Rules Of Drinking Alcohol Belize

What You Need to Know About Belize Alcohol Laws

Belize as a top tourism destination has a reputation for being a great place to let loose and have some fun. With so many tourist attractions, activities, public and bank holidays, it’s no wonder that many visitors want to party every day. And the locals are not far behind. However, it’s important to be aware of Belize’s alcohol laws before you start drinking. Belize is a rum producing country with the local dark and clear rum (known locally as white rum) being the best deal on the market.

Belize has a lower drinking age than many other countries, so visitors may be tempted to overindulge. But it’s important to remember that Belize also has strict laws against drinking and driving, and public intoxication. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you could face serious consequences.

In Belize, the legal drinking age is 18 and it is relatively easy to purchase alcohol almost anywhere everyday up to 12:00 midnight at convenience stores, and up to 3:00 a.m at casinos and nightclubs. Belize traditionally had “Blue Laws” governing the sale of liquor on certain religious holidays but starting in 24 December 2022 these are being repealed. On that day the Belize Government issued a press release “Cabinet’s Decision On The Sale Of Liquor During Christmas Holidays” and by decree set aside the laws banning the sale of alcohol on Christmas Day. It promised a comprehensive review of the Intoxicating Liquor License Act in 2023.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Belize

Driving while drunk in Belize is a criminal offense. Police officers can pull you over and administer a sobriety test if they suspect you’re under the influence. You may be detained for up to 36 hours if you’re caught driving (this includes golf carts – the preferred mode of transport on the islands) while over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit. When arrested you will be asked to provide a urine or blood sample You can refuse, but refusal will result in additional charges for not providing a specimen unless you can provide a reasonable explanation as per the Motor Vehicles And Road Traffic Act Chapter 230

What is the Blood Alcohol (BAC) Limit in Belize?

The Blood Alcohol Level Limit in Belize is 0.80 – the same as in the U.K. and most of the United States of America. In Belize BAC is referred to in law as driving above the “prescribed limit”.

Can You Drink in Public in Belize?

Public drunkenness is illegal in Belize, and you can expect this law to be enforced. You are not allowed to drink on public streets. However, it is OK to drink on your resort’s property.

What Are The Opening Hours For Liquor Establishments In Belize?

Statutory Instrument No. 175 of 2022 provides for the repeal and replacement of several sub-sections under Regulation 5 of the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Regulations, Subsidiary Laws, 2003, which provides for the Hours of Closing for Licensed Premises.

Substantially, the revised and amended regulations standardize the daily closing hours for premises licensed under the following categories:

• Shop License: closed between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. of the following day 

• Beer License: closed between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. of the following day 

• Publican Special: closed between midnight and 9:00 a.m. of the following day 

• Night Club: closed between 2:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. of the following day 

Specifically, the amended regulations repeal and replace closing restrictions for particular weekdays and public and bank holidays for the license categories listed above. 

Safety Tips for Drinking in Belize

Stick with friends, or travel in groups and stay together throughout the night. Women should be especially careful about walking alone at night and after drinking. While tourist areas do have a great deal of security in place, there are still various areas where everyone should exercise a level of caution. Stay aware of your surroundings. Don’t let your guard down while you’re out drinking. When out drinking avoid mixed drinks and purchase only beer and drinks in sealed containers. There have been reports of drinks being spiked with drugs like Rohypnol and GHB (also known as “date rape drugs”). These substances are widely available in the Central American republics and regretfully spill over into Belize. To avoid this, never leave your drink unattended and only accept beverages from people you trust. Belize is generally a safe country, but it’s always best to use caution, especially if you’re partying at night in an unfamiliar place.

Article by M.A. Romero C.I.O. (RET)