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Why carry an IDP while driving in Belize?

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Belize highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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Top Destinations in Belize

When big countries surround you, it’s easy to get lost in the map, just as how easy it is to get lost in the alluring Belizean coastal lines and natural wilderness. Belize boasts concrete jungles with howler monkeys and jaguars, mountain pine forests, white sand beaches, bonefish flats, clear water rivers, haunting caves, and coral atolls bordered reefs.

One of Belize’s finest, The Great Blue Hole, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and anglers from all over the world flock here for fishing and sea adventures. As a tourist, you’d want to see, touch, and have a wonderful experience with sea creatures. Intensify your Caribbean escapade by visiting the top destinations in Belize. It is truly an excellent spot for beach and nature lovers.

Ambergris Caye & Hol Chan Marine Reserve

The Ambergris Caye is the largest and most popular island in Belize that settles in San Pedro. It is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and is near Belize’s barrier reef -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s easy to fall in love with the Caye because of its relaxing vibe, making tourists want to come back and sometimes, never want to leave.

Savor the beautiful views, or you can enjoy water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, kayaking, windsurfing. If you like, you can rent a Jet Ski in the afternoon. The Belize Barrier Reef is only less than a mile offshore; take a 15-minute boat ride there and enjoy fishing first thing in the morning.

Ambergris Caye is easy to get to. If you’re landing at Belize International Airport, you can drive down to Belize Water Taxi Terminal in Belize City. From there, you can hop on a boat to San Pedro, which takes about 1.5 hours, before a quick stop by Caye Caulker. Always bring your native driver’s license and International Drivers Permit with you. To secure an International Driving Permit in Belize, requirements should be met. To know more about the International Driving Permits needed for Belize, the website of the IDA is up to serve you.

Caye Caulker

The Caye is located just a mile from the Belize Barrier Reef. It’s such a famous spot for backpackers and budget travelers searching for a quick, calm escape. Tourists love its turquoise waters and hip local vibe and learning local Belizean culture while enjoying an exotic, tropical vacation. Water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, and kitesurfing will spice up your Caye Caulker escapade.

Take on a full-day excursion and sightsee everything, all the way to a Mayan temple on the western border of Belize’s mainland. Mainland tours offer a tour around Belize Zoo and activities like zip-lining, cave tubing, and more. Visit the “Split”, a channel that divides the island into two, and cool off and soak up the calm, shallow waters on your lazy day, while the Lazy Lizard serves you the food and the “lizard drink” -- a Belizean cocktail you can drink at your own risk!

It’s easy-peasy to access Caye Caulker; drive down to the Water Taxi Terminal in Belize City and hire a boat to take you to the island, which takes about an hour. Having your IDP with you alongside your native driving license is a must-do. To avail of an International Driving Permit in Belize, visit the IDA's website. When filling out a form for the International Driver’s License in Belize, zip code, country of origin and city must be provided for a faster shipment of your printed physical IDP.

Cayo

The district is known as “the cultural heart” of Belize because of its excellent exhibition of local Belizean cuisine. It is located on the western side of the country and is geographically the largest district with nearly over a million acres. History geeks and adventurers love to come here because it’s rich in natural attractions and a high Mayan site concentration.

You can go trekking to the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and watch enchanting birds while you’re there. Explore good restaurants around, and then visit Cayo Farmer’s Market, Iguana Hatchery, and San Ignacio murals. Go cave tubing in Actun Tunichil Muknal and do zip lining in the jungles. You can also visit the Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Maya Sites.

It’s easy to get to Cayo; just hop on your rental car and drive all the way there. Ensure you carry your native driver’s license and International Driver’s Permit in Belize, especially when you drive vehicles in the city, so if authorities stop you, show proof that you have an international driving permit in Belize. Secure an International Driver’s Permit for Belize via the IDA website. When filling out your international driver’s license for Belize, email address can be used to sign up; it’s used to send the digital copy of your international driving permit in Belize.

Belize City

This city is the most populated in Belize, even though it sits on a tiny peninsula stretch. It used to be the capital city until Hurricane Hattie in the 1960s forced Belmopan to become its new capital. It may not be your ideal holiday vacation spot, but it’s the safest place to visit in Belize. The city houses large hotels and conference facilities and ship terminals.

You can visit the Museum of Belize and learn about the country’s history. Speaking of history, why not visit the famous Altun Ha Maya Temple? It’s just an hour outside of the city. It’s where the famous Jade Head of The Maya Sun God, Kinich Ahau was found. Belize zoo is also here for you to get in touch with native rescued animals that freely roam around an enclosure, similar to their natural habitat.

On the scenic side, you can go on a tour around the city while learning about its culture, economy, and architecture. You can also tour your way to the jaunts of Government House and St. John’s Cathedral. Take on a beach excursion to Goff’s Caye and get fresh barbecue lobster, conch, or fish and taste their rum punch.

