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Is Belize Safe for Tourists? All You Need to Know About it

Belize is a fantastic destination for those who crave adventure and appreciate the beauty of nature. With its stunning coral-fringed Caribbean coastline, lush jungle interiors, and vibrant culture, this country has so much to offer to travelers. But, before you start packing and making those travel plans, it’s important to think about safety and wonder: Is Belize safe?

It’s a little country with a wide range of cultural and natural wonders. Belize offers a wide range of attractions, including ancient Maya ruins, rainforests, and sandy beaches. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.

In this article, I’ve got you covered with a comprehensive guide on the safety situation in Belize. We’ll be diving into the main aspects of crime, health, and environmental risks. So, let’s get started!

a dock under the sun of the caribbean sea in belize
Belize is a diverse country that has a lot to offer and is the only English-speaking region in Central America, but make sure to stay alert and use your common sense.

Is Belize Safe to Visit?

Belize is a safe country to visit, but just like any other country, Belize does have its own safety issues and challenges, like crime, poverty, corruption, and natural hazards that could potentially affect visitors.

Safety in Belize can differ depending on the specific location you’re planning to visit. Belize is split into six districts: Belize, Corozal, Orange Walk, Cayo, Stann Creek, and Toledo.

Every district has its own unique attractions, activities, and potential risks that travelers should take into account when planning their trip.

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What are the main safety concerns in Belize?

Just like any other place, Belize has its fair share of challenges that may impact your safety and well-being, but most of the time those don’t affect us as a tourist.

Here’s an overview of the main safety concerns in the country:

Crime and Violence in Belize

Crime is one of the most common worries for travelers visiting Belize. Belize experiences a rather high crime rate, particularly in urban areas and along the borders with Guatemala and Mexico.

There are quite a few common types of crime, like petty theft, robbery, burglary, and scams.

However, it tends to impact locals more than tourists. Sometimes, tourists have unfortunately been targeted by criminals, particularly in secluded or poorly lit places, or when using public transportation or taxis.

How common is crime in Belize?

Belize is seen as a country with a moderate level of safety and security. It’s not too risky, but it’s not the safest place either. So, the U.S. Department of State has labeled the country as Level 2 Travel Advisory, which means that you should be a bit more cautious because of the crime situation over there.

There are certain areas in Belize that the U.S. Department of State advises caution, like the Belize-Guatemala border, as well as certain parts of Belize City, due to gang activity and violence.

As reported in the Crime and Safety Report by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) theft, robbery, pickpocketing and burglary are the most common crimes against tourists, particularly in popular tourist spots like San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia, and San Ignacio.

The report also notes that scams like credit card fraud, ATM skimming, and counterfeit currency are quite common in Belize.

placencia beach belize
Crime is not that common outside of Belize City, for example, Placencia is a top place, highly recommended, and is safe to visit

Health and Environmental Risks in Belize

Belize has a tropical climate, making it warm and humid with a diverse range of wildlife.

On the flip side, you need to be aware of and prepared for the health and environmental risks associated with it.

Here are a few health and environmental risks that you might come across in Belize:

What are the common health issues in Belize?

Belize has a good healthcare system, with a mix of public and private hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.

However, you should keep in mind that medical services may differ in quality and availability based on the location and type of treatment.

Here are a few health issues that travelers might come across in Belize:

Infectious diseases

Watch out for infectious diseases in Belize like malaria, dengue, or Zika. These diseases can be spread through mosquitoes, animals, contaminated food or water, or human contact.

And while there’s no current notice of an outbreak, prevention is recommended, some of these diseases can be done through vaccination, or using insect repellent, while others need to be diagnosed and treated promptly.

It’s a good idea for travelers to check in with their doctor before heading to Belize and make sure they’re up to date on all the necessary precautions and guidelines.

Food and waterborne illnesses

In Belize, there is a chance of encountering food and waterborne illnesses like diarrhea, giardiasis, amoebiasis, and cholera. These illnesses are all caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses that get into our food or water.

It’s a good idea for travelers to steer clear of tap water, ice, or unpasteurized milk. Stick to bottled, boiled, or filtered water instead.

