Is Belize Safe?
Yes, Belize is safe, and quite beautiful too! With soft, white-sand beaches; jewel-like turquoise and sapphire waters; and plenty of friendly people with laid-back attitudes, it’s a great place for families and adults. The key to staying safe in Belize is to practice common sense and stay away from a few specific neighborhoods – a fair trade-off for an unforgettable trip to paradise. Use this guide to learn everything you ever wanted to know about staying safe in Belize – from outdoor adventures to health and wellness.
How Safe is Belize?
Let’s get one unfortunate truth out of the way – whether you’re in a big city in your home country or a foreign destination, bad people exist all over the world. However, that doesn’t keep you from living your daily life, and it shouldn’t keep you from traveling.
With pristine white-sand beaches and sparkling aquamarine and sapphire waters, Belize is a playground for expatriates and snowbirds alike. 1,525,547 tourists have visited Belize as of 2018 (combining overnight and cruise travelers), and the number is only expected to increase. Because tourism is crucial to the economic well-being of this small tropical nation, accommodations, reputable drivers, and tour guides work hard to keep visitors safe and ensure that they have a great time. So, like pretty much any other destination in the world, Belize is safe if you exercise prudence.
With a little bit of preparation, some inside knowledge, and the ongoing support of Anywhere, you too can have a fun, happy, and safe vacation in Belize.
Is Belize Safe for a Vacation?
Yes, Belize is safe for a vacation. Not just a few days behind the gates of a resort, but a real getaway full of adventure and cultural exchanges. Despite its issues, Belize remains a popular vacation destination. Not only is it a tropical paradise, it also boasts lush jungles, ancient ruins, delicious Afro-Caribbean cuisine, and friendly people. Then of course, the motto “Go slow” – made famous by Caye Caulker – serves as a reminder to experience life, rather than let it pass you by.
It may sound like a plug, but the best way to have a safe vacation in Belize really is to book with Anywhere. We have local experts stationed in the country you’re visiting; the service providers (hotels, tours, and drivers) have all been vetted; there’s always a travel professional behind the scenes managing the logistics of your trip, and you’ll enjoy ongoing support every step of your journey – help is never more than a call, email, or chat away!
Is Belize Safe to Travel for Families?
Yes, it is safe to travel to Belize with your family. Pristine beaches, the world’s second-largest barrier reef, vibrant jungles, ancient ruins, incredible caves, and more… This is Belize, and it’s a wonderful destination for families. We’re not going to pretend that crime and poverty don’t exist in the country, because unfortunately, they exist all over the world. However, these issues are not so extreme that you would be putting your family in jeopardy as soon as you set foot in the country. With friendly people and a belief that we should all slow down and enjoy life more, Belize is a safe place to travel with your family.
Negative news always makes the headlines, so when something goes wrong it can seem like that’s the norm instead of the exception. Much of the corruption and petty crimes that occur in Belize are easily avoided during your family getaway when you choose reputable travel services such as Anywhere, and practice common sense. Going to Belize in a family group to snorkel and birdwatch is a far cry from public drunkenness or wandering around after dark – behavior that invites trouble.
When you let Anywhere’s Local Experts help you design a personalized travel experience, and manage the logistics of your trip, the only thing you have to worry about is having a great time. That means you and your family will not only have a safe time in Belize, you’ll make great memories too!
Is Belize Safe to Travel Alone?
Yes, it is safe to travel alone in Belize, but you must be mindful. Solo travel; it’s thrilling, but it can also be dangerous. Wandering around a foreign country where you may not speak the language and don’t know a soul isn’t a great idea. What are you supposed to do when you want to experience the world and don’t have family, a significant other, or friends to travel with? Let life pass you by? Heck no!
One of the things that makes solo travel so dangerous is having no one expect you – no one in the country checking in with you regularly. Sure, people look out for you back home, but that’s literally a world away when you’re visiting a foreign country. There is a safe way to travel to Belize alone – choose Anywhere. Common sense goes a long way when abroad, and so does partnering with a reputable travel service. With Anywhere, all of your hotels, activities, and transportation are expertly coordinated. You also enjoy ongoing support every step of your journey, so you’re never really alone, because a Local Expert is never more than a call, email, or chat away.
Bottom line, when traveling solo, it’s best to have someone in your corner. When Anywhere manages the logistics of your trip, you’re always expected somewhere. Have the freedom you want to make friends on your tours; explore ruins and the Belize barrier reef; solo travel is simple and safe when you go Anywhere.
Is Belize Safe for Women Traveling Alone?
Yes, Belize is safe for solo female travelers, but a woman must be especially aware. There’s traveling alone and then there’s traveling alone as a woman; unfortunately, the two are not the same. Women often travel alone in Belize, with a few caveats. If you are a female solo traveler in Belize, it is recommended that you stay away from Belize City – in fact, it’s recommended that all travelers avoid Belize City. The cayes are considered safe for lone female travelers, provided you follow Anywhere’s safety precautions (basic travel common sense), stay alert, and DO NOT get drunk – especially in public. Walking alone through cities or on the beach after dark is highly cautioned against.
