Belize Customs Prohibited Items: Avoid Catastrophe

Customs & Belize Travel Tips

In this blog post we focus on additional Belize Travel Tips regarding Belize Customs Prohibited Items.  In another blog post we shared some Belize Travel Tips including What to Bring to Belize (so be sure to read that one too.)  From our experience living in Belize, we also provide a few Belize Travel Tips on everyday items that just aren’t practical here.


Do NOT attempt to bring illegal items into Belize.  Customs in Belize will confiscate illegal items, and you may be fined, arrested or put on the next plane out of the country. Please don’t just show up at the airport with them and ask for forgiveness.  That tactic usually doesn’t work.  And do you really want to start your vacation in violation of an international law?

Gun Laws Belize

Belize Customs Prohibited Items

Belize gun laws are strict!  For example, there is a mandatory 2-year prison sentence for each bullet found in your possession, if you don’t have the right permit.  So yes, gun laws in Belize are nothing to be ignored. And very few non-residents are granted a gun permit.  So, if you need to travel with your gun, Belize might not be a good destination for you.

Drugs (is definitely one of the things to avoid in Belize)

Marijuana is illegal to bring into Belize.  Belize law allows someone already living in Belize to legally have up to 10 grams of marijuana on their own property.  However, it is a punishable crime to purchase marijuana, transport marijuana, or grow it in any amount.  So, given that any amount of marijuana is illegal to bring into the country, illegal to buy, illegal to transport, illegal to grow, and you must own the place where you smoke marijuana, it remains basically illegal overall for tourists. Consider this a basic Belize Travel Tip.

Be careful, because there is a known scam where someone will sell you marijuana, and then tell the police you have it. The police confiscate it, and fine you, and then give the marijuana back to the seller (to start all over again). Your safest bet is to avoid marijuana.

What Drugs are Legal in Belize?

Kratom & CBD oil / supplements are currently legal in Belize. I don’t recommend advertising that you have it though. Remember, Belize Customs can confiscate anything they want.

Prescription drugs should be maintained in their original prescription packaging.  Don’t combine them into a single container.

Drones

A license is required to operate a drone in Belize.  And the license needs to be procured prior to your arrival.  Also, drones are not allowed in any of the National Parks or archeological sites, even with a permit (unless you are with a production crew with a whole different set of licensing requirements).  So, it’s best to leave your drone at home, as it will be confiscated at Customs, and you may not get it back.

Belize Customs Prohibited Items
Drone Licenses are required

Cash

Belize Customs Prohibited Items

Belize Customs Prohibited Items include Cash, if over a certain amount. Don’t bring more than $5K U.S. per family (Technically by law, it is per adult, but I’ve heard of a couple that had over $5K but less than $10K and they got in trouble) without claiming it.  If you must bring more than $5K per family, simply claim it.  You can bring it in the country, but you must claim it.  If Customs finds it (and you haven’t claimed it on your Customs form), they will take it, and fine you.  And you won’t get your money back.

Beer, Wine & Liquor

Belikin Beer on Rustic Table by Beach
Glass of Wine

Bringing beer into Belize is illegal.  Wine & liquor is okay within limits (see below).  I know, wild, huh?

You can bring in up to 1-liter total (of wine/hard liquor – not one of each) duty free.  If you do bring in more than that you will just pay duty on it.  Remember, rum is cheap here and goes well with Belizean food.

Food: What to Bring to Belize

Generally speaking, you can bring most foods as long as they’re in small amounts for personal use and still in their original packages. However, some foods like meats, fruits, veggies, rice, beans, sugar, and peanuts are restricted. If you bring these food items, they may be confiscated by Belize Customs.

Cigarettes

You can bring in up to 200 individual cigarettes, which is usually considered a carton.  Any amount over that will incur duty.

Perfume

Something you may not have thought about, but Belize only allows one bottle of perfume per person.  So, only pack your favorite bottle of perfume.

Service Dog
Service Animals require Pre-approval

All Animals including Service Animals

To bring any animal (including Service animals) into Belize, you’ll need to seek legal permission ahead of time from BAHA (Belize Agricultural and Health Authority).  This could take a few months, so plan accordingly.

Donated Goods: What to Pack for Belize

Belize is not a rich country and donations are always welcome, especially school & pet supplies.  Living in Belize, we participate in Pack for a Purpose and our local Animal Rescue organization.  We love it when guests bring donated supplies!  However, too much of something can be an issue.  To date (since 2016), none of our guests have had to pay duty on anything they’ve brought to donate.  So, I share this just as a caution.

Cristo Rey School Kids
Closeup of Dog's face

School Supplies & Books

Customs will usually allow you to bring in donations of school supplies without any duty assessed.  Books are allowed without duty.  But an excessive amount of supplies may raise suspicions that you intend to sell them, so you may be charged a duty on them. 

Snorkel gear that you intend to leave behind

Belize Customs Prohibited Items include things that you will be leaving behind, unless you pay duty on them upon entering. Some resorts have been known to ask their guests to bring down used snorkel gear to replenish their supply.  While they may pay guests for this, what they don’t tell them is to expect to pay a duty on it at Customs.  The other option is to just not tell Customs you plan to leave the snorkel gear (or anything else) in Belize.  If you tell them you plan to leave something behind, you stand a good chance of being assessed tax on it.

Things Not to do in Belize

Here are a few of things that you may use on a regular basis in your home country but are just not practical in Belize.

Make-up

Whether you are at the beach or in the Belize jungle, it doesn’t matter how good your make-up is, it won’t last more than a few minutes on your face in our Belize climate.  Even eyeliner tends to ‘come-off’ due to the constant wiping of sweat off your face in the hotter months.  So, embrace the real you, and do without makeup during your vacation.  The upside is, it can save quite a bit of packing space!

What to Wear in Belize?

Stick with 100% cotton, linen or moisture-wicking materials.  It’s just too uncomfortable to wear anything else here.

Jewelry/Watches

Leave your fine jewelry at home.  All jewelry does is bring attention to you, and that’s something you don’t want.  Remove the temptation and opportunity for crime, leave the ‘good stuff’ at home.  And this is Belize – so what do you need a watch for anyway?! 😉


View of Beach from Deck
You’re on Belize time

Still have questions about what to pack for Belize? Check out our Blog Post on the top 10 essential items to pack for a Belize vacation.


Discover More Belize Blog Articles – You Won’t Believe What You Missed! 👀


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