Plan Your Trip

So you are coming to Belize for a learning experience of a lifetime, but what should you bring? Do you need a visa? What's the weather going to be like? Hopefully these next sections should help you decide what you'll need.

Registered students will receive an extensive C.E.L.A. Orientation Handbook prior to their arrival in Belize.

Chances are that you will be sharing room while in Belize. You may be in dormitory style rooms (maximum 4 people) and using composting toilets. Although C.E.L.A. endeavors to find you the best accommodation for the budget; don’t expect luxury or sometimes even hot showers!  The power and water will go off periodically so plan daily activities accordingly.

Our Courses

Wildlife Health Ecology and Conservation
Watershed Ecology
Wildlife Health
Large Animal Vet Practices
Primate Ecology
Global Health
Health, Belief

Essential Information

Your passport must be good for up to 6 months past the date of your visit; you must also provide proof of a return plane ticket.  No VISA is required for U.S, Canadian & Western European citizens, but international students should inquire regarding regulations for their country

Be sure to bring your: Student ID, Passport, Driver’s License, Airline tickets

Purchase medical and travel insurance as noted on the Proof of Insurance form; it must cover medical insurance, Air Evacuation coverage and Repatriation of Remains

If you plan to use a credit card or ATM card in Belize, it is a good idea to let your credit card company and bank know when you will be here.

Belize has its own currency, the Belizean dollar (BZ).  The exchange rate is set at BZ $2 for US 1$.  Most shops accept U.S. currency and will give BZ in return.  The ATMs disperse BZ dollars.

Get Packing

What to Pack

You may be undertaking a variety of outdoor activities (hiking, canoeing, swimming, sightseeing, snorkeling) in a subtropical country (Latitude 17º N), so develop your packing list accordingly.  The dry season in Belize is December to May.  The rainy season begins in June and lasts through November, running with the hurricane season.  Prepare for heat and/or rain as most of course  activities are outdoors.  See this website for more weather details by the month 

  • Clothes

    Light-weight pants and long-sleeve shirts are good protection from the insects  (mosquitoes inland, sand flies at the beach in the evening). Raincoat or poncho. Swimwear. Hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. Flip-flops or walking sandals for the beach; comfortable, sturdy, closed toed shoes for the jungle. 

  • Good To Have

    Camera, Small flashlight or headlamp, Notebook or journal, pens and pencils, travel sized tissues or wipes, or small towel, Water bottle, if carried on the plane it must be empty, Alarm clock, insect repellent (no aerosols). To keep important documents secure, purchase a neck pouch or money belt in which you can keep your passport, ID, credit card, and larger amounts of cash.  Keep only one day’s spending money in your purse/wallet.

  • Safety

    Visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) web site regarding immunizations and other health concerns for visitors to Belize.  The CDC recommends updating your “routine” vaccinations (flu, MMR, DPT) but ALWAYS consult with your physician first. Long sleeves and long pants made of light-weight fabric are recommended for after dark and for the jungle.  Sand flies come out at the beach in the evening.  Pack insect repellent (with DEET).  Remember, biting insects may carry diseases such as malaria and Dengue fever. Bring medication if you are prone to sea or travel sickness. Water from the tap is considered safe to drink in Belize in the towns, but visitors should drink bottled water, juices or carbonated beverages to be on the safe side. Bottle water is readily available

    Tourists are not targeted specifically by criminals in Belize, but may be victims of “crimes of opportunity.”  Visit the U.S. State Department web site for the latest travel advisories for Belize. Make three copies of your passport and other important documents. You may want to e-mail them to yourself so that you will always be able to access a copy should something happen to your original passport.

what to pack

Miscellaneous

    • Electricity is 110-volt AC, with U.S.-style outlets (2- or 3-pronged)
    • English is the official language of Belize, but Spanish, Creole, and Garifuna are also spoken in this multi-cultural nation.
    • English units are the norm in Belize (e.g. miles, gallons, pounds, etc.)
    • The time zone in Belize is GMT -6:00, we do not have daylight savings time. So we are either on US Central or Mountain time depending on the time of year.
    • Most accommodations do NOT have phones in the rooms.  Calling home while in Belize can be very expensive.   Email and internet services are a better option.
    • The drinking age in Belize is 18.
    • There are ATMs in most of the banks. Banking hours are typically 8 – 2:00 Monday – Friday, and some Saturdays until noon.
    • Internet cafes are available (charging by the hour or half hour), and more hotels and resorts have WIFI.  Expect the internet connections to be much slower than North America.
    • If you purchase more than $800 in merchandise, you will be required to pay additional fees when you go through customs upon returning home.  It’s a good idea to keep a running tab of what you have spent on items you’ll bring home, and bring a list or the receipts on the airplane when you leave.
    • Your cell phone probably won't work in Belize, even with an international plan. VOIP is now available but general slow internet speeds may making using VOIP services frustrating.
    • Check with your the airline for information on baggage restrictions and fees.  Each passenger is allowed one checked bag and two carry-on bags (one of which is a small “personal item” such as a purse or daypack).  If your checked bag exceeds 50 pounds and 62 inches (H + L + W), you will be charged extra.
    • Bear in mind that a wheeled suitcase (a “roller”) may not be convenient on islands, as the roads may be sand!  As long as you can lift your bag you can probably manage.  Remember travelling light is always best.

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Our Mission

To expand the world view of participants by providing high quality, relevant, dynamic, socially responsible and academically challenging experiences.

Our Vision

We are the number one choice in Belize for providing professional and academic education by exceeding our participants’ expectations and contributing to the success of the communities with which we work.

Our Core Values

Sustainability: We are committed to building a better understanding of Belize's rich cultures and biodiversity whilst ensuring our business activities have a beneficial and sustaining impact.

Respect: We treat everyone with dignity, equality, kindness and trust regardless of ethnicity, lifestyle, gender and beliefs.

Teamwork: We work together through cooperation, dedication, respect and open communication.

Collaboration: We actively pursue and value cooperative relationships in pursuit of our mission and vision.

CELA. Belize
Center for Engaged Learning Abroad

P.O. Box 177
San Ignacio
Belize
Central America
Tel: +501 670 0930

Center For Engaged Learning Abroad