Dive Travel Tips
PLAN - Taking a dive trip abroad can often leave you feeling overwhelmed with the preparations. No matter how far in advance you plan, it seems that there is a flurry of last minute business to take care of. You can avoid much of the stress by planning ahead. We have provided a preliminary DIVE TRAVEL CHECKLIST to get you started in your planning. Below are a few tips to help you out:
AIRLINES - Try to get your airline tickets early. Airline tickets are normally cheaper in advance. We recommend making your reservations at least three to four months in advance if possible. This is especially true if you plan to travel during a holiday or the peak travel season in Belize which is January through May. Also, try to avoid tight connections. Relaxing in an airport always beats sweating profusely while running for a boarding gate.
LODGING - Be sure to research and book your accommodation reservations in advance. Again, three to four months for our peak season and holidays and two months for off peak seasons. We provide a listing of ACCOMMODATIONS that offer diving in Belize to assist with your planning.
DIVE OPERATORS - Be sure to research and book your dive operators (if separate from your accommodations) in advance. One to two months for our peak season and holidays and two weeks for off peak seasons. We provide a listing of DIVE OPERATORS that offer diving in Belize to assist with your planning.
DOCUMENTATION - Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork done well in advance. To travel to Belize, you must have: passport and possible a visa (check with your government offices, US citizens do not require a VISA), diver certification card (important ), insurance cards or information, driver's license, credit cards, and some cash and traveller checks.
CLOTHING - Since the climate is subtropical, bring casual, lightweight clothing such as shorts, short-sleeved and T shirts. If you plan on going inland after the dive portion of your trip, be sure to bring a lightweight long-sleeve shirt and quick drying long pants. During the winter months, especially in Cayo, the temperatures can be cool, so pack accordingly. Bring a hat to shade the sun and protect your face from sunburn.
EYEWEAR - Sunny days in the tropics require sunglasses. If you wear contact lenses, be sure to bring plenty of wetting solution - the dusty roads of Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and the Southern Highway can irritate the eyes. Contact lens cleaning and sterilizing solutions are not generally available in Belize, bring plenty with you.
FOOTWEAR - On the Cayes and coastline, you can get by with sandals, tennis shoes, boat shoes or bare feet. For inland trips, sturdy rubber soled shoes or tennis shoes are best.
SUNSCREEN/REPELLENTS - Pack lots of sunscreen. The sun's rays in the tropics are far stronger than further north, and sunburn can occur much faster, especially during the hours of 10am to 3pm.
Belize is a subtropical country with large tracts of jungle and marshland. Bugs love this kind of environment. Bring plenty of repellent. Fortunately, the Tradewinds keep the bug problem at bay most of the year, and the higher elevations and jungle lodges of Cayo are surprisingly bug free.
A FEW OTHER PLANNING TIPS FOR YOU:
- Check our PLANNING A DIVE VACATION section for ideas on where to dive in Belize and a dive gear checklist.
- Pack conservatively. Many small aircraft have weight limits.
- Pack a carry-on. Include a swimsuit, one change of clothes, basic toiletries (remember all liquids must be 3 oz or less and fit in a quart size ziplcok bag) and essential dive gear such as your mask, computer and regulator. This way, if your luggage does get lost, you're still ready to dive.
- Carry all your important documentation, medication and valuables in your carry-on luggage or on your person.
- Carry a list of emergency phone numbers and addresses.
- Carry a list of all prescription medicines or the presciption bottles.
- This is a no-brainer - DO NOT MESS with any drugs.
- Make as comprehensive a check list as possible ahead of time, then consult it during the week before leaving on your trip.
- Be sure you have all your dive gear and that it is in good condition.
- Diving is a strenuous sport. Be sure you are in good cardiovascular condition. Start conditioning months before your trip, not days.
- Check out Belize on the Internet to learn a little about customs, traditions and non-diving activities. Below is a list of sites to get you started:
- Belize by Naturalight.
- Ambergris Caye
- You Better Belize It!
- The Belize Search Engine
- The Belize Tourism Board