While the shopping in Belize is not exactly one of the main tourism draws, it still can be something to enjoy on your next Belize vacation. The Belize shops, though not numerous, can be either upscale or basic, and the experience can include browsing for a diamond in a rough, or a diamond attached to a ring. Souvenir shops are certainly to be found among the Belize shops, so you will certainly have the chance to purchase some keepsakes from all the places you visit. As one might expect, the greatest variety of Belize shops are found in the larger cities, with Belize City providing the country's most replete shopping scene, which isn't saying much. Prices at many Belize shops, especially those of the upscale variety, can be higher than average, so that's something to consider. However, if you choose to buy something in Belize that is locally made, then your money can often go quite far.
Before you do any shopping in Belize, you'll have to first familiarize yourself with the Belize currency. Known as the Belize Dollar, the Belize currency is tied to the United States Dollar, and the basic rate is two Belize Dollars to every one U.S. Dollar. If you are traveling to Belize armed with U.S. Dollars, there will be no need to change your money. Pretty much all Belize businesses accept U.S. Dollars, so as long as you have those, you will be fine. Of course, you can always choose to get your hands on some Belize currency when visiting, just in case. Always be sure when doing a little Belize shopping whether the price listed is in the Belize currency or U.S. Dollars. Travelers checks are widely accepted at Belize hotels, but you might find the restaurants to be a bit wary of them. Really, since the dawn of the ATM machine, of which there are a sufficient amount in Belize's tourist spots, travelers checks have sort of become a thing of the past.
Once you have the proper Belize currency to enjoy a bit of Belize shopping, you might be wondering what your options are. Again, shopping in Belize is not one of the top pursuits for visitors, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying it. There is a modest handicraft industry in Belize, and you'll be able to pick up some items fashioned by Belize's different ethnic communities. The shell jewelry that the Creole populations sell along the Belize coast is worth checking out, and though coral jewelry is sold in parts of Belize as well, it's generally not encouraged that you purchase any. The coral are living organisms that are important to the health of the Belize Barrier Reef, as well as the smaller coral reefs found offshore. Woodcarvings, often of the marine life variety, are also something you might purchase from the Creole populations in Belize. The Mayan and Garifuna populations also offer up some interesting wares that can make shopping in Belize a joy. Though you won't find the abundance of Mayan handicrafts in Belize that you will in neighboring Guatemala, you might find the Mayan slate paintings and carvings to be of considerable interest. Picking up one or more of the small dolls made by the Garifuna people is sure to make for an interesting gift.
Finding a good Belize market can be a bit of a challenge, and your best bet for one in Belize City is probably the Commercial Center, which is found close to the central Swing Bridge. Souvenir and butcher stalls can be found here, so it's a bit of an odd mix, yet still fun to explore. One of the better destinations for Belize shopping is Ambergris Caye. Belize's top vacation destination, you'll find plenty of tourist shops in Ambergris Caye, but you'll also find unique Belize shops that sell crafts and paintings, jewelry, and jade artifacts, etc. Should you scuba dive the Belize Blue Hole when staying on Ambergris Caye, you'll most definitely have to head to one of the island's tourist shops to get a T-shirt and a print depicting the famous sinkhole. Most, if not all of the main shops on Ambergris Caye can be found in the main town of San Pedro, and you can walk to all of them without issue. A good amount of Belize shops are gift shops, some of which are found at the top Belize hotels or resorts. If you want to enjoy shopping in Belize at an excellent gift shop, you can head to the Cayo District capital of San Ignacio. It is near here that you will Caesar's Place, which is often mentioned in Belize shopping discussions. The Cayo District is also a good place to pick up some of the aforementioned Mayan slate art pieces. The slate carvings of Mayan petroglyphs would probably look spectacular hung above the fireplace at home.