Welcome to Beautiful Belize
Tricks and tips
DOCUMENTATION AND VISAS You must have a valid, and up to date, passport to enter Belize. Check Your passport does not have an expiration date of not less than 30 days or there is a good chance you will be denied entry. You must also be able to present an itinerary of your departure with dates. There is no need to obtain a visa ahead of time, Your visa will be issued upon entry. Generally they give a 30 day pass on a tourist visa. Once you are here and you have passed through customs, they will have stamped your passport. For more details on the requirements visit the web site https://immigration.gov.bz/visa/visa-requirements/ FLYING IN There is one international airport in Belize. The Philip Goldson International Airport located just outside Belize City in Ladyville. From there, it's relatively simple to get to anywhere you want to in the country. Either by bus, shuttle, or rental car. See the section below for further info on rental car. COMING OVER A LAND BOARDER If you are traveling in from Guatemala or Mexico by way of the land boarder, the entrance requirements are the same as they are through the airports. These borders are more congested and time consuming to pass through than the airport but if you are traveling by public or chartered bus it is an exciting adventure. There is no fee for either exiting Guatemala/Mexico nor for entering Belize (although there is one for exiting Belize) so you shouldn’t have to pay at all when entering the country. From Guatemala: To cross the border from Guatemala to Belize (or travel from Belize to Guatemala if you’re doing the opposite journey), you’ll have to do it at the crossing point Melchor de Mencos-Benque Viejo del Carmen. The border is open from 6 AM to 10 PM currently, and you’ll need to fill out 2 immigration forms before entering Belize. If you’re traveling from Flores to San Ignacio, one of the closest cities to the Guatemalan border, the best and most reliable way to make the journey is to book a shuttle with Mundo Maya https://travelmundomaya.com *Do I need to carry my passport with me all day? No, you do not. After you have gone through customs you are only advised to carry copy of your passport and you can use a photo of it kept on your phone. To make this photo valid and effective You must copy both your picture page as well as the page with the stamp that they put there upon entry. After that is better to just leave your passport in. please lock up your valuables safely in your room and make sure your room doors are all locked. We are not responsible to any misplaced or stolen possessions. *Should I have travelers insurance? Yes, I recommend buying insurance. While Belize is a very modern country and travel to us and around the country is easy…things happen. It is ALWAYS better to be covered whether that be for accommodation fees (like ours) or cancelled flights, lost luggage or an accident that requires medical attention and all of that can be covered quite easily with a very affordable vacation travel insurance policy. Here is a website that offers and compares various plans: https://www.squaremouth.com *Do I need inoculations/shots? No. Luckily, we have very little to worry about here in Belize as far as any infectious diseases are concerned. Check with your county’s recommendations (in the US it is the CDC). Belize does not require any shots to visit the country.
GETTING TO US
*Where exactly are you located? Ananda Guesthouse & Cabanas is in the lovely quaint village of Bullet Tree Falls district of Cayo in Western Belize. 3 minutes walk from the village center and 10 minutes car ride to San Ignacio Town center. We are situated on 14 acres of lovely wooded rainforest and cultivate forest gardens. Please see the google maps link at the bottom of the page.
*What more should we know about Bullet Tree Village? Bullet Tree Falls Village has a population of a few hundred has wonderful swimming spots, its own bakery, a small selection of restaurants, and a community football field. The village is about 5 miles from the town of San Ignacio and about 15 miles from the border with Guatemala. San Ignacio is The second-largest town in Belize and is easily accessible by various means of transportation. San Ignacio serves as the cultural-economic hub of Cayo District. San Ignacio has become one of top vacation destinations in Belize internationally due to its surroundings such as Maya ruins, unspoiled rainforest, remarkable cave experiences, and its culturally diverse society.
* the “Stop! stop ! chicken bus” is relatively reliable and cheap. The major bus lines all run to and from San Ignacio Cayo. It takes 3 hours to get to San Ignacio from Belize city by public bus. Ananda Guesthouse and Bullet Tree Village are a 10 minute car ride further from San Ignacio. There are the collective taxi services that go between Bullet Tree Village and San Igncaio regularly through out the day. They charge $5.00 per person and will drop you off at our doorstep.
