Traveling with Syncro has been one of our highlights of this experience. He is a part of the team and we spoil him like a little child. We go through hoops to make sure he is well taken care of. Whether that is making a sacrifice on where we stay so he can be with us or forgoing places where he is not welcomed.
That being said, traveling with a dog is amazing but also brings with it challenges. That national park you have been dying to go to in Guatemala probably won’t let your dog through and you probably didn’t think about the hidden pet forms and fees you will have to execute to get through some border crossings. Belize is one of those countries that is strict on your ‘best friend’ coming in. I understand completely why, but sometimes it just feels like a lot of hassle after bringing your dog to and from Mexico & Europe multiple times with no one even blinking an eye.
As we drove across Mexico towards Belize, we ran into several travelers with dogs and unfortunately, many decided to skip Belize, because they feared the hassle. We knew it could be done so we went for it. Overall if all the information was laid out in front of you, it really isn’t that tricky. The problem is things change over time and different people have different experiences so it is hard to know what exactly will happen to you.
Here are the steps we followed while crossing the Chetumal/Corozal (Santa Elena) border with our dog.
- File a request permit via online for Belize, and print out the email confirmation that they have issued it.
- Vet visit 5 days prior to your crossing to get a health certificate
- Proof that rabies are up to date, and not within the last 30 days
Filing for the Pet Import Permit
The first thing we should have done was filed our permit request for taking Syncro into Belize because it can take up to a week to process. This online form is pretty straight forward. It can be downloaded at:
We did not know much about this form until the day we decided to leave and unfortunately it takes 3-7 days to process. It is very important to ask BAHA (that’s the department that processes the form), to send you a confirmation that the form has been received and that the permit has been issued. Print this email if possible, as they are supposed to send the actual permit directly to your port of entry. This email will be your proof in the event that your permit is “lost”. If you don’t request the permit, you can still cross with your pet, but the fine will be $110 Belize.
Vet Health Certificate & Vaccines
The vet visit is simple. This is just taking your dog to the vet so the doctor can give your dog a once over and make sure he is in good health. The point of this visit is to get a letter from the vet saying your dog is in good health so you can bring that letter with you to the border. We took Syncro to UNIVERSUM K9 in Chetumal. The veterinarian was awesome and knew exactly what we were looking for in our letter. The other thing we chose to do was to update Syncro’s rabies shot. This is also mandatory at the border and will need proof to show the Belizean officials. He also gave us tips on Belize as far ticks and other insects we should look out for while traveling here. We paid around $1700 MXN Pesos ($100) but that included the check up, official letter, tick medicine, heart medicine, and a rabies vaccination. I am sure if you need just the letter it would only be a few hundred pesos. ($15 USD or so)
The veterinarian is located here in Chetumal:
Address: 4 de Marzo 374, 77020 Q.R., México
Phone: +52 983 832 1002
At the border
The actual experience at the border is fairly easy. When you get to the border, you will park on the right and enter the building on your left. Leave your pet behind for this. Go inside and get in the immigration line, they will give you a form to fill out and then stamp you in. Next, head to customs and let them know you are traveling in a motorhome and they will take down all the vehicle information and enter it into your passport and stamp you there. Now it’s pet time. Go back to the car and get your buddy on a leash and bring him into the building. You will see on the left side of the buildings (once you enter) some offices, and the BAHA office overlooks the customs desk, go in and he will review your pet and your paperwork and charge you $10BZ for the inspection and you will be all done!
And now Syncro is very happy we came Belize! It is an amazing country to visit and especially while traveling the Pan-American Highway, you shouldn’t skip it just because you have your travel buddy with you. 🙂