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-   -   Belize - Don't Go! Warning about Belize - Dangerous! (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/caribbean-panama-canal/316251-belize-dont-go-warning-about-belize-dangerous.html)

Bob Andrew June 26th, 2006 08:50 PM

Belize - Don't Go! Warning about Belize - Dangerous!
 
Belize - Don't Go! Warning! Family of 4 just returned from a great cruise on Carnival Glory - - with the exception of Belize! The people there are very rude and desparate, won't take "No Thank you" for an answer. Seriously, our experience in Belize was so bad that it is our hopes that at least one family will read this and avoid a cruise that has Belize on it's itinerary. Must avoid excursion company called "Ecological Tours & Services" - - They are very dangerous and can not be trusted! On our excursion, one of their guides was bit by jelly fish and almost died because the company would not get him medical help! Marvin Deras is the Manager and he is a crook in our opinion!

blueliner June 26th, 2006 09:15 PM

Re: Belize - Don't Go! Warning about Belize - Dangerous!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Andrew
Belize - Don't Go! Warning! Family of 4 just returned from a great cruise on Carnival Glory - - with the exception of Belize! The people there are very rude and desparate, won't take "No Thank you" for an answer. Seriously, our experience in Belize was so bad that it is our hopes that at least one family will read this and avoid a cruise that has Belize on it's itinerary. Must avoid excursion company called "Ecological Tours & Services" - - They are very dangerous and can not be trusted! On our excursion, one of their guides was bit by jelly fish and almost died because the company would not get him medical help! Marvin Deras is the Manager and he is a crook in our opinion!

I was in Belize in October 04, and we had a great time. Everyone was nice and we felt very safe. We did the cave tubing, which was a great time! It was my understanding that the cruise line companies were all pitching in to build a long dock for themselves so they could get rid of the tenders. I also recall a tourist zone where the tenders let you off that was supposed to be a hassel free zone, and we weren't troubled at all, when we said no thank you, they left you alone. If they didn't, I think they and their shop could get kicked out of the zone.

Donna June 26th, 2006 09:28 PM

We did a ship excursion in Belize last year, snorkeling at Goff's cave. It was wonderful! They picked us up right at the ship and returned us to the ship, so no need for the long tender ride.

I realize you may have had an unpleasant expierence there and with that company, but you can't base that on how it is doing other excursions, especially when doing them through the cruiseline.

ute_fan June 26th, 2006 09:34 PM

We've been to Belize twice and felt safe and secure both times. We did choose to book our excursions through the cruise line for this port, just to add to our feeling of security.

We enjoyed shopping in the tourist village too. I don't think I'd want to venture outside the "designated area", but found the tourist village a great place to wander around. Much less pushy salespeople than the ones in Cancun!

kitty2 June 26th, 2006 11:23 PM

Outside the port area it is a bit of a melee with all the guys yelling for you to tour with them.

Inside they will leave you alone if you just tell them no thanks.
I found Cabo to be more irratating ...you have to walk down a long pier and every 2 minutes someone is trying to sell you something.

mehawk June 27th, 2006 08:48 AM

When we were there, we did the shopping thing on the pier and then back to the ship. No hassles

Ron June 28th, 2006 12:13 AM

Belize is just a warm-up for running the gauntlet at Dunn's River
Falls in Ocho Rios.
I've been to Belize 3 times and never had any problems. It's not the kind of place one needs to go wandering off on their own. The tourist village is safe and basically hassle free. Out back of the tourist village are some stalls and small shops. The people there are a little more aggressive but even there I've never had a problem.
Last year I did see a confrontation between a mother and child from the ship and a local lady regarding hair braiding. The mother apparently did not get a price set before the work started and then after the lady had put a couple of braids in the childs hair, started loudly complaining and saying it was robbery, etc. The local lady was actually quite nice for a couple of minutes but finally got tired of being yelled at and came pretty close to mopping the ground with the mother. They finally got it quitened down but it was all the fault of the lady from the ship. I think she was very lucky she didn't get the crap beat out of her. The local lady was a very hefty good sized person. I wouldn't have wanted to tangle with her.
You just don't go into someone elses turf and start a fuss, especially in a foreign country. One of the other passengers told the mother that it was people like her that gave Americans a bad name. Of course, she didn't appreciate that much.
Folks need to get agreed prices and details prior to getting involved in anything.

