Arriving in Belize
Arriving in Belize

On our Belize What to Bring list we instruct our guests to bring a sizable sum with them on our all-inclusive trips to our private island ($1100 for a single, $1500 for a couple). Many ask why should we bring money when the trips are all-inclusive? We cover everything except alcoholic beverages, Belize exit tax, scuba diving, tips, and taxis to and from the airport, which can add up to several hundred dollars. Also, if the guest or the guest’s luggage were delayed, an already difficult situation would be greatly compounded by counting on credit cards or locating a working ATM machine in Belize City. It can cost up to $780 to catch up with the trip by chartering your own boat out to our island.

Every year I carry 1000s of dollars myself to Belize. I have a very thin money belt that I made out of silk to wear under my clothing on the way to and from Belize. In my wallet I carry about $200 so I never have to get into the hidden funds while traveling to and from the country. I do this in the event that I get complacent and put my wallet down and it is snatched or just lost. Once I arrive in Belize I keep my money somewhere in my luggage. We don’t use locks on the island, and all visitors to the caye are met and escorted. I simply don’t leave my money sitting out in case there was a stray visitor to our island that no one intercepted. We trust our guests and our staff, we have no problems using this system.

Belize City has a bad reputation, are travelers to believe all that they hear?

Belize City, Belize

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.