5 Common Misconceptions About Belize

by Gisselle Hernandez

When visiting a destination like Belize for the first time, it’s normal to not know what to expect. Going based on only social media, you may be able to piece together a general idea of what the place is like. However, it’s easy to get swept up into some of the assumptions on the Internet, which may lead to certain misconceptions. These not only paint an unclear picture of the destination but can be a deciding factor on whether to visit at all. Belize has been subjected to its own bout of circulating myths, many of which have already been debunked. But if you need a refresher, here are five of the most popular ones. 

That Belize is an island

This is perhaps the most common misconception about Belize, though it’s easy to see why. With the ever-present Caribbean vibe and stellar shots of immaculate beaches, we can’t blame the folks who immediately peg Belize as an island. Bordering Guatemala on the south and west and Mexico in the north, Belize is no island but it does have over 400 cayes. Two of the largest ones are Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, and they still hold all the island vibes to satisfy beach bummers who come expecting Belize to be an island. 

We only have beaches

san ignacio jungle room view

Photo courtesy Monica Gallardo Photography/SIRH

In that same vein, there are some new travelers who often think Belize is only beach. A product again of jaw-dropping Placencia sunsets and palm-studded cayes on the ’gram, many don’t realize Belize has so much more to offer than silky sand stretching for miles. Let’s not forget more than half of the country is forested areas, with 103 protected areas to boast. The Cayo District alone is teeming with caves, waterfalls, and Mayan ruins to explore. Here, you can try ziplining, cave-tubing, waterfall rappelling, all in the thick jungles of Belize. 

That Belize is not safe

Belize safe for Americans

Relaxing offshore in Southern Belize. Photo by Roeming Belize

One of the most searched questions about Belize – or any new country you plan to visit for that matter – is whether it is safe. Every traveler should feel comfortable wherever they choose to vacation, so it’s totally OK to try to be sure before booking your flight. When it comes to Belize, it is generally safe to visit as long as you take precautions as you would in any other country and that’s no myth.

Sadly, nowhere in the world is exempt from potential danger from time to time, and this may impact certain travel advisories about Belize as they do in other popular places like Cancun in Mexico. Even so, the country is deemed safe to visit by millions of tourists who have seen the beauty of Belize over the past decades. Since the small nation depends on tourism for its economy, the tourism industry strives to keep all visitors safe, no matter what. This includes tour operators, accommodations, and tour guides. By practicing everyday precautions like being aware of your surroundings, not leaving your valuables unattended, etc., in no way will your vacation time be interrupted. In fact, there are thousands of travelers who choose to do repeat visits, so much so that some wind up moving to Belize!  

It’s difficult to get around

Belize is small, meaning there are no large subway systems or Uber-like services to whisk you from place to place, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to get around. Precisely because Belize is a smaller nation, it often takes less time to get from point A to Point B than it would in another destination. The country has a consistent, regular bus schedule, with stops in every major town and city. It’s also quite easy to rent a car and drive yourself. There are also water taxis with regular – and affordable – calls, and even domestic flights with multiple times to choose from. Any of these options could very well make vacationing in a new place more convenient. 

Belize is expensive

Photo Courtesy: Duarte Dellarole

Another highly searched question is whether Belize is an expensive place for vacation. Like many other tropical destinations, beachside resorts and quality attractions may come with a hefty price tag. Still, traveling to Belize is totally doable and that’s not a myth. Unless you want the five-star Caribbean treatment, there are still ways to enjoy all the country has to offer without breaking the bank. From booking during shoulder season; scouring for hotel deals and giveaways online; and opting for packages and choosing group tours, there are many ways to enjoy your vacation on a shoestring budget. 

Note: This article was first published on January 13, 2022

Feature image : Poolside in Punta Gorda. Image courtesy Roeming Belize

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