Hustlers or con artists may target female travelers by viewing you as an easy mark. Some men in Belize are prone to catcalling, and some women find it helps to say a quick, formal “good day” or “good morning” without making too much eye contact as they pass.
It sounds like a plug, but the best way to stay safe as a solo female traveler really is to partner with a reputable travel company. With an Anywhere Local Expert managing your trip, you’re always expected somewhere. You have ongoing support throughout the entirety of your trip. All of your accommodations, tours, and transportation are coordinated, and you can enjoy authentic cultural exchanges without putting yourself in harms way. Travel smart and you can go Anywhere.
Are Belize Hotels Safe?
The short answer is: Yes, hotels in Belize are safe. The long answer is: Yes, Belize hotels are safe when you book with Anywhere. Poor service and subpar accommodations are found all over the world, but they pale in comparison to not feeling safe in the place you’re supposed to rest. When you book your accommodations (and activities and transportation) through a travel agency such as Anywhere, the legitimacy of your accommodations has already been verified.
You’ll never have to worry about staying in an unsafe part of town, because we would never offer a hotel there anyway. Additionally, if something does go wrong, your Anywhere Local Expert offers ongoing support and has the experience, tools, and resources you need to help resolve your issues.
Belize is a colorful and friendly nation with amazing ecolodges and beach cottages; you don’t want to miss waking to the songs of tropical birds or falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. Choose a reputable service provider and you’re sure to begin and end your days in the most relaxed way possible at a nice, safe hotel in Belize.
How to Not Get Sick on Vacation in Belize?
With a little forethought, traveling in Belize can be a healthy and safe endeavor. The most common issue you will face here is sickness from food or water. Paying attention to what you eat and drink will go a long way towards ensuring that you spend your days on the beach and not on the toilet. If you do come down with a case of traveler’s diarrhea, plan to rest, drink lots of water, and replace lost electrolytes with Gatorade or rehydration salts. If the diarrhea lasts for over two days, see a doctor.
Is The Water Safe to Drink in Belize?
No, you cannot drink the water in Belize. Water and food can become contaminated and spread hepatitis A and typhoid, so you should get these vaccinations before entering Central America. Additionally, it’s possible to get diarrhea from contaminated water, so carry antidiarrheal medicine with you during your travels.
Since it is not safe to drink the tap water in Belize, choose bottled and filtered water, which is plentiful and cheap. Drinking treated water is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Reuse a water bottle to cut down on waste. If you’re going to be spending a significant amount of time in rural Belize, you might want to bring a water filter or iodine pills. If for some reason bottled water is not an option and you are unsure of how (or if) the water is treated, choose boiled water.
Avoid drinking from water fountains, however appealing they may look. Also, be wary of ice – ice and drinks that may have been prepared with ice are suspect. If you are not certain the ice was made from bottled water, assume it was made with tap water, and thus, is unsafe to drink. When in doubt, ask to make sure any juice or other prepared beverage you drink wasn’t made with tap water.
Drinks that come in cans or bottles (such as soda, juice, and beer) are usually safe.
Is The Food in Belize Safe?
Yes, the food in Belize is not only safe, it’s delicious! Ocean fresh seafood, tropical fruit, and Afro-Caribbean cuisine create a tantalizing combination of flavors. However you will want to exercise caution due to the fact that Belize’s tap water is not safe to drink. In general, prepared hot dishes are going to be one of your safest options – so long as the food has been thoroughly cooked. Chicken, rice, beans, and similar dishes make frequent appearances on menus and are a safe and satisfying option.
When it comes to salad, that can be tricky. In Belize, it’s not only important to clean your produce, it’s important to do so with bottled water! This is less of an issue with hotels and restaurants that are accustomed to the sensitivities of international travelers, but still… Unless you can verify that your salad wasn’t made with tap water, it’s best not to take the risk.
As for your morning meal, you’d hardly think twice about hitting the breakfast buffet, until you come to the pre-cut fruit or yogurt parfait. We’ll offer the same advice as for salad – unless someone can verify that the fruit was cleaned with bottled/purified water (or is still in its peel), don’t take the risk.
Is It Safe to Eat The Local Fruits and Vegetables in Belize?
Yes, fruits and vegetables are safe to eat in Belize, but it’s not as simple as picking them from the ground or trees and munching away (which you shouldn’t do anyway). Belize's lush tropical climate produces a delightful assortment of fruits and vegetables, which you can safely eat — if you do a few simple things. Eat fruits that have a thick peel — such as oranges or bananas —, as they will not require rinsing.
When you purchase produce from the market, clean it yourself with bottled (or otherwise purified) water. Avoid raw fruits and vegetables served in restaurants, since you can’t be sure how they were handled before they were served.
