All The Dumb Things

A cautionary tale in development

Two weeks in hell. Belize City, Belize

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 16th, 2007

Belize is a place that I visited only because I was in the general area.  Back in 1983 when I used to live in Vancouver Canada, I won a photo contest, in which the prize was a trip for two to Mexico with a week’s accommodation. I figured that since I was already down in Mexico, I may as well visit Belize and Guatemala, two places I knew nothing about. The Lonely Planet guidebooks, whilst being very informative rarely ever slam places no matter how bad they are, thereby allowing the traveller to visit countries without negative preconceptions. Years later I was looking through a Lonely Planet guidebook to Belize and right at the very beginning, Belize City was described as “ramshackle and intimidating”.  I went to Belize without a guidebook or any preconceptions. My girlfriend of the time was a blond haired Canadian pain in the rear, henceforth to be known as the “Wretch”.  The Wretch was a moderately attractive, totally self-absorbed brat whose raison d’etre was to make my life miserable by despoiling every experience we shared. She was constant hard work.

On the bus into Belize we met three British officers who gave us a bit of a preview of what we were in store for. The standing order for all British army personnel stationed in Belize, who went off base, was that for their own protection, they weren’t to go anywhere in groups of less than six. We were also told about how the Mennonites lived in communities surrounded by high fences topped with barbed wire and patrolled by guard dogs. Apparently the Mennonite’s adherence to Christian values such as “turning the other cheek” and not prosecuting theft or reporting rape, had marked them as easy meat and they too had to travel in large groups for mutual protection.

Another fellow traveller on the bus was a very big guy from New Zealand. The Kiwi was huge, as in really huge, like a gridiron footballer with the pads on huge. As is often the case with big healthy specimens, he was a happy-go-lucky, confident guy. When we got into Belize City the all too familiar gauntlet of touts that await one at bus depots worldwide was in attendance. The atmosphere was stinking hot and humid. The Wretch, Kiwi and I ploughed through the throng until we found a little food stand where we could sit down, have cool drink and get our bearings. A large scarred, scary looking local thug and three of his friends immediately joined us, seating themselves uninvited at our table. We were asked if we had found a place to stay and if we wanted to smoke any of the local weed. They told about these joints called “bases” where we could go and smoke dope and hang out with locals. I knew these guys were trouble so I declined their overtures of “assistance”. The Kiwi was not deterred, quite the contrary, he was intrigued and wanted to go to a “base”. So off the Kiwi backpacker went with the scary people. That left the Wretch and I free to argue and find a place to stay without an entourage of predators.

Rule number one: When you are travelling, don’t let strangers know where you are staying. Particularly scumbags who hang out at transportation hubs.

After we found a fleapit to dump our bags, we argued our way back into the centre of town. We were surprised to come across the Kiwi giant buying a bus ticket, so we went up to him and asked him why he was leaving already. The Kiwi was in a real state of panic. He told us how he went to the base and got stoned with the scary people. He said that at first he wasn’t worried because he felt he had their measure and he was sure he could have mopped the floor with all of them. The trouble was, that more people kept coming in and they were obviously confederates of the scary people. As the number of his new found friends grew, the scary people started to suggest that the Kiwi should give them lots of money. To which the Kiwi bolted out of the base and straight to the bus station to get out of town as quickly as possible. He was totally freaked out.

canoe.jpg

 The “city” in Belize City is a scandalous misuse of the word “city”. From now on I will refer to the place as “Belize Shithole” as this new appellation more accurately describes this stain on the planet. 

Belize Shithole in 1983 was a sprawling shantytown populated mainly by the belligerently aggressive descendents of slaves brought over from Africa to log mahogany in the fetid tropical swamps. I’ve read about how slaves were sometimes bred like cattle to make their issue bigger and stronger and this seemed to be the case with the denizens of Belize Shithole. The Belizeans are generally a big healthy lot who have lost their sense of who they are or how they should behave. This goes double for the younger ones. They weren’t Africans any more, nor were they English, Mexican or Carib Indian but they knew they were black and they’d seen how blacks were portrayed on American T.V programs. One of the really criminal things that the American entertainment industry has inflicted on the world is the “jive-ass nigger” stereotype that was ubiquitous on T.V. back then. You know the one, the profane, loud mouthed, garishly dressed, drug-dealing pimp from the ghetto. The older Belizeans spoke with a down-to-earth Caribbean accent. The tragedy of the younger Belizeans I had anything to do with, was that they all seemed to be under the delusion that they were bit players in an episode of the execrable “Beretta”.   Typical of the style of conversations I endured was this exchange I had as I was walking down the street with the Wretch:

Huge scary muscular local (HSML)
“Hey man yo wanna buy some peanuts? Dey keep yo pecker up all night!”

Me
“No thanks”.

HSML
“Yo wanna smoke some Belize Breeze (marijuana)?
“Yo feel de riddem of de place and you get riddo yo honky squareness”.

Me
“No thanks”.

HSML then steps between the Wretch and I and gets right in her face and says:
“Wotcha dooin with that pasty white boy?”
“A Belizean man hold you tight all night!”

Wretch
“F#%k that shit, it’s too hot!”

