We decided to do our 2020 Christmas a little different this year. We opted out of spending it in the cold and headed to the “Beaches of Belize” for some fun in the sun.
How we got to Belize during the Pandemic
I am always someone who typically “CHASES THE DEAL & NOT THE DESTINATION”, so when I was notified of a $280 RT Non-stop flight to Belize, I booked it immediately. We flew American Airlines to get to our destination.
To see the airlines COVID protocols click here.
Things to do before arriving to Belize during the pandemic
There were several things that needed to be done before our entry into the country. Due to COVID, more then a passport is required to enter Belize.
A NEGATIVE PCR Test is required 96 hours before your departure for ages 5+
a NEGATIVE Rapid Antigen Test is required 48 hours prior to travel.
PRINT OFF OR SCREEN SHOT YOUR RESULTS TO PRESENT TO THE AGENTS IN BELIZE
If a negative test is not presented at the airport, you are able to get a test for $50 USD. If you test positive you must quarantine at your OWN EXPENSE
Please be sure to check the US Embassy website for up the latest requirements
Belize Health App
72 Hours before you depart, you must download the Belize Health App and fill out the Health Questionnaire.
You can find the Belize Health App to download on you android or iOS device here
After completing the forms on the Health App, SCREENSHOT your unique QR Barcode to show to the agents at the airport, and at customs. I seen a lot of people trying to access the app when they arrived in Belize and it wasn’t working properly, and it held up the customs process.
I also purchased Travel Health Insurance with COVID Coverage and Medical Evacuation from Seven Corners. It cost $29.00 total.
COVID Regulations when Traveling to Belize during the pandemic
Mask are required in the airport, business, on the plane, on tours, even when outdoors. The only time mask are not required, is when you are eating, drinking, swimming, doing water activities, on the beach or in the comfort of your hotel room.
The country also follows social distancing guidelines.
The country does have a mandatory lockdown from 8:00pm to 5:00am
Arriving to Belize during the pandemic
Once we landed and proceeded off the plane, there were workers who directed us into the correct line. We were able to skip the line, I'm assuming it’s because I was traveling with a child, so they took us right up front.
We had to show our COVID Results, get our hands sanatized, temperature checked. We had to also show proof of our hotel reservation, our QR Health App code, and give them our customs paper. Going through customs was very fast. This is why I recommend you printing off or taking screenshots of EVERYTHING so that you don’t have to search through your phone and hold up the line.
There were social distance reminders throughout the airport as well as hand sanitizing stations. Mask are required in the airport in Belize as well.
Where to stay at in Belize during the pandemic
COVID Regulations in Belize require tourist to stay at a “Gold Standard Hotel.” A Gold Standard hotel, is one that has thoroughly followed the new safety procedures and has the guests’ safety as their utmost priority.
A list of the Gold Standard Hotels can be found by clicking here.
We chose to stay at the Mahogany Bay Resort and Beach Club on the island of San Pedro.
The resort isn’t on the mainland which is where the BZE Airport is located. It can be reached two ways. By ferry which can take around 2 hours. Or by flight which is slightly more expensive and takes 15 minutes. We decided to pay the $150 and do the flight because after flying 3 hours, I was not trying to have another 2 hours added on to our travel time. The Mahogany Bay made the flight reservations for us using Tropic Air, as well as arranged pickup from the San Pedro Airport to the hotel.
Staying at the Mahogany Bay Resort in Belize during the Pandemic
Once we arrived at the hotel, we were required to wash our hands at a makeshift sink that was outdoors. We also had to get our temperature checked before entering the hotel lobby. Our suitcases were left outdoors to be guarded by a guard while we checked in. They didn’t want suitcases in the lobby due to the transfer of germs that may have accumulated during transport in the airport.
The hotel desk had huge clear shields up to keep both the customers and staff safe during the check-in process. There were hand sanitizing stations at all the lobby entrances for guest and staff to use. Staff members wore mask, and many of them wore face shields as well for double protection.
After checking in we were transported to our room via golf cart. This hotel isn’t your “typical hotel.” Rooms are all spread out into separate buildings. There are even townhomes and villas with a full kitchen and a private pool.
Upon arriving at our room, there was a Lysol seal on the door with a barcode to scan. It told you how your room was cleaned as well as what products were used. It was so nice to know that the hotel is taking so many steps to ensure our safety.
We stayed in a lower keeping suite which consist of 2 queen sized beds, a kitchenette, coffee maker, utensils, a refrigerator, TV with Netflix or YouTube capability, a bathroom with a rain shower and double sinks, 2 robes and a screened in porch which was perfect to spend sometime outdoors.
