Weather on Ambergris Caye
So far March has been normal as far as the wind is concerned. I can tell when it picks up from the east when the zinc roofing next door rattles. If it is coming from the north it can be gusty and dusty at my front door – the joys of a city girl 😀 Longer and stronger breezy periods make the warmer days much more bearable. My editor chimed in saying the temperatures in the morning have been cool as she turns her balcony into a short commute for coffee and work. The actual temperatures have been averaging highs around 29 °C, and evening lows at 22°C – 2 days ago I needed a jacket while enjoying dinner on the water. The weather right now is perfect for sunbathing, but only for short bursts as even if you feel cool because of the wind, you can burn quickly. Use sunblock, pack a hat, or make sure you have some shade. Many people (myself included) were using umbrellas for shade in Belize City on Sunday afternoon at the Ruta Maya race finish line.
Passport Expiry and Travel to Belize
I was recently asked a very important travel question by Alice Walker via email. She was happy to let me share her experience and we all hope it helps someone avoid the same mistake. She thinks they would have run into trouble if we didn’t have it.
They were leaving March 10th and she just realized that 18-year old’s passport expires May 8. She reached out to me for information.
“I follow your posts and thought you might be the only person who would be able to tell us from a local point of view whether she can still travel there without a new passport. The kids are crying thinking their vacation is going to be canceled! Any insight you have would be so appreciated!”
Alice had heard that some countries require 6 months extra in the expiration date could not get a response from the airline.
Due to the fact that she was traveling in just 2 under two days, I got back to her as fast as I could with all the info my editor and I had on the subject.
I told her when my past boyfriend and I and I turned up here 12 years ago from downtown Toronto, Canada, the 6-month thing was an issue for us and because we were moving we decided not to chance it and both got new passports.
I asked my editor Shirlee (also a Canadian) to weigh in and see what Google had to report. Here is what she found out.
- As long as it’s not expired within the travel time I think it’ll be fine. It’s actually the airline that may enforce it, however, so the answer really needs to come from them.
- Quick Facts: International Travel Belize Information (source travel.state.gov) According to them, the minimum validity required is: length of stay.
She also found this Belize Visa page with some info but said she I wouldn’t trust it as much. “Visitors must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 3 months after the date of arrival and a return ticket with sufficient funds to cover their stay.” The reason why she said the information could be questionable was that when she originally came down she didn’t have a return ticket, but that might be the deciding factor for immigration… if they even question it. With a whole family coming down, it’s not likely they’d have a problem with one passport… but it may depend on the immigration officer.
Alice thanked us for our assistance and reported that the family played it safe and covered all their bases by doing a four-hour drive and a full day’s wait at the nearest passport office. They were able to get an expedited renewal and were officially safe to travel to Belize the next day.
Single Parent Travel Requirements
Another issue Alice and her family had experienced was trouble with the requirement that a parent traveling alone with children (without spouse) must have a notarized letter from the spouse authorizing the child to travel, along with a photocopy of the spouse’s driver’s license.
United wouldn’t let them on the flight without it so her husband had to run out to a UPS store to get one while they waited in the check-in area. Sadly, another large group at the airport wasn’t so lucky. They were on a mission trip to Belize and one minor wasn’t allowed to travel because they couldn’t get a letter to the airport in time. Someone had to come pick him up and they were going to try to get him on a flight the next day.
Alice felt this was a single parent flight requirement and people might not be aware. Her sister traveled on Delta and was allowed to depart with minors/no spouse but when she arrived in Belize she was detained with some fuss. They ultimately let her in after receiving communication from her husband but she was required to have the notarized letter and a copy of her husband’s driver’s license to leave Belize. She will be sure to take a letter next time – or maybe just take her husband!
While here the Walkers took my advice and made it to The Truck Stop and had a great night. They watched the sunset one night from Stella’s Smile and took the golf cart to Secret Beach for the first time. I was happy to hear them say it was beautiful. Sometimes fresh eyes bring back a spark to something I have grown jaded about due to change. As for the Walkers, they can’t wait to come back soon!
“Last Minute” Southwest Seat Sale on Flights to Belize
I received a “Fares from as low as $49” from Southwest Airlines today. Although that price usually doesn’t include Belize, I was curious so I clicked on the email. I found it rather humorous that it shows “From Belize” a rare occurrence when sales come up. Until Monday, you can purchase a one-way ticket to Fort Lauderdale for $149. To Houston, is $205 but still not a bad deal.
April 2018 update: If you are looking for a deal, click and fine two good cheap flight checkers.
Click through on Belize Airport customs time estimate for a great tip on how to pass through customs faster from Destination Expert Jean H.