The Belize dollar (BZD) is Belize’s national currency and is pegged at the U.S. dollar at 2 BZ$ is to 1 US$ since the 1980s. U.S. dollars are generally accepted throughout Belize because of this peg. It is considered a waste of time to exchange USD to BZD when it is supposed to be used inside the borders of Belize. Belize dollars are also easily accepted in towns outside but close to the border of Belize. Inside the Corozal Free Zone in the Norther border inside Belize, only U.S. dollars and Mexican pesos are accepted.
In 1885, 1 cent bronze coins were introduced by the government. In 1894, the silver 5, 10, 25, and 50 cent coins followed. This same year, the government issued 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 dollar notes. After 1928, the 50 and the 100 dollar notes were stopped. In 1952, the 20 dollar note was introduced to the people of Belize. By 1990, both of the 50 and 100 dollar notes were in circulation again. The 1 dollar note has been replaced by a coin.
The Belize dollar and all coins of Belize are printed at Thomas De La Rue Ltd. All banknotes of Belize feature Queen Elizabeth II; Belize being a member of the British Commonwealth; the Queen being the Head of State. The 1 dollar note has an underwater scene printed on the back side and a stork on the front. The 2 dollar note shows the Mayan ruins of Belize and a fauna. The 5 dollar shows the medallion of Christopher Columbus and St. George’s Caye. The 10 dollars shows buildings of Belize. The 20 dollars shows the animals of Belize as well as a jaguar. The 50 dollar note shows bridges of Belize, a boat and a rental fish.
As Belize banks offer usual rates of 2.0175 dollars for a U.S. dollar, one may find ‘peseros’ or money changers all throughout Belize offering relatively low rates. A visitor who wishes not to fill out long forms and stand in long lines inside banks may want to have the exchange with these local money changers. While these ‘peseros’ are tolerated, the authorities may advise against them.