Belize City is the gateway to towns and districts in Belize. You can just hop on your rental car and start getting around and always carry your International Driver’s License in Belize City. To secure your International Driver’s License for Belize City, visit the IDA website for swift processing. When signing up for an International Driver’s License in Belize, requirements include a passport size photo of yourself and your native driver’s license.

Hopkins

This village is home to the fascinating and rich Garifuna (Carinagu of Belize) culture. Hopkins was established in the 1940s after a hurricane struck the nearby areas and everyone from farmers to fishermen settled here. The population grew over the years, but it preserved its coastal beauty and hindered capitalization. This place is best for beach and jungle escapades.

Everywhere you turn, you feel the Garifuna culture in the atmosphere. Learn about their culture by arranging a drumming session with its locals, and taking a dancing and cooking lesson with them. Go on-water activities like snorkeling, fishing, and diving at Belize’s Barrier Reef. You can arrange a day trip to top Mayan sites, explore Bocawina Park, or you can visit the Monkey River or the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Hopkins Village is easy to access by car. When driving in the country, obtaining an international driver's permit in Belize, especially in the city, helps you hire a rental. To know more about the International Drivers License in Belize, the website of the IDA has live agents ready to answer all of your inquiries.

Placencia

This peninsula is a popular spot for tourists wanting a coastal twist on Belize’s mainland. It used to be a quiet village but is now occupied by some of the most luxurious resorts in Belize. Despite becoming urbanized, it’s still a peaceful vacation spot with golf carts still being the main mode of transportation.

Aside from enticing luxury resorts that attract travelers, Placencia is considered one of Belize’s best diving spots. It provides close access to inland adventure to visit Belize’s least explored waterfalls, rivers, and rainforests. Seine Bright and Hopkins villages are a must-visit.

Explore food varieties at some of the best restaurants in Belize within the Placencia Peninsula. Get around the Southern Cayes and barrier reef, and go snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, or scuba diving with whale sharks. Hop on a boat and tour the Monkey River, and spot howler monkeys. If you feel like having a lazy day, you can relax at some of the best beach resorts within Placencia or Bocawina National Park.

Getting to Placencia is easy. Take a flight to a small airport nearby and drive a rental car to your destination. To rent a car, you need to first secure your International Driver’s License for Belize. Number one priority should be to drive in the country legally. Visit the International Driver’s Association website at https://internationaldriversassociation.com/ and get your International Driver’s License for Belize, online; it’s fast and secured, and in just a few minutes, you’ll be able to get a digital copy of your IDP.

Glover's Reef

This is a beautiful atoll consisting of five Cayes: Long Caye, Northeast Caye, Middle Caye, Southwest Caye, and Manta Island. It’s named after two pirate brothers, John and Rodger Glover, who discovered this spot in the 1970s. The atoll is visited by most Caribbean explorers and is a favorite spot among tourists interested in snorkeling, kayaking, and diving. Visitors often do day trips here and stay on the Cayes.

Glover’s Reef is named a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its extraordinary biodiversity. Aside from water adventures, you can have a relaxing evening on the hammocks while gazing at the starry, peaceful Caribbean skies. You can also go on a yoga and meditation retreat, just to rejuvenate.

Glover’s Reef is accessible by boat; if you're landing at Belize Airport, drive your rental car to the Belize City Water Taxi Terminal and hop on a boat. Secure and always carry your native driver’s license and international driver's permit in Belize; drivers with US license need not to apply for an IDP unless staying beyond the 90-day period. For non-EU and non-US citizens, you can apply for an international driver’s permit for Belize online through the International Driver’s Association website.

Orange Walk

This sweet town is referred to as “Sugah City” because of the distinct aroma of sugarcane in the air. One of the most important Maya sites and the main tourist attraction located here is the Lamanai, or “submerged crocodile” in Mayan. It’s the second biggest next to Caracol. It features pyramids, ball courts, and other unique features like evidence of religious sacrifice. Lamanai showcases large marks, one with a ruler wearing a crocodile headdress, thus, the meaning behind its name.

Nearby villages such as Blue Creek are worth visiting if you want to experience the Mennonite’s culture in Belize. Banquitas House of Culture in Downtown Orange Walk will serve you with more knowledge about other aspects of Belizean culture. Rio Bravo Area, a nearly quarter-million acres of land is Belize’s largest private conservation reserve, which is packed with archeological sites, marshes, savannas, and broadleaf forests.

Honey Camp Lagoon is the locals’ favorite relaxation spot, located south of Orange Town. Go on a picnic here, cool off, and enjoy the freshwater lagoon, solo or a group of friends. Besides Lamanai, you can also visit the Nohmul Maya site, or just explore and enjoy Downtown Orange Walk and taste their rum and authentic Orange Walk tacos.

You can conveniently drive your rental car to the district. Is the international driving permit required in Belize? Yes, it is. Note that checkpoints are everywhere and cops may ask for your legal documents, such as your passport, native driver’s license, and international driving permit in Belize. To complete an international driver’s license for Belize, form is accessible via the IDA website.

