Thoughts-boggling, but in an oddly pleasant way, Belize is a total misfit. Culturally Caribbean, linguistically English (or a bizarre creole kind), accepting of US dollars as legal tender, surrounded by Spanish-speaking nations and there are Chinese takeaways everywhere.
Belize only gained independence from the ruddy British in 1981, and this is the outcome right after 34 years of performing it for themselves. There is infrastructure, decent healthcare and, most importantly, a booming tourism business. You have to stand back and appreciate how far Belize has come in its quick, independent lifespan.
But Belize, like most other Central American nations, has been offered the ‘dangerous’ label. “People kill every other in the street!”… “There’s a gun crime each and every five minutes!”, so the warnings go. Unfortunately crime does come about often in Belize, but it is pretty much totally gang-connected – crimes committed against vacationers are incredibly uncommon. Confident, there are specific no-go zones, like anyplace in the planet, ‘cos you know, crime is sort of a international problem and all the things, but difficulty can be avoided by utilizing uncomplicated widespread sense.
Right here are some guidelines for staying secure in Belize, as a solo backpacker…
1. Travel with other backpackers
You are a substantially simpler target alone than you are in the enterprise of other backpackers. Whether or not you are travelling from city to city or just nipping out for lunch, it is worth performing it with other backpackers. Two minds are improved – and extra alert – than 1.
After five days of partying and snorkelling in Caye Caulker I had to spend a go to to Belize City hospital on the mainland (and that is a entire other story) – which meant getting to remain the evening. Fortunately, a pal of mine was living in Belize City at the time and he located a spare area for me at a hostel close to the hospital. That evening we strolled down the road for dinner and attracted a fair bit of interest. Had I been on my lonesome I doubt I’d have hung about for lengthy, but as a pair we felt substantially safer.
two. Investigation and book hostels and hotels on line
The final point you want is to turn up someplace in Belize with out pre-arranged accommodation or any clue of where’s great and exactly where is not. When doable, use WiFi to study and book accommodation in Belize just before you arrive in your subsequent location. You are going to want somewhere that’s safe and in a touristy region. Web pages like Trip Advisor are wonderful sources for gathering facts contributed by other travellers.
If you are not restricted by price range, you could possibly want to splash out on a hotel or someplace else a bit extra lavish than your typical hostel. Wonderful Belize beachfront rentals line the shores of quieter cayes such as Cayo Esperanto, exactly where the word ‘crime’ barely enters the vernacular.
three. Travel by taxi or minibus
Although the most exciting indicates of transport about Belize is undoubtedly a chicken bus, it is absolutely not the safest. These buses promptly fill to maximum capacity, and when there are no extra seats or aisle space offered persons take to the roof. When there’s no extra roof space persons hang out the doors. You get the image. Amidst such chaos, you are probably to drop sight of your backpack, which may perhaps even be hoisted onto the roof with out you realising. Then it is ripe for a bit of looting.
Travelling by taxi or shuttle bus is direct, and substantially safer. You will spend extra but you are quite substantially assured to arrive with all your possessions intact. It is also a great notion to get your hostel or hotel to arrange transport for you, for an agreed value flagging down a taxi in the street is probably to expense extra and no one can vouch for the driver.
four. Keep away from using cash machines in sketchy locations
Want to withdraw some money? Ahead of you do, scout out the distinct money machines in the region. Which ones appear safest? Which are in complete public view? You are unlikely to be mugged at a money point but it is often improved to be secure than sorry – wherever you are travelling. If you have to use an ATM in a sketchy neighbourhood, do it through the day when persons are about.
five. Do not push your luck with the locals
Solo and single backpackers are entitled to flirt with locals just as substantially as other locals are, but however this is not necessarily acceptable to locals. One particular evening in Caye Caulker I got speaking to a Belizean girl en route to I&I Reggae bar. It was quite innocuous – I wasn’t attempting to chat her up, just chatting, but open to developments. When we got to the bar I provided her a drink, which she (and her pal who all of a sudden sprung from nowhere) accepted. Subsequent point we know we’re on the dance floor and she is grinding all more than me – not sexily, just awkwardly – to music that absolutely wasn’t reggae. I mumbled an excuse and turned about to locate 3 Belizean dudes constructed like tanks staring menacingly at me. “She is Belizean girl boy, not for you” 1 of them sneered. Rather than attempt to clarify I wasn’t attempting my luck I believed it very best to just hold my hands up in protest and stroll away. Later the very same girl appeared at the bar and asked for yet another drink. Ahead of I could even say “no”, I clocked the very same dudes once again, standing a couple of feet behind her searching in our path. Clearly I was ruffling feathers, no matter whether I meant to or not, so I decided to go and befriend the doormen. Soon after that they left me alone!
In the very same vein, do not accept any ‘favours’ from locals – normally there will be income anticipated in return and if you do not stump up there could possibly be difficulty.
Have you travelled in Belize? Did you really feel secure? Any sketchy experiences or guidelines you want to share? Leave a comment!