Belize : Safety by City
The only country in Central America without a coastline on the Pacific Ocean, Belize, is also the only country in this region where the official language is English.
And though it doesn’t have a coastline along the Pacific, it does offer a beautiful coastline along the Caribbean Sea to its east.
Belize is squeezed between Guatemala to the west and south and Mexico to the north.
The beaches this country has on the Caribbean Sea will offer all lovers of summer activities an unforgettable time, with many beach adventures such as deep-sea fishing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving as well as exploring its attractive reefs.
Another chance for you to explore lies in the vast jungles filled with exotic plants and animal species, and if you’re in a more cultural mood, the Mayan ruins are right at your fingertips.
However, though this sounds amazing and like a real luxurious destination, you should keep in mind that Belize is still a poor country with low incomes and basic infrastructure, though this all fades away when you meet the Belizean warm, friendly and welcoming population.
Warnings & Dangers in Belize
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Overall, Belize is not the safest destination for tourists visiting Central America, as it’s filled with petty and violent crime, and most of it is centered in Belize City. You should take precautions on the streets of major cities and after dark.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Transport is actually not that bad in Belize. The quality of roads isn't too bad, and the roads are constantly getting better. In fact, Northern, Southern, and Hummingbird Highways are now among the best ones in Latin America and rival many in the developed world. You should only ride in licensed taxis, and you will know them by their green license plates. The thing to watch out for in Belize is roadway robbery. Rarely, if ever, armed robberies on highways can happen, but they usually happen at night.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Pickpockets are a common occurrence on the streets of Belize and tourists are recommended to remain vigilant at all times when on the street. Petty theft tends to spike during spring break and winter holidays when the tourist seasons start. If you're there during that time, be extra cautious. Make sure you don't flash your valuable possessions on the street, or better yet, leave them in your accommodation and take only the cash you plan to use that day.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There are many natural disasters that hit Belize regularly, causing substantial damage, especially in agriculture, among which are hurricanes, tropical storms, flooding, and drought. The worst damage occurs during the hurricane season that lasts from June to November.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
The most violent crime that happens in the country has to do with rival gangs battling for territory. Few incidents of violent crime are targeted at foreigners. But when the incidents occur, they sure are nasty and it would be better to just avoid being near any type of incident on the street. What might affect visitors are muggings and other assaults and they mostly happen at night, which means you are highly advised to take a cab if you intend to go anywhere after sunset.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Although there haven't been any terrorist attacks in Belize's recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out so remain vigilant at all times.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Scams are common in Belize, so double check your change, never pay anything upfront, and negotiate everything in advance. Be very careful around ATMs and be wary of people trying to distract you. Also, be careful around children as they're probably trying to distract you too - they are skillful pickpockets.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
It isn’t a good idea for a woman to be going anywhere alone in Belize. It isn’t safe even for groups of people to be walking along with Belize during the night, or for men during the day, so it would be best for women to hit the streets accompanied by someone. It goes without saying that you should stay away from poorly lit and deserted streets and areas and from people that are visibly intoxicated or under the influence.
So... How Safe Is Belize Really?
Belize is, generally speaking, not safe for tourists, as they are literally walking targets, like in most countries in Central America.
Therefore, it is not the safest choice for anyone intending to visit this part of the world, but if you keep your wits with you and follow basic rules of precaution, you will minimize the chances of something going wrong.
The golden rule in Central America is never to wear jewelry in public, or anything gilded, diamond-encrusted or oversized, or anything of great value, really.
You are advised to always keep a small amount of cash with you and to avoid carrying bank cards.
When it comes to violent crime, it’s usually gang-related and doesn’t involve tourists and foreigners.
The most common forms of violence towards tourists are muggings and robberies.
Keep in mind that most incidents in the capital city occur around George Street and Kraal Road, but you should still remain vigilant everywhere else.
If confronted with a mugger, don’t resist and hand everything you own immediately, as they have been known to shoot those who don’t comply.
It is also good to know that once you exit Belize City, everything gets much safer, and people usually travel with nothing but positive experiences.
Still, pay attention to your surroundings around tourist sites and places like San Pedro in Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, and Placencia.
How Does Belize Compare?
- Visas - Most countries do not require a visa in order to enter Belize. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 3 months past the date of your arrival. You may be asked to present a return ticket with sufficient funds to cover your stay. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Belize dollar is the official currency in Belize. ATMs are widely available throughout the country, and credit cards are accepted in most establishments such as hotels, restaurants and shops.
