What Happens When You Arrive at BZE
At Belize Happy Adventures, we want you to have the happiest of times on your adventure in Belize! So, we want to offer up some really simple tips that we hope will help you get you through the Belize International Airport with as much ease as possible!
First and foremost, unless you are a complete stranger to air travel you know your arrival at the BZE International Airport may not be on time. Let’s hope it is…. But if not, DO NOT fret about making your next flight to San Pedro/Caye Caulker. Why? Because there will always be another one waiting in the wings! The great thing about taking either Tropic Air or Maya Island Air is that they are very used to dealing with delays, are aware if incoming flights are late, and will work their customer service magic to get you on the soonest flight out. So stay calm; the only sweating you should be doing is enjoying the heat as you walk off the plane!
While onboard your international flight, you will receive an immigration form like you normally do before entering a foreign country. The only piece of information you should have on hand that you may not be used to having is the name and address of the place or places you will be staying while here. And yes, they do check that line on the form, and will ask you to fill it out if you didn’t.
Once you set your happy feet on the Belize soil, you will be entering into the immigration line with that form, and they will review it and stamp your passport. Our tip -- once you enter the building, stay to your left and keep moving! This seems to be the faster line, typically. Once through immigration, you will be right there at luggage claim.
Another important airport tip is the purchase of duty-free alcohol. Remember that Belize is primarily a local rum and local beer destination. If you want ANYTHING else, and don’t want to pay an absolute fortune, purchase it at the duty-free store, RIGHT OUTSIDE the baggage claim, just after you go through immigration. Trust us when we tell you that if you like anything with vodka, tequila, gin or whiskey, it will cost you. By way of example, you can get a bottle to Tito’s Vodka at the duty-free shop for $18 US. However, in San Pedro you will pay $60 US for the exact same bottle. Now if you don’t care and want to just enjoy what this country has to offer, don’t worry, you can find many, many exotic rum drinks, and of course Belikin Beer, or our favorite, Landshark with a lime, which tastes a bit like Corona. Remember to purchase liquor by the luggage claim, because once you get through customs and head to your next flight you are OUT OF LUCK!
If you have purchased duty-free alcohol, head to the line on the far left with a sign that says, “SOMETHING TO DECLARE”, because you do have something to declare -- your alcohol. It will likely be a short line and you should breeze right through. If you are not purchasing you can head to the line that says, “NOTHING TO DECLARE”.
Another little tidbit -- once you pass through customs, there will be a few guys wanting to help you with your luggage. If you are flying out on Maya Island Air or Tropic Air to your next destination, just say no thank you. You literally walk about 50 feet through 2 double doors and you are at your flight counter. Even if you are grabbing a cab, you really only have approximately 50 feet until you are outside on the curb hailing a cab.
Once you arrive at your “next gate” to check in for your short flight, they will take all your bags, except your purse or computer bag. They will also give you a ticket for your alcohol and take that as well (don’t worry, they will hand you your alcohol bag, right as you board your short flight). It is always with gratitude that I will tip the “boys” at the counter taking care of my bags. $2 US per bag is perfect and they will do their best to make sure your bag gets on YOUR flight. Remember if your bag does not make the flight you are on, DON’T WORRY, it will be on the next one or the next one. Both airlines do their best!
After checking in at the counter, you will go through security to the gate area. This is an “old school” security system, where you will be required to empty your pockets, and remove your computers, belts and shoes, No TSA pre-check here!
Head to the gate and tell one of the attendants you are there and show them your boarding pass. Then hang around and listen for your flight number to be announced. Make sure you KEEP your baggage claim tickets handy, as each airline is very particular when handing your luggage back to you when you land, unlike the states, where they hand you the luggage tags and then typically no one really checks them at baggage claim.
Hopefully some of these tips will make your Belize Happy Adventure much sweeter!