Health and Medical Care in Belize
- Covid 19 (Coronavirus): Belize has re-opened its international borders (land and air) for international tourists. However, the borders with Guatemala and Mexico are still not open for regular travel due to high rates of Covid in surrounding Central American countries. Tourists who are fully vaccinated may enter the country by presenting their passports and vaccination cards. Unvaccinated tourists must present negative Covid test results. Curfew is in place from 10 PM to 6 AM and masks must be worn at all times except when actually eating and drinking or riding in a vehicle - the fine is US$250 for non compliance with mask requirements. Keep up to date on changes in Covid restrictions at https://belizetourismboard.org/belize-covid-19-update-for-travellers/
- Medical Care: Belize is a third world country, and only basic first aid is available in many parts of the country. More advanced medical care is available at regional government funded hospitals in Belize City, San Ignacio, Dangriga and Orange Walk, with the most advanced medical care available at private clinics and hospitals in Belize City. For serious medical conditions, treatment in Guatemala, Mexico and the US may be advisable. You should bring proof of medical insurance with you, and review your health insurance coverage to make sure that it includes medical care outside your country of origin as well as emergency medical transportation coverage. (Note: you may have to pay for your medical care upfront and be reimbursed by your insurance carrier even if you do have medical insurance.) If your medical insurance does not include medical transportation coverage, then travel insurance that does is strongly advised.
Most importantly, review your health insurance to determine whether it will pay for emergency medical evacuation if you become seriously ill or are seriously injured during your vacation. (Most health plans will not, including Medicare.) Belize medical facilities are adequate for basic medical care, but you will require emergency medical evacuation for anything more serious. Emergency medical evacuation is very expensive (US$50,000-US$100,000 average), and if your health insurance doesn't cover it, we strongly urge you to purchase travel insurance, or at a minimum, med-evac insurance. (For an example of this type of policy, see https://www.travelguard.com/travelinsurance/products/medevac.asp
Please also note that your health insurance may not cover medical expenses while you are out of the country, or you may have to cover your own medical expenses and then be reimbursed after you return home from your vacation. (For more information on what to look for in emergency medical coverage, see https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/How-One-Familys-Medical-Emergency-Reinforces-Need-for-Travel-Insurance)
Also note that pregnancy is almost always excluded from travel insurance except for medical conditions that are made worse by being pregnant. And, if you have to cancel a trip because of a pregnancy related problem (such as severe morning sickness), your travel insurance likely will not cover the cancellation. (For more information, see https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Pregnancy-Could-Cause-Travel-Insurance-Complications)
In addition, you need to take extra precautions if you or a family member (even one not traveling with you) have a pre-existing condition, including purchasing your insurance within usually 7-21 days after you make your deposit. (For more information, see https://www.insuremytrip.com/travel-insurance-plans-coverages/pre-existing-conditions/ and https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Travel-Insurance-Lawsuit-Highlights-Issue-Of-Pre-Existing-Conditions#disqus_thread). If you have a serious pre-existing condition that could interfere with travel, it also may be a good idea to get a written approval from your doctor for your travel, just to make sure that the pre-existing condition exclusion doesn't apply to you.
Finally, take a look at the travel insurance information regarding adventure travel (including links) at https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Adventure-Travel-is-Not-Always-Covered-by-Travel-Insurance#disqus_thread. (Note that Travel Guard also offers adventure travel insurance - see https://www.travelguard.com/travelinsurance/adventure) Another user-friendly link - https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/is-travel-insurance-worth-it
- Health Precautions to Take Before Your Trip: Make sure that your tetanus vaccination is up-to-date and that you bring any necessary medications with you (including any essential over-the-counter medications). You may also want to discuss hepatitis vaccinations with your medical provider because the risk of contracting hepatitis is now a very real one in all parts of the world, including the US. While we have no knowledge of any of our clients ever contracting malaria during their Belize vacation, the US Center for Disease Control recommends anti-malarial medication for travelers visiting all parts of Belize except Belize City. Therefore, you should also consult your physician regarding malaria prophylactics and other health considerations connected with travel to the tropics.
Diet: Belize restaurants and resorts/lodges can accommodate almost any type of special diet - but, if you're going to be at a jungle lodge or a resort on a caye, please do let the lodging staff know ahead of time if you have any dietary restrictions so that necessary supplies are available. (Produce is sometimes limited in Belize, so if you're vegetarian, you'll be able to eat, but choices may be limited.)