- Weather - Belize’s climate can be described as sub-tropical, with high humidity that is most noticeable and prominent along the coastline. The best time to visit Belize is from late November to mid-April, during the country’s dry season.
- Airports - Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport is the busiest airport in the country, serving Belize's largest city, Belize City along the eastern coast of Central America. It is located about 30 minutes drive from Belize City's centre, in Ladyville.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Belize, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.
Belize Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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18 Reviews on Belize
Belize is a safe place should you stay in the tourist areas
I have family in Belize and have been many times.
I won’t say that is going to as safe as going to New York, but in my experience it is about the same going to Mexico. Just use some common sense and keep your wits about you and you should be fine. As a tourist, stay in the well known touristy areas and you should be pretty safe.
Many of the violent crimes on tourists I’ve seen is because people specifically go into the brush “for the gram” and encounter things that they shouldn’t; it is still a Central American country so it should be treated as such. As long as you don’t go looking for trouble or places that you shouldn’t, than you should be fine.
Beautiful and moderate, I agree with Gabe
Belize, in all, is extremely beautiful. And, although the crime rate is moderate, visit the beaches and it will look crazy good.
An exciting place to visit
I agree that Belize City can be a little unsafe at times but I actually liked the excitement it has. I wouldn’t travel certain areas at night because it’s dangerous but in the day time, it is a beautiful place to visit.
Belize City wasn’t the first city on my list and I actually read your review before I went there. I did a proper research before going and that helped me to avoid any trouble. Would I go back? Yes, probably. The views are very nice.
The Islands are safer than the city
Many people reading this page are likely visiting Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker (or similar). These places are much safer than the Belize City considering they are small, self-contained islands that cater to tourism.
Standard cautions still apply while traveling abroad, but the islands are a lot less stressful than the mainland in terms of safety.
I have visited Belize many times and have never had a bad experience.
I find the people incredibly welcoming and friendly and have never felt “unsafe” in any of the many places I’ve visited. Like most tourists, I’ve spent time in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, and Caye Caulker. I’ve visited The Stan Creek and Cayo Districts and stayed in both San Ignacio and Belize City.
In Belize City, just like any other city, you need to pay attention to your surroundings and be careful to not present yourself as an easy target but this is the case in Belize City, New York City, Boston, Baltimore, or any other metro area. If you do that, you’ll be fine. Belize is a wonderful country and a great place to visit.
I’ve traveled there several times with my wife and most recently with my two daughters ages 22 and 19.
We had a great time climbing Myan ruins and zip lining in the jungle, cave tubing, and snorkeling on the reef… never once did we feel as though we were in any sort of danger.
To be fair, we are from a large city, and “street smarts” come naturally but to give Belize a rating of 43 is simply unfair.
I disagree. In Belize you are guilty until proven innocent. I was charged with assault because a rapist broke into our hotel room and tried to rape a girl who was with us and I chased him down and tackled him and waited for police to come arrest him. instead they let him go and arrested me for assault. I was in Jail for two weeks until they finally found the guy and he happened to have a bunch of my things that he stole from me. If it was not for that I would likely have been in Prison for years awaiting trial.
I traveled to Belize for 2 months and most of the time it was great.
However one night a man broke into our hotel room in the middle of the night and tried to rape one of the girls with us.
I chased him out and down the street and tackled him. I held him until Police arrived only to get arrested for assault and they let the robber and rapist go. I was held in Jail for nearly two weeks because in Belize you are guilty until proven innocent. They finally found the guy and he had a bunch of my items that he had stolen.
I had to go to court and prove they were my belongings. Once that happened they arrested him and set me free.
If they would have never caught that man I would likely have been in prison for years awaiting trial. That happened on Cay Caulker which is considered one of the safest Islands.
Silly to consider a LEVEL 4 NO TRAVEL by US State Department Medium risk
medium risk? State Department says this is a LEVEL 4 DO NOT TRAVEL. Rape and crime and abduction goes un prosecuted. This is is silly review of safety for this area of the world.
I looked at State Department Travel and Belize is a Do Not Travel due to COVID. Like so many people, your lack of information is driving this country to the ground.
Belize is one of the safest countries I have visited multiple times.
Mugged on Caye Caulker 2011 broken wrist
I have to laugh at any review saying this country is anything near “safe”.
In February 2011 on “safe” Caye Caulker, I was mugged on a beach near the airport part of the island.
It was 11 PM but there were people maybe 100 feet away in cabanas sleeping.
Two thugs 18 and 15 crept up behind me on cat feet and put me in a headlock, BREAKING MY LEFT WRIST.
The little cretins wanted my $125 camera or whatever they presumed I had in my pocket.