Again, make sure to avoid fruits and vegetables that have been rinsed in Belize’s tap water. When you’re sampling local fruit juices, ask if they have been diluted with tap water, well water, or unpasteurized milk. Any of these additions would make your juice unsafe to drink. Contaminated liquid could contain typhoid, hepatitis A, or bacteria that will give you diarrhea. Popsicles made from fresh fruit juice present the same risk. Bottom line: Do sample the delicious fruits and vegetables of Belize. Don’t abandon basic food safety precautions just because you’re on an adventure.
How to Stay Safe Outdoors During Your Vacation in Belize?
Extend your fun in the sun when you know what to watch out for on days at the beach, jungle treks, and other exciting outdoor adventures. Belize is full of ruins, caves, and stunning beaches, and you won’t want to miss a single one! So pack your sun cream and sunglasses, you’re about to explore paradise...
How to Stay Safe at The Beach in Belize?
The best way to be safe at the beach in Belize is to not get so caught up having fun that you lose your sense of awareness. The tranquil and crystal clear waters of Belize are one of the nation's biggest selling points. You can swim in the ocean in Belize with relative safety. In fact, your biggest concern won't be currents and undertows, but sea creatures. Do the “stingray shuffle” and drag your feet along the ocean floor when in the water; give sea creatures a chance to feel your vibrations before each of you gets a nasty surprise.
If you’re snorkeling or diving, then there’s a different set of guidelines you’ll want to follow. The coastal waters of Belize are home to sea urchins and anemones, which can be dangerous. It’s painful to come into contact with these creatures, so try to give them a wide berth while swimming or snorkeling.
That takes care of shorter excursions, but how to stay safe on a day at the beach? If you’re spending a full day at the beach, then you’ll have more fun in the sun when you keep your body healthy – inside and out. Regularly reapply sunblock/sun cream, especially when you’ve been in the water. Stay hydrated by keeping bottles of water handy. If you’re packing a picnic, include some healthy snacks such as fresh tropical fruit – the water in them will give you a naturally sweet hydration boost.
Is It Safe to Swim in The Ocean in Belize?
Yes, it is relatively safe to swim in the ocean in Belize. When you visit Belize’s most popular beaches — Placencia, Maya Beach, Ambergris Caye, and Caye Caulker — you’ll find clear, shallow water that makes for easy swimming and snorkeling. On the cayes, visitors usually go swimming from off of a pier, as the water right next to the shore is sometimes full of seagrass.
Your biggest concern when it comes to safe swimming on the beaches of Belize will be marine wildlife. Keep an eye out for poisonous stonefish in the shallows. Stonefish are the most venomous fish in the world, and can inflict an incredibly painful wound. Other animals to avoid include jellyfish, the enormous Portuguese Man-of-War (a relative of jellyfish), and stingrays. Coral reefs have sharp edges, so be careful not to accidentally touch them. Reefs can also shelter dangerous fish, such as scorpion fish.
While you’re diving or snorkeling, make sure to follow your guide’s instructions about how to share the water with sharks and other sea creatures. With an experienced guide, you’ll greatly reduce your chance of having a dangerous encounter.
Are National Parks and Reserves Safe in Belize?
Yes, national parks and reserves in Belize are safe, and typically, well-maintained. In many of the country’s national parks, Belize’s Forest Department has an agreement with a local community group that helps to maintain said parks. The Belize Audubon Society also manages some of the parks and national monuments. Not all of Belize’s national parks have a lot of infrastructure, but the trails are usually marked.
Sunburn and pesky bugs are generally the only problems you’ll encounter at Belize’s national parks. So, make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent. Mosquitos and sandflies are some of the most common nuisances. There are also poisonous snakes in Belize, including the infamous fer-de-lance (known locally as a “Tommy Goff”), but you’re unlikely to see one. Nevertheless, err on the side of caution and bring a snakebite kit.
If you’re at a national park with a river or a lake, don’t assume that the water is safe. These bodies of water are often home to caimans, a relative of the alligator. When you visit a marine reserve, make sure you wear the proper equipment when you enter the water. Spiny sea urchins and sea anemones live on the ocean floor at reserves like South Water Caye and Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and they are quite painful to step on.
Parks with Mayan monuments, such as Cahal Pech or Caracol, often have armed guards. Unfortunately, robberies do occasionally take place around these highly trafficked areas. Remain with your tour group, and stay in the main plazas. Wandering alone to more remote parts of the site makes you more likely to be a victim of robbery. You can make yourself less likely to be a victim of petty theft by taking common sense precautions; leave flashy jewelry and technology at home. If you travel with a tour guide, you can always ask them about the risks at your destination.
Are There Many Snakes In Belize?
Yes, there are a large variety of snakes in Belize. 59 species of snake eke out their habitat in Belize; nine of those species are poisonous, including the fer-de-lance (also known as a “Tommy Goff”) and coral snakes. You are most likely to encounter a snake if you take a trip into the jungle, so keep your wits about you when hiking in wooded areas, and make sure to bring the appropriate first aid supplies. That being said, snakebites are not common in Belize. Another precautionary measure? Make sure that a knowledgeable and experienced guide accompanies you on any treks you may take into the wilderness!
