Is Belize safe?

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Reading Time: 5 mins

Belize is a Caribbean paradise in Central America, filled with lush rainforests, beautiful cayes and coral reefs, and unique diverse cultures. Every year over a million visitors from around the world visit Belize seeking relaxation and adventure. But, how safe is Belize?

Who travels to Belize and Best Time to Visit Belize

Generally speaking, Belize is safe for tourists, attracting thousands of travelers from the U.S. and Canada, primarily. In fact, visitors from North America amount to almost 75% of all travelers to Belize.

Safety and security risks in Belize

A couple pose during sunset sailing cruise in Ambergris Caye

In general, Belize is a safe place to visit. Most parts of Belize have low crime, except for Belize City, which has a reputation for petty and violent crime due to gang violence. For this reason, most people don’t stay in Belize City and instead venture to Belize’s mainland or cayes and atolls.

To be clear, not all of Belize City is sketchy. In fact, the country’s wealthiest people live there and the tourism police heavily patrol some areas to ensure safety such as the tourism village, various tourist attractions, and downtown Albert Street.

As for elsewhere in Belize, the socio-economic situation is much better and tourists are mostly safe to do as they please. A few minor crimes may occur such as petty theft but it’s rare. Granted, one should always be cautious when in a foreign country. It is better to be safe than sorry.

In general, tourists aren’t the target of crime in Belize, but there have been a few violent crimes against American ex-pats. This is not common and but I recommend that tourists that are concerned about this should stay at well-known resorts. Resorts are very safe since they are staffed with friendly locals, have hotel safes for valuables, and security guards at the night.

Safety tips for traveling around Belize

golf cart taxi in belize

Here are a few tips that can make you feel safer during your trip to Belize.

  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. Only stay at vetted accommodations. See my top Belize hotels guide or check out TripAdvisor.
  3. Petty theft can happen anywhere, don’t leave valuables such as phones, cameras and purses unattended.
  4. Try to dress modestly and leave your valuables at your hotel safe, or better yet, at home.
  5. Travel with someone else or in groups. Stay away from sketchy areas!
  6. It is smart to catch a cab after dark.
  7. Don’t get too inebriated and stay out late at bars or nightclubs. If you do, make sure you’re with someone you trust.
  8. Ask around if an area is safe and use good judgment when considering exploring on foot.
  9. Unfortunately, it is common for women to be catcalled. If you want to be on the safe side, wear a wedding ring and be firm when rejecting any admirers.
  10. Sidewalks and crosswalks are non-existent so be careful on the streets. Buses and cars do not usually yield to pedestrians.

Food and water safety in Belize

Blackened fish at Singanga restaurant in Hopkins

Food and water in Belize are generally safe, except you can’t drink the water from the tap. But the tap water is still ok to brush your teeth, wash fruits and vegetables, clean the dishes, etc. And don’t worry about mixed drinks, ice is made from purified water.

Belizeans typically purchase 5-gallon jugs of “purified” water to drink or have a filtration system at home. Resorts and some vacation rentals provide drinking water to guests but if it isn’t included, it can be bought at supermarkets in 500 ml, 1 litre, 1.5 litre, 1 gallon, and 5 gallons bottles.

Any healthcare concerns?

medical care in belize

No vaccinations are required to enter Belize. But it is recommended to be up-to-date with routine immunizations such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies, and typhoid. You can also add dengue and malaria to the list, although the risk is limited.

The healthcare system in Belize is good, with public and private hospitals. If you get diarrhea, over-the-counter medicines are easily available at pharmacies, which are privately owned. Pharmacies are located across Belize in major towns and villages and prescriptions are not necessary.

What about weather safety?

The Palapa Bar in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye

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 a lot of sunblock lotion.

Rainy season = hurricane season, be alert and listen to the news. Coastal and island resorts evacuate their guests to the mainland during hurricanes. And when it rains a lot, certain tours such as caving adventures can get cancelled for the day if water levels are not safe. (See: best time to visit Belize)

Are there wildlife safety issues?

Cockscomb Night Hike

Since most wild animals naturally want to avoid humans, wildlife safety isn’t a major concern in Belize. But to be on the safe side, hire a guide when exploring the jungle or sea. A good Belizean guide can easily spot dangerous wildlife such as poisonous snakes, frogs, and scorpions.

When diving or snorkeling, steer clear from corals since they can sting and can be easily damaged if touched. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about sharks in Belize–due to the reef, you’ll mostly only encounter nurse sharks which are friendly.

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



Reader Interactions


  1. Sonia says

    Hi Lorenzo-
    We want to travel in April 2023 and stay at the newest resort located on the beach… do you have any recommendations?

    Also, I am very concerned about mosquitoes and sand fleas/ flies. Is this a big issue? Also are crocodiles/ alligators an issue?

    And lastly, what are your thoughts about safety on snorkeling trips and cave exploration trips and horse riding trips? Do we have to worry about gangs on these types of trips?


  2. Joseph F Mahaney says

    What are the top three vacation spots in Belize?? We want to rent a house on the beach.

    Do we need to be concerned with sand fleas on the Placencia beaches?

    Can we drink tap water in Placencia??

    If we stay in Placencia should wee rent a car in Belize City?

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez says

      1. The top 5 Belize vacation spots are Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, San Ignacio, Placencia and Hopkins.
      2. Sand flies aren’t a major concern in Placencia. It’s a pretty developed location.
      3. You cannot drink the tap water anywhere in Belize. Purified water is available at every grocery store.
      4. Car rental agencies are located across Belize but if fly into the Philip Goldson International Airport, I suggest you rent a car there.

    • Lorenzo Gonzalez says

      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.

  3. Tracy Pearson says

    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.

  4. William Hanner says

    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.


    • Left the swamp says

      @ 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!

  5. Deyanira says

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

  6. Janet Smith says

    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 says

      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 says

        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

  7. Agness says

    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 says

      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 says

        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 says

          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.

  8. Delvin Mitchell says

    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.

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