*Arriving in from International Airport: You can always take an shuttle van from the airport to any place you want to go in Belize. There are several companies that supply this service and they require reservations before hand to meet you at your gate, help you with your bags and get you to where you are going. They are nice vans with AC and friendly door to door service. There are several of these safe and reasonable shuttle services that can transport you from the airport - as well as take you around Belize from town to town. We recommend Williams shuttle services https://williamshuttlebelize.com/
RENTING A CAR.
Visitors to Belize often prefer to have their own vehicle. This will give you much more access to the areas that are a bit of the beaten path. Car rentals are very a bit more expensive here as opposed to other places in central America, but google maps works here and the driving is easy.
*What are the roads like in Belize ? Driving in Belize is relatively easy a little on the rough side but easy. We have a paved highway system albeit with no side emergency lanes,, and most of the secondary roads are in ok shape, and many are not. People in Belize tend to drive very aggressively and impatiently but don’t let them pressure you, Take your time. There are often drop offs and potholes that can really tax the suspension in your vehicle. Avoid driving at night. Keep an eye on traffic flow. One way streets are rarely marked. Don't count on the guy in front of you having working brake lights. With a car it is nice to take time to get to the out of the way spots. It's always worth the rough drive.
*Do I need an International drivers license ? No you do not, just a valid one from your own country.
*Do I need to have a four wheel drive vehicle? Four-wheel drive will give you more access to more places should you want to get off of the beaten track. Also, you may not ever need to engage the all wheel drive, but these vehicles generally have much higher clearance and this is very important when driving on roads with potholes and stones. We see plenty of tourists and locals driving low riding small cars and they do fine, but having a larger vehicle will take a lot of your worries away when out on your adventures.
*Should I take out the extra insurance policy? The agencies here will make you take out a very inclusive policy, meaning it’s expensive. Our best advice is to check with your credit card company about their car rental coverage policy. Be very specific about that you will be in Belize when asking your CC company about your coverage. Some credit cards are great, many are not, so ask. Second, you have to HAVE TO CHECK with the car rental agency if they will let you do this. Some will, some won’t.
*Do you have recommended car rental agencies? Yes, we have two that have worked out well for many of our guests, but of course there are several more if you look on line.
For our local Cayo District rental agent is http://www.flamesautorental.com/
For the Belize city airport agent we recommend https://crystalautorentalbelize.com/
Here is a google maps link to help you https://goo.gl/maps/bGJA5qbzAmdnR6QA8
In Case GOOGLE MAPS fails you here is our Driving Directions from the :
If you miss a turn, or your google map directions fail you, don't worry! People in Belize are very friendly and will be more than happy to give you directions.
* The US dollar is a two-to-one conversion on the street. Although the US dollar is widely accepted, the bills themselves cannot have ANY rips or tears. Also note, it is also difficult to spend large bills like $50s or $100s, as many people will not have change
*Do I have to use the local currency? No you can pay with US dollars any where you go. In fact, there are places that only accept cash so make sure you have some on hand particularly if you plan to visit the market or smaller local shops and food venders. At the bigger hotels and tourist shops, always make sure you Ask if the prices are being listed in US dollars or in Belize dollars. It can make a world of difference to your budget
*Where do I change my money? It is difficult to get your money changed with a bank if you do not have an account with them. But, you do not really need to do this because every where accepts the US dollar bills. When you pay with US dollars you will get your change back in Belize dollars. Note that, when leaving the country, it may be hard to convert your Belize currency back to USD. There are some kiosks at international airports that will convert your Belize dollars back to US but this is expensive and you will loose a lot on conversion. So best to plan on spending the your Belize dollars here.
*Can I use an ATM/debit/credit card ? Yes we accept them and most businesses do. There are ATM machines at the Belize Banks sites and the Atlantic Bank sites that both will ATM cards. If you do plan on using your ATM or Credit card Just make sure to let your bank know that you will be using the card in Belize. And always factor in the exchange rates and your banks fees, when deciding what form of payment to use.
