The Truth About Gold Standard Hotels in Belize

โ€” Updated · 2 min read
no entry sign above gold standard hotel
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There's so much conflicting information about Gold Standard hotels. Is it absolutely required to stay at gold standard hotels or not?

Despite the fearmongering marketing online, gold standard hotels are completely optional. It's possible to enter Belize without booking a gold standard hotel with the proper tactics.

What are Gold Standard Hotels?

Because of the pandemic, Belize created a new tourism gold standard program where the main goal was to enhance safety and health within the tourism industry. But, in my opinion, it's a type of tourist trap.

Health and safety means you install systems to protect your guests and employees.

But obligating tourists to stay a minimum of three nights if coming in by land borders seems like an arbitrary rule. Actually, it's not so random if the special hotels make more money.

Is it Absolutely Mandatory?

The short answer is no. The Belize Tourism Board wants to sell you the safe & certified narrative by making you scared of hotels without a gold badge. But it's not mandatory.

Who am I for you to trust me on this? Well, I traveled with my partner while the rules said you must stay in a gold standard hotel. And guess what? There was no one verifying what hotel we were staying at.

Our small third world country just isn't capable of having such organized surveillance systems.

grayscale photo of woman doing silent hand sign

How to Bypass Gold Standard Requirements

Both these suggestions have worked successfully for travelers visiting Belize.

1. Book & Cancel Immediately

Find a gold star hotel on Booking.com and reserve three days, cancel immediately and then save the booking receipt. Is this moral? Maybe not. But being obligated to stay at a hotel that has paid to be part of a special club isn't fair either.

This works if entering via land borders and via flights.

2. Ask a Local for Help

Find a local Belizean citizen that is willing to give you their name and contact info. According to the entry rules, anyone who is visiting friends & relatives is allowed to enter without booking a gold standard hotel.

This only works if entering via flights not land borders.

Will immigration check for proof?

Immigration will very rarely ask you for proof of booking. How do I know that? Being from Belize, I know Immigration Officers make as little effort as possible for any task requiring extra work.

My travel friends have also reported that their booking proof was either not checked or barely skimmed.

If you're planning to visit Belize, follow the covid updates page for latest news.

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