The policy will cover up to $50,000 in COVID-19-related medical expenses and up to $2,000 for lodging expenses should a traveler need to quarantine in Belize.
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Travelers headed to Belize in search of sunshine, beaches, and world-class scuba diving will soon be required to purchase travel insurance for their trip.

Beginning Feb. 15, all international visitors must purchase an official travel insurance policy, according to a recent announcement from the Belize Tourism Board. The policy, costing $18, will cover up to $50,000 in COVID-19-related medical expenses and up to $2,000 for lodging expenses should a traveler need to quarantine in Belize.

The travel insurance requirement will remain in effect for 21 days and will also cover emergencies related to other medical conditions, medical evacuation by air, and costs related to a trip being interrupted.

"The new travel health insurance mandate underscores Belize's commitment to health and safety, enhancing travel confidence and giving visitors peace of mind to schedule that well-deserved vacation for 2022 and beyond," the Belize Tourism Board said in announcing the requirement

Travelers headed back to the U.S. must test negative for COVID-19 within a day of their return flight, a requirement that's resulted in the U.S. State Department recommending vacationers plan for surprise quarantine expenses.

Beach of Caye Caulker during a sunny day.
Credit: Jorge Fernández/Getty Images

Travelers to Belize are already required to test negative for COVID-19 to enter the Central American country regardless of their vaccination status. Visitors must present a negative PCR test taken within 96 hours of their arrival in Belize or an antigen test taken within 48 hours of their arrival.

Results of at-home test kits are not accepted under current policies.

Visitors also must stick to hotels and tour operators whose COVID-19 safety standards have been approved by the Belizean government. That list is being regularly updated and already includes nearly 700 accommodation options and more than 250 tour operators.

Anyone arriving without negative COVID-19 test results to Philip Goldson International Airport, outside of Belize City, is required to take a COVID-19 test onsite for $50 cash.

And anyone testing positive on arrival won't be sent immediately back home. Instead, they'll have to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days at their own expense.

Children under 5 are exempt from Belize's COVID-19 testing policies.

Travel insurance policies for Belize can be purchased prior to travel, at the airport, or at land border crossings.

Meena Thiruvengadam loves wandering new streets and discovering the world's stories. Find her on Facebook, Instagram, or at the airport, and subscribe to her newsletter.