Belize City is having a terrible problem with crime. There was a recent election in issue that sort of blew up in the face of the politicians after the national elections which had just occured days before I arrive in Belize. In the span of one week there were ten murders in Belize City. This, in a city of 75,000, is frightful.
It is very risky to walk around in central Belize City on your own. I took a cab everywhere after dark at the recommendation of my hotel staff. I visited one restaurant, just one kilometer away, and I took a taxi there. On the way back, I noticed that my taxi's windshield was completely smashed. I asked the driver, a friendly man, what happened. He told me that his friend was shot and landed on his cab, smashing the window. He drove his friend to the hospital where he died. Just one of the stories of Belize City and it serves as a warning.
During the day the city seems safer but parts are not exactly inviting. I would not suggest you use discretion when wandering around the city streets on your own during the daylight hours.
We recently traveled to Belize and stayed in Hopkins. We rented a vehicle at the airport. When we first left Belize city, we noticed the filthiness. Whenever we drove anywhere, Hopkins, Belize, Placencia etc., we noticed how the people beg you for rides and curse you if you don't give them a ride. There are human trafficing signs everywhere. One Saturday evening we were driving in later than normal and everyone in this town seemed to be out. There was a group of young thugs in the rode. They were trying to get us to stop for some reason and when we didn't they reached to open the door of the car. I was so scared. We were warned not to go out after dark in Belize and now I know why. We found out that a expat lady had been murdered there recently. We never felt safe in Belize. It is a very poor country with not much to offer. It was a very scary place and I would never go back.
While we were lucky in Grand Cayman that we were the only boat in town, we were less lucky in Belize when we arrived with 5 other ships with a total capacity of almost 16,000 people. If you are coming in by cruise ship you can check Cruise TT to see how many boats will be there with you, if there are a lot it may make you change your mind about certain activities. Be sure to book early if there is something that you really want to do as sometimes the independent providers can't handle unlimited numbers of passengers.
For those people visiting on land, you might want to schedule excursions for days that are not heavily populated by cruise passengers, Belize has quite a few days that show no cruise ships at all in port.
There is a local guy that hangs out at the bar located at the "split", if you go there you are sure to meet him. He is the one on the right in this picture if you didn't know. He befriends most everyone and seems like a nice enough guy. He may offer to clean your jewelery - we let him and it worked really well but luckily my boyfriend was quick to buy him a beer to say thank you before he asked for money. He tries to convince tourist that he will take him to the island about 30 feet away from Caye Caulker, just seperated by the split and make them a great dinner. My boyfriend gave him $50 belize dollars for him to make us his favorite meal. He never did it, he was there at the time we planned on but never cooked. He said he would be back, he was going to get things ready and 30 minutes later I was hungry and tired of playing this game so we left and went down the road for dinner. Suprise, suprise - we saw him sitting with some other tourist at a diinner table drinking a beer. he is nice but always looking for a scam to get some money. My trusting boyfriend definately learned his lesson. Tourist beware!
IT'S THE GUY IN THE PICTURE.
I loved Belize! I do however caution people that are going or planning a visit to remember this is a poor place. Places here can be a shock for someone coming here without researching ahead!
HOWEVER. The people of Belize are friendly, nice and Safe!!!! I felt safe while visiting and would go back at a drop of the hat!
I have experienced the worst situation while travelling in Belize, since entering the country. I wasted 40 minutes by visa verification. They said they need to fax my visa to be approved at the embassy, then later I wasted more time in custom. I didn´t have any intention to declare falsely to the custom, but they have asked in the form whether I have brought more than 10,000 BZ $ (or 5,000 US $), and unfortunately I have brought more than that because I forgot to take this amount of money out and keep in my house, so I just wanted to avoid the problem and I filled in form ´no´, but later the custom officers asked me to open my pouch that was locked with the key, and they started counting the money, and they accused me that I committed offense by bring money more than stated, but I didn´t declare, and they wanted to fine me 2,500 US $, and I said it would be impossible because the fine is too much, I couldn't afford that, and the money I brought was for the purpose of buying air tickets for me and my wife. So they asked me whether it was the first time here in Belize, and I said yes, so they said they would fine me 250 US $, and by the time we're discussing, one of them tried to distract us (me and my wife) by checking my wife's luggage, and another one was counting my money, and another was insulting me that I was talking foolish by the way I said I didn't know the rule would be so serious until causing the fine, so by the time they distracted us, one of them has taken money from my pouch for 1,200 US $, so apart from the fine, this amount has also been stolen, and I lost in the custom 1,450 US $!!! and I just realized it again when I started counting in my hotel's room with my wife, I found money has been stolen, so it was worthless to trust them, and this country is very dangerous and uninteresting. Even the custom stole us money, so I want you to consider well and take a very good care if you want to travel to Belize.