Also, I recommend to steer clear of raw or undercooked meat, seafood, eggs, or dairy products. Stick to fruits and vegetables that have been peeled, cooked, or washed with safe water.

Make sure you wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with alcohol.

belize breakfast
Food in Belize is delicious, and a must-try but make sure everything is in place before trying it, don’t eat undercooked or raw food.

Injuries and accident

Like in most countries, there’s a risk for injuries and accidents in Belize, especially if you’re into outdoor or adventure activities like hiking, biking, or diving. Engaging in these activities may result in falls, cuts, bruises, sprains, fractures, or animal bites.

You need to dress appropriately and wear the right clothing, footwear, and equipment and it’s also a good idea to listen to the instructions and guidance of the local operators and guides.

Also, make sure to pack a first-aid kit know how to handle small wounds and injuries, and don’t leave without travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation. This can be helpful in case of serious or life-threatening emergencies.

What are the natural hazards in Belize?

Belize experiences a variety of natural hazards, including hurricanes, floods, landslides, and earthquakes.

These hazards can be a real pain, causing all sorts of problems and making travel a real hassle.

Here are a few natural hazards that travelers might come across in Belize:

Hurricanes

Belize is vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes, especially during the hurricane season, which runs from June to November. Hurricanes can bring strong winds, heavy rains, storm surges, and coastal flooding, and can damage infrastructure, communication, and transportation.

You should monitor the weather forecasts and alerts, and follow the advice and instructions of the local authorities.

Make sure to have an emergency plan and kit, and know how to evacuate or shelter in place, if needed.

kid biking on a narrow path in belize
Biking and other activities are safe to do and a fun way to explore the area, make sure to rent a bike a enjoy the views from a different perspective.

Floods

Belize experiences frequent flooding, particularly during the rainy season that spans from May to November. Floods can be quite problematic, causing damage, disruption, and displacement, while also increasing the risk of waterborne diseases.

It’s probably best to steer clear of flooded areas and find higher ground if you can.

Landslides

Landslides can occur in Belize, particularly in hilly or mountainous regions, especially following periods of heavy rainfall or earthquakes.

They can happen out of the blue and have the potential to bury or wash away anything in their path and cause road, bridge, or trail blockages, making it difficult for rescue operations.

It’s a good idea for you to stay away from areas that are known for landslides, and to stay away from any signs of instability, like cracks, bulges, or debris.

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What are the most dangerous areas in Belize?

Belize is a small country with certain areas that have a higher incidence of crime and violence.

Here are some risky spots in Belize:

Belize City

Belize City is the biggest and most populated city in Belize, and it’s known for having a high crime rate.

The city has a few neighborhoods that are under the influence of gangs, like the south side of Belize City Fabers Road, and Haulover Creek Canal. These areas have a reputation for incidents like shootings, stabbings, and drug trafficking, so tourists should steer clear of them.

Even in the safer areas of Belize City, like downtown and the tourist zone, you need to stay alert and be cautious, especially at night or when walking alone.

Belize-Guatemala border

A lot is going on at the border between Belize and Guatemala, with illegal activities like drug smuggling, human trafficking, and wildlife poaching being major concerns.

Both countries have a dispute over the border, which has led to occasional armed confrontations and violence.

You should steer clear of the border area, as there is a possibility of violence and crime.

Belize-Mexico border

The border between Belize and Mexico is also a hotspot for crime and violence, as it is frequently utilized by drug cartels and criminal organizations for the transportation of drugs, weapons, and individuals.

There have been frequent clashes between rival gangs and security forces in those areas. You must be cautious when visiting the border area.

Tips for Staying Safe in Belize

Do your research

If you’re planning a trip to Belize, it’s a good idea to do some research on the safety situation, crime trends, high-risk areas, and local laws and customs.

Some good sources to check out include:

Don’t forget to browse through online forums, blogs, and reviews from fellow travelers who have recently been to Belize.

This will assist you in planning your itinerary, selecting your accommodation, and organizing your budget accordingly.

Be aware of your surroundings

When you’re in Belize, it’s always a good idea to stay alert and keep an eye out for what’s going on around you, especially in places that are crowded, busy, or unfamiliar.

