Is Belize Safe? 5 Essential Travel Safety Tips on Crime

Belize isn't dangerous if you come prepared. Here are our top tips on places to avoid, crime, LGBTQ+ safety, sexual harassment, and drug laws.


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Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Belize: Read the latest travel alerts to find out how COVID-19 restrictions may affect you.

Overall Belize is a safe place to travel, and the usual common-sense precautions are most applicable here, from keeping your belongings out of sight to avoiding well-known dodgy areas and following the advice of your Government's travel advisories. Here's what you need to know before you go to stay out of trouble in Belize.

Violent crime in Belize

Most violent crime affects rival gangs battling for territory, and Belize has one of the highest murder rates per capita in the world. Few, if any incidents are targeted at foreigners, however, tourists could unwittingly get caught up. Armed gangs operate in forested areas near the border with Guatemala. Travel in groups and always use a registered guide if going off the beaten track. 

The type of crime most likely to affect visitors is muggings and other assaults, which happen mostly at night. After sunset, take cabs with green license plates and don't share it with strangers. Most incidents in Belize City occur around George Street and Kraal Road, but it's not a reason to let your guard down anywhere else. If confronted with an assailant, don't resist.

Petty crime in Belize

The frequency of minor crimes such as theft, burglary, pickpocketing and purse-snatching tends to spike during spring break and winter holidays, when the tourists pour in. If you're there during that time, be extra cautious about people following you, your belongings, and your personal safety in crowded areas.

If you've been anywhere else in Latin America, follow the same golden rule: don't flash your cash, only carry the money you'll use that day and keep documents in a money belt under your clothes.

Due to the frequency of hotel room break-ins, it's not advisable to leave valuables in your room, unless it has a safe. Better to leave it with reception.

Safety outside of Belize City

Like its Central American neighbors, you'll find most of the trouble in Belize's major cities. There's no denying that Belize City is where most of the ugliness happens.

When you get out of Belize City, things get much safer, and many travelers report only positive experiences. Thieves do lurk around tourist sites, however, so be vigilant in places such as San Pedro in Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, and Placencia.

The worst threat in these places is the theft of bags on buses. The best prevention is to not leave your bag unattended at the back of a bus. Keep your luggage on you at all times if you can.

Sexual harassment and drugs in Belize

Less common dangers come in the form of sexual harassment, drug pushers, and predators at archaeological sites. A few people traveling alone or in small groups have fallen victim to sexual assault, and there are a few cases where women travelers have been raped

The country's people have an easy-going attitude to drug use. Marijuana use is everywhere, and peddlers do get annoying after a while. But the authorities don't take it lightly. While possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana was legalized in 2017, restrictions still apply regarding where you can smoke it (in your home or in someone else's, with the owner's permission, or in your private accommodations, with the manager's consent). Sale and transport is still illegal.

Archaeological sites are usually well guarded, but the paths between them aren't. There have been a few cases of robbers preying of people walking alone or in small groups between them.

LGBTQ+ travel safety tips

Finally, a word to LGBTQ travelers: Belizeans are warm and friendly people, and are usually happy to welcome all kinds of travelers. Gay awareness and acceptance is on the rise, but don't expect the same pervasive gay-friendliness of Costa Rica.

Some of the country's more restrictive anti-gay laws were declared unconstitutional in 2016. However, homosexuality is unfortunately deplored by some sectors of society. Best to avoid public displays of affection and be discreet in public places while traveling with your same-sex partner.

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  • Ben said

    Belize City isn't the capital of Belize. Belmopan is.


  • Andrew said

    So basically, stay out of Belize. America is awesome.


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