Shopping in Belize

While Belize isn't known for it's shopping scene, you can go home with plenty of good finds

Photo credit: © Lawrence Weslowski Jr | Dreamstime.com
 

Many believe that the minimal amount of malls and department stores in Belize makes the country lacking in good shopping, but vacationers who love to shop local will be pleasantly surprised.

Where to Shop

Belize City

Maps

For the most part, shopping in Belize City caters to locals, but there are still designated areas where tourists will find special items to take home. Particularly, Tourism Village. This is where most cruise passengers spend their time in the city because of its close proximity to the port. Local vendors set up craft and food carts in the streets, especially on cruise ship port days, and visitors can easily wander the streets and happen upon unique designs and crafts that symbolize Belizean heritage. There are also some more permanent souvenir shops, clothing outlets, and jewelry emporiums.

Outside of Tourism Village, vacationers can visit the National Handicraft Center on South Park Street for a quite large selection of woodcarvings, pottery, woven baskets, and furniture. Shopping centers in Belize City include Commercial Center and Queen's Square Market.

San Pedro

The main street of San Pedro Town is Barrier Reef Drive, and this is where many begin their day of shopping in town. On this street you will find a high concentration of shops featuring everything from clothing to crafts. Next, Front Street is filled with delightfully colored little shops selling items like Cuban cigars, art, jewelry, and beauty products.

The Little Old Craft Shop is where you will find black coral jewelry and wood carvings in San Pedro City, and Emerald Mine will take care of all of your other jewelry needs. Fido's has a large collection of artwork, Rendezvous Estates is the place to go for local liquor, as they bottle and sell their own wine, and you can stop into Caribe Creations for clothing.

If you haven't found something you like by the end of the day, head into Blu back on Barrier Reef Drive, the catch-all souvenir shop. Every type of Belizean knick knack and craft you can imagine is sold here.

Gifts and Souvenirs

Where once a t-shirt reading “Someone who loves me got this shirt in Belize” or a magnet would suffice, in recent years souvenir shoppers have been on the hunt for unique items that represent the culture of the country. This is why shopkeepers have upped their game in recent years. Sure, those shirts and magnets are still around, but now vacationers will also find Belizean spices, rubs, sauces, and beverages; cookbooks, housewares made from local products, and linens hand sewn by native seamstresses; hand beaded jewelry, woodcarvings, clay figurines and more. Be on the look out for Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce, Creole inspired shell necklaces, cashew wine, Mayan slate paintings, and Garifuna dolls.

There are some places in Belize that sell items considered to be in poor taste. Items made from turtle shells, black coral, and cat fur should be avoided. Also note that it is illegal to carry ancient Mayan artifacts out of the country.

If you enjoy shopping for gifts consider visiting Cotton Tree Chocolate, which is found in Punta Gorda, in southern Belize. Made from locally harvested cocoa beans, this shops is unique because they work with local farmers and dedicated chocolateers who aim to create high quality and delicious confections on a daily basis. The property can be found at 2 Front Street.

Another option is The Orange Gallery, which is found 76.7 mi. (123.4 km) from Cotton Tree Chocolate. Some of the best gifts and souvenirs you can bring home from your vacation in Belize are handmade. The Orange Gallery is one place where you'll find a large selection of local and international crafts and art that will last for years to come. You will be able to find them on Mile 60 Western Highway.

Another place you might enjoy is Sak Tunich. At Sak Tunich they work using Mayan art traditions, ceremonies, and culture. Typically a different color clay and limestone is used than what most customers are used to experiencing. They're located on Cristo Rey Road.

Review the following table to read more about gift and souvenir shops serving Belize.