Jacqueline June 28th, 2006 04:19 AM

Dear Bob,

I am sorry that you had a bad experience at Belize, but I cannot imagine the whole ship had the same experience.
I've been to Belize twice, and had a wonderful time, found the locals very friendly, which cannot be said of some passengers who expect to find a total civilized port.
I loved the shops at the pier, did a great tour to Altun Ha, had a laugh with some locals at a terras. Went snorkeling at Gof's cay, had a great time.

My advise to Bob: go again with a blank mind and see how beautiful Belize and the locals are.

Rude? you find rude people all over the world, even in your own hometown.

Happy sailing the next time!

Darcy June 28th, 2006 09:38 AM

We've been to Belize twice and had a great time. The first time we did the cave tubing and the second went snorkeling at Goff's Caye. We liked it so much we're planning a two week land based vacation there. We found that once you get out of Belize City the local people are very nice and friendly. Trying to compare all of Belize to one small area would be like trying to compare all of the US to the same small area. Let's face it, every country has areas that aren't so great and should be avoided.

kitty2 June 28th, 2006 09:48 AM

Check out the local's stalls behind the shopping at the pier (still inside gates) there is a guy there doing carving. He had some very nice Rosewood bowls for 1/2 of the price the shop charged.
You cannot miss him ...his name is Colin he has a Rasta hat...very nice soft spoken man .

chosen175 June 29th, 2006 11:21 PM

we also had a GREAT time in belize - it was probably my favorite port on our cruise because the land is absolutely BEAUTIFUL and there seemed to be a peace in the air i didn't find in any of the other ports. we did the carnival land rover expedition and they picked us up and dropped us off at the tourism village so we didn't run into any of the pushy people. our guide on the excusion was SO NICE and we had a really long talk with him on the ride. he spoke about his country with such pride and even told us about his family and his upbringing. i'd go back in a heartbeat!

-lisa

fleaberry July 9th, 2006 05:14 PM

belize
 
I think that the most important thing to remember is that you are a guest in a Latin American country and to respect that. I do not go on shore excursions booked through the cruise line, even though they are the recommended way to go. However, I do A LOT of research before I go anywhere and know my itinerary. My sister and I "left the gates" and took a water taxi on our own to Caye Caulker. It was by far one of the best Caribbean trips that I took. Like any city, I carry minimal money, etc. and act like I would say in NYC. We had several people ( mostly men) asking for money, cabs, etc. After looking them in the eye with a stern "no thanks" we had absolutely no trouble. Maybe it was luck..I don't know, but I found the locals to be wonderful, hardworking, people. Were they poor, absolutely. Were they trying to always make a buck from a tourist...for sure but I didn't find anything harrassing about Belize. Caye Caulker is beautiful and off the beaten path. The island is tiny and the children there all ride their bikes from one end of the island to another and are really sweet. I would go to Belize again in a second!

hcat July 9th, 2006 06:52 PM

We booked two ship's excursions. Snorkeling in the afternoon & a carriage tour for the early am. Do you think the carriage our will be safe? It goes outside the tourist village to some of the local sights.

Orion July 11th, 2006 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hcat
We booked two ship's excursions. Snorkeling in the afternoon & a carriage tour for the early am. Do you think the carriage our will be safe? It goes outside the tourist village to some of the local sights.

