Generally speaking Belize is safe. Keep in mind (most of the stories you hear on the news), are typically related to (or) connected with drug activity and/or domestic violence. Here are a few basic guidelines to follow, to ensure your visit to Belize is trouble free.
Is Belize Safe To Visit - About 500,000 people travel to Belize each year, with few if any problems. Generally speaking, Belize is a very safe and peaceful country where thousands of tourists visit every year without incident (but as in all countries), it’s always good to take normal precautions when traveling. Belize is a very large, rural country, with lots of jungle. Tourists are advised to stay with licensed tour guides, stick to public areas, avoiding low-income neighborhoods, and walking down streets with inadequate lighting at night. Before getting into any taxi (always check the vehicle for the green license plate) before getting in. Never get into a taxi alone, unless you are familiar and comfortable with the person driving. Some areas of Belize City have experienced gang activity, but these are far away from popular tourist attractions like the historic downtown district, the Fort George Tourism Village, and the Baron Bliss Lighthouse.
Do Not Drink Too Much Alcohol - Many tourists experience problems due to excessive drinking, which can exacerbate tensions and invite trouble. Should an incident occur (while drinking), do not attempt to take matters into your own hands (allow the police to deal with it). Never attempt to use violence, and remember all material possessions can be replaced.
Currency in Belize - Avoid flashing large amounts of cash in public. United States dollars are widely accepted in Belize, along with Visa and Mastercard. There is little need to exchange money when you arrive into Belize. Simply remember the exchange rate (1 United States dollar to every 2 Belize Dollars). If seeking to use an American Express card, ask before you receive services - as not all establishments accept American Express.
Expensive Jewelry & Watches - You may have beautiful jewelry and expensive watches at home, don't bring them to Belize. In fact, it is not recommended to travel anywhere in the world with expensive jewelry and watches. Do yourself a favor, and leave these items at home. There is no need to make yourself a target of a crime, simply by wearing a expensive (beautiful) wedding ring. Additionally, avoid walking on beaches at dusk and/or dawn, displaying expensive electronic devices. Many of these pointers, are just good advice for traveling any where in the world.
Taxis In Belize - By government regulation, all taxi's must have a green license plate. Never accept a ride from someone with a vehicle without this distinctive license plate. For female travelers (never accept a ride) from a taxi if traveling alone at night, always try to travel in groups. Registered taxis will also display a sticker listing the co-op to which they belong. Before getting into a taxi, ask the cost of the fare before accepting. This typically ensures that you won't be taken advantage of. Also, before exiting the taxi, always ask for the taxi' drivers name and telephone number. Then if you realize that you accidentally left something in the taxi, you can quickly telephone him and get it back. It is generally recommended that visitors not travel on the roads of Belize at nighttime alone. Inadequate lighting, animals in the roadway, pedestrians, and poor road conditions make traveling at night hazardous. If you are renting a vehicle, make sure you park it in a secured location overnight. During the day, park it in a well-lit public area and lock up any valuables in the trunk.
Bottled Water - The climate in Belize is hot & humid, visitors are strongly urged to stay hydrated. Although carry with you a bottle of purified water. Bottled water is widely sold everywhere in the country, you can purchase water at most grocery stores, gift shops, restaurants, and gas stations.
Skin Protection - Belize is close to the equator, so the sun can be very hot and intense. Visitors with sensitive skin are strongly urged to use hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen to prevent getting sunburned.
Don't Do Drugs & Prostitutes - Marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and other narcotics are illegal in Belize. Anyone found to have these in their possession can face serious jail time. Prostitution and other paid sexual services are also illegal.
Cash in Excess of $10,000. - If you are coming to Belize and bringing more than $10,000. USD in cash, you must declare this with a customs agent upon entering the country. Failure to do so will result in steep fines.
Vaccinations - There are no mandatory vaccines presently required to visit Belize, but you should always check the Center for Disease Control for their detailed recommendations. If you are pregnant, suffer from a compromised immune system, or have an ongoing medical issue, consult with a doctor before taking any vaccinations.
Travel Tips While Traveling Inside Belize
Violent Crime - Statistics about crimes (such as armed robberies & murder) can be a bit misleading at times. Almost all violent crimes in Belize are connected to drug use (and/or activity), and domestic violence. As any big city, local gang feuds (flare up in Belize City), though not a common occurrence and rarely target tourists.
Border Disputes - Border disputes have been apart of Belize history for decades. Occasionally there is a border flare up between Belize and Guatemala. These incidents usually involve the confrontations between governmental forces and rarely involve tourists or civilians. Visitors crossing the border from Belize into Guatemala, are advised to stick to common forms of transportation and travel only in the daytime.
Minor Crimes - With hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists entering the country every year, there is always a small chance that a visitor may become the victim of a minor crime like pick-pocketing, purse snatching or burglary. Visitors are advised to never confront or resist a criminal and to immediately report all such incidences to the police.
Diseases - As with most tropical countries, Belize is prone to contagious diseases. Mosquito-born illnesses like dengue fever occasionally experience sporadic outbreaks, which may include visitors. When visiting Belize it is advised to use insect repellent when outdoors and to stay in facilities protected by mosquito screens and nets at night. There have been only a few isolated cases of the Zika virus in Belize, an illness also transmitted by mosquitos.
Ground Transportation - Belize in general has a poor infrastructure. Many rural roads are dirt roads that can be bumpy and difficult to travel. There are public buses (typically used by the general population), but many of these are retired school buses and are in poor condition and lack critical safety equipment. Road accidents can pose a risk to anyone traveling in Belize, especially on rural roads. Taxi's are often maintained better, as they are typically private vehicles owned by the driver. Visitors are advised to only use public transportation and taxi's (with green license plates) in good condition.
Water Transportation - Some water taxis are poorly maintained and do not have sufficient safety equipment. Some boat captains may sail in bad weather or with too many passengers on board. Visitors are advised to sail only in calm weather aboard modern vessels containing a full range of safety gear. All boat captains and dive tour operators are required to be licensed by the government of Belize. Visitors are encouraged to verify licenses, references and equipment before boarding any boat.
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