Travelers seem to fall into two categories: those who bring everything they can think of, and those who leave important items at home to avoid checking luggage (assuming they can buy them once they get there).
You probably know what’s coming: neither is the best solution.
Adventure travel does require some special gear, and 90% of it cannot be purchased in Belize. Or, if you can buy it there, you will be shocked at how expensive it is.
My first bit of advice to those planning a Belize trip is to be sure and heed the advice of the company you are going with. If they tell you that you need something, bring it! They know their area and their conditions better than anyone.
Just because you once visited the Caribbean 10 years ago, and didn’t need a particular item then, that doesn’t mean you should ignore advice and leave it at home now. Your guides will tell you to bring something for a good reason.
Following is my best advice on what to bring and what to leave at home on a Belize adventure travel trip.
1) Don’t bring tons of clothes because you can wash them.
That said, bring one item of clothing to cover each weather condition you might encounter (sun, rain, high winds and/or cold weather to 60 degrees).
Don’t assume you will have hot sunny weather. And quick drying, synthetic clothes are preferable to cotton. When it’s hot and humid, putting on a cotton T-shirt is like wearing a damp rag.
2) Don’t bring food. You can buy it there.
3) Other items to leave at home include computers, electronic games and iPads.
The salt air (if you are going to an island) will shorten their life, and those things will just take you out of the moment.
Experience each minute in Belize, don’t spend your valuable time posting on Facebook or playing a video game you can play at home.
4) Essential stuff you will need to bring is primarily sport gear including the following.
- A dive skin (or wetsuit) plus high quality snorkel gear (mask, fins, snorkel)
- Rash guard for surfing and windsurfing
- A headlamp for caving
- Good walking shoes for the jungle
- Binoculars for the amazing birds your guide will point out to you, even if not on a birding trip.
- Fly fishing gear as recommended on many Belize fishing websites
- Good water shoes
- Sunglasses and a huge brim hat for everywhere you go
5) Bring cash!
Americans are so used to being able to get cash anywhere and anytime, so they wrongly assume that this is the case all over the world.
Getting cash in Belize involves spending up to two hours in line at a bank. And they are not open on the weekend and have greatly reduced hours during the day.
Belize holidays are also different than in the USA, and banks close on every single one.
The Belize International Airport does NOT have an ATM machine, and the few ATMs in Belize City are often out of order.
Traveler’s checks are a poor solution because Traveler’s Checks take six weeks to clear, so small businesses such as taxis, restaurants, or hotels in rural areas would be giving you a six-week loan by accepting them; consequently, few of them do.
Lucy Wallingford runs Slickrock Adventures, offering Belize adventure tours at their private island at Glover’s Reef.
As co-owner of a Belize eco-travel company, Lucy Wallingford has been guiding kayak travel trips in Belize since 1986. As office manager as well as sea kayak and snorkel guide, she has talked to many people to help them get ready for their trip. At least half of what she talks about each and every day is what to bring on a Belize adventure vacation.
If you have other questions about what to bring to Belize you can call Lucy toll free at (800) 390-5715.