The carriage tour is perfectly safe. Please understand that Belize has its own Tourism Police and they are all over the place. The city itself is "old New Orelans" and quite charming, especially the vistas of the very old cathedrals and monuments, not to mention the old colonial style wooden homes of the former British colonial elite, now owned by Belizeans and some modern day investors. Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world, and it is gorgeous. Of course there are the land tours to Mayan sites, wildlife centers and river and jungle tours, but THE most popular tour is cave tubing - awesome rainforest and cathedral like cave system that is beautiful beyond description. On board price for that one is about $95 or so, but independent shore operators are spectacularly successful with small, private excellent tours in A/C vans, selling that tour online at between $45 to $65. Try to avoid the cheapie tours - you'll be part of a large group just like the onboard tours. Pick a mid-price range, especially if it says "all inclusive". Any more questions, try info@belizecavetubing.net or others on the net. They will also guide you on the other land, sea or river tours. :D

hcat July 11th, 2006 09:01 PM

thanks for the info--we will stick with our two tours. we usually opt for a ship's excursions esp in places we have not previously visited....the extra cost & sacrifice of being in a larger group is offset by believeing the ship will not leave without us! We have had very good experiences...

hcat July 20th, 2006 08:25 PM

On another board it is posted that some upcoming cruises on Royal carib will not go to Belilze as originally planned due to security issues--has anyone heard about this or have any details/ Our excursions are booked with our cruise line so we would be Ok with a refund if the port is changed....

kd September 4th, 2006 02:43 PM

We have been to Belize twice and the Cave River tubing (with Reggie's) was the highlight of our Panama cruise. We purposely repeated that port on the cruise the following year when we took along several relatives including my 85 year old mother....she didn't do the cave tubing ha-ha. She and I walked the port area and did indeed go outside the gates. It always surprises me that people are aghast that when they visit a very poor island, where YOU are the foreigner, and they think the people are pushy and rude. Or there are comments about how poor and dirty a place is. Well thats probably why they put up with a hoarde of annoying tourists everyday, to make a meagre living. Part of the adventure of cruising is the privilege of experiencing other cultures. We, as North Americans, are not the 'gold standard' for the world. Not everyone wants to be like us either. Our hosts deserve polite and respectful visitors. Personally, we have encountered far more rude and pushy cruisers than locals. This also seems top be the case in many large cities in US and Europe, but I still travel there.
Any Caribbean island has its dangers if you leave the beaten path or tourist areas. Desperate people sometimes do desperate things.
Having said that, I am really sorry that your family had a bad experience.

nmnita September 5th, 2006 12:45 PM

Re: Belize - Don't Go! Warning about Belize - Dangerous!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Andrew
Belize - Don't Go! Warning! Family of 4 just returned from a great cruise on Carnival Glory - - with the exception of Belize! The people there are very rude and desparate, won't take "No Thank you" for an answer. Seriously, our experience in Belize was so bad that it is our hopes that at least one family will read this and avoid a cruise that has Belize on it's itinerary. Must avoid excursion company called "Ecological Tours & Services" - - They are very dangerous and can not be trusted! On our excursion, one of their guides was bit by jelly fish and almost died because the company would not get him medical help! Marvin Deras is the Manager and he is a crook in our opinion!

Bob, I am one that agrees with you 110%. We did a private tour while there 4 years ago; what a disaster. The company name wasn't the same but sounds like a similar tour. I would take a cruise that had Belize on the itinerary, we would just enjoy the ship that day. In fact we did just that 2 years ago when we stopped there. We got off the ship, tendered in, walked around the very pleasant pier mall (though we too found the people very rude) we did venture 1 block off the main drag and picked up some cheap sourveniors, did some bargaining. within an hour we were back on the tender, went to our cabin, changed clothes and enjoyed the rest of the day on ship. if I had time i would write a book about our Eco tour cause it turned out to be very funny. Thank goodness we were with a group with wonderful senses of humor. We laughed the entire week, but at the time it didn't seem very funny..... Everyone has his/her own opinion about ports, Belize is close to the bottom of our list, but I have heard the tubing trip with Reggie is outstanding. NMnita :roll:

patt0122 September 13th, 2006 01:20 PM

I have to agree with Fleaberry.......I do a lot of reseach before I hit any port. You have to realize this is their country and not the US. In my research I have read that outside the city, there is some crime, and to be caucious.....heck I am cautious living in Overland Park, Kansas.......I believe in knowing where you are going, what the culture is like, setting prices prior to doing anything, and just be smart. Be kind to the locals, and for the most part, they are going to be kind back. So many times I have gotten more than I paid for, just by being interested in the people and their culture.

