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Travelers who wish to dive Belize’s Caribbean coastline will need to make reservations with government-approved tour operators.
All visitors with negative COVID-19 test results and reservations for government-approved accommodations and tours will be allowed into the country—yes, even Americans.
On October 1, 2020, Belize officially reopened Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) to international visitors for leisure travel for the first time since late March.
There are currently no travel bans in place anymore, but all inbound travelers must provide proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test results within 72 hours of arrival and have reservations at hotels that have been approved by Belize’s new Safe Corridor program, which is part of Belize’s Phase 3 reopening plan.
Phase 4 is expected in January 2021 with the full reopening of the overnight tourism sector, followed by Phase 5 (TBD) when the cruise industry will be allowed to resume.
“We’re confident the Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program and Gold Standard Seal of Approval will allow travelers and the tourism industry to operate safely as COVID-19 restrictions are eased,” said Karen Bevans, the Belize Tourism Board Director of Tourism, in a statement. “While visitors will need to adhere to our ‘new normal’ entry requirements and safety protocols, their experience will remain authentic to Belize’s adventurous spirit.”
As of October 2, there have been 2,026 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 27 resulting deaths in Belize, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University. Here’s what we know so far about traveling to Belize.
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International travelers must have approved Gold Standard accommodations reserved before they can enter Belize. Within 72 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. 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 PCR 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.
As of October 1, nonstop flights are available to Belize from Miami via American Airlines and Houston via United Airlines. Delta Air Lines will resume nonstop flights to BZE from Atlanta on November 20.
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Belize’s Safe Corridor includes hotels, restaurants, and tour operators that have achieved the destination’s new “Tourism Gold Standard” certification through a program designed by the Belize Tourism Board to standardize new cleanliness and safety procedures. In Phase 3 of tourism, travelers will be required to stay on the grounds of their approved hotel for the duration of their stay, unless it’s with a Gold Standard approved tour operator. (Visitors will also be able to visit other Gold Standard hotel restaurants for meals.)
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 already 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 can also be found at belizetourismboard.org.
Hotels we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you buy through our links, which helps support our independent publication.
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