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Buying Liquor On Your Way Into Belize

This was originally posted in 2012 but there have been some important updates at the international airport.

Most notably, there are TWO inbound duty free stores and the selection has broadened to include some sunglasses, make-up and candy in addition to American brand cigarette cartons and wine and liquor.  AND it can get you lower prices.

And a SanPedroScoop discount!

Here are the deets:

There are no two ways about it…drinking in Belize can be expensive.  Enjoying a beer at a local bar starts at $5BZD (or $2.50 USD), local rum is generally priced about the same and it goes up, way up, for imported liquors.  Vodka or tequila drinks generally start at $12bzd.  A glass of (often Chilean) wine starts at $15bzd.  A night out can grow expensive depending on your tastes and your venue.

Belize is one of the few spots in the world – there are some in other Caribbean countries – that offers DUTY FREE ARRIVAL SHOPPING.

The prices are LOW – 50% lower OR MORE than prices outside the airport.

This is the old sign for the amounts you can bring in.  And it still works.  The rule, I was told, is 4.5L of alcohol.  So depending on the size, you basically get this.

While waiting to pick up your checked luggage, you will notice that the baggage claim conveyor has been lengthened.  And that there are now TWO stores for duty free.  I stopped into both.

While the first store is more crowded…walk the extra 30 feet to the second and I found lower prices on much of the alcohol.  And some different items.

Price on Absolut at Store #1

1 Liter Absolut Vodka $18 USD ($36BZD) in the first shop and $15USD in the second —> the price in town is generally around $60BZD

Tito’s Vodka, for another example, was just a $1 or $2 more

Fireball “Whiskey” is $20US.

Jack Daniels, 1L, $23US.

AND I got chatting with the lovely manager at STORE #2, aka The Store with the Lower Prices (on the items I looked at), aka The New Store pictured below.


SO cheap just got even cheaper!

SO…You can buy up to 4 One Liter bottles of hard liquor or 6 bottles of wine.  (Or you can mix and match).  Hopefully that is enough for your trip…and so much easier than trying to pack something in your bag from the States.  It takes up too much room plus, who wants to risk spilling all over your stuff?  Nothing more embarrassing then smelling like a distillery when you check into your hotel…

One thing to remember is that you need to move your bottles to your checked luggage for your Tropic Air flight.  Super easy.

Don’t fret if you can’t fit it in.  The baggage handlers were nice enough to pack mine separately with a big FRAGILE sticker on it.

I am not telling you to stay away from local bars…where else are you going to meet people, eat tasty food and enjoy local music?  It just never hurts to have all of your options…



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32 thoughts on “Buying Liquor On Your Way Into Belize

  1. Dave

    Welcome home! I love the inbound duty free shop, I’m there about once a month and load up each time.
    From reading you’ve had a great trip, thanks so much for sharing.
    I did this trip in the 70’s, things sure have changed, specially Panama.

  2. Me

    It’s the way to go. You need to check out P city again! I can’t even imagine the changes in one year much less 30!

  3. Carolyn and Surendra Kumar

    You are allowed to buy 4.5 liters that you can then take through customs duty free. In my case it is always 3 one litre bottles of Grey Goose and 2 750 ml bottles of Johnny Walker:-) This of course is in addition to one liter you can purchase at your port of embarkation.
    We also fly Maya Island instead of Tropic and they have always allowed us to carry our duty free liquor on board. Never really understood Tropics insistence on asking you to pack this.

  4. Me

    Isn’t it international law? The liquids? When Maya tried to send it thru with the people in front of me, security made them go back and check it with the airline. Hmmm…I’ll have to double check!

  5. Carolyn and Surendra Kumar

    What they have usually done is take it from us at check in and then hand it back to us at the plane. Our niece came to visit a few weeks ago and the first thing she did when she got of the plane is hand me the duty free liquor and she had it on her as she arrived in San Pedro.

  6. naynee96

    We are headed to Belize in December. This is invaluable info!! Love your blog. Makes me even more excited for our first visit!

    1. Belize Blog

      DEFINITELY not. No alcohol is served in the country on Good Friday. I think it’s the only day that Jet’s Bar at the airport is closed.

  7. Heidi Hagen

    Hi! I love your blog and am completely jealous of your move down there. I’m planning to visit again soon but this time a local friend is wanting me to bring a few bottles not available there. They’re a little pricey. I already know I have to check them to avoid TSA scoping it up in security

    1. Heidi Hagen

      I hit post to soon! I was going to ask, will I be okay if the bags are checked? What about taxes? Do I have to declare it?

      1. Belize Blog

        You can bring up to 4 bottles…just wrap them carefully and put them in checked luggage. They will arrive just fine. No need to declare 🙂

        1. Kim E

          4 bottles? I’m sure I’ve read multiple times that the limit is 1 liter. I understand you have the inside scoop, but how confident are you about 4 bottles?

  8. Christina Woodhill

    Is this located right at the BZE airport? We are looking to fly in and go to St Georges Caye Resort

    1. Belize Blog

      It’s right by the baggage claim…just go in while you wait for your bag. Red Bull (though not sugar free) is sold all over Belize – but it’s pricy…usually about $10bzd or $5US a can. And at a bar up to $15bzd. They aren’t going to have that at the airport. But…if you are driving to your boat, ask your driver to stop at a super market and grab some….

  9. erictomlin

    If I want to take the water taxi from Belize City to San Pedro, do I need to pack my duty free booze in my luggage, or can I just get it boxed up and bring it that way. I’m traveling in a group with 4 adults and 4 kids and we plan to buy and bring as much as allowed from the duty free.

  10. David Nonaka

    Thank you for all the helpful information. One more question regarding the duty free store. If we’re flying in this Good Friday, will they not be selling alcohol? I read your other article about what to expect Easter weekend and you noted that alcohol sales are forbidden on Good Friday.

  11. bigt

    Any update on the liquor prices since 2012? They were fabulous when i went in 2014 for rum, crown, vodka, I assume it is still that way? Also I did not buy scotch last go round an I will need a bunch this trip, anyone have a price/brand I can use as a reference point. scotch is typically more in Latin America so I might want to buy it in the US duty free… thanks mucho.. great country

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