I am sorry you had a bad time in Belize.....my first trip will be there next Thursday.......It happens to be their Independence day that day. I am looking forward to it.....and do plan to take the water taxi to Caulker Caye.
Pat

ramma5 September 18th, 2006 05:36 PM

I am very sory to hear of your experience in Belize, Bob. Yet, you need to know that your bad day will not give such a beautiful place a really bad name.
This was my 5 stop at the Belize Port and it was one of the best experiences I have had since cruising.

Ecological Tours September 18th, 2006 10:42 PM

Greetings from Ecological Tours in Belize!
 
Dear cruisemate members,

There has been a comment/feedback entitled "Belize Don't go! Dangerous" from an irate customer of ours, which can reflect a bad image to our company and our beloved Belize the home of many loving and caring people just plain nice people by nature and it is not just because of this that we have decided to respond to his allegations publicly, on any and all situations there is a two side to a story.

I don't recall the exact date when Mr. andrew took one of our (snorkeling)tours to Shark Ray Alley, but I do recall the incident, our company's objective is to offer a safe reliable and enjoyable product.

For this reason just to summarize what happened, upon arrival at "Coral Garden" one of the sites that we visit on a daily basis, one of our guides jumped in the water to spot check for any thing that can be harmful and be immediately removed, unfortunately as he jumped in he was stung by jelly fish this could have been one of our customers but instead one of our guys prevented that from happening.

Our office is some 20miles away from where this took place, I immediately received a call from our captain and was informed of the situation, my most logical decision was to have our guy transported to the nearby Island of Caye Caulker on one of the park ranger boats to seek medical help so as to not to disrupt the rest of the tour and so said so done, at the end everyone had a good time.

On the contrary Mr.Andrew decided not to participate because he got scared of jelly fish, despite repeated assurance from our guides that it was safe to get in the water.

When the excursion returned to the cruise dock some of the excursioneers them selves said to me infront of Mr.Andrew that the tour was one of the best they have ever taken.

However for some reason Mr.Andrew started demanding a full refund for him and his family of four, because they decided not to participate I generously offered him a partial refund which he did not accept and errupted in a discriminating and abusive manner.

And hence the reason and the motive for him to be making these types of unfair allegations about our company and our Country, even calling me a crook.

I simply don't understand how the moderator of this forum can tolerate and allow these types of reckless behaviour by someone whose clear objective is to simply taint a foreign entity that he did not have his way with, you be the judge.

Thank you all for taking the time out to read and if you have visited Belize I hope you have enjoyed your visit to this beautiful Country!

You got to see it to Belize it! :)

bguppies September 19th, 2006 02:00 AM

Nice to get both sides of the story......

fleaberry September 25th, 2006 09:35 AM

Sorry about your experience Bob. Kudos to the tour company for voicing their opinion. I have to question what someone was doing on a boat with the risks of jellyfish, sharks, etc. in warm tropical water. Look on the bright side....at least you didn't have a run in with a sting ray like the poor crocodile hunter :) For anyone that has never been to Belize I would highly recommend it. Do your homework before you go and have fun.

danacline September 29th, 2006 10:55 AM

I figured this was a good thread to ask my question in...

Isn't Belize comprised of >50% expat Americans? Formerly British Honduras and the official language is English? The official currency the US Dollar? Isn't this country one of the cheapest and prettiest places for old Americans to retire to?

We'll be there next spring break and I'm looking forward to the combo cave tubing and zipline excursion...