Gifts and Souvenirs In Belize
Name Type Phone Location
Artful Dodger Sail & Canvas Gift and Souvenir Shops (501) 523-3625 1.0 mi. South of Central Placencia
Austin Rodriguez Drum-Making Studio Gifts, Souvenirs, and Handicrafts (501) 502-3752 Dangriga, Central Belize
Beach Bazaar Gift Shop Gift and Souvenir Shops (501) 523-3113 0.6 mi. South of Central Placencia
Cotton Tree Chocolate Gift and Souvenir Shops (501) 621-8776 Punta Gorda, Southern part of Belize
Fajina Craft Center Gift and Souvenir Shops -- Punta Gorda, Southern part of Belize
First Choice Variety Gift Store Gift and Souvenir Shops (501) 822-0270 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Fishy Business Gift Shop Gift and Souvenir Shops (501) 523-3614 0.8 mi. South of Central Placencia
Garinagu Crafts Gallery Gifts, Souvenirs, and Handicrafts (501) 522-2596 Dangriga, Central Belize
Kulcha Gift Shop Gift and Souvenir Shops (501) 523-7075 Hopkins, Central Belize
Maya Bags Gifts, Souvenirs, and Handicrafts (501) 722-2175 Punta Gorda, Southern part of Belize
Mercy Sabal Doll Maker Gifts, Souvenirs, and Handicrafts (501) 604-6731 Dangriga, Central Belize
Prison Gift Shop and Tourist Center Gift and Souvenir Shops -- Central Belize
Sak Tunich Gift and Souvenir Shops (501) 606-7806 4.0 mi. Southeast of Central San Ignacio
Sugar Shack Gift and Souvenir Shops (501) 603-6051 Central Belize
Sunova Beach Gift Shop Gift and Souvenir Shops (501) 523-4060 0.5 mi. South of Central Placencia
The Orange Gallery Gift and Souvenir Shops (501) 824-2341 Central Belize, Western part of Belize

Specialty Shops

One of the area's popular speciality shops is Seahorse Dive Shop. They're found in Placencia, Belize. Most of their trips are boat dives guided by a certified PADI Dive Master. They typically offer full day trips that leave in the morning, allow their guests to take on two to three dives as well as head to a nearby caye for lunch and a bit of relaxation on the beach for their surface interval, then return in the afternoon. If you want to call in advance, you can do so at (501) 523-3166.

Another good option is Lola’s Art, which is located 4.6 mi. (7.4 km) away from Seahorse Dive Shop. Since the 1980s, Lola Delgado has been selling her vibrant paintings depicting local scenes that prominently features women in a little shop with great success. Stop by for what is sure to be a unique souvenir. If you're looking to call before booking a room, do so at (501) 523-3342.

Corozal Art Gallery: A small but bright art gallery which has been open since 2011, this is a great place to support local artist by viewing and perhaps purchasing a sketch, painting, or piece of pottery. They are located on Fourth Avenue and Third Street.

Lots of the specialty shops in Belize can be seen in the table below.

Specialty Shops In Belize
Name Type Phone Location
Art Affair Gallery Art Gallery (501) 604-1906 0.4 mi. South of Central Placencia
Art Box Art Gallery (501) 623-6129 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Art n Soul Art Gallery (501) 503-3088 0.7 mi. South of Central Placencia
Avadon Divers Dive Shop (501) 523-3577 0.7 mi. Northeast of Central Placencia
Belizean Handicraft Market Place Art Gallery (501) 223-3627 Fort George, Central Belize
Corozal Art Gallery Art Gallery (501) 633-8679 Corozal, Northern part of Belize
DI Watch & Design Watch Store -- Fort George, Central Belize
Diamonds International Jewelry Store -- Fort George, Central Belize
Diamonds International Jewelry Store -- Fort George, Central Belize
Fine Arts Gallery Art Gallery (501) 674-5868 Fort George, Central Belize
Habano Cigar Store Tobacconist and Cigar Shop (501) 600-4795 Fort George, Central Belize
Image Factory Art Foundation and Gallery Art Gallery (501) 223-4903 Belize City
Lola’s Art Art Gallery (501) 523-3342 3.7 mi. North of Central Placencia
Ocean Motion Dive Shop Dive Shop 523 3363 0.7 mi. South-Southeast of Central Placencia
Pen Cayetano Studio Gallery Art Gallery (501) 628-6807 Dangriga, Central Belize
Seahorse Dive Shop Dive Shop (501) 523-3166 0.9 mi. South of Central Placencia
Speactarte Art Gallery Art Gallery -- 6.4 mi. Northeast of Central Alabama Warf
Splash Dive Center Dive Shop (501) 523-3058 0.4 mi. South of Central Placencia
Tanzanite International Jewelry Store -- Fort George, Central Belize
Tribal Arts Art Gallery (501) 523-7091 Hopkins, Central Belize

Food and Grocery

Want to check out some local food offerings? Brodies Belmopan is situated in Belmopan, Belize. The merchandise at Brodies is 80 percent imported from the United States and Europe five percent imported from Mexico, and the rest is procured locally. Because of this, you can be sure that every item sold is of high quality. You can find them on East Ring Road.