While staying with us
*When are your check in and check out times? Officially our check in time is any time after 3:00 p.m. and our Check out is 11:00 am. However, if we do not have other guests coming in or going out the same day as you, then we are very happy to extend those times to you at no charge. It is best to check to see ahead of time. We are happy to hold your bags for you when needed as well. * Is the guesthouse “Pet Friendly” No and yes. We are not able to invite you to bring your own, but we do have two very friendly dogs and a cat who are at your disposal if you need to get your fix! ( for those non-dog or cat lovers, they are happy to leave you in peace as well) * Is there WiFi? Yes. Mostly we encourage you to be unplugged as much as possible but We do supply WiFi. Although we do have a booster, The farther cabins may have a hard time with full-on uninterrupted streaming services *Is the accommodations air conditioned? YES. Even with the option, however, Many guests have a great experience allowing the jungle breeze to keep them comfortable and experience the amazing rainforest sounds. Along with ceiling fans the nights are usually very comfortable. *What are the meal options ? a light fresh delicious breakfast each morning, with fresh fruits, juices, bakery goods and hard boiled eggs is available upon request. 10$ usd per person Apart from the many choices of local restaurants in the village and in town We also preordered lunch options for US $ 30.00 per person. These delicious meals are prepared with love ans are all home style touches. and by reservation preordered only. we are also happy to offer all vegetarian and or vegan options. We strive to serve fresh, tasty, decadent and healthy meals using local ingredients We grow some of the foods we use, including our own fresh, organic free range chicken and duck eggs, as well as organic seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs. We also source our local weekly farmers market to bring in amazing fresh produce, dairy and seafood. *What types of restaurants are close by? We have a huge array of restaurants very close by. The closest ones are a two minutes drive away. Close by are restaurants that serve local cuisine, which is your typical rice and beans, protein and salad, as well as international fare like, wood fired pizza, Mexican, all the way up to five star resort restaurants serving great food and wines with live music. We have our favorites, and can steer you to what ever you like. *Is massage included in the price ? The short answer is no. Not unless you are coming with a group and or have purchased a package. We have Indoor airconditioned massage office and an outdoor jungle spa facilities and an array of treatment services for you to experience and offer a 10% discount on all spa and massage offered in the Wellness office. These must be booked separately. To insure that you are able to get the appointment times you need for your visit please visit Our website and book yours after you make your reservation with us https://www.balancepointwellnessbz.com/ *How Do I sign up For YOGA? Yoga classes are all held at the Ananda Pavilion to the back of the property. a short walk from the guesthouse. We have weekly regularly scheduled classes open to the public which you are welcome to join. Please sign up the day before for the regular group classes. These se For a private session which can include up to 4 people in your party, it is 80.00usd. The private sessions can be booked at any time. just let us know. please visit the webpage for yoga schedule https://www.balancepointwellnessbz.com/ *When do we have our massages, Healing sessions or spa treatments? We will schedule your massages around your schedule of activities. If you plan to spend the day on tour, then I will most likely suggest that you have a late afternoon massage. If you plan to spend the whole day here with us, then it is completely up to you. Some have even scheduled a morning and afternoon session. We do however plan to finish up our massage appointments by 6:00 pm. If your are staying with us for only a short stay we recommend booking your sessions before you arrive so that you can make sure to get the time slots you need to receive the treatment *Are there walking trails on the property? Yes, we have a trail system on the property, and it begins at the Main Reception area. We also offer a guided tour of the medicinal plants on the property hosted by a traditional medicine man fromt he village. these tours are $30.00usd and can be booked through the office *What types of wildlife will I see? Lots! We are teaming with wild life. Howler monkeys and agouties, toucans and hummingbirds abound. The jungle is rambunctious and often invades the accommodations. But We have Great bird watching !!!! Occasionally a hummingbird will wiz by your head, You can watch ants march around and butterflies and bees collect pollen. the frogs will sing you to sleep.
What To Pack
* Proper footwear is a must. sandals and flip-flops don't work for waterfalls and caves. Hiking shoes on the beach are not right either.
*The sun is powerful here, Bring sun screen and hats. Use them.
*Single use Plastic is seriously awful. And technically, a crime here. Carry a water bottle fill up often. It is hot here for much of the year and you need to stay hydrated.
* Almost any medicine you will need is "over the counter" but be sure to pack your prescription medicine and not expect to find your brand here. Go to the pharmacist first if you get sick.
*The green alcohol makes the bug bites' stings stop and is a great disinfectant
* Although it sounds counter intuitive: Pack long pants ... many things sting bite and stab ...
*bring bug spray.
* a small flash light is always useful
* For your devises: Belize uses 110 volt, 60 cycle electricity, same as the US. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type so US travelers will not typically need a converter or adapter. Outlets rarely have 3 holes so if your device has a third prong, bring an adapter.
