Belize City has a bad reputation, are travelers to believe all that they hear?
We have been living in Belize City on and off since 1990, and we have owned a house there for years. There are parts of the city you should avoid, especially at night. But the casual tourist would probably never end up in those places anyway, so you shouldn’t worry about that. You should simply take cabs at night, and during the day when you are walking around, be prepared to be approached by someone wanting something from you. For the most part, Belizeans are very friendly and avoid all conflict, so the regular, nice people are just going to walk on by without bothering you.
As with anywhere in the world, always try to be polite and you’ll be fine. Some people may want to give you advice on where to eat or something like that, and then ask for a tip for the advice. Others may be a bit too pushy when trying to sell you something. This could be said for places in almost any country.
We have found taxi drivers to be safe to ride with, in fact the only problem we have ever had is over-charging. We have heard concerns from prospective guests quoting paranoid websites that claim cab drivers in Belize City are unsafe and will hurt you, but we don’t believe this. They simply want to take you where you are going, get paid, and get you out of the cab so they can go find someone else to drive around. Just always settle the price before getting in (make clear it is per cab, not per person, and determine whether they are talking US or Belize dollars).
The bottom line is to not spend your whole trip in Belize City, to enjoy your Belize vacation. You usually go to Belize City because you often need to stay there the night you arrive and the night before you depart, so when you have to do that, stay at a good hotel (the Best Western Biltmore, the Princess, the Radisson-Ft. George, or The Great House), take cabs to dinner, and don’t walk around at night. The rest of the country is great, the people are wonderful (as are the Belize City-ites you may never get to meet) and you will have a fantastic time.
For more information on Belize, visit our website.