Q. Where is Hamanasi situated?
A. Hamanasi is located on the mainland of Belize, on the beach south of Dangriga and north of Placencia. We are one mile south of the village of Hopkins.
Q. What airport should I fly into?
A. International travelers should fly into Belize City (BZE). We recommend arriving by 4pm in order to catch a connecting domestic flight that takes you to Dangriga, the closest airport to Hamanasi. Our reservations office can help you arrange the domestic connecting flight to fit your schedule.
Q. What airlines fly to Belize?
A. American Airlines via Dallas, Miami, and Charlotte. United Airlines via Houston (George Bush Intercontinental), and Newark. Delta Air Lines via Atlanta and Los Angeles. Southwest Airlines via Houston (Hobby) & Ft. Lauderdale, Tikal Jets via Guatemala City & Flores. Avianca via San Salvador. Tropic Air via Cancun, Merida, and Flores.
Q. Do I need a passport to visit Belize?
A. Yes! All foreign nationals need a passport to enter Belize. Citizens of some countries also require a visa. Citizens of the United States, Canada and most western European countries do not require a visa. Please check and secure necessary documents before your trip.
Q. In which time zone is Belize?
A. Belize is on Central Standard Time, like Chicago. However, we do not have daylight savings. That means we have no time change in the summer months. During those months we are on Mountain Standard Time, like Denver.
Q. Do I need any vaccinations before I visit Belize?
A. As always, please check with your doctor. We recommend that you have an up-to-date tetanus/diphtheria vaccination, which you should have anyway! The vast majority of our guests do not get any special vaccinations before coming to Belize nor do they take any malaria preventatives. We strongly encourage you to bring an adequate supply of any medications that you may need.
Q. Can I drink the water?
A. While the tap water technically is safe to drink we do not recommend that you do so. We provide bottled water in all of our rooms, the restaurant and on our tours. Please stay hydrated! Our ice, salads and other uncooked food items are safe for consumption.
Q. What kind of electricity do you use?
A. Voltage is 110 like in the USA. Outlets are the same as in the USA.
Q. What if I have a medical emergency while in Belize?
A. Hamanasi has many employees trained in first aid. There is a doctor in Hopkins Village who we would contact first. If hospitalization is needed, we would arrange for you to go to Medical Associates in Belize City. As always, please be sure to bring all your needed medications and health insurance card.
Q. Should I buy travel insurance?
Yes. Hamanasi recommends that you buy travel insurance. This may protect you should you have an unexpected event that prevents you from traveling or cuts short your trip, e.g., flight delay, illness, weather event, etc. For travel insurance options, click here
Q. Should I buy dive insurance?
If you plan to scuba dive, Hamanasi recommends that you buy dive insurance. This may cover expenses in the event that you use a hyperbaric chamber or require medical evacuation. For DAN insurance, click here
Q. Are there bugs in Belize?
Yes, though most are not a problem. Sand flies, or noseeums, are tiny creatures that bite like mosquitoes. When there is little or no breeze, they come out and can even get through screen. Occasionally, we get mosquito “hatches”. At these times we will have a lot of mosquitoes for a couple of days. We recommend that you wear DEET based insect repellant at all times. A pair of lightweight pants and a long sleeve shirt are also good should the bugs be really bad. You might consider bringing hydrocortisone cream and/or Benedryl to help stop itching.
We also have other visitors on occasion. You might come across a scorpion, ants, a spider or other creepy crawlies. Our rooms are very clean, but sometimes bugs find their way in. Stay calm! Find the nearest shoe or one of us can come to your rescue!
Q. What do I need for the sun?
Belize is close to the equator and the sun is powerful all year round. We highly recommend bringing Reef Safe Sunscreen
with a high SPF rating. We also recommend wearing SPF rated clothing to reduce the amount of sun exposure on both offshore and inland excursions.
Q. What is reef safe sunscreen and why am I supposed to bring it?
A. Reef Safe Sunscreens
are those that do not contain any ingredients that are know to kill coral reefs. The scientific research is clear, many of the ingredients in standard sunscreens are actively harmful to coral reefs. Sunscreen pollution is an immediate threat to kill the very reefs that you come to Belize to enjoy.
But the good news is that we now know how to make sunscreens that work great without using those harmful ingredients. There is a long list of ingredients to avoid but there are lots of great products that meet the criteria, and they work just as well as what you are used to and protect the reef at the same time. Click here to learn more, or ask us and Hamanasi will happily help you find a Reef Safe product to use on your vacation with us. If you don’t bring it with you, you can also buy some great products in our gift shop.
But be aware that we do not allow non Reef-safe sunscreen to be used at Hamanasi or during our tours. Thank you for helping us protect our reefs for generations to come!
Q. Is it ok to bring young children to Belize?
A. Yes, it is safe. However, children are more likely to have stronger reactions to bug bites and illnesses. Please take necessary precautions and keep a close eye on them. Please note, Hamanasi has no dedicated children’s program. Plan on spending lots of time with your kids!
Q. May I bring a child without the other parent?
A. Yes, but most likely you will need a signed and notarized document from the other parent saying that it is OK. Check with your country’s immigration laws and with your airline.
