SAN IGNACIO, BELIZE—With Belize reopening for international travel on October 1, 2020, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is offering tips that help make arriving easy, and visiting carefree.
Bryony Fleming Bradley, Chaa Creek’s Managing Director, said that Belize’s new entry requirements are designed to safeguard everyone’s health and safety, and help make “visiting here a breeze.”
“These simple new requirements were put in place to protect travelers, hospitality workers and local communities, but they were also designed to be easy to follow, and help visitors enjoy the same exciting experiences and relaxed vacations Belize has always offered,” she said.
The new health and safety measures facilitate hassle-free entry into Belize and help ensure safe, enjoyable vacations, Bradley explained.
“The first step is to prepare for your visit by speaking with your travel agent or just becoming familiar with Belize’s new entry requirements, which can be found on the Belize Tourism Board, Chaa Creek, or other websites.
“People can also contact Chaa Creek directly to speak with our vacation planners, who are happy to answer questions, explain the new requirements and help plan all aspects of a Belize vacation,” she explained.
Belize Health App Must be Downloaded
Within three days before arriving to Belize, visitors need to download and complete the new Belize Health App, available at the Apple App Store, or via Android apps. A self-reporting form is also available at the Belize Ministry of Health’s website.
Visitors should also take a Covid-19 PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival, as they must provide proof of a negative result, or be tested upon arrival at the airport.
After filling in information on the Belize Health App, travelers will receive a unique ID number to present at Belize’s Philip Goldson International Airport and use during their stay.
Arrival will then be quick and easy, Bradley said. After disembarking, passengers can proceed to the airport’s health check-in where their temperatures will be digitally taken and shoes sanitized. Their Belize Health App will be checked, along with proof of having passed the Covid-19 PCR test.
Those passengers who haven’t taken a test within 72 hours will be tested on the spot. Anyone testing positive will be placed in a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.
“That’s why it makes so much sense to get tested beforehand,” Bradley said.
What Happens After Baggage Claim
After claiming their baggage, passengers can proceed to customs and immigration. Once their luggage is scanned and cleared, visitors are free to take domestic flights or Gold Standard approved ground transportation to their accommodations.
“The Belize Tourism Board instituted the Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program, which includes a rigorous nine-point checklist that resorts and hotels, as well as tour and transportation providers, must meet in order to be certified,” Bradley explained. “The Lodge at Chaa Creek, and our tours and transport division, Chaa Creek Inland Expeditions, were some of the very first to be Tourism Gold Standard certified,” she added.
In addition to rigorous cleaning and hygiene protocols for rooms, common areas, and vehicles, as well as procedures for staff members, drivers and guides, the Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program requires certified properties to have a dedicated health and safety officer on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The health and safety officer ensures that all Gold Standard requirements are being met, liaises with guests to assist and answer questions, checks that masks are being worn and social distancing maintained in required areas, that the Health Apps are up to date, and is generally responsible for maintaining a healthy environment.
Chaa Creek is Naturally Healthy
Brion Young, Chaa Creek’s Health and Safety officer, said his work began months ago. “With such a wide range of accommodations, amenities and grounds to look after, working with our large housekeeping and other staff to keep everything in a constant state of readiness has been a big job,” he explained. “Fortunately, Chaa Creek is naturally healthy. Situated along the banks of a free-flowing river and surrounded by 400 acres of private nature reserve, with plenty of green space between buildings, Chaa Creek was built to harmonize with the natural surroundings, meaning everything, including the restaurant, lounge, and spa area, is open and airy. We also have a very cooperative team spirit. Many of us have worked at Chaa Creek for years and come from local villages. This makes maintaining a healthy environment everybody’s business.”
Bradley encourages travelers to visit the Belize Tourism Board, Chaa Creek, and Caribbean Lifestyle websites for updates, to learn more about Belize’s Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program, and for general information on Belize.
“Once people learn how easy travel to Belize is, and then how safe and enjoyable a rainforest vacation is once they’re here, they can relax and just enjoy the outdoor activities, amenities and exquisite farm-to-table dining we’ve always offered,” Bradley says. “We want to prove that being safe doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality or enjoyment.”
The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a multi-award winning eco resort set within a 400-acre private nature reserve along the banks of the Macal River in Belize. Its commitment to sustainable tourism was recognized by National Geographic with first place honors at the 2017 World Legacy Awards held in Berlin.