Just keep an eye out for the people, vehicles, and signs around you. If something seems off, trust your instincts and stay away.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance.

Police, security guards, or even the locals can provide the help you need. It’s best to avoid getting into any disagreements or fights with people you don’t know, as things can quickly get out of hand.

Secure your valuables

To steer clear of being a target for theft, robbery, or burglary, it’s a good idea to keep your valuables secure and limit the amount of cash and items you carry around.

You can keep your passport, money, credit cards, electronics, jewelry, and other important documents safe by using a hotel safe or a locker and if you need to bring them along, consider using a money belt, or make copies and carry those with you.

It’s probably best to avoid showing off your wealth or belongings since that might catch the eye of the wrong people and make them tempted to commit a crime.

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Use reliable transportation

One way to stay away from crime and violence in Belize is by using only trustworthy and secure transportation. It’s probably best to avoid public buses since they tend to get crowded, aren’t always in the best shape, and can be a bit risky when it comes to accidents and theft.

Just go for licensed taxis, shuttles, or rental cars instead.

Visit a travel health clinic

It’s a good idea for you to swing by a health clinic about 4 to 6 weeks before your trip, and get a health check-up, a prescription for any necessary medications, and any required vaccinations.

Don’t forget to keep up with your routine vaccinations, like tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, and influenza, when you’re traveling.

It’s a good idea to check with your doctor about the potential risks of malaria, yellow fever, and other diseases in Belize. They can also help you with any necessary preventive measures or certificates.

Pack a travel health kit

If you’re planning to travel, it’s a good idea to bring along a travel health kit. This kit should have all the important stuff:

Also, don’t forget to bring along your personal items like glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, or dental appliances when you travel.

It’s a good idea for travelers to have a copy of their medical records, prescriptions, and insurance cards on hand, just in case of an emergency.

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Seek medical attention

If you experience any symptoms or signs of illness or experience any injuries or accidents don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.

These conditions might need some regular monitoring or treatment, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Register your trip

It’s a good idea to register your trip with your embassy or consulate, or with a travel registration service like the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) by the U.S. Department of State.

This will help you stay in the loop with important information and updates, like travel advisories, alerts, or warnings, and easily get in touch or find them in case of an emergency.

Have an emergency plan and kit

You should have an emergency plan and kit with all the necessary items. It’s a good idea for you to have a personal or family emergency plan in place.

It’s important to know how to communicate, reunite, or evacuate if necessary and it’s always a good practice to have travel insurance that covers natural disasters and emergencies

Follow the local authorities

Stay informed and pay attention to the guidance of local authorities like the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), police, fire department, or Red Cross.

Their advice and instructions should be taken seriously. You should also keep an eye on the local media, like the radio, TV, or newspapers, to stay informed about the situation and any updates.

And remember to go along with the local authorities and do what they say if they’re told to evacuate or stay put.

beachfront belize caye caulker
Belize is well known for its stunning beaches and all those tourist spots are safe places and feel safe, you won’t need to worry about anything there.

FAQ

Is Belize safe for solo travelers?

Traveling solo in Belize is perfectly safe if you follow the tips and advice and trust your common sense and intuition.

For solo travelers, it’s important to stay cautious and alert, particularly in Belize City. Avoid any risky situations or places, it’s also important to have trustworthy transport and tour operators and stay connected with family and friends.

Is Belize safe for female travelers?

Female travelers can feel safe in Belize by using common sense. Women who are traveling should exercise caution and stay alert, especially in Belize City, and steer clear of any circumstances or locations that could be risky.

Women travelers should dress modestly and respectfully, refrain from walking alone at night or in isolated areas, and steer clear of any unwanted attention or advances from strangers or locals.

Conclusion: Should You Visit Belize?

Yes, Belize is a stunning and varied country with plenty of attractions and activities for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, and authenticity. Although Belize has its imperfections, including safety concerns and challenges

Safety in Belize can differ based on the specific place, zone, or region you plan to visit. Just stick to the popular tourist spots and you’ll be fine.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission for any purchases made through the links. Your trust is important to us, and we ensure that all products or services we recommend meet or exceed our editorial standards.

Last Updated on February 25, 2024

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