Dana

Orion September 30th, 2006 09:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by danacline
I figured this was a good thread to ask my question in...

Isn't Belize comprised of >50% expat Americans? Formerly British Honduras and the official language is English? The official currency the US Dollar? Isn't this country one of the cheapest and prettiest places for old Americans to retire to?

We'll be there next spring break and I'm looking forward to the combo cave tubing and zipline excursion...

Dana

Darn tootin' you are partially right, and absolutly right in a few. Belize remains and English speaking country, retired and active Americans comprise about 8% of the population, and the official money is the Belize dollar, which equals 50 cents US (two Belize dollars to one US dollar). With a population of about 270,000 people and a country the size of Massachussetts (is that spelt right?) and rivers, mountains, caves, barrier reef, Maya ruins, intact tropical broadleaf rainforest, and best of all, about a sozen cultures (three Maya groups - Yucatec, Mopan, Ke'Kchi - Garifuna, Oriental, Afro, Meztiso, Indian, Arabic, Mennonite, Ladino, and Creole) all living in pretty good harmony, great prices on everything, smiles all the time, friendly to a fault - this place is heaven compared to so many others around. Mr. Andrew, you are the exception, rather than the rule, and I agree with one post, you make Americans look bad. I will never forget what a wonderful person once said to me - THE KINDEST WORD IS THE UNKIND WORD, UNSAID. Please, for heaven's sakes, remember that there are three things that come not back - the sped arrow, the past opportunity, and the unkind word. With that said, my advice is - we have dealt with Marvin Deras; the man is not an iota of crook, but a straight forward tour operator with a great reputation. To all cruisers - plan right, ask questions, settle prices, well before you sign up for a tour - and if you have a problem while in Belize, TERMINAL TWO HAS AN OFFICIAL DESK OF THE BELIZE TOURISM BOARD. PLEASE TAKE YOUR COMPLAINTS THERE, AND THE BTB WILL DEAL WITH THEM IMMEDIATELY - they are the ones who issue licences to guides and tour operators. There is also an organization called FECTAB - the Federation of Cruise Tour Associations of Belize. These guys will help with any situation as best as possible. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, SEEING IS BELIZING - come to Belize - mother nature's best kept secret !!!!

kittcat September 30th, 2006 11:22 PM

Belize is one of four stops we are going to for our first cruise and I have never been at any of them. All I have to say is that this port is one that I am looking forward too the most. So whatever anyone says I will go with an open mind and experience Belize for myself and if I don't like it I have to remember that I am Vacation and I chose to see other areas of the world. But I am sure I will enjoy it!

Orion October 1st, 2006 07:33 PM

Ya Gotta Belize It !!!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kittcat
Belize is one of four stops we are going to for our first cruise and I have never been at any of them. All I have to say is that this port is one that I am looking forward too the most. So whatever anyone says I will go with an open mind and experience Belize for myself and if I don't like it I have to remember that I am Vacation and I chose to see other areas of the world. But I am sure I will enjoy it!

Good for you "kittcat" - questions? Ask the guys at belizeshorex@yahoo.com before you take off. :?:

Ron October 1st, 2006 11:29 PM

Was in Belize for my 4th time just last week. Didn't have any problems, didn't hear of any nor see any problems.
Relax, keep an open mind and enjoy. Belize is a very pretty country with interesting people.

welchkin October 4th, 2006 06:21 PM

We just visited Belize as one of our ports and that was the most fun on the entire cruise. we went cave tubing and did the arerial trek with Nacho and Cynthia with ncq adventures. They were very nice and we felt perfectly safe the entire excursion. I would reccomend them to everyone!

Sheik October 5th, 2006 06:15 AM

@Ecological Tours

My sister and her husband had a wonderful time thanks to your company. They had a great time in Belize (people/nature) and will go back in a heartbeat.

Thanks for your side of the story. Because of the good reviews, you have my vote when I visit Belize.

I think Bob has a problem with the world...he shows no respect to nothing at all.


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