Are There Many Insects In Belize?
Belize is home to a huge variety of insects, especially in the rainforest. Mosquitos, ticks, sandflies, and botflies are the most common insects to bother humans. Mosquito bites present a slight risk for malaria, and sandfly bites produce itchy hives. Botflies lay their eggs on mosquitoes, and mosquitoes can insert the botfly egg under your skin when they bite you. All of theses pests can be kept at bay with bug spray, especially bug spray that has 20 percent DEET.
There are a few unusual species of insect that you should know about. Africanized bees also live in Belize, but they do not present a persistent threat; most people can outrun these types of bees. Bullet ants are much larger than ants you would find at home, and have an incredibly painful bite. They live in the rainforest, and you can avoid them by not sitting on the ground.
Are There Many Mosquitoes in Belize?
Yes, you will find mosquitoes in Belize; in fact, they are quite active during the nation’s rainy season, which lasts from June until November. They are more active in Belize’s lowlands and Caribbean Coast than they are on the western side of Belize, in the highlands of the Maya Mountains. Be sure to bring mosquito repellent with you on your excursions, especially when you are traveling near the coast.
To avoid mosquitoes and the diseases they can carry, in addition to bringing insect repellent, wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and covered shoes. You can also apply permethrin to your clothes. Use mosquito nets over beds if they’re provided, and make sure that your windows have screens. You can also purchase mosquito coils, which repel insects with smoke.
How to Stay Healthy on Vacation in Belize?
The best way to stay healthy on your vacation in Belize is to maintain your health before and during your trip. This portion of the guide will help you discover the preventative measures you should take to keep your body in tip-top condition during your tropical getaway. Plus, learn what to do if you need to purchase medicine or receive medical care during your vacation – yet another reason to purchase travel insurance!
Do I Need to Take Malaria Pills or Get Certain Vaccinations for a Trip to Belize?
No, you do not officially need to get malaria medication to travel safely in Belize. However… Rates of malarial infections have dropped precipitously over the last couple of decades, and travelers have a low risk of contracting malaria; but, malaria is technically still present and it is possible to contract it during your travels. You are most likely to come into contact with malaria in Cayo, Stann Creek, and Toledo. If you want to err on the side of caution, talk to your doctor about what type of malaria prevention (malaria prophylaxis) drugs you should take — especially if you intend to visit the jungle, or another area where you know mosquitos may be prevalent. Dengue rarely occurs in Belize.
Do you need vaccines to travel safely in Belize? Again, not officially, but you should be up-to-date on your regular vaccines, such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), and polio. It’s also a good idea to have an annual flu shot. Depending on what activities you have planned, you may also consider getting vaccinated for hepatitis A (which can be transmitted through food and water in Belize), and hepatitis B. Be sure to get a typhoid vaccine, especially if you’ll be in more rural areas. Finally, some animals in Belize — including dogs and bats — may have rabies, so getting a rabies vaccine may make sense, especially if you plan on engaging in lots of outdoor activities or will be working with animals.
Remember that many vaccines take at least two weeks to produce immunity, so you should plan to visit your doctor a month or two before traveling. As for, “Do I need medicine to travel safely in Belize?” You will of course want to pack any prescription medications you need to take on a daily basis. If you’re diabetic, it goes without saying that you’ll need to bring your insulin. Pain medication, allergy medication, even anti-diarrheal medication – it’s better to come prepared. Finally, if you are at risk of anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction), please bring your EpiPen.
What Should I Do in Case of An Emergency in Belize?
If you have an emergency in Belize, you should call 911 right away. Please visit Belize's tourism website if you would like to familiarize yourself with some of the country's other emergency telephone numbers. It is also wise to keep numbers on hand for your country’s embassy in Belize. The following is the information for the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan:
International: Dial 011 +
Phone: (501) 822-4011
Emergencies Only (After Hours) Dial 011 + (501) 610-5030
For Non-Emergency Issues concerning U.S. citizens: ACSBelize@state.gov.
What Are the Medical Facilities Like in Belize?
To sum it up, healthcare and medical facilities in Belize are adequate, but not exceptional. When you’re planning a trip to paradise, the last things on your mind are, “How is healthcare in Belize? How are medical facilities in Belize?” That’s because you’re only focused on the fun you’ll have, not what will happen if you sprain your ankle on a hike or have a medical emergency. Allow us to fill you in before you get lost in the excitement of your upcoming adventures…
Medical services are very limited in Belize. In cities, you can find hospitals and healthcare centers. But medical facilities are usually only equipped to perform outpatient procedures. Belize Medical Associates is a private hospital in Belize City, and out of all the hospitals in Belize it offers the widest range of treatments and specialties. Check with your insurance provider to see if you are covered for any medical expenses you may incur while you travel in Belize. If you're going off the beaten path, consider getting traveler's insurance.
