The local currency in Belize is known as the Belize Dollar. Often abbreviated as either BZD or BZ$, the currency is permanently pegged to the US dollar at 2:1. This means that two Belizean dollars will always equal one American dollar, so you'll never need to worry about calculating exchange rates.
Just like the American dollar, the Belize dollar is divided into 100 cents. Bank notes come in $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 denominations. The reverse of every bank note features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain as Belize is a member of the Commonwealth. The front of Belize notes feature local wildlife or prominent buildings in the country. Belizean coins are one cent, five cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, and a $1 coin.
Belize Bank notes are latest-generation currency with distinctive security features including watermarks. Counterfeit notes are rarely found in Belize. Damaged notes can be exchanged at the Central Bank of Belize in Belize City or Belmopan.
Prices in Belize are usually expressed in Belize dollars, but American currency is widely accepted. Belize charges a departure tax of $39.25 for non-locals, and this must be paid in American currency.
Belize law allows individuals to bring in a maximum of $5,000 US dollars regardless of form (cash, checks, bearer bonds, etc.) Belize law requires that all visitors declare their total currency holdings upon entering the country if they exceed $5,000 US dollars. Violators may be arrested and/or fined triple the amount of any undeclared funds.
American currency can be exchanged for Belizean dollars at banks, some upper end hotels, and currency exchange businesses. Depending on where you go, you may find a slightly more favorable exchange rate (2.01 BZD per 1 USD). All licensed money changers will require you to fill out a form with personal information. It is best to avoid freelance money changers (known locally as "peseros") who do not require you to fill out any paperwork. Unlicensed money changers are frequently found around the border areas with Mexico or Guatemala.
It can be very difficult to exchange Belizean dollars for other currencies once you leave the country. Travelers are advised to convert all remaining Belizean dollars in their possession before departing Belize.
There are ATMs (cash points) throughout Belize. These usually work with American, European, and Canadian bank cards. Belizean ATMs usually charge a nominal fee of 3-5 BZD for international card withdrawals. Consult your local bank to see if your card will work in Belize.