What to do at the Mahogany Bay Resort in Belize during the Pandemic:
The hotel has a resort style pool with cabanas, chairs and umbrellas for your comfort. There is a fitness center but it was closed due to the pandemic. The hotel has a yoga studio which feature aerial yoga, a spa, a gift shop and concierge to assist you with booking your tours.
There were also several restaurants and bars on the property that you can either charge to your room, pay using a credit or debit card, or using cash. (both BZD and USD)
The Verandah Restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The breakfast buffet is amazing there, especially the chicken and waffles (which shocked me) and the Journey Cakes.
The Jyoto Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar which serves some good sushi.
The Rum and Bean Coffee Shop which serves some of your favorite treats to get you up and moving in the morning. They also have some cocktail options.
Shaken, The Dirty Martini, and Stirred are all bars on the property. The Dirty Martini even had a karaoke night while we were there.
The resort also has several smaller restaurants & bars in a little food village ran by the locals of Belize. We ate at every single one. (They only accept cash. USD or BZD) My favorite was the steak nachos and empanadas. To be honest during our vacation, I didn’t really have any food that totally “WOW’d” me, but I did drink rum punch every day!
Things to note: Although there is a curfew on the island, the resort is allowed for certain places and restaurants to be open after the 8pm lockdown.
The Resort has a “private beach club” for guest. The beach club is only accessible by boat which departs at different times of the day. The beach club has a restaurant and bar (with a limited menu), games on the beach, sand and water toys for the kids, paddleboards and kayaks for guest, volleyball, beach chairs and tables, and a about 6 over water cabana which can be rented by guest.
Pricing for the cabana varies based on if you are booking for a half day or full day rental (10am-5:00pm)
What to do in Belize during the Pandemic:
· Snorkel at Hol Chan Marina Reserve: Carson enjoyed being in the ocean. We seen tons of fish, barracuda, sting rays, sharks and we even swam next to a sea turtle.
· Swim with the sharks at Shark Ray Alley: I know, it sounds crazy, but it was so exhilarating to swim with and touch a shark in their natural habitat. They are nurse sharks so they are very calm and use to human interaction. I didn't let Carson get in, but he fed the sharks fish from the boat with the tour guide.
· Visit Caye Caulker Island to explore: We spent a few hours exploring this Caye while on one of our tours. Many businesses were closed but some were open. We ate lunch at the "Happy Lobster" restaurant. Carson loved his quesadilla.
· The Great Blue Hole: You can scuba dive or snorkel here. If you want to see it from a birds eye view, they have plane and helicopter tours.
· Mayan Ruins: This is on the mainland of Belize and only accessible by boat or plane.
· Cave Tubing
· And more….
I highly recommend using “Tuff E Nuff Tours” for your activities. They were so amazing especially with Carson. Their boat tour provides guest with snacks, fruit, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and some great music to dance to. They were very knowledgeable, friendly, limiting guest on the boat due to the pandemic, and they are very excited to have tourist back in the country.
We used Tuff E Nuff Tours for a full day tour on their Catamaran. It was $115 for adults and Carson was free. We were out exploring Belize from 9:00 am till 4:30pm. They pick you up and drop you off right at the Mahogany Bay Resort.
The one thing that was the highlight of our tour was a dolphin swimming next to us on the way to Caye Caulker.
Some Important things to consider during your trip to Belize:
-Their main mode of transportation in San Pedro is golf carts. We rented one and were required to fill it up before returning it to the hotel. Filling it up requires you to go into town to do so.
- If you are someone who like to wear scented perfumes, lotions, hair products etc. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you packing some non scented products. They have these bugs called “Botlass Flies” (they look like gnats) and they TORE ME UP!!!! I had so many welts over my body. Although it didn’t hurt, you scratch like someone put itching powder on you. They even bit my scalp because I had coconut curl cream on it.
-Pack your Benadryl, Hydrocortisone, etc If you get bit by these flies YOU WILL NEED IT!
The next day I only used Carson's non scented eczema products and they left me alone. The bites itched for about 2-3 days then I was back to normal.
-Although the island accepts USD, its still good to have a little bit of their currency. $1.00 USD= appx $2.00 BZD
-Remember Mask are required outdoors as well unless participating in water activities, eating, drinking, at the beach etc.
We had a ball in Belize! It was the perfect getaway as well as a great way to bring in the holidays and close out 2020. I hope that this post was helpful in you planning your future vacation to Belize. If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out.
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