The other stereotype that was affected by Belizean youth was that of the Rasta. There were quite few Belizeans who looked and spoke like spaced-out, dread-locked Rastas. Although the Belizean Rastas listened to Bob Marley and regurgitated his sentiments, they were essentially the same as the jive-ass clones in that they wanted to intimidate me from my money and interfere with the Wretch. Nearly every Belizean I met, less than thirty years of age was playing out some kind of unnatural affect and was incapable of conversation beyond their twenty second spruik hustle. I tried scratching the surface only to find nothing of interest. No ideas. No insight. These people were just life support systems for mass media stereotypes.

rasta.jpg

 My money was getting low so I arranged a funds transfer from my bank (the Royal Bank) in Vancouver to the Royal Bank in Belize Shithole. Even though the funds were to be transferred by wire I had to wait for two weeks with the Wretch in what is possibly the worst place on earth I’ve ever visited. I consider myself a bit of a pioneering connoisseur of shitholes, I’ve been to Palembang in Sumatra and Hat Yai in Southern Thailand in the mid seventies,  neither place compares in sheer unpleasantness to Belize Shithole.

Every day was an alarming ordeal of intimidation and super heated humidity. Near the markets were belligerent speedboat owners; spruiking trips out to the cays, who got down right antagonistic when we said we didn’t want to go out in their boats. Everyday for two weeks these hustlers would aggressively hassle us, as we had to pass them on the way to the bank to see if our money came. Everyday came with some huge guy walking up to me and a faking a punch to make me flinch. Each day the Wretch would get propositioned right in front of me like I wasn’t even there. It was like the whole town was slapping me in the face and daring me to do something about it.

The entire place had a bad vibe. I even saw a grown man just walk up to a child looking after an orange stall in the marketplace and help himself to the produce, then threaten him with violence when he tried to get the oranges back. No one batted an eyelid, never mind helping the kid. It was all so dog eat dog. People of African decent made up the vast majority of the population of Belize. Many Belizeans culturally identified with African Americans, who as a minority group in the U.S were often victims of racism. The paradox was, that many Belizeans were openly racist. Once as I was walking down the street, I saw a guy, standing at the doorway of a shop, yelling at the top of his voice, “HEY CHINAMAN!” “HEY CHINAMAN!” “GET YOUR YELLOW ASS OUT HERE!” “I WANT SERVICE!” Sure enough, a cowed an old Chinese guy came out to serve.  It was sad to watch the guy in the street just bark at the terrified old man as his purchase was made.

shop.jpg

 One day two German women came running up to us in tears pursued by a couple of the local lads. They were in near hysterics and explained that the guys were harassing them and they were very frightened. When the pursuers saw that the women might have some back up they veered off.  The Germans were looking for a place to stay overnight so they could go to the cays the next day. So I took them to the dump we were staying at and got them a room.  The Wretch was furious at me for helping them because we had to walk all the way back to where we came from. The wretch once told me she thought helping people and decency were practiced by stupid weak people. Several months after I got back to Vancouver the Germans sent me a letter thanking me and saying what a great place the cays were and how bad Belize Shithole was in comparison. We would’ve gone out to the cays but the bank kept on telling us the money would be coming in the next day or so.

Finally our money arrived and we left for Guatemala straight away. Our stay in Belize had been such a drag and the irony was, that nearly every local who bothered us, told us to make sure that we told other people outside of Belize what a great place it was.

Yes sir! 

Belize…… a great place…… to leave!

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59 Responses to “Two weeks in hell. Belize City, Belize”

  1. lopez Says:

    honestly i think that belize is a very beautiful place and dont know why people talks shit about it. if you dont know belize thats well you cant be talking shit about it maybe if you travel everywhere and evens the cayes thats a different stories so dont call it a shit hole, someone else poisen is someone else food

  2. razzbuffnik Says:

    >dont know why people talks shit about it.

    I’m not the only one who didn’t like the place. I spent 2 weeks in Belieze city and without a doubt I rate it as the worst place I’ve ever been to.

    I’ve travelled very extensively for extended periods over many years so I feel I know a shit hole when I see one. In 1982, Belize city was definately a world class grade “A” shit hole.

    >if you dont know belize thats well you cant be talking shit about it.

    I’m not even sure what you mean.

    >maybe if you travel everywhere and evens the cayes thats a different stories so >dont call it a shit hole,

    I said in the post that I didn’t go to the keys. If you read carefully you will see that the post is about Belize City exclusively.

    >someone else poisen is someone else food

    That’s the truth. Perhaps Belize City has changed in the last 25 years. I sure hope so.

  3. anna Says:

    it all depends on your experience and where you go in belize, belize city is not the greatest place even any local would tell you to stay away from there. on the most part i personally find belize very beautiful and rich with culture and friendly people, i have been there a total of 6 times and i cannot wait to go back which i’am next month, also when i go i do not stay in touristy areas but i also don’t stay in belize city except to catch a bus or grab something to eat….overall I LOVE BELIZE

  4. Epicurienne Says:

    Hey Razz,

    have you read The Full Montezuma by your fellow countryman, Peter Moore? He mentions some similarly interesting experiences re: Belize and I think you’ll enjoy reading about his then girlfriend, too. Check out his website:
    http://www.petermoore.net
    When he comes to London he e-mails his fans to see if they want to join him for a beer. You’d probably have an even better chance as you and he live in the same country (albeit a huge one).

