from Atlanta, while Sun Country flies from Minneapolis. United is currently flying from Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago, Newark, and Houston.
What is Belize’s Safe Corridor program?
Belize’s Safe Corridor includes hotels, restaurants, and tour operators that have achieved the destination’s “Tourism Gold Standard” certification through a program designed by the Belize Tourism Board to standardize cleanliness and safety procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Phase 4 of tourism, travelers can move about Belize freely, but the government is recommending they remain within the Tourism Safe Corridor, which includes Gold Standard certified accommodations, tour operators, tourism transportation providers, restaurants, tourism sites and attractions, and gift shops.
In order to be certified, hotels must require face masks in public places and implement other social-distancing protocols, including online check-in/out, contactless payment systems, and automated ordering/booking. Properties are also required to have hand sanitizing stations in public areas, enhanced room cleaning and increased sanitation of public spaces and high-touch surfaces, and daily health checks for guests and employees. They also must set aside designated isolation/quarantine rooms for suspected COVID-19 cases.
Additionally, properties must provide round-trip transport service from the airport, access to an on-site restaurant as well as a pool or beachfront, plus offer onsite activities and provide isolated tours.
Properties on the approved list and accepting reservations include Copal Tree Lodge, Turneffe Island Resort, and Turtle Inn, which is owned by Francis Ford Coppola. For the full list of Gold Standard Properties, visit belizetourismboard.org. Tour operators are being held to similar face mask and social-distancing guidelines as well as enhanced cleaning procedures for their equipment. The full list of approved tour operators is also available at belizetourismboard.org.
Does Belize offer COVID testing for travelers leaving the country?
Yes, Belize’s Ministry of Health and Wellness is now offering COVID testing for passengers traveling to the United States and other destinations that require proof of a negative COVID test for entry. (As of January 26, all international passengers flying into the United States must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days prior to departure.) For a list of Ministry of Health and Wellness approved testing sites in Belize, visit belizetourismboard.org. Learn more about how to procure a COVID test abroad here.
This article was originally published on October 2, 2020; it was updated on February 2, 2021, to include new information.