*wet wipes may save the day in the public bathroom setting.
When traveling in Belize it helps to adopt the attitude of “Go with the flow” The expression in creole "soon come", is not a time indication but a practice in patience. So be flexible Don't depend on your timeline, Belize hurries for no one.
Out and about in the Cayo District In Belize
*What activities are in the area? There are so many fun amazing and wonder filled things to do it is not possible to be bored.. unless you want to be . Our area is famous for its amazing adventure travel excursions, Cave tubing, Mayan ruins, zip lining, canyoning, horseback riding, nature hikes, bird watching, Iguana hatchery tour, night hikes, rapture center, chocolate factory, Belizean cooking excursions… and more. We can recommend the best guides based on our own experience and can arrange for them to pick you up and drop off daily at the Guesthouse. *Should I book my tours ahead of time or when I get there? There is something very comforting about having the tours all booked before arrival and during the busy seasons (winter and spring) given a short visit time you may want to explore booking them before you come. We are happy to help you with that when you get here if that suits you more. It is also nice to let it be spontaneous. There is always fun to be had. If you wish to explore some of the options here are few tour companies have had good reputations for safty and guides Pacz tours- good for ATM Cave or any one of the Maya Ruins. And greadt food tour. reputable and well established. Well trained guides. Pick up for free at guesthouse https://www.pacztours.net/?utm_source=glisting&utm_medium=referral Cayo inland adventure Tours. Safe and experienced good for ATM, maya ruins, womens maya collective culture tour. Pich up for free at the guest house https://www.cayoadventuretours.com/ St. Leonards Stables and Tours. Good company for horse back riding particularly to the ruins of xunantunich. Pick up for free at guesthouse https://www.stleonardsbelize.com/ Maya Walk Tours. Well established and reputable company good for a t m and maya ruins with cave adventures. Charge for pick up at guest house https://www.mayawalk.com/ Martz Farm Lodge Tours. on the Vaca Dam road out side of Benque. They give horseback riding adventure Tours and a fabulous pontoon boat ride on the Vaca dam Lake. Pick up in town is extra charge. https://g.co/kgs/mpAE9Yp *Can we swim in the river? Yes!!! (well most times …it does get high and can be unadvisable for swimming in rainy season June through September ) The river is a short 3 min walk from the guest house. We have tubes you can rent to float around and great swimming spots with water falls and sandy banks,. Nice restaurants on the river to have some food for a great way to spend a day! *How far are you from the Mayan ruins? We happen to be extremely fortunate in that we are living on ancient Mayan lands and the whole Ananda property is littered with Mayan pottery and history. Apart from that we have several excavated Mayan sites that are within 15 minutes drive (Cahal Pech https://www.themayanruinswebsite.com/cahal-pech-1.html ) and Xunantuich Ruin in the Sucutz Village (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xunantunich ) We work with several local tour guides who can take you to and from these sites if you would like to have a guide. *What is the difference between the rainy season and dry season ? Belize has two seasons, green/ rainy season between March and October and summer, or dry season between October and March . *Do I have to know how to speak Spanish? If you do, that is great, but it is not at all necessary. If you speak English, then you will get along just fine in the area. all locals, speak English. It is in fact the national language of Belize. The other widely spoken language on the street is Belizean creole. *This is an English derived dialect similar to what is spoken in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands. We also have some guides who speak a few other languages as well. SO be sure to request it if you have other linguistic needs. *Can you drink the water and eat fruits and vegetables? NO and yes. The tap water here is clean ok for brushing teeth and dishes but not potable. it is safer to drink bottled water. We do include a large bottled water dispenser in your accommodations. The same goes for vegetables and fruits. You can eat anything here and not worry about getting sick from it. *Should I bring My Own Booze ? If you’d like to, then yes, you should consider picking some up before arriving. Alcohol is more expensive here, so we suggest stopping in at the duty free shop if you would like to have some in accommodations. In Belize airport, you can pick it up after you get off of the plane which is pretty convenient. After you go through passport control and just before baggage claim there is a good duty free store. The local rums are world famous ! And if you are a connoisseur your in the right place. Wines are expensive and hard to find in the country. If you are a wine drinker I recommend bringing some with you the boxes of wine are easy and safe to pack. or purchasing it at the airport. If you forget, or choose not to pick some up ahead of time, then there are plenty of local shops close by.