    Epic

  5. razzbuffnik Says:

    “have you read The Full Montezuma”

    No I haven’t. To be honest I don’t tend to read that many travel books (they make me jealous) but I’ll keep my eye out for it. I’d be interested to read if other people have had similar experiences to me in Belize.

    It would seem that many people just go to the resorts nowadays.

  6. brooks Says:

    What kind of contest leaves you stranded? The picture of the fake Rasta is great.

  7. razzbuffnik Says:

    I’d made arrangements with the contest organisers to extend my trip by going back later. It wasn’t their fault, it was mine…… as usual

  8. Belize Boy Says:

    I was in Belize last week. It was my second visit there and both times I have loved it. Just because a place isnt super rich and doesnt have a 5 star hotel on every corner, that doesnt mean its a shithole. I LOVE BELIZE!

  9. razzbuffnik Says:

    Belize Boy

    You obviously didn’t read the whole article.

    Who said I was talking about 5 star hotels? I was talking about Belize City and the experiences I had with the people there.

    Anywhere, where walking down the street is such a hassle and where there are so many badly behaved people, rates as a shithole in my book.

  10. Belize Boy Says:

    What year were you in Belize?

  11. Belize Boy Says:

    What I mean is what was the year when you visited Belize

  12. razzbuffnik Says:

    Oh for goodness sakes! Read the first line.

  13. Belize Boy Says:

    Sorry I guess I didnt read the beginning well enough

  14. Belize Boy Says:

    but belize has changed a lot since 1983

  15. razzbuffnik Says:

    What about Belize City?

  16. Belize Boy Says:

    It wasn’t that bad when a visited Belize city last month.

  17. Pat Coakley Says:

    Two weeks to get money transferred? That would have been reason enough for me to call it a shithole. The Wretch. Um..I have to ask. What was her appeal in the first place? She sounded like she may have been brought up in Belize City. (”totally despoiling any experience we might have..) Anyway, I’m not ever going there. I don’t care whether I win a contest with a 5 star hotel in the new and improved Belize City. Not going. No way. Mind made up by Razzbuffnik’s travel guide.

  18. BarryB Says:

    I been many times to Belize and will continue to make the trip. Belize City is no different to any other city so ppl need to stop talk shit about it. Most people of the city are warm kind hearted people it’s just a small minority that cause bull shit like every city across the globe, YEP even in Canada and Thailand. It’s history is probably more fascinating than most and the one thing i can say about Belize, the words ‘free’ actually means something. So enjoy it and Belize does not only consist of one small city, It has alot to offer and amazing places to explore.

  19. razzbuffnik Says:

    Belize city isn’t the same as any other city. I been to many cities all over the world so I’m sure I can speak with some authourity on the subject.

    Are you trying to say that what happened to me isn’t true?

    What does “free” have to do with anything that was mentioned in this post?

    I thought that Belize city was such a ugly place full of more bad people than I care to endure, that I’ll never go back there.

  20. Dan Says:

    you visted Belize when it was 1983…there have been tons of changes from since then. I must agree that belize city isnt the safest place in the world, but you cant call it a shit hole just because of one place. belize city is the last place you would wnat to stay overnight at. even for locals its dangerous. but the other towns in belize are way better than the city, so dont com to a conclusion based upon one bad experience in belize city, and who knows, u probably just stayed at a bad area.

  21. razzbuffnik Says:

    Dan

    I can call Belize City a shit hole because it was when I was there. What I didn’t say (and you might want to read a little more carefully), was that the whole country was a shit hole.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    I am a Belizean, and it is quite unfortunate that you never met other people but the degenerate of society in Belize City. I will not deny that they exist, but to post a blog giving the entire world the impression that Belize only has these type of people, does not do justice to the many excellent people who live here. In addition, Belize City is not the best place to visit to get an overall impression of the country – we have other districts that have a whole lot to offer. If you had more money on you at the time, you could have stayed in a nicer hotel and maybe you would have met nicer people. The same probably applies if I went to the United States or elsewhere. Every country has degenerates and poverty – Some more than others. It is a pity you did not have one positive experience while you were here, to give more balance to your blog. If you ever want to visit Belize again, I would personally arrange tours for you so that you can write another blog that is more balanced.

    V.Vellos
    Belize City
    vlvellos@yahoo.com

  23. razzbuffnik Says:

    V.Velos

    I’ve travelled very extensively and without a doubt, Belize City is the worst place I’ve ever been to. I also lived in the US for two years and I’ve been back about 6 times since and sure enough there are some unpleasant places there, but none as consistently bad as Belize City.

    I would also posit that one shouldn’t have to spend vast sums to isolate oneself from the local population when travelling. Isn’t the idea of travel to meet the local people? I met quite a few of the locals in Belize city and I found them sadly lacking.

    Thanks for the kind and generous offer to show me around, but to be honest I won’t be going back there.

