Thursday, May 31, 2012

More FAQ's I get about Belize

After being back in the States for a week and getting more questions about Belize, I decided to create a follow-up post to FAQ's I get about moving to Belize

Your house has no running water?? Where do you.... go to the bathroom?
Apparently people have missed my mentioning of the outhouse we have, about 50 yards away from the house. It was built before anything else so that the workers had somewhere to do their business and clean themselves up when they didn't feel like walking to the waterfall on the property below us to take a shower.
It's just a basic little setup - toilet, sink, shower. Eventually it will be the bathroom that guests of the cafe or people who want to camp up here, but for now it's for everyone. As of today, though, I have a working toilet and bathroom sink in my house, and hopefully by Monday, a shower, too, so I won't need to go down there anymore.

See? Outhouse.

You've mentioned a lot of Crime in Belize, is it safe to come visit you?
Absolutely - I wouldn't invite you if I thought you'd be in danger! Vacationing here and living here are two totally different things, and tourists just need to use common sense to get by.
  • Don't pull out a huge wad of cash out in public. If you feel like you need to have a lot of money with you while you're out for souvenir shopping or something, just split it up a little. Put some in your front pocket, some in your back pocket, some in your wallet. If you're a girl and you're wearing a dress and you don't have any pockets, just be really careful with your purse.
  • Be careful with your purse! Keep some cash in your wallet, and some in one of those inside, zippered pockets that almost all purses have. Don't hang it on the back of your chair or bar stool. Don't leave it at the table or on the bar when you go to the bathroom or get up to dance or sing karaoke unless you have someone with you (someone you've known more than 5 hours) to watch it for you. If possible, carry a purse with a long strap so you can wear messenger bag style while you're walking around town:
photo from Cute!
  • Don't wander around at night by yourself, and stay on the main roads. It happens - you go out with a group of friends and have a great time, but they decide to be all responsible and go back to the hotel to get a few hours of sleep before the next days 6am dive. You, however are having a really good time with the boy or girl you just met at some bar, and they have convinced you that it's a better idea to go dancing instead. (If you're in San Pedro, you'll either be heading to Daddy Rock's or to Jaguars, both open until 4am on weekends.) When you finally decide to go back to your room, even though you've already figured out the best way to get there by walking down the beach or down a couple of back roads, just take a taxi. The worse thing the driver will do to you is charge you an extra few bucks.
    don't be too hungover to go see the turtles!
  • Don't wear expensive jewelry when you come visit, leave it all at home. Guys on bikes will just ride past while you're walking down the beach after lunch and snatch the shiny, expensive looking pendant right off of your neck. And if they notice that Rolex on your wrist or that big, diamond ring on your finger, you may become a target if you're spotted a little inebriated in town later that evening.
  • Don't tell people where you're staying. You will meet a lot of friendly people in Belize, and most of them really are just making small talk. Maybe they want to know where you're staying so that they can recommend a good bar or restaurant or tour guide company that their family owns or works at that isn't far from your hotel. (Sometimes they get a small commission if you mention that they sent you, so definitely drop their name to help them out) If that seems to be the case, just tell them the name of the Hotel, but "forget" which room number you're in "because your other friend has the key." Never mention your room number, really. I've had people show up unannounced and uninvited when I've made the mistake of being too specific.
  • Lock your hotel room door and windows. Belize usually has a phenomenal breeze going through it - especially if you're on the islands. It's tempting to leave the windows open at night while you sleep, but it's just safer not to. I think that was my mistake, when I got robbed. I thought I was ok, being all the way on the third floor with no apparent way to climb up to the balcony, so I left the door open a crack for my cats to get in and out. I can't be certain (neither can the San Pedro Police Department) if that's how they got in, but from that night on, I kept everything locked up. And, locking your door? You shouldn't need a reminder for that, but there it is anyway.
  • Don't invite the cute guy or girl back to your room. That rule might be really hard for some people to follow - trust me, I know! Just keep in  mind that some people are known to pick up a wallet or some cash that doesn't belong to them while you're using the bathroom or sleeping off all the alcohol and other good times from the night before. Try to use your best judgement on this one.
Where's a good place to stay?
I can't answer that until you tell me:
  • Where you want to be. What sounds better - an island, a coastal beach town, the city, or the jungle?
Does the pool at Portofino look good to you?

Or a jungle hut at the Pine Ridge Lodge?
  • What you want to do while you're here. Are you interested in SCUBA diving, snorkeling and laying on the beach? Do you want to explore caves, check out some ruins, or go horseback riding through the jungle? Do you want to get married or honeymoon on the beach or at your own, private waterfall? You can do any of this, no matter where in the country you decide to stay - you can do day trips to the mainland from the islands, and day trips to the islands from the mainland -you just have to think about where you want to spend the majority of your time.
Ziplining through the jungle?

Drinks in the sea at the Palapa Bar, perhaps?
  • What kind of crowd situation you want. Are you picturing yourself out late at night, drinking, dancing, talking to locals and other tourists out to have a good time, or are you picturing yourself in a laid back, quiet atmosphere with just you and your significant other or small group of friends? Do you want just a little bit of both?
do you want to party with locals?

or enjoy your own hammock room?

Are there any nude beaches in Belize?
Not that I know of, but let me know if you hear differently. (I've found secluded spots on Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye to go topless, but that's about it.)

Will a lot of people try to sell me things?
There are always people on the beach trying to sell their crafts - and they obviously do it to make a living. They're so polite though, and they don't hound you to buy anything like they do in Jamaica (from my experience) Make sure you spend at least a little bit of money with the street vendors, it helps the local economy, and they're cheaper than all the touristy souvenir shops. You can bargain with them, too, but remember that they're trying to feed their families and you're here on a nice holiday.

not a bad place to shop

Well, that's all I have for now. Keep your questions coming.

1 comment:

  1. Looking for a topless/nude beach. Where on Caye Caulker can we go?