Know Before You Go: Belize: Rainforests, Reefs & Ruins (Ultimate Plus) | EF Ultimate Break
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Belize: Rainforests, Reefs & Ruins (Ultimate Plus)

Know Before You Go

For an epic trip with zero stress and infinite holy s#!t moments, get familiar with the information below. Seeing the world should be fun, not stressful, which is why we’ve written this guide for you so all you have to do is travel. Now, it’s time to do a happy dance and make this trip ULTIMATE.

If you have any questions, chat in, or give us a call at 617-619-1411. We’re available to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.

*NEW* Belize Travel Insurance

Effective February 15th, all visitors to Belize will be required to purchase the Belize Travel Health Insurance:

  • Cost is $18 USD
  • Provides coverage up to $50,000 in medical expenses related to treatment of COVID-19 for a period of 21 days
  • Covers lodging expenses due to quarantine up to $2,000 (max $300/day USD)
  • Covered for emergency assistance services such as air evacuation and emergency expenses related to pre-existing conditions
  • Covers trip cancellations and expenses incurred by COVID-19 for extended stays
  • Recommended to purchase in advance but can also be purchased on arrival at Philip Goldson International Airport or Belize’s land borders

COVID-19

Your health and safety are our top priority. Travel involves certain inherent risks related to the chance of being exposed to and/or contracting COVID-19. We want you to travel confidently, which is why we’re taking steps to make EF Ultimate Break the safest way to see the world. You can see all the steps we’re taking here: https://www.efultimatebreak.com/entry-requirements?tour-code=BZEB

Travel Documents & Tour Preparation

Travel Documents

  • Passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date.
  • Visa: No visa is required for this trip if you are a U.S. Citizen. For citizens of other countries please check with the consulate in your area to verify the Visa entry requirements.

Tour Preparation

  • Talk with your doctor: Although there are no health entry requirements for US citizens visiting Belize, it is highly recommended that you talk with your doctor about your travel plans. If you are taking any medications, be certain to bring enough to last throughout your trip.

  • Travelling with allergies? Let your Trip Consultant and Tour Director know of any dietary restrictions/allergies and we will do what we can to accommodate for any included meals. To combat any language barriers, you may encounter while out on your free time, we recommend having cards in English and in Spanish stating what foods you must avoid.

  • Get an international data plan: We recommend getting an international data plan so you can stay connected while on the road. While free Wi-Fi may be available it won’t be everywhere nor as strong as we are used to. Please talk with your phone provider for your best options.

  • Get the EF Ultimate Break app: Your trip's group will be able to connect on the app before you meet IRL. Don't miss out! Meet other travelers, get updates from your Tour Director, see flights and accommodations, and more. If you're having trouble, give us a call at 617-619-1411.

  • Complete you pre-tour checklist: this can be found in your account.

Health & Safety

Staying Healthy while Traveling
Fact: Travel is exhilarating. And FOMO is real. So, we understand why you don’t want to miss a second of the action. But there’s a difference between maximizing your time and spreading yourself too thin. Here are some tips to stay healthy and happy on tour:

  • Sleep: Flying across the globe, changing time zones, and being constantly on the move can take a toll on your body. Make sure you get the rest your body needs. If that means missing a night out for some well-earned rest, or having a little afternoon siesta, so be it. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Stay hydrated: During this trip you’ll be spending a fair amount of time in the great outdoors. With Belize’s tropical climate, it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Drink bottled water only and or filtered water; avoid tap water.
  • Take time for yourself: Group travel is an amazing experience, and there’s nothing quite like exploring a foreign country with a group of like-minded people. That said, it’s okay to take time for yourself to relax and reflect on your experience. Here are a few mindfulness apps you can take with you on the road:
    • Insight Timer: Meditation apps are very in right now. This one is especially amazing because there are 80,000 free daily meditations to help with sleep, anxiety, and stress.
    • What’s Up: If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed, What’s Up can help you manage these feelings with interactive games, forums, and a thought tracking diary.
    • Talkspace: No need to make appointments or commute to a therapist’s office. Talkspace gives you 24/7 access to real, licensed therapists. You can talk, text, or video chat with them right from your phone.

