Travel advice and advisories for Belize
While no country can ever guarantee you that nothing will go wrong, Belize is generally a very safe country for visitors. The country is very rural in aspect, and even the largest municipality (Belize City) has only 70,000 inhabitants.
If you’re considering visiting Belize, here’s everything you need to know:
The tap water is generally safe to drink, but you can always choose bottled water if you’re concerned. Bottled water is sold everywhere.
Cash is definitely the preferred way of doing business in Belize, although you can use plastic at hotels and bigger restaurants. Follow standard precautions and avoid flashing cash.
Over the years, there have been occasional reports of dengue and malaria but it’s fairly rare. Zika is now a growing concern, so pregnant women (or women considering becoming pregnant) should check in with their doctor before heading to Belize.
All of the above diseases are transmitted by mosquitos. Even if they don’t get you sick, mosquitos are pretty ubiquitous in Belize, so be sure to bring insect repellant. Quality hotels and lodges will either have air-conditioning or mosquito nets to let you sleep comfortably at night.
Belize has a very good and affordable health care system. Pharmacies (drug stores) are found throughout the country and you can easily buy over the counter products for minor issues like diarrhea or rashes.
One of the main reasons that people come to Belize is to spot all the wildlife. While it’s true that jaguars do roam the jungle, the average visitor is not in any real danger. On the mainland, keep your eyes open for occasional scorpions and snakes. Out on the reef, the coral itself can get you sick if it punctures your skin, but the only sharks you’re likely to encounter are harmless nurse sharks.
It’s always warm, and quite often very hot and sunny in Belize. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water if you’re outdoors and wear loose, comfortable clothing. If you’re prone to sunburn, bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat. Strong storms can sometimes cause a problem but Belize has a modern alert system that will give you plenty of advance warning.
Common sense will tell you to avoid wandering through strange neighborhoods at night, getting too inebriated, or doing silly things like trying to buy illicit products. Pickpocketing, thefts, and robberies are pretty rare, but it always pays to be vigilant.
For the record, prostitution, marijuana, heroin, meth, crack, and cocaine are all illegal in Belize.
In Belize, the law states that you can drink from an aluminum can or plastic cup in public but not from a glass bottle.
All licensed taxis have a green license plate. If you’re traveling after dark, definitely take a taxi. You’ll need to arrange for the price of the trip before you get in to avoid any unfortunate misunderstandings. Don’t ask your taxi driver to procure any illicit substances or services.
Some areas of Belize City are definitely a no-go, so stick to the popular tourist areas. The vast majority of serious crimes in the country occur in Belize City, but they involve locals only, not tourists.