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Travel Warnings



While most visits to Belize are trouble-free, violent crime can be a problem. It is confined mainly to Belize City, but serious crimes, some targeting tourists, also occur in the Mountain Pine Ridge area and the ruins near the Guatemalan border. The use of common sense to avoid dangerous situations.

GtB Swing Bride area in Belize City. This is not a save Place in the Night
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Emergency: Use our Emergency Directory Page with all the Phone numbers

Choose one of the four Travel Safety Topics

Health
Current Travel Health Situation
Safety
Current Safety and Security Situation
Crime
Current Crime Situation
Business
Current Business and Investing Situation
Traffic
Current Traffic and Road Condition

 

Last Update: Wednesday 16 April, 2014

Travel Health

Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever Outbreack
In Belize there is always the possibility to catch  Dengue. We had since October 2009 a few cases in Ambergris Caye. Whenever it rains, the water that settles becomes a potential breeding ground for the Aedes Egypti mosquito.

Adult females lay their eggs in water, after 5–14 days, depending on the species and the ambient temperature; eggs hatch to become larvae, then pupae. The adult mosquito emerges from the pupa as it floats at the water surface. Adults live for 4–8 weeks.

Dengue carrying mosquitoes bite mostly during dawn (5-9am) and dusk (6-10pm), so it is recommended retraining from outdoor activities during peak.
Invest in insect repelling lotions and only stay in rooms with screens on windows and doors. Burning mosquito coils or candles formulated with mosquito repellents or using electric mats that vaporize pyrethroid insecticides also may avoid overnight exposure to insects.

For Detail Information on the Belize Health System use our health  site.  Belize Health-Care and Medical System


Safety and Security

Visitors should exercise caution and good judgment when visiting Belize.  Crime can be a serious problem (see Crime), particularly in Belize City and remote areas.  Road accidents are common (see Traffic Safety and Road Conditions).  Public buses and taxis are frequently in poor condition and lack safety equipment.  Medical care is limited as described in our Belize Health Page.

Boats serving the public, especially water taxis, often do not carry sufficient safety equipment, may carry an excess number of passengers, and may sail in inclement weather.  Rental diving equipment may not always be properly maintained or inspected, and some local dive masters fail to consider the skill levels of individual tourists when organizing dives to some of Belize’s more challenging sites. Deaths and serious mishaps have occurred as a result of negligent diving tour operators and the lack of strict enforcement of tour regulations.

We recommends that anyone interested in scuba diving and snorkeling while in Belize check the references, licenses, and equipment of tour operators before agreeing to or paying for a tour.  Both tour guides and boat captains are now required to be licensed by the Government of Belize.

  • Before walking or driving into a business (particularly banks, gas stations and shopping plazas), restaurant, parking lot, etc; perform a quick visual check to see if anything seems out of the ordinary. You do not want to walk into a business or drive into a gas station during an armed robbery. If somethingseems wrong – it probably is.
  • Belize City is relatively small and neighborhoods of different qualities are close to each other and easily transitable. Regardless, generally speaking, the area of Belize City south of the Belize River should not be visited, particularly at night or while alone, with the exception of daytime visits to the downtown area immediately across from the Swing Bridge at the end of Queen Street.
  • Should you find yourself the victim of a robbery or other crime, only you can decide your course of action; however, material items can be replaced and it is generally preferable that you comply with a robber’s instructions. It is always best to leave valuables and large amounts of cash locked up in a secure location.

  • Moving about in groups, staying in well-lit areas, avoiding short-cuts, dressing and acting conservatively, and most importantly, being aware of what is going on around you and avoiding risky or volatile situations, are some of the most common measures.

  • Assailants tend to prey on people who appear preoccupied or confused, so the primary rule of street smarts is to stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Business

The Belize Government generally welcomes foreign investment that results in diversification of the economic base, employment opportunities, foreign exchange earnings and savings, and the transfer of technology and skills. In less-developed areas of the country, the Belize government normally gives special consideration through various fiscal incentives.

There are many property disputes involving foreign investors and landowners because it is often difficult to trace reliably the ownership history or specific boundaries of land holdings. Financing is Belize is expensive. Interest rates in Belize are relatively high. Current prime lending rates of local banks are high. Average personal lending rates were over 16.0% and commercial lending rates were over 14%.

Whether a foreign investor or company plans to invest in a business, sell, or buy property in Belize, it is always advisable that they seek background information on their local partner, conduct title searches on the property, and
conduct careful due diligence.

Bad and poor Business Experience Sharing

If you like to do Business with one of the following persons, you may first consider sending us an E-Mail and we can share our experience:
Amador Marin  Con Artist (Kung Fu Instructor, of the Shaolin Martial Arts School and Security Guard), Horace Gilbert Bladon and Sarah BladonMarvin Duarte (Draftsman), Billy Harmouch (S.P. Hardware)  all five living in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye.

Note:
The Paragraph above is in line with the constitution of Belize, Part VI Section 74. Freedom of speech. For this reason, we will not remove any information from the paragraph above. Further we can share information how to get money back from a dishonest business man, with the support of the Belize court.