A second possibility is Goss Chocolate, which is located 54.5 mi. (87.8 km) to the south-southeast of Brodies Belmopan. The chocolate at Goss Chocolate is handmade in micro batches in granite mills. The best beans and careful processing result in a unique tropical taste, because the chocolate is made from organically grown Belizean cacao, Belizean cane sugar, powdered whole milk, and 100 percent natural whole vanilla bean. To reach them, call (501) 523-3544.

Sweet Ting: Although they can attempt any cake you're craving, Sweet Ting specializes in Red Velvet, Caramel Banana Nut, and Cappuccino Cake. They're located at 96 Benque Viejo Road.

Take a moment to read this table for more information.

Food and Grocery Stores In Belize
Name Type Phone Location
A&R Belizean Food Grocery Store (501) 620-3189 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Alwins Superstore Grocery Store (501) 822-2776 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Brodies Belize City Grocery Store (501) 223-5587 Fort George, Central Belize
Brodies Belmopan Grocery Store (501) 822-3078 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Brown Sugar Market Place Grocery Store (501) 223-0901 Belize City
Dangriga Central Market Fruit and Vegetable Market -- Dangriga, Central Belize
Daniel Supermarket Grocery Store (501) 822-4321 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Goss Chocolate Confectionery and Nut Store (501) 523-3544 Placencia, Southern part of Belize
Hydes Mini Market Grocery Store (501) 822-2531 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Mel's Mart Grocery Store (501) 722-2569 Punta Gorda, Southern part of Belize
New Capital Supermarket Grocery Store (501) 822-0670 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Norman's Bakery Bakery (501) 602-4730 Pomona Valley, Central Belize
Sunny City Market Grocery Store (501) 822-0572 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Sweet Ting Bakery (501) 601-7263 San Ignacio, Western part of Belize
Tommy's Grocery Convenience Store -- 0.6 mi. South of Central Placencia

Other Retail

The following table provides you with some details concerning 15 of the other shopping locations in Belize.

Other Types of Shopping In Belize
Name Type Phone Location
168 Shopping Center Shopping Center (501) 822-3926 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
99 Shopping Center Shopping Center -- Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Cardinal Shopping Center Shopping Center (501) 822-2119 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Codd Drugs Store Drug Store (501) 824-3505 San Ignacio, Western part of Belize
Fansico Shopping Center Shopping Center (501) 822-1229 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Five Star Shopping Center Shopping Center (501) 822-1541 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Market Square Drug Store Drug Store (501) 822-0045 Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Matalon Business Center Shopping Center (501) 223-2521 Belize City, Central Belize
Pheonix Shopping Center Shopping Center -- Belmopan, Northwestern part of Belize
Placencia Pharmacy Drug Store (501) 523-3346 0.7 mi. South of Central Placencia
Raju's Variety Store Discount and Variety Store (501) 722-2591 Punta Gorda, Southern part of Belize
Record Shack Record, CD, DVD and Tape Stores (501) 227-2856 Fort George, Central Belize
Sophie's Giftshop Discount and Variety Store (501) 722-2279 Punta Gorda, Southern part of Belize
The Pharmacy Drug Store (501) 804-2510 San Ignacio, Western part of Belize
Tourism Village Shopping Center -- Fort George, Central Belize

...stick to locally made items...

 

Duties, Taxes, and Other Tips

Vacationers heading to the Caribbean often find themselves getting amped up at the thought of saving big on designer goods. The abundance of duty free items in most passes coupled with low prices on high end items, often times visitors will come away from the Caribbean with some pretty great deals. This is not always the case in Belize. Though it is possible to buy luxury items in Belize, vendors are not always selling them at low prices, and there is a 12.5 percent sales tax tacked on to every purchase. Your best bet is to stick to locally made items. Not only will they be more inexpensive and symbolic of your time on the island, but your money will go a long way in supporting locals.

U.S. currency is so commonly excepted in Belize that exchanging your money is not necessary. If you do choose to do so, know that the basic rate of exchange is two Belize Dollars to every one U.S. Dollar.

You can expect to find most stores in Belize to be open between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 or 6 p.m., and many close during the lunch hour and on Sundays.

True, shopping is not one of Belize's biggest draws, but that doesn't mean you can't return home from your vacation with a few great souvenirs. Just remember to steer clear of luxury items, buy local, and most of all, enjoy the time you get to spend exploring the country's cities as you shop.

 

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