  24. BB Says:

    Absolutely the biggest shithole I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m reffering to Belize city. The low life assholes won’t leave you alone for 1 second on the streets and are constantly begging for handouts. The got right in my gf’s face several times callin her “precious cargo”. No sense , no manners, no ambition. What a shitpot of losers. Take Belize City and shove it right back up your ass cause thats what it is A Huge Pile Of Shit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully another huge hurricane will wash the turd out to sea!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Missing Belize Terribly Says:

    Perhaps you have to be born and raised in a place to truly appreciate its charm and idiosyncrasies. I am a Belizean but more importantly a true daughter of Belize City as I was born and have lived my entire life in that city up until late last year. I am also of the south side of the city spending all my life in one of the most poverty-stricken neighbourhoods where I interacted from an early age with many of the characters you describe so eloquently (its not only foreigners whose had those experiences). Last year I had the opportunity to come to Taiwan to study and so I am currently living in a world quite different from my own. There are no street thugs and crime is virtually unheard of (something I am sure not even the safest North American City can boast), its infrastructural development, technological advancement and economic progress are decades ahead of Belize. Yet I find myself in the small hours of the morning scouring the internet for a semblance of “my paradise lost” that can quiet my restless heart until

  26. Missing Belize Terribly Says:

    I am able to return home. Imagine my displeasure and anger when I happen across your blog that describes my home as a “shithole” and refers to my people in such a derogatory manner. While I cannot or would not attempt to refute your experiences as I was born in 1983 so my memories of Belize City are of a different time than yours and I can by no means romanticize the city as I am intimately aware of the many societal ills that plague us, (ills that a recent trip to Manila and Bangkok taught me are universal in most urban settings). I do believe I can authoritatively say that Belize City and most importantly the thousands of residents who are friendly, brilliant, hard-working and industrious people are not deserving of the gross generalizations you so irresponsibly toss around in your tirade. Additionally, I question the relevance of your blog as any sensible human being would be quick to realize that there would be a world of difference between a 1983 and 2009 experience of Belize City. I am however, personally ecstatic that you choose never to return to my beautiful country as I am sure you can never truly appreciate it. Personally, I cannot wait to return home where I can breathe in deeply the fresh air, feel the warmth of the summer sun on my rich caramel skin and lie in my hammock on my verandah enjoying the cool breeze blowing from the Caribbean sea. And, I reiterate, I live in Belize City, in one of the poorest neighbourhoods but yet I can enjoy comforts that many North American pay thousands of dollars to experience, just my luck I guess…

  27. razzbuffnik Says:

    Missing Belize Terribly

    Do you really think that if people behave badly that it should go unremarked?

    As any sensible person (who can read that is) can see, the article was written about experiences that happened in 1983. Sure, you can get your panties into a bunch about what I said about my experiences back in 1983, but Belize City at the time, was in my opinion, based on how most of the people I had any contact with, a complete and utter shithole in the first degree. Also what I wrote about concerns they way how people behaved to me and around me, so how can that be a generalisation?

    I’ve been to plenty of poorer countries for extended periods and I can say without any doubt that Belize City was BY FAR the worst place I ever had the misfortune to visit. As a matter of fact, Belize City stands out as a truly bad place. Most people around the world are friendly and kind, whereas I the people I came across in Belize City were, aggressive, rude and threatening.

    Also, why the comment about the colour of your skin? Plus, who cares what many North Americans pay thousands of dollars to experience? I wonder who’s making assumptions based on their particular prejudices.

    I’m glad you love your home because it would be a bummer for you if you didn’t. If you can’t deal with the fact that I’m not interested in being quiet about the horrible experiences I had in Belize City back in 1983, I’d suggest that you go and stick your head back in the sand.

  28. I am asian and i gew up there Says:

    As you mentioned, you visited in 1983. It’s about 26 years since you visited. There are changes and improvements made.

    As an Asian girl who grew up there. I can honestly say yes, the locals there can be openly racist but NOT ALL.

    Things have certainly upped levels since 1983. In 1983 Belize alone was just starting to build from its Independence. so i can see how frustrated you are about the trip.

    Never the less, as people have mentioned above. There are beautiful things in Belize, off the top of my head…The Rio Frio Cave, the great blue hole, the maya ruins, 1000 ft fall and san pedro. 26 years later in 2009 Belize does have more to offer.

    And your trip was in 1983.

    But those pictures, especially the first one. the building to the upper left hand corner. that is history now. its currently a water taxi that takes you out to the cayes. Then next to it should be an insurance building and then next to that should be a 3story building. The 3rd floor of that building should be the Canadian embassy if am right.

    Thanks for the pictures, love em. Makes me wish im there now so i can take after pictures of those places now. 2009 Belize vs 1983 Belize.

  29. dave Says:

    Just got back from one month in Belize in Feb.2009. Outside of Belize City the country is beautiful,the people are friendly and it is relatively safe. Wish I could say the same for Belize City, still a shithole. I would recommend anybody traveling to avoid this city. We were two canadian guys backpacking and were constantly harassed by the local cretins. The city is majority black with very few other mixes. While we were there a tourist was slashed with a knife for not giving money to one of the creeps. Most places were went, the locals say they avoid the city. I have traveled all over Asia, Europe and much of Latin America and I can say this is the most dangerous place I have seen.

    Next trip we will fly into Cancun and take the bus down to Corozal, then out to the Cayes. I won’t go into this cesspool again.