Crime 

The incidence of crime, including violent crimes such as armed robbery, shooting, stabbing, murder, and rape, is on the rise.  The Embassy has noted an increase in recent years in reports of crimes against tourists at resorts and on the roadways and river ways.  The incidence of crimes such as theft, burglary, purse-snatching, and pick-pocketing rises around the winter holidays and spring break.  Several victims who resisted when confronted by criminals have received serious personal injuries, including gunshot wounds.  Although the majority of reported incidents are in Belize City, crime occurs in all districts including tourist spots such as San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and Placencia.

Sexual harassment and/or assault of females traveling alone or in small groups have occurred in 2007 One of these occurred after the victim accepted a lift from an acquaintance, while others have occurred during armed robberies in resort areas.  One of these assaults has resulted in the death of the victim.

We recommends that visitors travel in groups and only in daylight hours, stay off the streets after dark, in urban and rural areas, and avoid wearing jewelry, or carrying valuable or expensive items.  As a general rule, valuables should not be left unattended, including in hotel rooms and on the beach.  Care should be taken when carrying high value items such as cameras, or when wearing expensive jewelry on the street.  Women’s handbags should be zipped and held close to the body.  Men should carry wallets in their front pants pocket.  Large amounts of cash should always be handled discreetly.

If traveling by taxi, use only vehicles with green license plates, do not get in a taxi that is occupied by more than the driver, and do not let the driver pick up additional fares.

Armed robberies of American tourist groups occurred during the summer of 2006 in the Mountain Pine Ridge and Caracol regions of the western district of Belize.  Due to increased police patrols, coordinated tours among resort security managers, and the arrest of two of the "highway bandits," there have not been any additional robberies since June 2006. In the past, criminals have targeted popular Mayan archeological sites in that region.  Visitors should travel in groups and should stick to the main plazas and tourist sites.  Although there are armed guards posted at some of the archeological sites, armed criminals have been known to prey on persons walking from one site to another.  Victims who resist when confronted by these armed assailants frequently suffer personal injury.

Travel on rural roads, especially at night, increases the risk of encountering criminal activities.  Widespread narcotics and alien smuggling activities can make remote areas especially dangerous. 

Rather than traveling alone, use a reputable tour organization.  It is best to stay in groups, travel in a caravan consisting of two or more vehicles, and stay on the main roads.  Ensure that someone not traveling with you is aware of your itinerary.  Travelers should resist the temptation to stay in budget hotels, which are generally more susceptible to crime, and stay in the main tourist destinations.  Do not explore back roads or isolated paths near tourist sites.  And remember always to pay close attention to your surroundings.

Tourist visiting the Belize-Guatemala border area should consider carefully their security situation and should travel only during daylight hours. Vehicles should be in good operating condition, adequately fueled, and carry communications equipment. 

A lack of resources and training impedes the ability of the police to investigate crimes effectively and to apprehend serious offenders. As a result, a number of crimes against Americans in Belize remain unresolved.  Nonetheless, victims of crime should report immediately to the police all incidents of assault, robbery, theft, or other crimes.  Tourists may contact the Belizean tourist police unit as well as the main police office for assistance.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

Roads in Belize vary from two-lane paved roads to dirt tracks.  The few paved roads are high-crowned roads, which can contribute to cars overturning, and have few markings or reflectors.  Even in urban areas, few streets have lane markings, leading many motorists to create as many lanes as possible in any given stretch of street or road.  Bridges on the major highways are often only single lanes.  The Manatee Road, leading from the Western Highway to Dangriga, is unpaved, easily flooded after storms and without services.  The Southern Highway from Dangriga to Punta Gorda is mostly completed and in good condition, except for a short portion that is under construction.  Service stations are plentiful along the major roads, although there are some significant gaps in the rural areas.

Poor road and vehicle maintenance causes many fatal accidents on Belizean roads.  Speed limits are 55 miles per hour on most highways and 25 miles per hour on most other roads, but they are seldom obeyed or even posted.  Many vehicles on the road do not have functioning safety equipment such as turn signals, flashers, or brake lights.  Seatbelts for drivers and front-seat passengers are mandatory, but child car seats are not required.  Driving while intoxicated is punishable by a fine; if an alcohol-related accident results in a fatality, the driver may face manslaughter charges. Moreover, Americans can and have been imprisoned in Belize for accidents, even where alcohol is not involved. Unusual local traffic customs include: pulling to the right before making a left turn; passing on the right of someone who is signaling a right-hand turn; stopping in the middle of the road to talk to someone while blocking traffic; carrying passengers, including small children, in the open beds of trucks; and tailgating at high speeds.

Bicycles are numerous and constitute a traffic hazard at all times; bicyclists often ride contrary to traffic and do not obey even basic traffic laws such as red lights or stop signs.  Few bicycles have lights at night. It is common to see bicyclists carrying heavy loads or passengers, including balancing small children on their laps or across the handlebars.  The driver of a vehicle that strikes a bicyclist or pedestrian is almost always considered to be at fault, regardless of circumstances.  Americans who have struck cyclists in Belize have faced significant financial penalty or even prison time.




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