Once again, please make sure to bring all of your prescription medications with you, as you may not be able to fill your prescription in a Belizean pharmacy. Healthcare and medical facilities in Belize are unlikely to be what you are accustomed to back home, so please take nothing for granted. That ‘quick refill’ back home may be difficult to procure during your stay in in Belize – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If I Need Medicine, Can I Easily Get It in Belize?
The ease of getting medicine while traveling in Belize really depends on the type of prescription you need and where you fill it. Small mom-and-pop type pharmacies in Belize tend to be lenient with prescriptions, allowing customers to take home their prescribed medications even if the doctors’ notes have been forgotten. Large pharmacies or hospitals require valid prescriptions. In Belize City, an easy choice is the Pharmacy Express, which caters to tourists right outside of the Tourism Village where cruise ships disembark.
Medicine in Belize is typically marked at a 25 percent higher price than in the U.S. Fortunately, basics like pain medication and antibiotics are not taxed. There are low-cost public hospitals/clinics in most cities and towns in Belize. For anything less than an emergency, you should be prepared to wait for hours. Practically any type of medication is available, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry and pack all of your necessary prescription medications before you leave home. Remember, ‘widely available’ does not mean ‘always in stock’.
Finally, the official language in Belize is English (Queen Elizabeth is still “Queen of Belize”), which is an advantage when you need to read medicine labels or communicate with doctors and pharmacists.
How to Stay Safe While Traveling in Belize?
The best way to stay safe while traveling in Belize is to remain aware of your surroundings, even when you’re having fun. The next best way to stay safe while traveling in Belize is to book your trip with Anywhere, so our in-country Local Experts can manage your vacation behind the scenes. Need more specific details? From island-hopping and switching hotels to activities and dinner out on the town, here are the best ways to stay safe while traveling in Belize…
Is It Safe to Walk in Belize?
It is very safe to walk in some parts of Belize, but it is not safe to walk in others – here’s why... The entire nation of Belize is familiar with Caye Caulker’s motto “Go slow,” so you would be forgiven for thinking that extends to traffic too. … It doesn’t. Though Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker don’t boast much automobile traffic (golf carts are the closest you’ll come to driving a car on Caye Caulker) the same is not true of mainland Belize. So do enjoy the fact that the cayes are pedestrian friendly, but don’t think you’ll enjoy that same walkability everywhere else.
Here’s something to know before you go: Belizean drivers do not grant pedestrians the right of way. People walking or biking on the road should be cautious of buses and cars, knowing that they are not expecting to yield to those on foot. You’ve heard of defensive driving? Well, in Belize, you’ll want to practice defensive walking!
So, is it safe to walk in Belize? Sometimes. On the cayes, absolutely. When on the mainland, it’s best to stick to designated walking areas such as plazas, and stay as far away from busy roads as you can when on foot.
Is It Safe to Drive in Belize?
This is a loaded question. Is it safe to drive in Belize? … Sort of. If you’re accustomed to well-maintained roads and clear signals, it’s probably best you don’t drive here. Road conditions are inconsistent in Belize. Pavement in the cities varies greatly, with scant stretches of freshly-paved road turning into stretches of potholed, decades-old cement. In smaller Belizean towns and the countryside, the roads are mostly dirt. Major highways like the George Price Highway, Philip SW Goldson Highway, Hummingbird Highway, and Southern Highway are in much better condition, although they are unusually narrow and oftentimes lack shoulders.
Driving at night is discouraged. Tropical rainstorms can occur; after the rains, the roads can become extremely slick due to the inconsistent paving. Since there are few posted signs or partitions on the highways, Belizean drivers often use turn signals to communicate on the road: a left-hand turn signal used on the highway might be a request for the driver behind to pass on the left.
In the cities, traffic lights are often replaced with traffic circles, which travelers should take caution when using. Taxis are known to blast through the circles with little regard to hesitant drivers. Outside of cities, traffic lights are nonexistent. Instead, speed bumps are used to regulate speed, but they are often indicated with confusing signs or none at all.
Be wary, because Belize’s speed bumps can damage vehicles — and their occupants — if you hit them too hard. Meanwhile, local drivers are prone to speeding up to the bumps before slamming on their breaks. You may be lulled by a stretch of smooth road before approaching a speed bump unexpectedly; this has caused accidents when the car behind was following too closely. Realistically, it is best to simply book your transportation through Anywhere, and leave the driving to local professionals. One final note: Police checkpoints are common. The police will ask for identification, and should be cooperated with as they check for insurance or illegal window tinting.
Are Taxis Safe in Belize?
Yes, REGISTERED taxis can be safe in Belize, but honestly, Anywhere’s transportation services are even safer. In theory, a taxi seems like a great way to get around. It’s transportation when you need it, and the driver is presumably a local who knows the best shortcuts. If you read the previous section, you’re already familiar with the...quirks, of Belize’s drivers. If you didn’t, please allow us to sum it up for you:
Pavement in the cities varies; one minute the road is freshly paved, and the next, it’s decades-old potholed cement.