Q. What language do they speak in Belize?
A. The official language of Belize is English. In our area people also speak Garifuna, Creole, Mopan Mayan, Ketchi Mayan and Spanish. In other parts of the country people also speak low-German and Chinese, as well as Yucatec Mayan.
Q. Is Belize safe?
A. Yes! Belize is a safe country. However, like everywhere else, you need to exercise caution. Do not wear flashy jewelry and carry large amounts of cash. Do not walk alone at night. If something seems questionable or too good to be true, it probably is. A little common sense can go along way!
Q. What kind of nightlife to you have in your area?
A. Hopkins is a fairly quiet town. However, there are a few bars with pool tables, as well as some local restaurants offering delicious Belizean fare. During weekend nights there are often villagers playing drums at one of the local watering holes. Occasionally, Hamanasi has Garifuna drummers and dancers perform on our veranda — an excellent cultural performance.
Q. Do you recommend driving in Belize?
A. Yes… and no. In general it is safe to drive here. However, many roads are unpaved and are best with a four wheel drive vehicle. There are many unmarked speed bumps and few street lights. Additionally, there are numerous one-lane bridges without advance warning signs. During the rainy season some roads are prone to flood. We do not recommend driving at night.
Q. On what side of the road do you drive in Belize?
A. We drive on the right side of the road, like in the USA. (Sometimes we drive on the smoothest side of the road!)
Q. What is the currency rate of exchange? How can I change money?
A. The Belize dollar exchange rate is approximately US $1 = BZ $2. Most hotels can change money in small amounts. Banks also change money. US dollars are widely accepted throughout the country in smaller denominations (20s and under), although US coins are not. Hamanasi accepts traveler’s checks in US dollars. Personal checks are not accepted.
Q. What should I bring with me to Belize?
For a list of items to consider bringing to Belize, click here
Q. I read your packing list. Do I really need long pants and long sleeves?
A. Belize is generally a very warm climate, but we do recommend that all guests bring light long pants and light long sleeve shirts (plus some sturdy tennis shoes). These items are particularly useful for bug protection on our rainforest hikes but they can also come in handy for sun protection or when the wind picks up. You’ll be glad you brought them!
Q. Do you have TVs, phones or Wifi in the rooms? AC?
A. All of our rooms have air conditioning. We have no TVs, phones or Wifi in the rooms. We want you to get away from it all and relax! If you really need to use the phone or check email we have those services available at the front desk. Wifi is available in the Great House. In the village there are some restaurants and bars with TVs.
Q. What are check in and check out times?
A. Check in time is 3:00 pm. Check out time is 11:00 am.
Q. How can I pay my bill when I check out?
A. You can pay in Belize or US dollars or by MasterCard and Visa. We do not accept American Express cards or checks in Belize.
Q. What about tipping?
A. Most of Hamanasi’s rates include a service charge. Bar service and meals that are not included in a package do not include gratuity. Tipping is customary in Belize and 10-20% is standard. As always, tipping is at your discretion.
Q. Do I have to plan my tours before arrival?
A. No, our Adventure Center Team will help you schedule your excursions after you arrive at Hamanasi. We do encourage you to think about which ones you want to do most, as you probably won’t have enough time to do all of them. Be aware, some tours leave on specific days, and the weather does not always cooperate, especially for marine trips. Some adventures are not included in our packages and will cost extra. Don’t worry, our reservations staff can answer your questions and we will walk you through it after you arrive!
Q. Can I dive if I am not a certified diver?
A. Yes, if you take a Discover Scuba or Open Water diving course. If you are already certified you must bring your dive card or we will not let you dive!
Q. Can I swim in the sea?
A. Yes! Our water is warm and has almost no undertow. We do have some turtle grass off the beach. Sometimes this gets stirred up and washes up on the beach, but it is still safe to swim. The good thing about turtle grass is that manatees feed on it! When in the sea be sure to shuffle your feet so that you won’t step on a stingray that might be in the area. Please note, we have no lifeguard on duty.
Q. Can I swim in the pool?
A. Hamanasi’s pool is reserved for its overnight guests. Please note that we do not have a lifeguard on duty. Swim at your own risk! Also, the pool is not deep enough for diving, so please spare yourself and all of us by not diving into the pool! Finally, all children 12 years and under must be supervised by an adult.
Q. What is the water temperature?
A. The water temperature is 75-86 degrees Fahrenheit year round.
Q. What is the weather like?
The weather is similar to Southern Florida with slightly warmer winters and summers. In the winter we get occasional “northerns” whenever a storm system moves across the USA. At these times it can be overcast and choppy on the water. Our driest months are April and May.
The official rainy season in June through November, but the bulk of the rain comes in September and October. The summer and fall are wonderful times to be here! It generally is sunny throughout the day and rains at night. (Great sleeping weather!) Hurricanes are fairly rare in Belize and generally do not pose a great threat. The sea is calmest in August and September.
Please Note: the weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable! Climate change may cause us to get rain in May or have a relatively dry September. The weather descriptions serve as guidelines only!