Corozal

The district is an ideal spot for retirees because of its laid-back vibe and rich ecotourism. Visit Belize’s largest fishing village, Sarteneja, was inhabited by ancient Maya as a trading area. The Maya sites of Cerros and Santa Rita are a must-visit, as well. Climbing up the Cerros wall will reward you with an incredible view of Chetumal, Corozal, and the mouth of New River.

Take on a bird-watching and hiking excursion at the trails of Shipstern Nature Reserve, which is home to almost 300 cataloged bird species, Belize’s five cat species, and endangered Baird’s Tapir. You can swim and relax by the Corozal Bay or experience the Art in the Park. Chetumal, or the Corozal Free Zone, is where you can buy cheap clothes and liquor.

To get here, you can simply drive your rental car. Make sure to carry your international driver’s permit for Belize form at all times. Alongside the international driver’s license for Belize, drivers must also bring native driver’s license on the road. If you’re driving in the country with an EU license, you don’t need to acquire an international driver’s permit in Belize. Requirements to obtain an IDP including a native driver’s license and passport size photo are needed for non-EU drivers in the country. You can visit the IDA website for your IDP concerns.

Toledo

It’s Belize’s southernmost district and is sometimes referred to as “Forgotten Land” by locals because it’s less-visited due to its remote location. There’s a limited means of getting here, but agritourism has changed this. Toledo is home to several Maya sites, nearly 1,700 sqm of rainforests, rivers, offshore lands, mountains, and the most culturally-diversified district in Belize.

You can go kayaking and snorkeling by the Snake Cayes and tubing on Golden Stream, Monkey River, Rio Grande, and Sarstoon. There are nearly 500 recorded species of birds, such as Slaty-Antshrike, Paltry Tyrannulet, and the Violet-crowned Woodnymph -- all can be found in the forest terrains of the district, making it an ideal bird-watching spot.

Getting to Toledo District is not that easy, but it’s not that difficult, neither. Some do air travel followed by local transfer, but you can drive a rental car bound to your final destination. Do you need an international driver’s license in Belize if you have an EU license? No, you don’t. But if you’re driving with a US license and plans to stay more than 90 days, you need to acquire an international driver’s license for Belize. Number one priority is to always secure an IDP before you drive in the country to avoid unnecessary issues along the way.

Most Important Driving Rules in Belize

Belize is not that harsh when it comes to enforcing some of its road rules, however, you need to still adhere to the driving rules as it not only saves you from the unnecessary chances of getting jailed or paying fine, it also helps maintain a good traffic flow. After all, lawful driving in a foreign country must be a common manner that you need to practice, as a means of respecting its traffic laws, the local authorities, and the people.

Carry your native driver’s license and your IDP at all times

These documents are a must-have whenever you drive in a foreign country. Do you need an international driver’s license in Belize? Yes, as Belize is an international drivers’ permit zone. Is the international driving permit required in Belize? Yes, it is. Simply put, an international driver’s license is the “permit” that allows you to drive in the country, so their role is pretty much the same. Aside from an international driver’s license in Belize, drivers are also required to carry native driver’s license at all times.

Secure your international driver’s license for Belize online through the IDA website. Just sign up and complete the international driver’s license for Belize form. The IDA offers a reasonable price range that suits your needs. You can opt for a one-year validity for , a two-year validity for $55, and a three-year validity for $59. Upon approval, the IDA sends a digital copy of your international driver’s license for Belize to your provided email address. A physical printed copy of your international driver’s license for Belize is mailed to your address.

If you wish to ship your international driver’s license in Belize, zipcode, country, and city name must be provided. Remember that Belize is an international driver’s permit zone, so failure to acquire an IDP will get your car confiscated or get you arrested. For more updates about who can apply for an international driver’s permit in Belize, visit the IDA website.

Don’t drive above the speed limit

The speed limit is at 55 mph on highways and rural areas, and 25 or 40 mph in villages and towns. Although these are merely suggestions in Belize, you must still adhere to the suggested speed limits because the city roads in Belize, where most signage are found, can get real crowded. So following this road rule help prevent vehicular accidents, so you’re not only saving your life, you’re saving others too.

Don’t use your phone while driving

It is against the Belize traffic law to use your mobile phone while driving; if you wish have a quick phone conversation, do so with a hands-free device. However, as much as possible, avoid using your mobile phone while driving so as to not get distracted. This should need no further elaboration as doing this means you have no regards for your own safety. Take a break on the side of the road when making a call, or better yet, invest on a hands-free equipment.

Don’t drink beyond the blood alcohol content limit

Drinking and driving laws in Belize are similar to the UK. The blood alcohol content (BAC) is limited to 80mg of alcohol content per 100 ml of blood. Drunk driving in general is dangerous, therefore, it is much better to just stay away from alcoholic beverages before you hit the road. Comply with a breathalyser if asked, otherwise, you will get penalized. If you exceed the blood alcohol content limit, you may end up spending the day at a local jail.

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