Belize: Rainforests, Reefs, & Ruins
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 and are available 24/7 so all you have to do is travel. Now, it’s time to do a happy dance and make this trip ULTIMATE.
Complete Your Checklist
Before heading to the airport, complete the tasks below and check them off in your Online Account Checklist. If you have any questions, give us a call at 800-766-2645. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.
- Verify your passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date. No visa is required for this trip if you are a U.S. Citizen
- Join the Facebook group: Join your private Facebook group now! It’s how you can meet other travelers and see announcements from your Tour Director. Call us at 800-766-2645 if you’re having trouble joining.
- Request a roommate:: Double check with us and your Tour Director that they have your rooming status on file. We will assign a roommate for you if you do not submit a specific request.
- Personalize your trip: Travel Insurance is not available for purchase on tour, and the price of Optional Excursions increases after departure. We suggest logging in to your Online Account now to add these items.
- Call your bank: Let your bank and credit card company know of your travel plans so you can withdraw cash and use your debit/credit cards abroad. Otherwise, you risk your account being blocked.
Pack Like a Pro
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! Especially when transferring to islands off the coast, you may be expected to carry your luggage where buses and cars cannot. See below for more packing tips to help you become a professional carry-on traveler:
- 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 ($5-$20, Amazon.com)
- 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
- Phone or camera
- Debit / Credit cards and cash
- Adapter / Converter – type “A”, “B, “G”, or universal
Note: Belize is a sub-tropical climate and temperatures can range from 50-95 degrees, but an average of 80 degrees year-round. Bring plenty of layers including a rain jacket.
Also note: Bring a smaller backpack to keep your clothes and items in during active days or when you’re at the beach. We also recommend zip-lock bags to keep your phone and valuables dry.
Check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. You can check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.
- 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 slept in and missed 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…
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.
Arriving in Belize City
Your Tour Director will communicate on Facebook or email about where to meet them at the Madrid airport. This is another reason you should join your Facebook group.
Meet Your Tour Director and Fellow Travelers
Your Tour Director will tell you best way to communicate with them during the trip; they will be with your group from start to finish, so if there is anything you need, connect with them. Concerned about international cellular data and staying in touch with your group? Check out “Phones and Electronics” further down in this guide.
Use Your Phone, Internet, and Electronics
We recommend you get an international data plan from your cell phone provider. The most common options are the Travel Pass with Verizon, or purchasing a personal hot spot with your carrier, but note that Wi-Fi and cellular service is not strong in Belize regardless of the plan you choose. For your cell phone and any other electronics you bring abroad, you will need a converter/adapter.
Note: You should use a “A” , “B” , or “G” adapter / converter on this tour (typically with 2 flat prongs). A staff favorite is also the “Targus World Power Travel Adapter” ($20, Amazon.com)
On The Ground
Living in the Tropics
Belize is a sub-tropical climate, which means the 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 harsh your vacation vibe! Bring your bug spray to keep them at a friendly distance, and you’ll be golden.
Manage Your Money
U.S. dollars are widely accepted in Belize so you are not required to exchange any money, but try to only bring small bills. Budget $50-$60 per day for meals, shopping, and free time activities. When it comes to tipping, it’s standard to leave 10-15% tip in restaurants, and no tip for taxis. For your Tour Director, however, we recommend tipping $45 - $65 at the end of the trip if you feel inclined.
- Belize: Belizean Dollar, BZD. US Dollar also accepted
Note: Let your bank and credit card companies know your specific travel plans (including every country you’ll visit and for how long) ahead of time to avoid potential complications or suspicion of fraud while abroad.
Getting from A to B
All transfers between cities are via private bus or 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 bring a great book with you for transfer days, or listen to music to pass the time. Download the Latino Vibes, or Top Latin Tracks of 2018 playlists on Spotify to get in the mood!
Optimize Your Free Time
If you did not purchase EF Ultimate Break Optional Excursions before the trip began, you can log into 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. Optionals on this tour may include (prices increase on tour):
- San Pedro Food Tour: $45
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.
Wine and Dine
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?
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 ___
Health and Safety
With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. But, it’s equally important for you to maintain your health and safety while abroad. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner, drink plenty of water, get sleep when you can, and 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411
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.