Considering a trip to San Pedro, Belize? Now that you’ve heard about some of the highlights of our trip you should also be aware of a few things you need to know.
Belize is a young country by anyone’s standards. It was known as the colony of British Honduras until 1981, when it was granted independence by Great Britain. This is very much a developing country.
We experienced some of the best snorkeling of our lives along the barrier reef. Inland there are winding rivers, fascinating hikes with a multitude of plants and animals to observe. However, every tourist needs to use good judgement and common sense during a stay in San Pedro.
Schedule activities for the daytime. Although, San Pedro has a party atmosphere it is still emerging as a socioeconomic entity. The first couple of nights that Mike and I were there, we ventured out into town during the evening, on foot. We were approached many times by different young men looking to sell us “jewelry”. We found them to be aggressive and borderline harassing. We looked around and realized we were some of the only tourists out at that time of night (It was about 9:30 pm). We took our queue, got ourselves a golf-cart, and shifted our activities to those in the morning and afternoon hours.
The day that we arrived the town was bewildered by an incident involving a police shooting where officers recklessly endangered the lives of some locals enjoying an evening out at a popular night spot. The tour operators we spoke with were mortified that this happened right in San Pedro, their most populated tourist area. The incident occurred just steps away from where Mike and I were staying.
The Police department in San Pedro lacks funding for necessities such as equipment, training and vehicles.
Crimes against tourists are rare but they do happen. The locals we spoke with suggested we avoid the police altogether. In the unusual event something did happen, tourists would likely be on their own.
San Pedro has no hospital. I recommend staying in this area only if you are in good health. When Mike and I were cave tubing we spent time talking with one of the resort managers who happened to be enjoying a day off on the tour with us. He informed us of a young woman who died in the Tropic Air airport waiting for a trip to the nearest hospital in Belize City. It was sad but should serve as a cautionary message to would-be travelers.
Tips to keep you safe during your visit to San Pedro:
- Be off of the street by 10:00 pm.
- Ignore/avoid anyone trying to sell jewelry after dark.
- Put your phone away, and be alert to all surroundings.
- Lock doors at all times.
- Secure your valuables
- Travel here only if you are healthy
- Review Tour Operators Carefully. There are many good ones available, make sure you are dealing with one of them. There is plenty of information available on-line and you should confirm your tour choices by asking around while you are there.
The resorts do a good job of keeping their guests safe. Our resort had guards present at both entrances at almost all times. Our room at the Sunbreeze Suites was located on the first floor with French doors out to the ocean, pool and bar. There was a guard stationed almost directly outside of our room each night which provided a level of comfort and safety.
The area is warm, the people are friendly and adventure is everywhere. If you are considering a trip, I’d encourage you to experience what San Pedro has to offer. Simply use common sense.
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Up Next: Tips on the best tours, food and lodging in Belize.