Be aware that the Belize Zoo has an unstated policy of denying access to camera telephoto lenses based on physical size as based on the interpretation of the ticket clerk. My son's 70-200 mm telephoto was deemed to be too large and 'proferssional' to allow access. We were told to remove the lense and put it in our car! (Do this and it will not likely be there when you get back!). My monopod was also denied access. We decided to walk away and spend our money elsewhere in Belize.
I don't know when I was bitten, possibly on my horseback ride through the jungle. It was just a mosquito bite I thought. I came home and was still scratching at this really itchy mosquito bite on the back of my head. Then I noticed the lymph nodes on my neck had swollen up, as though it had gotten infected. So I went to the doctor and took antibiotics for a week. Still no improvement. And by now I was occassionally experiencing excruciating pain. I went back to the doctor and was referred to a surgeon who decided to cut open the spot on my head. Turns out I had been bitten by a mosquito carrying bot fly eggs, and the larvae had then burrowed in under my skin. That little white larvae was the most disgusting thing I could have imagined, and probably the most painful, and it had been living in me and hurting me for weeks! Turns out if I'd known what it was I could have slathered on something like vaseline and forced the larvae far enough out for air to grab it. Do be careful of mosquito bites that just don't seem to be going away, and that then become extraordinarily painful, especially in the morning.
Okay, I normally don't complain about mosquitos since I'm an island girl, but the mosquitos here were horrible. I came prepared for them with Off repelent with a high dose of deet, but even though I applied the Off these pesky annoying mosquitos seemed to love my blood. I was bitten in one location at least 6 times from what appared to be the same mosquito, yikes!! They sure do itch.
Aaron, one of our guides, was telling us that they don't call Belize the Mosquito Coast for nothing and that the repellent is more like a salad dressing.
Still, I would recommend that you take precautions and apply the wonderful smelling scent of Off Mosquito repellent so you won't be eaten alive and walk away with only a few "battle scares"
There are many many beautiful safe places to visit in Belize. Why anyone would want to make Belize City their tourist destination is beyond me. Go out to the cayes, to the rainforest, the mountains, or ruins!!!! Belize has so much to offer.
I know that most of us are eager to have an idea of exactly where it is that we are staying and any photos can be helpful in reducing the amount of butterflies in your stomach. But please remember, anyone can create a website, anyone can present themselves anyway they want over the internet, and anyone can focus upon specific aspects of their location to make it appear welcoming to you. So be realistic when finding tour guides, accommodations, etc. In addition, things that are standard in your home country may not be the same in Belize.
Although we rented an apartment for 3 weeks, the owner felt that it was ok to come inside without our knowledge. Where I am from that would never happen. Another example, where I am from animals are not allowed in restaurants. They are in Belize. These are just small things to consider. Don;t be naive or assume that everything will be just like home.
This is the ferry to get to the other end of the island.There is a nice residential area then the road gets real bad. Make sure you have fresh batteries on the golf cart and know when the ferry stops running in the evening.
2007 UPDATE:! There's a bridge now I've been told! I'll leave this photo up for histories sake.....And Gas powered carts are available now-
In Belize city when getting out from a taxi at the bus station u will be most likely approached by some fella who's gonna introduce himself as a bus station employee and actually flash some kind of handmade badge:)), all he'll do is take u inside the station and show u the bus schedule then ask u for few bucks. If one is capable to fly to Belize surely one is able to find the schedule on the wall of the bus station. This sort of "service" is not worth a single penny.
This isn't really a warning, an advice more like, I just didn't know which category to put it in...If you're anything like I am, staying at the hostels and guesthouses, BRING UR EARPLUGS!! I can't stress enough how important this is if you want to get some decent sleep. People will be shouting (on the street or inside), dogs will be barking (and that can be quite a concert), roosters will be crowing, trucks will be unloading at the bakery downstairs...oh my, I can continue this list forever....just bring ur earplugs:))
there is nothing really dangerous about belize city, personally I think that these people are exaggerating. I took a trip to Belize for spring break along with my roommate and we enjoyed it..Of course there might be some areas that's dangerous but which city doesn't have that? and for 2 females walking around, nothing happened.
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Negroman Road, San Ignacio, Belize
Good for: Business
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