What Not to Do in Belize: 10 Tips For a Perfect Vacation
Are you tired of being bombarded by the “What to do” articles that pop up when you conduct pre-trip research before your Belize vacation? How about tips on what not to do so you skip pitfalls tourists have experienced during their visits? Stay safe. Have fun. See it all. You can thank us when you return.
Tip #1: Don’t pack fancy clothing. You don’t need it. Shorts, swimsuit, flip-flops, t-shirts, a hat to protect you from the sun and hiking boots if you intend to channel your inner explorer are all you need. Fancy duds, high heels and ties? Not so much – unless you intend to drop in on the Prime Minister’s office for tea.
Tip #2: Don’t waste your money on language apps, take classes or invest in tutorials because Belize’s first language is English. British colonization is responsible for this, so while Belize is surrounded by Spanish-speaking nations, you won’t have to spend your time or money learning a second language.
Tip #3: Don’t close your suitcase until you’ve tossed in bug repellent and sunscreen. Between the tropical rainforests and jungles and proximity to the equator, you will run into critters eager to nip at your unprotected skin. Ditto the sun – especially if your skin is fair. Yes, you can buy both when you arrive, but why spend more at shops catering to tourists?
Tip #4: Don’t do drugs in Belize. Your mother wouldn’t approve and drug offenses come with high penalties and fines. Undercover police officers keep tabs on deals that go down between visitors and dealers. If you’re caught, it won’t be pretty. You may be shaken down for a bribe or land in the local jail. Talk about a vacation buzz kill!
Tip #5: Don’t leave home without a credit card, even if everything associated with your stay was already charged to a card when you made your reservations. You could run into the piece of art that you love, or you might want to pick up a bar tab for your new BFFs. U.S. bucks are accepted everywhere. Consider your plastic insurance.
Tip #6: Don’t be fooled into thinking that the tranquility you find beneath the sea when you snorkel or scuba dive isn’t out to get you. The coral surrounding you may look like prehistoric rock but it’s alive and ready to bite, sting or both if it comes into in contact with bare skin. Besides, it’s ecologically protected so look but don’t touch.
Tip #7: Don’t let your guard down on nightclub crawls. The later it gets, the more likely you could encounter dudes with evil intentions who are trolling for tourist valuables. Always travel in a group, especially if you are known to overly friendly when you’re drunk and your judgement is impaired. Don’t ruin your getaway by becoming a victim.
Tip #8: Don’t get a bad case of destination expectations. You’re won’t find an environment that mimics hot spots like Cancun. Expect a rustic, laid-back experience since Belize is more about nature and less about commercialization. You won’t be able to hit a Walmart or McDonald’s, either, since neither has a presence in Belize.
Tip #9: Don’t be a culinary coward! Pass up yummy dishes like escabeche, cochinita pibil, ceviche, rice and beans Belize style, gibunut and lobster and you’ll come home with regrets. Belize’s culinary scene is beginning to emerge on the world stage big time so do yourself a favor and try everything that comes on a plate during your stay.
Tip #10: Don’t take a pass on Belize’s treasures. Snorkeling at marine protected areas can be a life-affirming experience, as is world-class diving off the nation’s atolls. When you’re not discovering the wonders of the Caribbean Sea, take in rainforests and mysterious caves once home to Maya rituals and practices. But don’t become so entranced with the magic that surrounds you that you wander away from your group. It may sound like the ultimate adventure, but getting lost on a Belize tour is an experience you won’t want to have!