As Belize grows as a popular spot for vacation and retirement, it makes sense that people might be concerned about how safe it is to live there. The short answer to this question is “Yes!” Belize is one of the safest countries in the world. When tourism is one of your country’s biggest industries, it makes sense that the safety of visitors would be a high priority; any outrageous stories of horrible violence tend to be greatly exaggerated due to how infrequently it occurs, especially stories beyond Belize City.
Advice for Safety Within Belize
Belize is no different from any other major city, be mindful of your surroundings, do not show off your money and have a safety net in place if you plan on enjoying a lot of alcohol. While some areas of Belize City are less than ideal due to the presence of gangs, others have a strong police presence that will ensure the area is safe.
- While cash is preferred by most businesses because of its ease of use, stick to using cards for your purchases; just about every business accepts Visa, Mastercard and some are also fine with cards like American Express.
- When hitting the beach, keep your valuables sequestered away instead of leaving them on the beach while you go swimming or beachcombing.
- When renting a vehicle, park in a well-lit area and never leave your valuables in the car. If catching taxis, make sure to use and verify the ones from a local coop and remember to record the green license plate. Furthermore, negotiate the price before entering to avoid any misunderstandings.
- Copy all your important documentation.
- Inform at least one person of your travel plans and itinerary so that there is a starting point for any necessary search.
Know the Local Laws
- You cannot drink pint bottles of beer in public. Plastic cups or cans are fine.
- Traveling with more than $10,000 Belizean requires informing customs and immigration.
- Tap water can sometimes be soiled due to flooding, drainage work or even high chlorine content.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests getting vaccinated for hepatitis A and also Typhoid.
- While the risk is low, take with you an anti-mosquito sprays or even checking with a doctor for vaccinations.
- If you are pregnant, make sure to check with a doctor before traveling. Zika virus is a notable concern these days and pregnant women and their unborn children are notably susceptible.
- Belize has a very good health care system so you can easily be cared for.
Numbers to Know
- Dialing 911 will connect you with the police hotline.
- Dialing either 90 or 223-3292 will connect you to the Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT).
Written by Larry Waight