I yelled my bloody head off and they ran.
They were caught the next day but within 48 hours were let go because I couldn’t make an absolutely positive identification.
I had treatment on Ambergris Cay by orthopedic surgeon but ultimately on returning to the states had to have surgery on the wrist.
It is weak and not all that great to this day, almost 11 years later.
I have followed 7newsbelize.com for years and the amount of crime and chaos and murder in that country from one end of the other is stupendous.
It is no barefoot paradise, that’s for sure. If you don’t believe me, then check out 7newsbelize.com for a while. You’ll get an eye full. Or google Jon Berg Belize and the story is archived and still viewable on the net.
Your absolutely right Jon. Shocking to check that website and crimes. Expat who moved there in 2019 killed and burnt in his new house near to US embassy.
Gotta watch your back
As a general rule, I NEVER let my guard down, no matter what country I’m visiting. Let’s be honest, their high crime rate is a well-known fact. Add corruption to the mix and you’ll want to stay out of trouble as much as possible. If I see a street fight you can bet I won’t feel the need to break it up, I just mind my own business. Intervening would only make things worse and I would probably get into trouble. It’s one thing to be a native and do this and another to be a tourist.
The Belize district – Belize city is included here – is insanely dangerous, I wouldn’t venture around here at night. Street gangs are everywhere even more so during the night and they’re notoriously vicious. The police don’t seem to care enough to do something about this or to at least keep it in check so it’s best to avoid night time activities.
A friend advised me to avoid paying with my credit card so I just used cash, even in restaurants and spas. It involved a lot more hassle but I had peace of mind knowing my card was safe. In fact, I’ve seen this method being recommended by several countries, to avoid paying with your credit card whenever possible, skimming is a real threat.
Corozal is my go-to city, Almond Tree Hotel Resort being an amazing place to stay. Excellent food, friendly staff and decent prices.
If you have the misfortune to bump into sketchy characters, interact as little as possible with them. If you’re being mugged just give them the money, there’s no point in risking your life. It’s best not to put yourself in a spot where you can be robbed which means paying attention to your surroundings but this isn’t always possible. Plus, their local authorities don’t have tourists as their number one priority.
My last point would be to always have insurance. It can be so well worth it I can’t even stress this enough. I had the misfortune of having an allergic reaction that required two day hospitalization which could have cost me several hundreds if I didn’t have insurance.
So, watch your pockets, no night-time walks, pay attention to your surroundings and don’t walk with your eyes in your phone and you should be safe.
Beautiful people, beautiful country
I consider myself to be a seasoned traveler, for both work and pleasure, I served in the Army in Belize in the ’70s and even then, Belize City was not safe at night, mainly petty crime, and muggings, we were advised to always travel in pairs.
I have been back a number of times on holiday, and also have family there in the “South Side” of Belize.
I think the article is about right in its description of Belize City, sticking to the main traffic areas in the daytime is as safe as anywhere in the world, but at night, I would not venture out in the city on my own.
The rest of the country is a lot safer, but no matter where you are, be it in Belize or some other country, you should always be aware of those around you, and take appropriate precautions.
My biggest problem with Belize is that the police are not to be trusted, there is corruption at the top and all sorts of problems with the patrolling officers.
I would still recommend Belize as a place to visit, it is a beautiful country, with many things on offer, overall, the people are some of the friendliest I have ever met, and their hospitality is most welcoming.
One final note, beware of the women, they are very clever, and one managed to trap me into a marriage which I have been unable to escape from for over 40 years 🙂
I have traveled in Belize 5 times and stayed in places you don’t expect to find tourists, and traveled all around the country. One of the safest places I have visited with welcoming and genuine people.
Traveled All Around the Country
I have traveled in Belize twice. First time (solo female traveler) took the boat from Livingston, Guatemala to Punta Gorda, Belize. Stayed the night in Punta Gorda. Then bussed around the country staying in Hopkins and Placencia on the coast then cut inland to San Ignacio. Exited the country by land to Flores, Guatemala. Second time, entered from Flores with a friend and went straight to Caye Caulker. Afterwards we took a local bus up out of the country to the Chetumal, Mexico border. I found the traveling to be easy and enjoyable. I did not feel like I had to be on high guard.
Belize Backpacker 1989-2002
My husband and I have travelled Belize and Guat, since 1989-2002 and never ever had a problem
We enjoyed the culture, the people and the food…it was an amazing experience made a lot of good friends who we still communicate with today.
I agree with keep your wits about you, dont go off in the dark, and keep your eyes open all the time
Its no different than any large city in the US, or Canda