How safe is Belize?

Downtown Belize City

I am regularly asked the question: Is Belize safe, or is it a dangerous country to travel?

And my general answer is yes… Overall, Belize is one of the safest places to visit. However, it is not all fine and dandy throughout the entire country. I always advise travellers to be wary of when WALKING in certain areas of Belize City. Due to it being the old capital, it has the largest populace in Belize and high unemployment has made poverty a major issue.

Catch a cab when getting from point A to B!

To be honest, I get a lot of shit from many Belizeans for being blunt about Belize City. Still, I stand by my word. If I’m a local and I personally don’t feel safe walking in certain areas, it will be much worst for tourists. I remember as a teen I would go buy my New Era caps in sketchy areas of Belize City and in several occasions I would end up running from guys who wanted to rob me.

Friends even joke around and say stuff like, what do you call a guy on a bicycle in Belize City? – A thief.

It was a funny thing to say among friends when I was growing up but digging deeper, it is very sad. I hope things change in the future.

However, to be clear, not all of Belize City is sketchy. In fact, the country’s wealthiest people live there and the tourism police also heavily patrol some areas to ensure safety – for example, the tourism village, the various tourist attractions, and downtown Albert street.

As for elsewhere in Belize, the socioeconomic situation is much better and travellers are safe to do as they please at whatever time they want. A few petty crimes may happen but rarely anything major. Granted, one must always use precaution when in a foreign country, as the old saying goes, it is much better to be safe than sorry.

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Here are few safety tips worth noting:

  1. If you need to carry cash, only carry small amounts with you. Restaurants, hotels and tour operators accept debit and credit cards. Save your cash for street vendors and small shops.
  2. Don’t go around flashing large dollar bills. This should be a no-brainer.
  3. Only stay at recommended hotels. TripAdvisor offers useful reviews.
  4. Petty theft can happen anywhere, don’t leave valuables such as phones, cameras and purses unattended.
  5. Try to dress modestly and leave your gold jewelry in your hotel’s safe, or better yet, at home.
  6. Travel with someone else or in groups. Stay away from sketchy areas!
  7. It is smart to catch a cab after dark.
  8. Don’t get too inebriated and stay out late at bars and nightclubs. If you do, make sure you’re with someone you trust.
  9. Ask around if the area is safe and use good judgment when considering exploring on foot.
  10. Unfortunately, it is common for women that are travelling alone to be catcalled. If you want to be on the safe side, wear a wedding ring and be firm when rejecting any admirers.
  11. Sidewalks are non-existent, be careful when crossing streets since buses and cars do not usually yield for pedestrians.

Health concerns:

It is always wise to take a Hepatitis A and B vaccine before travelling. On average, there are a few Dengue and Malaria reports in Belize but the healthcare system is good, especially private hospitals. If you get diarrhea, over the counter medicines are easily available at pharmacies and try not to drink the tap water.

Weather concerns:

At certain times of the year, Belize gets very warm with excessive humidity and you can surely be affected if you are not used to the hot climate. Beware of dehydration and overexposure to the sun – drink lots of fresh coconut water and wear sunblock. Rainy season = hurricane season, be alert and listen to the news. (See: best time to visit)

Wildlife concerns:

Hire a tour guide when hiking in the jungle. A good guide can easily spot any dangerous wildlife. Belize has several poisonous snakes and frogs but they usually avoid humans. Most spiders are harmless but be wary of scorpions. When snorkelling, steer clear of corals and don’t worry about sharks, due to the reef, you’ll mostly only encounter nurse sharks.

 

I will try to regularly update this article. Let me know if I missed anything.

 

About Lorenzo Gonzalez

Lorenzo Gonzalez is the founder of Belizeadventure.ca, a resource for travel information on Belize. He enjoys traveling, social media and Paranda music. Contact him at lorenzo [at] belizeadventure.ca. Learn more...

28 Responses to How safe is Belize?

  1. Delvin Mitchell June 16, 2014 at 8:56 AM #

    My
    friend and I have been talking about this particular subject, really this is great a place. We are always go Belize every year only for scuba diving. And we contact with the Bottom time Dive Shop. They provide us very goo service. I
    think you’ve produced some really interesting points. Great adventures from you, man. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. Agness June 16, 2014 at 8:35 PM #

    I didn’t know Belize could be so unsafe. I like tip no.1 and I never carry too much cash with me.

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez June 23, 2014 at 11:39 PM #

      The city has its sketchy areas but if you catch cabs you will be fine! I write about stuff like this because I prefer to be honest and not leave room for unwanted surprises 😉

      Everywhere else is wonderful. I hope you visit sometime soon and see for yourself!