Traffic lights are replaced by traffic circles, and local cabbies are known for blasting through them.
Speed bumps – not signs – typically regulate speed, and local drivers are often speeding up to them, only to find themselves having to slam on their breaks.
Odds are, this kind of local driving does not appeal to you. So, while taxis in Belize are certainly an option, they’re neither your best bet nor your safest. In truth, you’re much better off using Anywhere’s transportation services. Our drivers are familiar with the country, just like a local; our vehicles are up-to-date, clean, and comfortable; and our friendly drivers help you reach your destination quickly and, most importantly, safely.
Is Public Transportation in Belize Safe?
Public transportation in Belize is sort of safe and only semi-reliable; it’s best used by...adventurous spirits. In general, public transportation is one of the greenest and most cost efficient ways to get around. However, if trolleys, light rail, and even well-scheduled buses are what you’re used to back home, then please prepare for something different in Central America. Public transportation in Belize usually consists of the big yellow school buses seen on roads in the United States. These buses have been retired from their service in the U.S., and get a new lease on life and a colorful paint job in Central America. Yes, they do occasionally break down, but industrious Belizeans are quick to get them up and running again.
As for cost and routes, these vary. There are a number of smaller bus lines that may only service their local town; when these buses operate, where they service, and what they charge will largely be based upon local demand. The most regular bus service is going to be one of the three routes that begin in Belize City; unsurprisingly, these buses follow the same major highway route a driver would when exploring the country:
The George Price Highway to Belmopan, San Ignacio, and Benque Viejoe del Carmen.
The Hummingbird Highway to Dangriga, usually continuing on to the Southern Highway and Punta Gorda. You’ll also find services from Dangriga that will take you on to Hopkins and Placencia.
The Philip Goldson Highway to Orange Walk and Corozal.
Buses on these major routes are frequent and semi-regular, but again, do not count on regular timetables. As for stops, they are unofficial as well; know in advance that it’s not unusual for locals to be dropped off and congregate at a seemingly random place. If you absolutely insist upon using public transportation despite these quirks, then your best bet is an express bus. Their limited stops means you’ll have a more direct route, and because they tend to cost a few dollars more than regular buses, they are less crowded. Basically, public transportation in Belize is a decent and semi-safe option if you stick to major routes and major buslines, but it’s not safer than Anywhere’s transportation services.
One final piece of advice; if you’re using public transportation in Belize to travel a distance (versus a day trip) and must bring your luggage with you, do not leave it unattended. Seriously, DO NOT let it out of your sight. Keep your valuables on your person, not in your bags. Do not let anyone but bonafide bus personnel (driver, conductor, etc.) handle your baggage. Watch personnel load your baggage; for good measure do not board the bus until all baggage has been stowed and the baggage compartment is closed. When the bus is unloaded, promptly get off and wait to claim your baggage before doing anything else.
Is Belize Dangerous?
No, in general, Belize is not dangerous. The nation boasts a hodgepodge of cultural influences, ranging from native, to Afro-Caribbean, to expatriate. Tourism is one of the most important (if not the most important) cornerstones of its economic well-being. As beautiful as the country is, the nation isn’t immune from crime – especially due to issues with poverty. However, in terms of rampant gang violence and unrest all over the country, that is not something you as a visitor have to worry about.
Belize is only as dangerous as your self-awareness, or lack thereof. As long as you keep your wits about you, pay attention to your surroundings, and do your best to make good decisions, you’ll be okay. Stay out of areas that are obviously dangerous or sketchy (namely in Belize City), like you do in your daily life back home, and you’ve already avoided most issues.
What Places Are Dangerous in Belize?
The most dangerous place in Belize is definitely Belize City. You may find it difficult to avoid during your travels because it houses the International Airport and major hospitals. In which case, do not stay in Belize City any longer than is necessary.
If you’re waiting for a short connecting flight; pass your time within the safety of the airport. If you must stay overnight; try to ensure that your flight will arrive before nightfall, and use Anywhere’s transportation services to go to your hotel. If you can schedule your arrival in the morning or afternoon for a full day of sleep, so much the better.
Bottom line, aside from major services and a small handful of special activities that occur during daylight hours, there is almost no reason to be in Belize City – you won’t find the nation’s famed beaches or jungles there. Promptly conduct any business you may have and then quickly get on with your adventure.
Is It Safe to Visit Belize Right Now?
Yes, it is safe to visit Belize right now. While petty theft and fraud occurs throughout the country, the vast majority of violent crime remains in Belize City. The government is making efforts to quash crime in the cities, including legally zoning parts of Belize City “declared crime infested areas,” so as to patrol and conduct unwarranted searches.
There is hope that the current efforts of government and law enforcement will begin mitigating the lack of faith in the police force that citizens have, largely due to corruption and being too laid-back for their own good. Though the legal drinking age in Belize is 18, stores and even bars will sell alcohol to pretty much anyone without fearing reprisals. However, we do not advise underage foreign citizens to try to take advantage of the leniency granted to locals.
