Belize Safety Tips for Travelers

safe travel tips

shake out your shoes

Depending on what area of the country you visit and what season it is, you might encounter some Belize residents you would rather not get friendly with: spiders, snakes, scorpions OH MY!  If I’m visiting the jungle and have left my shoes out overnight, I’m certain to give them a careful inspection before shoving my feet back in to them.  Nothing ruins a morning quite like a scorpion between the toes.  I’d much prefer a shot of espresso to wake me up. *Pro Tip: pack Benadryl for allergic reactions just in case. It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and be far from a pharmacy or outside its opening hours. My friend didn’t know she was allergic to Doctor Fly bites until she was bitten for the first time in Belize.

be mindful of what’s above you

Look out below!  Belize is blessed with tons of fruit trees but with the sheer number of coconuts or mangos clinging to branches, statistics says eventually some of these will drop- don’t be under them when they do.  So many people seem blissfully unaware of this potential hazard (literally) hanging over their heads but I must admit it’s one of my biggest fears; I’m so paranoid that one of us will be grievously injured by a falling coconut.  I suppose my fears are mostly unfounded because I’ve never heard of any local coconut related deaths but let’s not tempt fate you guys.  Before you set down your beach chair- check the tree.  Before you park your rental car- check the tree.

use your locks

Seems like common sense, no?  You might be in vacation mode and feeling carefree, you might want to sleep with your doors and windows open to invite the cool Caribbean breeze inside but you might also be inviting a thief inside who will help themself to your cash and electronics while you slumber on, blissfully unaware.  Your locks are there for a reason- use them.  Paradise isn’t perfect and just as with anywhere else in the world, petty theft is common especially if you make it easy for the criminal.  Lock your bike, your hotel room, your rental car.

kids need to be careful

Unless you are on tour with licensed and professional tour operators, be mindful that Belize has very different safety standards than you may be accustomed to in North America.  Belize is not the place for bubble-wrapped babies.  If your kids are clutzy they need to be extra careful here.  We don’t do outlet covers or toddler-safe railings on verandas.  Our public playgrounds are usually littered with broken glass and rusted metal equipment.  I quite like that personal safety here is just that- the person’s responsibility, but it certainly is different to America’s litigious society and overly padded protocols that so many of us have grown accustomed to.  Belize doesn’t have lifeguards, or helmet laws, or car seat requirements, or even fences around active construction zones… it isn’t anyone else’s job to keep you or your child safe, it’s yours and yours alone.

So just keep these things in the back of your mind while you enjoy all the incredible scenery, unique experiences, fantastic food, and friendly faces. You’re sure to have a wonderful vacation!

About the author

Megan Rodden

never met a vacation she didn't like. Megan is a self-centered, snarky, unambitious derelict... like most of her peers.

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  • You are right to be concerned about coconuts falling on you. I have a friend who when she was living in Hawaii had a coconut fall on her and it paralyzed her left side for awhile. She regained use of everything but her left hand! She is a professional knitter! Needless to say it put a damper on that and many other activities for over 2 years. She eventually managed to teach herself to knit using her other hand but it was not a satisfactory solution for someone who makes their living knitting. She did a lot of PT, etc. and after 2 years is able to use her hand again. I was always pretty careful around coconut trees after that. Mangos are almost as bad when they hit you in the head from far up, ask me how I know that! I am glad you wrote this article.

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© 2014 Megan Rodden and Phil Nagengast.