Table of Contents
- Personal Safety In Belize
- Solo Women Travellers
- Travel Advisories For Belize
Yes. Generally speaking Belize is safe to visit with the possible exception of overnighting in Belize city. You may see news about Belize having a high crime rate or being placed on travel advisories by first world countries. The reason for this is the relatively small pocket of high crime in Belize City, which accounts for most of the crimes reported in the country. Safety is a major factor in deciding where to visit or live, and we will break down some of the information to help you make decisions about whether Belize is right for you by highlighting the following factors:
A significant portion of violent crime is gang related. Due to high crime, travelers are advised to exercise caution while traveling to the south side of Belize City. Local police lack the resources and training to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.
Personal Safety In Belize
Criminal activity including jewelry and purse snatching, pickpocketing, armed robbery, home invasions, assault and murder is a significant problem throughout Belize. Criminals often target tourists. Spiking of drinks have been reported, primarily targeting women. The majority of muggings occur in Belize City but are common in all districts, including tourist destinations such as San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia and San Ignacio. Avoid dark alleys, do not hitchhike or accept lifts from strangers, keep valuables out of sight and be aware that wearing expensive jewellery could attract unwanted attention. If possible, travel in groups and use a qualified guide for trips off the beaten track.
Are the taxis in Belize safe?
Taxis are safe and preferred when getting around at night. You can ask your hotel or resort to call a taxi for you. Be sure to get take an authorized taxi (they have green license plates). Use your smartphone and track the route on your offline map, and if the driver seems to be going off said route, speak up and ask why they’ve decided to take this direction instead. At the end of the day, always trust your gut: if a taxi driver seems shady, stop the cab and get out.
Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid walking or driving at night. Do not physically resist any robbery attempt. Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs. Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry. Drive with extreme caution, even on major streets, and avoid night trips. Road conditions are generally very poor, at maximum width of 26 feet not up to international standards and may be hazardous. Ensure that you have a cell phone, spare tire, and other emergency equipment. Do not do drugs. Cartels have made life difficult for the local population. Don’t support them by buying their products. Drug penalties are draconian, criminal defence attorneys are good but like everywhere else expensive.
Solo Women Travellers
In addition to exercising the usual precautions, women travelling alone should be especially careful when talking to new male acquaintances in restaurants and bars, particularly in the cayes and Belize City. As in many other parts of the world, drugs intended to make women susceptible to date rape and other violent crimes are occasionally slipped into food or drinks. Though most victims of such acts have been local women, it’s still never a good idea to accept food or drinks from anyone you don’t know well. Don’t let anyone without the official credentials talk you into accepting them as your “guide” – all legal tour guides in Belize are licensed and will have a photo ID. If you have doubts about using a certain guide, trust your instinct and report the incident to the authorities.
Police emergency numbers The police emergency number in Belize is 90 or 911; to contact the tourism police or to report a crime in Belize City, call 227-2210 or 227-2222, in the districts the Belize Police Department default phone number is 2222, for example in Belmopan dial 822 2222.
Travel Advisories For Belize
Foreign governments regularly issue travel advisories aimed at their nationals who are travelling abroad. How are these advisories categorised? Borrowing from tropical weather updates with Category 1 being smallest and Category 5 the largest, in the case of the U.S.A. the travel advisories are categorised by “levels”, with Level 1 being considered normal, and Level 4 the worst. For example: Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions, Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution, Level 3: Reconsider Travel and Level 4: Do Not Travel.
Belize travel advice by the United Kingdom government for British nationals can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/belize
Travel advisory for U.S.A. nationals visiting or living in Belize can be found here: https://www.state.gov/countries-areas/belize/
Travel advisories for Canadian nationals travelling to or living in Belize can be found here: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/belize As of September 2022 Canada has a consulate in Belize: The Consulate of Canada to Belize is located at No.8 Newton Barracks, Belize City, Belize. For Consular Services please book your appointment by phone to (501) 223-1060 /223-3722 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For Consular Emergencies please contact: Phone +1 613 996 8885. Email email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can contact the Embassy of Canada to Guatemala, in Guatemala City. For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Guatemala, in Guatemala City, and follow the instructions.
Updated December 2022
Article by M.A. Romero Chief Information Officer (RET) to the Government of Belize. M.A. Romero has served as advisor in the office of the Deputy Prime Minister. His most recent posting was Communications Advisor in the Ministry of National Security.