Belize City has a well-deserved bad reputation for gang-related violence but in the 16 years we have been visiting Belize there have been significant signs of improvement.
Belize City with a population of 70 to 80 thousand is the only real city in Belize with a population of 3 to 4 hundred thousand. But it has been and will always be the centre of the country if not the official Capital of Belize. After several near catastrophic hurricanes nearly razed Belize City, the government of the day moved the capital to Belmopan about 30 miles inland.
Belize is a 3rd world country which, by definition, means that it is struggling economically to fit itself into the 21st century. Typically, around the world, under these circumstances, the unemployed and impoverished tend to gravitate to the ‘big’ city, hoping to find work and a better life.
What they more often find is more unemployment and deeper impoverishment. This forces many to take desperate measures and if needs be do anything to survive, including ‘ganging up’ and engaging in an assortment of criminal activities, often competing with one another violently.
The Government and the Police, like the Governments and Police in Toronto, seem to be coming around to the understanding that the cause of much criminal activity is deep-rooted social anxiety and can only by cured, finally, by creating an environment that meets the social needs of the down-trodden as well as the more privileged.
Also, in the past 10 years, the governments in Belize have invested a lot of money in improving the infrastructure of the City of Belize. The Canal that runs across the south of the city has been dramatically cleaned up and some neighbourhoods dating back to Colonial days have been restored to present-day standards. The bus terminal has been improved as well.
On the coast, a large Tourist Village has been built on the ruins of the past, inviting tourists from cruise ships easy access to Belize as a whole, and improving the lot of travellers who use Belize City as a nexus destination, that is, a place to pass through on the way to somewhere else. Two large water-taxi terminals are available to take tourists and travellers alike to the two largest islands, Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye and the town of San Pedro.
Belize City itself has a bustling, busy, sometime raucous and a little bit raunchy down-town, and definitely worthy of a look-see. Check out Regent and Albert Street and the side streets that cross them for shops and restaurants.
At night, ask at your hotel where best to go for supper. Or stay put and order delivery. There are hot spots to visit, up-scale restaurants and night clubs but I’m not familiar with them. All I know for sure is that Belize City, except for the clubs, is like the rest of the country: if it is past 10 p.m. , it’s bed-time.
Check out my blogs on Nexus Destinations, Belize City pt 1 and 2 for more in-depth information.
Click on the link below to take you to Chez Belize and choose a delight from our menu
And Happy Travels to all my fellow travellers.