  30. Yezzur Says:

    How interesting to see that razzbuffnik’s post way in 2007 has still been getting comments as recent as this year. I guess you struck a chord with many ppl, some agreeing and some disagreeing with you. It is too bad, and too sad that your experience in Belize City was such a dreadful one way back in ‘yester-years’. You are in fact totally free to express your views of the City as you wish, but for someone as ‘worldly’ and as ‘experienced’ as you are sir, I believe you could have described it in better terms (sh*thole). I did like how you did go into ‘great’, ‘vast’ amount of detail as to why you didn’t like it and thought of it as a sh*thole, since that sadly were your only experiences there. But it is only your loss that you were traumatized with that one visit, as you will not see how much the City…yes i said it THE CITY has to offer.
    People in the city are very friendly, and most have quite a local charm to them. While I do agree that there are still some places in Belize City that can be deemed as dangerous, this is true for all urban places in various countries of the world.
    The food is also an extraordinary aspect of this busy city. Belize is very diverse, and is virtually a melting pot of different ethnicities and backgrounds all of which shine through in the food. Probably one of the richest, and more traditional foods you can find, still retaining its own Belizean spin to it. It seemed to me that in 1983 you probably just walked from the bus stop, to your hotel, to the bank, and places in between these areas. Now for someone as travelled (or so you claim) as you are, you did generalise Belize City quite abruptly for just a two week stay. I believe you probably got so dicouraged from your first day experience that you failed to really venture into what the City really had to offer.
    Well i won’t even scratch the surface of what else lies outside the city because 1. I wouldn’t be able to finish today and 2. It’s clear that you want everyone to narrow-mindedly focus on your two week experience in the city. Right?
    Anywho to each his own. And I am glad you won’t be visiting Belize again, because someone with such a thin view of the city wouldn’t ever be able to appreciate it. So we both win right…. but Belize isn’t worried, today tourism has grown to be the number one industry in the country, so I guess your post on the views of Belize City has LONG EXPIRED in the hearts of many contented tourists. So although we always welcome and appreciate every visit, I think you not coming won’t hurt us much.

    Big up to all the ppl dat tried so hard to convince Razzbuffnik otherwise…. but all in vain lol. (loved your post ‘missing belize terribly’)

    Yu cud ker di donkey da riva bank nuff times but yu cyant mek y drink :D

    LOVING BELIZE CITY 4EVER

  31. sherry mckean Says:

    I am from Texas. I have been here many times and I am telling all of you this.. The Dude that seems like his a rastafareen (sp)? is not what is real about Belize.. What is real is this; it is about the people and their work ethics and their honesty… I have never seen anyone some pot or do drugs.. On the contray, I am bringing my kids here for the New Year and believe me, I am conservative and would never subject them to such. After all, the world is huge and I can go anywhere, but the fact is,l I love it here… Go Figure..

    Sherry McKean Amarillo Tx.

  32. razzbuffnik Says:

    Yezzur

    How could what I experienced be a generalisation? What happened, happened. What are you going to tell me? That when I experienced the daylight, that it was in fact night? If people behave badly towards me then I’m going to tell other people about it and warn them.

    Life is too short to go back to shitty places and two weeks is plenty of time to get a feeling for a town. Like, I’d want to keep hanging around subjecting myself to more crap? Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

    As for the food, you have to be joking. It was way over priced (even way back then) and very ordinary. Perhaps there’s been a cooking revolution since I’ve been there. I hope so.

    For my time and money there are far better places with much nicer people, cities and food. Vietnam for instance, is way, way better.

    Sherry

    First off, I was taking about Belize City not the whole country (how many times am I going to have to say that?). Secondly, about not seeing drug use, all I can say is that it was very common in Belize City when I was there and perhaps the place has changed. I certainly hope so as it’s pretty hard to imagine it getting any worse. By the way the link in your name doesn’t work.

  33. alaa jundi Says:

    belize city,belize is the greatest place ever i live there for 17 years n i loved it and i plan to go back very soon to live.see yo soon bze

  34. Elena Says:

    It’s more than 20 years later and Belize City hasn’t changed that much. Samantha Brown came to do a show for Discovery Channel a couple of months ago and she was harassed and had a terrible experience that it got reflected on her blog and in the program aired on Discovery. Belize is a country that lives on tourism and if we accepted that we are far from where we should be, may be we could do something about it. But the mentality here is to proudly justify the status quo by saying, “this is Belize”, rather than seeing that such an expression is only a poor excuse for our shortcomings. Honestly I hate to hear that people are blinded to reality. Belize City is definitely not the place I would choose if I were a tourist with tons of other options. Services are not bad, they are the worst, starting with banking, following with transportation, ending with facilities. I am a relaxed person, I do not expect 5 star hotels nor limousines, but what about a smile or some help from the people around, good hospitality and not hostility, good services to make my life easier and not obstacles to make my life harder when it shouldn’t be. I am sorry that I can’t say anything better, but I believe that we need to understand where we stand and be self-critical in order to become the City we should be.

  35. adam Says:

    Belize is a beautiful country. Belize City on the other hand is a total cesspool shitzone. I was there in 1997 and it is disappointing to read that it hasn’t changed. They had a bad hurricane hit there in 1974 and when I was there it looked like they never fixed ANYTHING. Open sewers, stoves and refrigerators in the river, flies buzzing everywhere, and an overriding feeling of dread… the place is a mess. And if you walk off the main street into the “residential areas” (clap board barn ghettos) you may not come back alive. It’s that scary.

    AVOID BELIZE CITY.