Safety while Abroad
With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Tour Director or your Trip Consultant if you need a helping hand. Keep these extra tips in mind so you can #travelsmart:

  • Keep your bag/purse in front of you and your phone zipped inside when you’re not using it. Leave your laptop at home, store valuables at the hotel in locked luggage or the safe deposit box. Refrain from carrying large sums of money or wearing valuable jewelry.
  • Use the buddy system. Stay in groups and watch out for each other, especially at night—no one gets left behind!
  • Be smart about alcohol consumption. Watch your drinks and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know. Don’t leave the bar alone with someone you just met.
  • Before you go out, grab a business card at your hotel so that you always have the address handy for getting back later.
  • At the end of a night out, use trusted transportation like a licensed taxi or Uber, and always have cash on hand.
  • Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411

Money & Tipping

We at EF will help facilitate any testing requirements while on tour, however it is the travelers responsibility to pay for these tests and it is our recommendation that you budget roughly 150 USD total. Please note that non-boosted travelers may be required to do additional testing to enter places such as restaurants, and/or major attractions.

Remember that you know your spending habits best and not everyone’s spending habits are the same. These recommendations are based on a traveler who says yes to any and all activities while on tour

Budgeting
We recommend budgeting $50-$60 per day for meals, gratuities, shopping, and free time activities. For this trip, that means roughly $500-$600 but you know your spending habits best. If you’re looking to #treatyourself to the max, you may want to budget a little more.

Managing Money
The official currency of Belize is the Belizean Dollar; however the US Dollar is widely accepted but try to only bring small bills. ATMs are also available to get money while in Belize, but make sure to talk with your bank to let them know where and when you are traveling and to go over any international transaction fees. Some restaurants and stores accept major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard), but note that cash is preferred.

Pro Tip: Do you have a credit card that offers zero international transaction fees? If so, bring that bad boy to save some money for purchases abroad.

Currencies used: Belizean Dollar and US Dollar

Tipping
When it comes to tipping, it’s standard to leave 10-15% tip in restaurants, and no tip for taxis. It is also customary to tip for services provided, we recommend the following for this tour:

Local Guides: $1-$2

Bus Driver: $2-$3 per day given at the end of the trip

Tour Director: $40-$60 given at the end of the trip

Packing

Belize is a sub-tropical climate and temperatures can range from 50-95 degrees, but an average of 80 degrees year-round. Hot temps and humid air are a perfect recipe for wildlife and insects. Prepare to encounter bugs in the air, beach, hotels, and more, but don’t let this wreck your vacation vibe! Bring your bug spray to keep them at a friendly distance, and you’ll be golden. Bring plenty of layers including a rain jacket.

Please note, your airline ticket does not include a checked bag, but years of customer feedback tells us the lighter you pack, the better, so a carry-on should be all you need! See below for more packing tips to help you become a professional carry-on traveler.

Electronics: Belize uses 110-volt, 60 cycle electricity, same as the US. Plugs are typically the 2-pronged flat type, so US travelers will not need a converter or adapter unless you plan to bring a 3-prong device.

Packing list:

  • A smaller backpack to keep your clothes and items in during active days. We also recommend zip-lock bags to keep your phone and valuables dry
  • 1 light wind/rain jacket
  • Comfortable walking/active shoes
  • Waterproof shoes or sandals
  • 1-2 pairs shorts
  • Longer active pants for walks and hikes
  • 3-4 shirts / t-shirts
  • 1 nicer outfit for Farewell Dinner or a night out
  • 1-2 bathing suits
  • Beach – we love the Microfiber travel towel
  • Underwear and socks
  • Toiletries, medicine – motion-sickness medicine if you’re prone to getting seasick
  • Bug spray – in the tropics, you are guaranteed to encounter more than one bug
  • 1-2 bottles of travel-size sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Reusable water bottle
  • A bag to put your wet and/or dirty items in so that the rest of your clothes don’t get dirty when transferring to different cities
  • Phone or camera, waterproof phone/cases bags encouraged!
  • Passport. We also recommend that you make two color photocopies of your passport. Leave one copy at home with a friend or relative, and bring one copy with you, keeping it separate from the original documents.
  • Debit / Credit cards and cash

Arrival Information & Transportation

Flight Preparation
Check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. Using your 6-digit reservation code, you can reserve your seat (this is typically available 30 days to 24 hours before departure) and check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, that’s okay, too. Regardless, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.

