Belize, the country located in Central America, is a self-governing country full of rich history and culture. Its largest city is Belize City with a very small population of 57,169 people. The Belize River flows through the city.
The city does not belong to the most visited tourist destinations because the country’s main attractions are natural and nautical. What also affects tourists coming to Belize is the fact that the city has a bad reputation for poverty and crime.
However, Belize’s attractions are water sports and the Mayan ruins. Some sights that are worth seeing are St John’s Cathedral, Swing Bridge and the Museum of Belize.
Warnings & Dangers in Belize City
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Tourists are often warned that Belize City is only safe in the northern part taking into consideration the fact that several gang wars happen during the night in the southern part of the city. Tourists need to be extremely watchful and avoid visiting southern parts if it is not necessary.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public buses are frequently unreliable and dangerous due to the fact that there can be criminals and lawbreakers. Also, there were reports on taxi driver’s assaults on tourists, but still, licensed radio taxis are always advisable, especially if you need to go to the southern parts of the city.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
This is the city where pickpocketing is frequent and even consider normal in crowded tourist sites and public transport. Pay attention to the suspicious people around you and never leave your belongings.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Taking into consideration the fact that Belize City has been struck by two hurricanes, tourists need to be aware of the possibility of the hurricane, especially during the hurricane season from June to November. Earthquakes and flooding are also some of the problems in the rainy season.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
The same as with pickpocketing, muggings often happen in Belize City. People who are unaccompanied are the main targets, and in case this happens to you, it is advisable not to fight back, but to give what they want in order to avoid further and even worse problems.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Although there has not been any terrorist attacks in Belize in recent years, that cannot be predicted.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Taxi drivers sometimes take advantage of tourists, thieves try to rob them in the crowded areas or to steal their credit cards while at the ATMs. So, tourists should remain vigilant and cautious during their stay in Belize City.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Many women travel safely to Belize. However, sexual assaults are not impossible, since there have been some information on that issues. Female tourist should avoid being alone at night or taking unlicensed taxis.
So... How Safe Is Belize City Really?
Belize City can be proud of the only manual swing bridge in the world and the oldest Anglican cathedral in Central America. It is regarded as a very fine tourist destination for a family holiday since it is affordable, small and kids-friendly. However, it is not the exception for crime.
Violent criminal acts involve gangs and there is no record of attacking tourists, while petty crime including robberies and muggings are common in this country and tourists should be aware of them. Victims are usually women walking alone at night or unwary people in crowded places.
Standard safety precautions are suggested in Belize, so tourists need to watch out for crime in tourist areas. The government is doing its best to protect both the inhabitants and visitors of the city and make them feel safer while in Belize. During the recent years, the situation has definitely improved.
- Visas - For the inhabitants of the most countries, visas are not obligatory. Those who need one can get it before going to Belize via their travel agent or the hotel that they have booked. Tourists can find information about visas on the Internet.
- Currency - The official currency is Belize dollars (BZD) which does not have any value outside of Belize, except in some bordering towns. Visitors with US dollars do not need to exchange their money because US dollars are also gladly accepted. ATMs and can be found only in major cities. Even though bargaining is not common in Belize, when business is not on the high level, it's possible to get a discount in hotels, rentals and other tourism services.
- Weather - A tropical monsoon climate in Belize is characterized by the tropical and humid weather. The wet season starts from May and lasts up to January, while the dry season covers a period from February to May. The Hurricane season starts in June and ends in November. Average monthly temperatures are constant throughout the whole year from 23 °C to 28 °C.
- Airports - Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport is located in Ladyville, northwest of Belize City, which is 30 minutes from the city's center. It is the largest and busiest international airport. There is also another smaller one, Belize City Municipal Airport, located in the city itself, but it is mostly used for the travelling to Belize's cayes.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is one of the most ignored items of most travelers. Nevertheless, when visiting Belize, even the most experienced travelers should take out a travel insurance policy which covers theft, loss of their luggage and medical problems.