Belize

Currency

Belize Dollar

Language(s)

English

Independence

1981

capital

Belize City

Driving

Right side of the road

calling code

+501

visa requirements

US Citizens do not need a tourist visa, if they are staying in Belize for less than 30 days.  In some occasions, immigration may ask you for proof of departure from the country and proof of sufficient funds.  Usually a credit card will suffice for proof.

My experience going through immigration into Belize was very easy.  They asked where I was staying in Belize and how long I was staying.  When I got to customs, they asked me if I had any food in my bag and when I said, "No," they let me through.  It was a simple process.

entry and departure taxes

There is no entry tax for Belize.  To exit Belize, there is a $30 BZD charge plus $10 BZD Protected Areas Contribution Trust.  You can pay in either BZD or USD.  The great thing about Belize, is that they post the departure taxes all over immigration and give you a receipt, so there is minimal risk of being scammed.

TRANSPORTATION

While in Belize, the cheapest way to travel in and around Belize city is by chicken bus.  When you arrive at the ADO Bus Station in Belize City, there will be several school buses waiting.  I was heading towards Ladyville, which is a bit north of Belize City, so I had to take the Corozal Line.  If you ride the bus all the way to Corozal (~2.5 hours), it will cost you $9 BZD (~$4.50 USD).  For information on the rest of the lines, click this link.  The bus was pretty simple to use, as long as you knew what you were looking for.  I did a quick Google Street View of my location so I would know what it looked like.  Once you see your destination, you can just walk up to the front of the bus and tell the driver you need off.  There did not seem to be many set stops for the bus.  We just picked people up anywhere along the road.

 

volunteering

 The BWRC interns and I in front of the clinic.

The BWRC interns and I in front of the clinic.

While in Belize, I volunteered with the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic (BWRC).  Their mission is to support wildlife conservation; animal health and welfare; and the veterinary profession in Belize through medical services, education, research, and collaboration.  During my time at BWRC, I was astounded by how much I learned from Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand.  I sat through Dr. Isabelles' lessons to the students of BWRC and learned a lot, due to Dr. Isabelle's effective teaching.  There are many opportunities to get involved with BWRC.  While I was at BWRC, there were four interns and a group of students.  BWRC offers a few courses in Wildlife Medicine & Conservation, as well as a course in Small Animal Veterinary Experience.  At BWRC, students receive lectures, labs and clinical training in preparation for community health and spay & neuter clinics. Public health and outreach clinics are conducted in and around San Ignacio and Belize. Students travel to various locations in Belize to conduct Animal Health Clinics, Educational Outreach, and Community Spay & Neuter Clinics in partnership with animal welfare organizations and veterinary clinics around Belize.

 Part of my duties included wrangling the chickens before closing the clinic each night.  If we left the chickens out, they would be attacked by a Puma at night.

Part of my duties included wrangling the chickens before closing the clinic each night.  If we left the chickens out, they would be attacked by a Puma at night.

In addition to the courses, BWRC offers internship.  The aim of the BWRC internships is to develop students’ and interns’ clinical skills including patient intake, physical examinations, compiling medical records, diagnoses, diagnostic testing and interpretation, and selecting and administering appropriate treatments. The internship experience also addresses clear and professional communication both internally with clinic staff and with clients as relevant.

My duties as a volunteer included assisting the interns with their daily chores or feeding the animals, cleaning the enclosures, tidying the facilities, and any other general tasks asked of me.  In addition, I was able to watch some small procedures, listen to their professional diagnoses, and learn to read x-rays.

I had an excellent experience at BWRC!

Number one Must see

The number one must see attraction, in my opinion, is the Great Blue Hole.  The Great Blue Hole is located off the coast of Belize City.  According to Jacques Cousteau, it is one of the top ten diving spots in the world.  If you are not a diver, no problem!  you can also snorkel the Great Blue Hole.  It is the home of several different types of fish, reef sharks, blacktip sharks, and nurse sharks.  If you are planning a vacation to Belize City, I highly recommend you check this place out.