  36. Jenny Says:

    I visited Belize 2 years ago and the whole experience was a complete disappointment. If you are going to spend $1800~$2000 on a one week vacation, I highly recommend you to avoid going to belize and go somewhere else where it’s worth it. It’s a tourist trap that traps you once you are in there, and sucks every penny out of you before you get out without providing the equivelent values back. I visited the keys, Belize city, Belmopan, and even to San Ignacio… The only place that “may be” worth the visit would be the keys. However, I’ve been to more than 10 beach destinations all over the world, for $300 a night, you can get a 5 star all inclusive resort in Cancun where the food and facility is way way wayyyyyyyyy better. Belize city is … how should I say.. not a nice place to stay. Despite the locals on the street bothering you every 5 minutes and ask you to buy something or want to hook you up w/ some good deals, the whole place just gave me a very negative vibe. Almost everywhere I go, people keep asking me to spread the “good words” about belize so more Americans will come there to visit. So here are my words about Belize – Stay Away! Save your money and go somewhere else!

  37. Jenny Says:

    As far as for the Keys, I have my doubts whether that’s the true Belize or it’s just a make-believe island for the tourists. I have traveled 30 countries and around the world to Europe, South America, Australia and Asia… Unlike other 3rd world countries such as Thailand where tourism has been quite developed, Belize’s tourism is still at its infancy. I can still recall the unsafe feeling sitting down at the local restaurant in Belize City, even with the escorted tourguides. While I was at Belmopan I was billed for $45 for a lunch plate (that would probably cost about $8~$10 in the States) at a shack where there was no a/c… A typical third world country overcharging scam played out on “rich Americans”…
    So overall, imagine yourself stuck at a place with public infrastructure of 50 years ago, overpriced tourists designed/programmed for everything you touch/eat/stay… The world is big. There are plenty of places to go. Skip Belize.

  38. Angela Says:

    If I to judge people by the way they talk I would say some are real dickheads. In 1982 I was living in Belize and eventhou it was not a perfect paradise, it was great, and it is much much better that other places, especially the ones that are at war constantly…. it was not a shithole as some says. No matter where you go Canada, England there will always be bad people… to the weather it is out of human control. Now in 2007 I return to Belize and yes I am not too happy with what I saw, but that is due to all the trafficking of drug that’s coming into the city. Yes like it or not, is it a CITY.

  39. chris daniels Says:

    where ever you the expirence u hav depends on the person that u are inside so if u hav a shitty experince somwhere mayb u should start lookin into yourself for the problem instead of puttin it on sumone else! Im from the united states and im in belize city right now true enough its not the preferred destination but i enjoy the people the culture and the food! If u are a traveler belize city is definitly a destination u should hav under ur belt!

  40. Anonymous Says:

    I am not here to offend anyone but the truth is mother nature has been far way kinder to this country and it’s people in comparison to many other countries. You don’t need to be Albert Einstein to know that. Belize is a diverse nation, both mainland and island and is still a developing nation. Thank God for that, less pollution because Belize is blessed with it’s natural resources. Belize is a part of Central American and the Caribbean. Developed countries are going green to survive. Strange, once upon a time the horse pulled the cart but today many countries has the cart pulling the horse. With the natural disasters occurring worldwide and the wars, recession causing a lot of pain in the world maybe it is the materialistic mentality and greed that man are destroying themselves without realizing it. Belize boasts Maya sites, Barrier Reef, Jaguar Reserve,… rainforests and a zoo that has their animals enjoying their natural habitat not in a cage like other places. All of us must learn to appreciate the natural world and advertise it on the TV, etc. Truth be told, smart, good, bad, dumb and cocky people are found all over the world. Like it or like it not. The bigger the buildings, the harder the earthquake. You can see the glass half full or half empty, it is how YOU PERCEIVE LIFE.

  41. John Logan Says:

    In reading all these post it is very evident that Belize City is a shithole as the author stated. A low down, dirty, dangerous and poor shit whole. A shithole so deprived of any comforting factors that one poster who traveled there will now drive through Mexico, just to avoid Belize City, to get to Belize when he comes back. This however does speak to what else is very evident here. Other parts of Belize, particulary the coast, are so enjoyable to some that they will drive through mexico to get to it. In conclusion our Author has given us a valuable piece of imformation. Belize City is dangerous dont go there. Our posters have then shown us that Belize the country is great for many. So go to Beleize everyone just do it by way of bus from Mexico.

  42. John Logan Says:

    My wife and I will visit Belize soon. i am a very protective type person and have been know to protect myself and family by way of force. Last time my family was confronted by a group 3 men that made it very clear they intended physical harm and would not go away I was forced to use a knife to protect us from harm. My wife and son were able to get away while I was able to inflict a good handful of knife wounds on the asailents. It took probaly less than 30 seconds, which felt like 10 minutes, before I could not keep them off of me. In the end I lost nearly 40% of my blood, 2 of my fingers were cut off, my left wrist was cut like a logger would cut a tree almost to the point off completly cutting my hand off. I suffered multiple punctures and lacerations to my face and shoulder because I had to duck my chin and raise my shoulders while the 3 men tried to slit my throat once i was on the ground. At some point I was able to grab a rock and hit one on the head. His buddies getting scared the police were comming and seeing they now had to drag their punk ass friend to do that finaly left. My point is my mistake was I didnt sink my the blade into these people. I just slashed them. I was hesitant I didnt want to kill them because I didnt want to go to prision. If Im in Beleize city and some jerk off gets in my wifes face and insults her and appears he may assault her can I stick him straight away so this time the thugs are the ones who are bleeding on the ground fighting for their lives? Just small background. i grew up in white in a black neighborhood. 95% of the people were great but 5% taught me that if the “white boy” gets scared then he gets dead. I know me I will not back down from confrontation. i will let insult go especialy in a country thats not mine. But if insult and shit talking gets to graphic and aggresive then I’m gona do what i have to do. Maybe Belize isnt right for me at least the city. Doeas anyone know of an inexpensive beach oriented place that isnt so out of control a white person cant get off a plane?

