This guidance is designed to describe appropriate clothing, the cultural context where you will be living and working, and the professional expectations of your workplace.
As you decide what to bring, keep in mind there is a 100-pound weight limit on checked baggage.
In general, most items you will need are available in country and locally acquired items are often the best at helping you integrate into your community. However, locally available items may not be the brands, quality, prices, or sizes you are used to. Bringing some key items from home might make your transition to service more comfortable.
This guidance has been compiled by Peace Corps staff and Volunteers and is based on their experience. Use this information as an informal guide as you make your own packing list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect packing list!
This packing guidance is designed to help you think through different categories of items and consider what you might want to bring, considering work expectations, cultural considerations, and your own personal preferences.
Belize has a subtropical climate, with a wet season spanning from May to October, and a dry season from November to April. Across the year, temperatures range from the low 70s to mid-80s with approximately 80-percent humidity. Peace Corps Volunteers serving in the Youth Empowered by Sports (YES) Project should expect to be active, and to spend significant time outdoors during their service.
In consideration of the climate and nature of the project, PCVs are encouraged to consider packing comfortable active wear in addition to business casual attire.
Peace Corps/Belize will provide all PCVs with the following items:
- Fire extinguisher
- Smoke/carbon monoxide detector
- Bicycle helmet
- Mosquito net (to cover bed)
- Water filter (if applicable)
- Life Jacket (if applicable)
- Solar Lantern (if applicable
- Cell phone SIM card
- Medical kit (see details on contents in the Toiletries and Medications section)
Peace Corps Volunteers are not allowed to take:
- Radio transmitters (shortwave radios are permitted)
- Automobiles or motorcycles
- Flammable materials or liquids such as lighter fluid, cleaning solvents, hair spray, or aerosol containers
- Valuables such as precious jewelry or family heirlooms
Do not bring any drug that has not been authorized by the Peace Corps for medical purposes without prior consultation with Office of Health Services Pre-Service. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Illicit drugs, including marijuana and related products such as CBD and herbal substances such as kratom, are prohibited during Peace Corps service, even if they are legal in your home of residence. If you use, possess, or distribute illicit drugs, you will be administratively separated from service.
Work attire for Volunteers’ assigned to the National Sports Council Office and Belizean primary schools will consist of:
- Dry fit or other athletic short and long sleeve tops
- Dry fit or other athletic shorts and long pants
- Quality cotton undergarments
- Sports bras (recommended as appropriate undergarment for youth sports activities)
- Athletic socks
- Sunhats and/or baseball caps
- Windbreaker jackets
- Hoodies/sweatshirts and sweatpants (for cooler weather)
- Gym shoes (cross trainers recommended)
- Regular size backpack or zipper tote
- Water bottle
Trainees should note that attire for all Peace Corps sponsored training events and Ministry workshops is business casual. Appropriate attire for these settings include:
- Chino/khaki pants
- Polo or short sleeve button down shirts/blouses
- Lightweight sweaters or cardigans (air conditioning in offices is sometimes set very cold)
Volunteers are sometimes invited to special formal events (i.e., weddings, quinceañeras, church services, funerals) in their towns and villages. The Volunteer Swearing In Ceremony is also a more formal event. On these occasions, Volunteers may wear a dress (solid color or pattern); or skirt or chino/khaki pants with a nice short- or long- sleeved button up shirt (with or without tie).
Despite the temperature, to conform with local norms PCVs should wear blouses that cover their shoulders or pack a light cardigan to be worn with any camisoles, tank tops and sleeveless dresses they may bring. Additionally, shorts should be worn under skirts and dresses. Very short shorts (volleyball shorts, running shorts or spandex shorts), sports bras without a shirt, midriff attire, leggings with a t-shirt and tight clothing are not appropriate for youth sports activities.
We also recommend that Volunteers bring plain cotton or dry fit polos; for a small fee, the Peace Corps logo can be embroidered on them in country.
For in-country needs, there are many thrift clothing shops in the towns and local markets where Trainees and Volunteers will be able to find a variety of used clothing at affordable prices.
Leisure and recreational clothing
Outside of their formal work settings, Volunteers enjoy exercise/sports groups, town outings for shopping, gardening, family gatherings, visiting nearby rivers, beaches, and parks, traveling to neighboring towns/villages, and enjoying other outdoor and cultural activities.
When away from work with their host families, in town or with their communities, Volunteers commonly wear:
- Athletic attire (exercise shorts no shorter than 5”)
- Knee-length shorts (including jean shorts, cargo shorts, khaki shorts, etc.)
- Sun dresses
- T-shirt or tank top & shorts for swimming
- Full length jeans (without rips)
- Sleeveless blouses and dresses
When on annual leave in tourist destinations, Volunteers may comfortably wear swimsuits and sleeveless tops.
Finding quality footwear in Belize can be challenging. For both work and recreation, Volunteers should pack durable and comfortable sneakers/gym shoes (cross trainers are recommended). For formal or special occasions, attending Peace Corps sponsored training events, representing Peace Corps at other trainings and for attending workshops with counterparts, Volunteers should pack a pair of sturdy and comfortable loafers/boat shoes. Crocs, flip flops/sandals are also recommended for time outside of work.
You should bring a three-month supply of any prescription and/or over the counter medications you use that are authorized/approved by the Peace Corps.
Note: Prior to service, Peace Corps supplies all volunteers with a medical kit containing basic, over-the-counter medications, as well as multivitamins.
The medical unit will replenish prescriptions after the initial three-month training.
If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs (of the current prescription) with you. Contact lens use will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Volunteers can expect to have electricity, water, and internet access at their sites. Like the United States, Belize operates on 110-volt electricity, with Type A or universal electrical sockets (two parallel prongs/blades).
Peace Corps Belize encourages Invitees to bring a laptop. An unlocked personal device is required (smartphone with dual sim capability, if possible). If you are unable to bring a personal device, Peace Corps will provide a stipend where you can purchase a basic smartphone locally. Peace Corps will provide a SIM card from a local service provider with a calling and text plan and unlimited data for Volunteer use.
Based on your interests and personal preferences there may be additional items you will want to consider bringing with you. Below is a description of the common activities Volunteers engage in and what different Volunteers have said they enjoy having that might be more difficult to find in-country. Note: these items are not required or even recommended, but they might be nice to have.
Peace Corps Belize provides a stipend for Volunteers to purchase bicycles locally and use them for commuting and for recreation. Peace Corps also provides bike helmets. Those interested in cycling as a hobby may also consider packing:
- Bicycle patch repair kit
- A Bell
- Bicycle front and rear lights
- Cycling kit- shorts, gloves, top (shirt)
- Most kitchen supplies are available here
- Volunteers who enjoy coffee may consider packing a French press (coffee is widely available in grocery stores)
- Water bottle
- Extra sheets and pillowcases
- Travel pillow
- A hand towel, bath towel and bath cloth
- Photos of family and friends
- Small gifts to share with host families (in Training and in service)
- Stickers, pencils or other small tokens to share with children
- Arts and craft supplies
- Card or board games
- Books – In addition to any books you bring, note that Peace Corps has a library thanks to donations from Volunteers who served before you.
- Some Volunteers also recommend an e-reader
- Yoga mat
- Ear plugs (music can be loud at holidays, neighborhood parties, on the bus and dogs barking)
- Umbrella and light raincoat
- Sewing kit
- Multipurpose tool