      • John deTar August 22, 2014 at 6:51 PM #

        Lorenzo,
        There is a typo in your first paragraph. The word, “weary” should be replaced with “wary.” Weary means tired; wary means “be cautious.”

        • Jennifer Kottra May 1, 2016 at 9:53 AM #

          Also get rid of the word of. Be wary when walking, not be wary of when walking. Sounds overly picky, but writers/bloggers are more credible when they use correct grammar.

  3. Janet Smith August 4, 2014 at 1:09 PM #

    We are going to belize in a few days
    We are staying in Belize city and we’re planning to explore is it better to hire a cab for a day to take us around
    Also want to go to an area outside city with nice beach and do very amateur snorkling

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez August 4, 2014 at 4:41 PM #

      Taxis run regularly on the main roads or just ask the receptionist where you’re staying to call their regular cab driver. Take a day trip to Caye Caulker/ Hol Chan Marine Reserve for the most amazing snorkelling experience.

      • Janet Smith August 4, 2014 at 5:18 PM #

        Thanks for info
        Where is the best place to shop for local made crafts etc
        Is it safe to walk around city during day
        Are there any tour groups you would recomend?
        Sorry for all the questions
        I appreciate any info and advice given

  4. Deyanira October 28, 2014 at 8:59 AM #

    Hi! my boyfriend and I are going to Belize in january. Should we stay in belize city or we can go to a hotel near the ocean where we can see the blue hole, hike or climb? Bars doesn’t matter if we drink inside of the hotel.

    Do you know a touristic company that can help us around?

    Thanks!

  5. Deyanira October 28, 2014 at 9:12 AM #

    I just read that we must go to Ambergris Caye, how much does it cost to get there via plane and via water taxi?

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez November 13, 2014 at 1:18 AM #

      The water taxi is $35 RT. Flying would be $140 RT. USD prices.

  6. Mia January 29, 2015 at 6:31 PM #

    is belize generally safe for kids

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez February 3, 2015 at 2:47 AM #

      Definitely, yes. Most families visit San Pedro, San Ignacio and Placencia.

  7. William Hanner March 7, 2015 at 7:07 PM #

    My Wife and I plan on retiring in Belize. We have an income of 2500 per month to live on. We plan on renting something small 600 to 800 sq ft fully furnished with all utilities paid with cable, air, dsl. Is this possible with this income to live in a safe city.

    thanks

    • Left the swamp August 4, 2015 at 4:11 AM #

      @ William Hanner
      Before you take the plunge please do thorough homework about the country, from people who have gone before you. The reality of retiring there and just visiting as a tourist, differs like night and day!
      You might want to check out http://www.belizeandback.com.

  8. Will Kiedaisch June 6, 2015 at 6:13 PM #

    Rob Morgan…good article on travel safety in Belize.

  9. Denise Rugel October 13, 2015 at 10:15 PM #

    Thanks! Traveling there in February and have no idea what to expect!!

  10. Bonnie Black February 20, 2016 at 5:09 AM #

    So, how was it??

  11. Tracy Pearson March 25, 2016 at 1:43 AM #

    I'm considering traveling to Belize in August – there will be 6 of us; 3 are 17 year old triplets. Should I be concerned? Also, looking at the Grand Colony Island Villas – where are they located in relation to Belize City? Thank you.

  12. Jonathan Warford March 31, 2016 at 9:01 PM #

    safe lol Belieze has the 3rd highest murder rate

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez May 2, 2016 at 8:11 PM #

      Those rankings are calculated as per capita and since Belize has a low population (330,000), the rankings will reflect that. Belize is much safer than some big cities in the US, for example, Los Angeles.

  13. Melissa Cone April 14, 2016 at 12:46 AM #

    In belize now. You have been so helpful. I love you lol

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I Hate Belize City, Belize - August 4, 2014

    […] See also: Travel safety in Belize […]

  2. Belize With Kids - Belize Adventure - Trusted Local Advice - December 9, 2014

    […] Safety shouldn’t be a concern but some common sense should always be used. I have written a few tips here http://www.belizeadventure.ca/is-belize-safe […]

  3. Travel trends for 2016 - Belize Adventure - Trusted Local Advice - January 19, 2016

    […] I can see an increased interest in Belize City for 2016 and beyond, but with the city’s reputation, the challenge is to make it safe and accessible. Small rant: I am always so annoyed by the lack of […]

Leave a Reply