  43. Richard Says:

    I was delighted by your post about Belize. I had actually thought of smuggling someone through Belize to get them into the USA, but now I know why they have no immigration laws. Speaking of third-world shitholes, I have been to the Philippines four times, and not much has changed in forty years, except some of the roads are now paved. Scamming is a way of life there, and I have learned to expect it. Marcos stole about one hundred years of income from that country… and I mean one hundred years of national wealth from everybody there. Some of the old cronies are still in business, scamming as usual. It must be a cultural thing, like overdriven kareoke, and wowowee…
    Funny that you mentioned the African-American badass attitudes. Today, the list of America’s most dangerous cities was published, and almost without exception, they follow the same graph as the percentage of African-Americans in those cities. How unfortunate. I just don’t get it.

  44. razzbuffnik Says:

    Richard

    I don’t think it’s the colour of the Belizean’s skin that is the issue, it’s the fact that they are culturally adrift and impoverished with no prospects.

    I’ve thought long and hard about the “badass attitude” and I think it comes from feeling disenfranchised. If you get locked out of the society you live in (for what ever reason, be it race, religion, culture or social status) you will get angry and hate right back at those making your life miserable. Any person who doesn’t feel as though they are a part of society won’t have the feelings of “ownership” that leads to better civic behaviour and a desire improve their surroundings.

    Unfortunately, people who have been left on the margins of society with no hope of change, compounded by years of mistreatment, disappointment and belittlement look to anti-hero stereotypes, and that’s where I think the “badass attitude” comes from.

    There is a huge difference between the ways how American and British TV show black culture and people. Up until recently, US TV has perpetuated the “jive ass” stereotype for African Americans whereas on English TV, blacks are generally shown as people (which is of course what they are) who just happen to look different to the indigenous people.

    When it comes to groups that I don’t like, I’ve decided that it’s not what’s on the outside that matters, it’s what’s on the inside. For me stereotypes are a type of cultural shorthand that has very little worth. To be honest, I don’t like any kind of stereotypes and see such behaviour as an affect. I just wish people would relax and just be themselves instead of picking a personality off the TV to act out.

  45. Michael Says:

    Just been there and it’s a shit-hole!

  46. Tony Collins Says:

    Interesting posts. We’re developing animated screenplay that will feature Belize, and provide “the story” that resulted in the Great Blue Hole. We’ll feature flora and fauna, Maya, caves, steep temples, the Forest King, along with an eclectic mixture of characters. It’s a children’s feature and believe it will bring world exposure to Belize. Are we making mistake?

  47. not going now Says:

    After reading these comments. I will not go to Belize. I have seen the type and can only imagine not coming home. Thanks for the read.

  48. razzbuffnik Says:

    Tony

    From what a lot of people here have said, I’d say that not all of Belize is bad. It’s just Belize City that I’d steer clear of.

    Just about any positive enterprise can’t help but do good, so on that note I’d say go for it.

  49. Belize is hell … or is it? | Sinnvolle Reise Says:

    [...] just stumbled upon a blog article by a bloke who spent 2 weeks in Belize city in 1983 entitled Two weeks in hell. Belize City, Belize. Quote: The “city” in Belize City is a scandalous misuse of the word “city”. From now on I [...]

  50. V.Vellos Says:

    Just to add a little bit more to my comment posted in 2008, since I received a response from the owner of this blog:

    - You don’t have to spend vast sums of money to spend time in a nice hotel here in Belize. You are earning US dollars and can afford anything here in Belize. The exchange rate is $2 to $1. In addition, if you spend your time at the Belvue Hotel, which is located not too far from a bar and situated in front of a street that is the hang out site for degenerates, these are the people you will meet. If you understand the principle of real estate, you know that Location matters! If you spend your time in a guest house on the north side, you may not encounter such “low lifes”. You may pay a bit more, but definitely something you can afford.

    Anywhere you go in Belize you will encounter locals, whether you go on the south side or the north side. However, those persons who are enterprising work and you will not encounter them hanging out on the streets just waiting to have a conversation with a tourist for the most part. From the pictures you posted it seems that you were looking for what looks old and interesting to you. Should the country be blamed because that was your interest. If you meet a weed smoker, what do you expect to hear from that person who is hanging out on the streets? Do you expect them to speak your language? If they did, they probably would have a steady job. A nice place to have visited is the Bird’s Isle Restaurant. There you would have encountered a different set of people – those who work who chose to have lunch there instead of going home to eat mid-day. These people are locals and would provide the intellectually stimulating discussion it seemed that you craved.