One note about hate crimes: The outdated government of Belize still upholds a statute on homosexuality, making same-sex intercourse illegal throughout the country. While this law is mostly ignored, antiquated laws can nurture antiquated values, creating hatred towards and even crimes against LGBTQ people on mainland Belize (this problem remains in several other Caribbean nations as well).
A gay man was stabbed to death in Belize City in recent years – targeted because he was wearing a skirt. The police claimed this was not a crime based on sexual identity, implying an unspoken alliance with the sentiments of the perpetrators and infuriating LGBTQ activists around the world. However, activists in Belize are forced to be meek, due to the popularity of anti-gay groups and their protest tactics of hanging effigies and making death threats. Even the Prime Minister himself is not immune from these threats; he was targeted when he proposed legislation protecting all people regardless of sexual orientation.
How to Avoid Crime in Belize While on Vacation?
Like with illness, the best way to avoid crime in Belize while on vacation is prevention. Rather than having to figure your way out of a bind, you want to learn how to avoid crime in Belize altogether. The good news is that it’s relatively easy; most vacation safety measures are the same precautions you take when going about your daily life or visiting a major city in your home country. By exercising common sense and keeping your wits about you, you will enjoy more fun and less trouble during your adventures in Belize.
How is The Crime in Belize for Tourists?
Crime against tourists in Belize does exist, but it’s not a widespread issue and is easily avoidable when you use common sense. With the joys of travel come one major pitfall – being a mark for opportunistic crimes. What makes visitors especially appealing? One can’t assume it’s the language, because you may be fluent; and one can’t assume that you don’t know anyone, because you may be visiting family or friends. The draw is unspoken wealth. There is never a legitimate reason to hurt innocent people, but when someone is desperate and impoverished, a foreign traveler represents disposable income. Here’s why:
When you travel, you are unofficially saying that you can afford to maintain your life back home; purchase international airfare; and pay for room, board, and fun activities in the very same country a would-be criminal is struggling in. So, while they know it’s wrong to demand whatever money you have on you, or steal your phone or camera in hopes of hocking it, they also figure you can afford the loss. After all, you can afford to temporarily live in another country for the fun of it! It’s not right, and it’s not fair, but it is reality.
The best way to avoid crime in Belize (or any other country) is to practice common sense. That’s it! You wouldn’t make a point of displaying expensive jewelry and large sums of cash back home, so don’t do it on vacation. Take a photo, but don’t go out of your way to show off your camera. Don’t wander around Belize City or the beaches at night. If your hotel comes with a safe, use it. Definitely do not become publicly intoxicated – being visibly drunk attracts crime all over the world. See? Everyday common sense.
How to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling in Belize?
The best way to keep your money safe in Belize is to be discreet and never carry more than you need. Nothing replaces common sense, so the first way to keep your money safe is to not flash it around. Credit cards are great, but you can’t count on them being widely accepted when you head to more adventurous (and often developing) countries. Sometimes, paying in cash is your only option. Even if you exchange a large sum of currency, you do not need to take the full amount with you everywhere you go; you certainly don’t need to make a point of pulling out lots of large bills to pay for a coffee or beer.
The next way to stay safe is to carry a money belt. A money belt goes under your clothes; travelers will often keep a small amount of cash accessible, and additional cash (and copies of passports, etc.) in the money belt. Savvy travelers are beginning to carry “throwdown wallets” as a last resort in a potential mugging. A “throwdown wallet” is essentially a decoy wallet you “throw down” in an emergency. It has a small (somewhat negligible) amount of cash and expired credit cards or gift cards; in the heat of the moment, all a mugger knows is that you’ve turned over a wallet.
Finally, if your accommodations come with an in-room safe, use it! It is there for your own peace of mind. You can’t travel without sensitive paperwork and money, and these are the two things you least want criminals to get their hands on. Keep them off of your person when possible, and leave them in the safety of a locked compartment, or at the very least, a hidden travel compartment.
Is Crime a Problem in Belize?
No, crime is not such an issue in Belize that it is unsafe to travel to the country. The nation is heavily reliant upon tourism, and continues to make strides to keep travelers safe. Additionally, most Belizeans are friendly people who just want to swap stories, enjoy a friendly conversation in passing, and share the beauty of their country with you.
However, if by “Is Crime a Problem in Belize?” You mean, “does crime exist?” Then yes; like many countries in Central America – and all countries with histories of poverty – Belize sees its share of crime, ranging from gang violence (not typically directed at tourists) to common pickpocketing. Though there is never a good excuse for harming innocent people, there are reasons why certain types of crime occur in what is essentially paradise. As a popular tourist destination, Belize is both safe and subject to opportunistic crimes. In general, the people in Belize are very friendly to travelers.
Petty crimes (such as the aforementioned pickpocketing) and men ‘catcalling’ women are the most typical occurrences for locals and visitors alike. The most common crimes you’ll want to look out for as a traveler in Belize are scams, such as phony tour companies soliciting on the street and then never picking-up their clients. Another common scam involves people posed as government officials – and occasionally, the officials themselves – charging extra ‘exit’ fees at the border of Guatemala.
