Know Before You Go
Belize is a cash-based country. ATMs can be difficult to find - there’s usually only one or two in a town. Most places take USD, though will always give you change in Belizean dollars. The two currencies are tied - Belize dollars are double USD.
BRING LOTS OF CASH
After trips to Mexico any parts of Central America, I had a certain low-budget idea of what traveling in Belize was like - I was wrong. Prices for hotels, food, and travel are certainly lower than in the United States, but I would put it on the high end of Central American travel. On the islands in particular, assume around $3-4 USD for a beer and $8-9 for a dinner entree.
Belize has one of the largest, most robust coral reefs in the world. And we are slowly killing it with, amongst other things, sunscreen that bleaches the coral. If you’re going into the ocean at all, or even going cave swimming, you’ll want to bring sunscreens that don’t contain oxybenzone or octinoxate. There’s plenty of options, most of which you can buy in a local drugstore or on Amazon. They’re going to be much cheaper here then they are in Belize, so bring it with you!! My favorites include Alba Botanica and ThinkSport.
Like many developing countries, it can be hard to find tampons in much of Belize. Pads are available, but will cost a bit more compared to other staples. Bring with you, or invest in an environmentally friendly menstrual cup.
The Belize coast, in particular Ambergris and Caye Caulker, have been inundated over the past several years with sargassum. This is a type of seaweed that is carried towards Belize from points in South America. Vast amounts of it wash up along the shore daily. Sargassum that’s not removed promptly will start to rot, and also will smell. It’s unfortunately lead to a bit of a stink along the eastern shores of both cayes. If you’re staying on the western side, make sure your hotel or airbnb has a dock that goes out at least 20-30 feet into the ocean, where the water is clear and the air fresh. Or look into staying on the eastern sides of the island, where the sargassum doesn’t reach.