    On another note, when you judge certain aspects of our culture for not being original, did you stop to think about your own culture and what aspects of it is original and what aspects are imported. America is a country of immigrants. If today you embrace pizza, for example, and say it is American, did it originate there. As far as I know, and correct me if I am wrong, the indigenous were the Native American Indians. Today America seems to adopt anything….. yoga – this is foreign, all the pagan religions of the east now have a lovely home in America, even the Muslim. Should I then judge America the way you judge my country for being influenced by Jamaica. No, I don’t think so. For when you judge, you condemn yourself because you do not judge from a righteous standard and are guilty, somewhere in the midst of it, of the same thing.

  51. V.Vellos Says:

    To the owner of this blog. I have decided that it is probably best if you disregard my last comment, since you are wondering if you should post it. Also, I realize that I probably should have reread your original post before I responded to your comment to my original comment. At the end of the day, we could be at this all day because intrinsically I have one view and you have another. Thank you for your consideration.

  52. caca fart Says:

    if you don’t like the place why do u need to run of your mouth like a girl

  53. razzbuffnik Says:

    Caca Fart

    If a place is crap, I’m going to warn people about it, it’s the manly thing to do, instead of shutting up and taking it like some cowering dog. Your remark about about women does you no credit and to be honest, if I feel like listening to an asshole, I fart. So who needs you and your brainless comments?

  54. pat coakley Says:

    Well…it’s taken me 10 minutes to stop laughing. I see you are alive and if not well, at least, taking no prisoners.

  55. Razzbuffnik Says:

    Pat

    Hiya, I get notified of all first time comments, by e-mail, so I still drop by. This post sure has attracted some really brainless comments.

  56. Anonymous Says:

    I am living in Belmopan for four months doing an internship and it is extremely boring. I’ve been to Belize City, Placencia, Jalacte, Punta Gorda, Dangriga, San Ignacio, Caye Caulker and San Pedro. I can definitely say that Belize City is an absolute SHITHOLE!! Worst place on the entire planet and I’ve been to every continent, except for Antarctica. I really enjoyed your blog :-)

  57. Anonymous Says:

    Belize City and Caye Caulker I can say with utmost certainty, are the slimyest shitbag places this world of ours has to offer. Belize city is full of nothing but cowards and thugs, overly developed bodies to go along with tiny incompetent brains, thieves and hustlers and crooks. Caye Caulker has a rampant problem of feral child syndrome, little thieving bastards, the island is full of fleas and bedbugs and crack cocaine.

    I can honestly say that this shithole place almost destroyed my zest for travel. I will NEVER return to either the city nor the island.

  58. Anonymous Says:

    We just got back from a cruise where Belize City was one of the ports of call. We took a bus tour of “the city” as we had no idea what the place was like. What an utter disappointment. “Shithole” is being kind. I understand that every city has its shithole parts, but when the TOUR takes you to what is presumably the best the city has to offer, and THAT is tour of a shithole, you can safely presume that the whole thing should be burned down so you can start over.

  59. Ron Says:

    Wow! Great blog post spanning over years of comments and feedback. First off Razz, kudos to you for using a blog for its exact purpose, expressing yourself or your opinion about a topic that people can CHOOSE to read and/or comment on if desired. I feel that if someone feels a place is a sh*thole, and wants to post it publicly, let him. He feels a sense of civic duty and fulfillment about informing others of HIS experience and opinions, well, that is what a blog is for! I feel that if people want to put contradictory comments to defend their beliefs on the particular comment, please do, as you have just as much right to post on a topic that stirs up an emotional response. This has been great back and fourth and I’ve enjoyed reading most of the intelligent insightful responses and rebuttals as warranted.

    I cannot provide a valid opinion of Belize City because I have never been there. Am I happy to have found this post? Hell yes! My wife and I are going to Belize very soon. We did a lot of research and are purposely staying at place 15 miles outside the city due to what we’ve read. There are MANY people that have had the same or worse experiences there, so I dont feel like Razz is just a shock blogger (ha new term, it’ll catch on). There are so many other beautiful places within Belize that I am glad people have posted feedback so I don’t waste a portion of my trip to visit the city with my limited time there. However, if I was a world traveler, I would visit as many places as I could, as the point of world traveling is to experience the world, both good and bad. I live near Chicago, and I could show you towns on the south side of the city where you would get beaten/raped/mugged/robbed/tortured/murdered at 12:30 pm in broad daylight for being white in the wrong place at the wrong time, making the Belize City experience described above look like a walk in the park. However, unlike Belize City, Chicago is massive, and I would hope no one would choose not to visit/explore the entire state of Illinois because there are dangerous places in it. I live in what we call the northwest suburbs, and I could go to work, leaving the front door not only unlocked, but open behind the screen and 1 or 2 things would most likely happen, 1. Our awesome mailman would politely close it for us or 2. Nothing.

    I know an experience from 1983 may not be as relevant to use as feedback which will help guide my trip decisions is year, but I am happy to have read things like this COULD POSSIBLY happen. Mental preparation for these types of things/behavior are invaluable as compared to reading info from the tourist sites stating Belize is full of hardworking, caring people always willing to lend a hand. Now I am armed with the knowledge that the people there may have alterior motives and to be more reserved in my interactions. Thanks to Razz for the post, and thanks to all of you who posted intelligent/personal comments and experiences following, as all of this has truly expanded my knowledge and better prepared me for my trip!

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