When it comes to serious offenses, gang violence typically occurs away from popular tourist destinations and largely takes place in Belize City (again, away from popular activities and business centers). Belize does not have as much of a problem with ‘express kidnappings’ as Ecuador or even Guatemala, but you should be wary of slowing cars and make sure to use only registered cabs. We’ll discuss personal safety in Belize and avoiding crime in Belize extensively in other sections, but to sum it up:
Don’t wear expensive jewelry. Don’t carry and flash large amounts of cash. When taking pictures in public, don’t show off your camera. When you’re traveling by bus, keep your luggage with you at all times. Be cautious in Belize City and on beaches – especially at night. Use only registered taxis (or better yet, Anywhere’s professional drivers). If you’re going to a bar, go with a group of other travelers and take a taxi. DO NOT get drunk in public.
By being aware of the most common types of crime, and why these acts occur, you will be better prepared to remain safe and healthy during your time in Belize. More importantly, you will feel more comfortable enjoying the people and culture of Belize, so don't be afraid to explore this incredibly beautiful destination!
Is Belize Safer Than Mexico?
Ah, Belize vs. Mexico – which beach does it better? More importantly, which country is safer? Belize is safer than Mexico, because the small nation is so dependent on tourism that they have to make strides to keep visitors safe.
In truth, each of these nations boasts a stunning landscape, rich history, and friendly people. Also, you may be surprised to learn that the crime data between Belize and Mexico is very similar, with corruption, bribery, drugs, and theft being the most significant issues. However, when you play it smart, don’t make obvious displays of wealth, and do not wander around a foreign country alone, it’s easy to avoid these issues.
Economically speaking, tourism makes up the brunt of Belize’s economy. Whereas Mexico exported $418 billion in cars, vehicle parts, delivery trucks, computers, and other goods in 2017, Belize exported $374 million – the bulk of which came from raw sugar, bananas, fruit juice, and non-fillet frozen fish (according to The Observatory of Economic Complexity). Meanwhile, Belize’s tourism industry historically accounts for 25 percent of jobs and over 18 percent of GDP in a nation of 393,355 people.
All things being relatively equal, you’ll probably be more comfortable vacationing in Belize, and here’s why: It’s hard to say that Belize is safer than Mexico, because that implies the entirety of Mexico is unsafe, which is not the case. But there is a very strong argument to be made for visiting a small nation whose annual visitors equal or dwarf the local population. Additionally, Anywhere can attest to the countries we currently offer our services in. In Belize, we can ensure that you enjoy a safe vacation, without having to stay behind the gates of a resort. You can explore, go on adventures, and enjoy an authentic experience with the ongoing assistance and guidance of professionals.
With Anywhere, you get to experience adventures all over the world, including destinations you may not feel comfortable visiting on your own. That’s because you’re going on a coordinated trip that doesn’t make you feel like restrictions are being imposed or like you’re missing something, because you aren’t! You’re enjoying the best of Belize; our experienced Local Experts let you skip the unsavory parts – which is the one thing you want to miss while on vacation.
Is Belize Safer Than Jamaica?
Belize vs. Jamaica; the Caribbean Coast of Central America vs. a Caribbean island nation. Which to choose? Currently, Belize is safer than Jamaica. No one can dispute that both nations are beautiful, but that’s not what’s in question here – safety is. Unless you stay behind the walls of a resort (which is hardly an authentic travel experience), data indicates that Jamaica is far more dangerous than Belize. From robberies and attacks to vandalism and bribery, you’ll definitely need to be on your guard in Jamaica.
Belize is safer than Jamaica because you’ll have more success avoiding the country’s negative elements, without having to sacrifice an authentic cultural exchange. With Anywhere, you can stay at family-owned hotels, dine at local restaurants, support local artisans on walking tours, explore jungles and ancient ruins, and so much more. The best part? A Local Expert in Belize will never be more than a call, email, or chat away. If you want a unique getaway and don’t want to choose between authentic experiences and personal safety, then we would highly recommend letting us help you design a personalised getaway to Belize.
Why is Belize Safe to Visit?
Belize is safe to visit because a large part of its economic well-being is dependent upon tourism. With an estimated population of approximately 393,355 citizens, the nation of Belize is not very large. Couple this with tourist figures of 1,525,547 visitors (land and cruise) in 2018, and it’s clear that the number of visitors dwarfs the number of Belizean nationals. In other words, tourism has become absolutely vital to the nation’s well-being.
Travelers just like you are drawn to Belize’s picturesque landscape – soft sandy beaches lead to warm, crystal clear waters. Thatched roof cottages place you steps from the ocean. Tropical breezes caress your skin during sunset dinners. Fresh seafood and tropical fruit abounds, and ice cold beer flows liberally. This idyllic version of Belize is what over 1.5 million people flock to, and that’s 1.5 million people the tourism industry has to work to keep safe.