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're hoping to find some gifts or souvenirs consider visiting Cotton Tree Chocolate, which is found in Punta Gorda, in southern Belize. The shop uses cocoa beans grown in the Toledo District exclusively. Products you'll typically find in house include rum and coconut rum filled chocolates, cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, spicy cocoa powder, and chai cocoa powder. Guests can find them at 2 Front Street.

Another possibility is The Orange Gallery, which is found 76 and a half miles (123 and a half kilometers) to the north of Cotton Tree Chocolate. Find something "Orange" to bring home with you from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visitors will 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 on Cristo Rey Road.

View this table for more information about gift and souvenir shops located in this area.

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 interesting speciality shops in this area is Seahorse Dive Shop. This venue is located in Placencia, Belize. The founders of whale shark expeditions and tours in Belize, you really get something unique and special when you choose this dive shop for your local scuba adventure. With an experienced staff and some great sites in the area, you can't go wrong with Seahorse Dive Shop. If you want to call ahead of time, do so at (501) 523-3166.

Another good option is Lola’s Art, which is found approximately four and a half miles (approximately seven and a half kilometers) to the north of Seahorse Dive Shop. When you stop by the shop, you can purchase espresso and pastries in addition to original paintings, hand-painted cards, painted gourd masks, and wood carvings created by Lola's husband. 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.

Many of the specialty shops located in Belize are provided here:

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

Hungry? Brodies Belmopan is found within Belmopan, Belize. A wholesale shop that allows customers to buy high quality grocery, household, and health items in bulk for less, this is a great store for those staying long term or planning an event. Visitors will find them on East Ring Road.

Another place to consider is Goss Chocolate, which is found 54.5 mi. (87.8 km) to the south-southeast of Brodies Belmopan. Located in the historic cradle of chocolate, the shores of Southern Belize, Goss Chocolate has been in operation since 2007. Cacao has been grown and used in the area for thousands of years, and this chocolate producer is situated near the best farms allowing them first choice of superior organically grown beans. If you have questions, try calling them at (501) 523-3544.

Sweet Ting: The shop is open and baking daily from noon to 9:00 p.m. Guests will be able to find them at 96 Benque Viejo Road.

Review the following table to learn more.

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

Another 15 shops are displayed here:

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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