Note: All flight information is online (e-ticket) via your account and the airline’s website. You will not receive a physical paper ticket from us.

  • If your flight is cancelled or delayed: Don’t worry! We design the first day of tour as an arrival day in case of flight delays or cancellations. Work with the airline to get rebooked on the next available flight, then let your Tour Director know your new arrival time
  • If you sleep in and miss your flight: You should still talk to the airline and see if they can get you on the next available option. Tears may help in this case.

Arriving in Belize City
Welcome to Belize! Now that you have #landed, you will want to grab your luggage and pass through customs and immigration. (Yay! Passport stamps!)

Your Tour Director will communicate through the EF Ultimate Break app, WhatsApp, or email about where to meet them at the airport. This is an important reason to make sure you have the EF Ultimate Break app!

Note: If you have booked your own flight arrangements or have extended your travels before the tour dates, you will need to make your own way to the first hotel. Accommodation details will be available in your online account 30 days prior to departure.

Getting from A to B
All transfers between cities are via private bus or local ferries and can take anywhere between 2-6 hours. You’ll see the picturesque jungle fly by as you make your way through almost the entire country of Belize, but bring motion sickness medicine in case you’re prone to getting carsick; Many of the roads in Belize are winding and up/downhill.

Note: It’s a good idea to download a few movies or shows to watch sans Wi-Fi/ Cellular Data, bring a great book with you to read, or listen to music to pass the time. Download the Latino Vibes playlists on Spotify to get in the mood!

Guatemala Border Crossing

As part of this tour, you will be visiting Tikal in Guatemala. While crossing the border into Guatemala, you will need to pay an exit fee from Belize, which costs $20 per person.

Language & Local Life

Speak the Language
Even though English is the official language of Belize, it’s fun and helpful to try your hand at the second language, Spanish! Try out some of these popular words and phrases:

  • Hola: Hello
  • Adios: Goodbye
  • Gracias: Thank you
  • Buenos dias: Good morning
  • Buenos tardes: Good evening
  • Cómo estás?: How are you?
  • Estoy bien, Gracias!: I’m fine, thanks!
  • Lo siento, no entiendo: I’m sorry, I don’t understand
  • Donde esta ___: Where is ___

Live like a Local
Unlike travel in Europe or even other countries in Latin America, Belize is a country that straddles the jungle and the Caribbean Sea. You won’t find big city experiences here; instead you’ll explore the mysterious ruins of Mayan civilization, snorkel in some of the best reefs in the world, and encounter wildlife at every corner. As you prepare to spend time in this new culture, here are some expert tips to help you understand the ins and outs of Belize and help you live like a true Belizean:

  • The official language of Belize is English, but most locals also speak Spanish and Kriol
  • Belize has some of the best snorkeling in the world. Now’s the time to try!
  • Cash. Is. King.
  • Bugs. Are. Everywhere. Well, not everywhere, but bring your bug spray.
  • The Yucatan Black Howler monkey is in Belize, and it’s a monkey… that howls. Prepare your eyes and your ears.

Food, Drink & Free Time

You’ll sample a variety of local dishes on your trip, but read on for tips, tricks, and delicacies you must try.

  • Rice and Beans: Comes as a stew of coconut milk, red beans, and rice, or served separately
  • Johnny Cakes: A savory biscuit with butter, usually for breakfast!
  • Cashew and Craboo wine: Wine made from the cashew fruit, not the nut…
  • Ceviche: When in Latin America, right??
  • Tamales: Squares of cornmeal stuffed with chicken, pork, or beans and vegetables, THEN wrapped in plantain leaves, THEN steamed over open fire, THEN devoured by everyone.
  • Belikin Beer: You didn’t think we’d leave out a local beer recommendation, did you?

Optimize Your Free Time
If you did not purchase EF Ultimate Break Optional Excursions before the trip began, you can log in to your Online Account and do so on tour. You can also talk to your Tour Director on tour and they can help you get enrolled. If you’d like to plan something else during your free time, connect with your Tour Director before doing so; they sometimes arrange extra activities for the group during free time. Prices for these optional excursions will increase on tour, so please check your online account here for available add-ons.

We’re so glad you chose to travel with us and are now part of the EF Ultimate Break family! We'll look for your post-card in the mail, and your #thisisultimate tags on Instagram. Cheers to the Best. Trip. Ever.

Bon voyage!

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