Just returned from a great cruise on the Glory. Perfect cruise except Belize. What is the purpose of having Belize City as a port of call......filthy streets, drunks, homeless, begging, nothing that you would want to touch, see, drink, or eat? In all my travels I have never seen such conditions. I enjoy cultural differences, taking part in enjoying local culture and lifestyles, but the conditions in Belize City were not even close to having that. Being greeted by huge street banners asking me to make sure I have a recent HIV test is not the culture sharing I was looking for. I understand from just about everyone that I spoke to that the rest of the country and the sites are very nice and can be enjoyed, hopefully the town is the exception.
When leaving the ship we were given a comment survey card that was provided by the city of Belize, asking for our comments about the city and how it can be improved. I am amazed that they would have to ask total strangers for suggestions on something that should be obvious to everyone.
Please tell me if I missed something of interest in Belize.
You raise some valid points, Franko. I was in Belize last summer as part of a cruise tour. Belize is a developing country to be sure. I remember being stunned by the poverty as we toured the city as part of our excursion. I was particularly struck by the dogs that made their homes on the roofs of homes and businesses and the general decay of the city. That said, I had a fabulous time touring the city followed by a great excursion consisting of cave tubing in the jungle and lunch at Cheers With a Twist.
I was also impressed with Belizians in general. Unlike stops in Mexico and Grand Cayman, I found the people to be more interesting and friendly - rather than opportunistic and rude. This is generally the case where tourism is a relatively new phenomenon. I'll probably be lambasted as a bleeding heart - but tourism dollars will help Belize build more infrastructure/services and will also eventually contribute to a growing prosperity. This prosperity will also eventually be reflected in what we see and visit at tourists. For now, I like to think of it as a diamond in the rough.
On the upside right now, Belize has a stable democracy in a part of the world where political troubles are the norm. It's only a matter of time before they start to reap the benefits of the growing tourism industry and its natural spinoffs. I'll be going back for a second look.
There are quite a few things to do there. It is not a shopping port. We went on
the Cave Tubeing when we went last year. Got to see some beautiful rain forests, and the caves were very cool. It was one of our most favorite tours so far. They are a very poor country. They rely on our tourists dollars to survive. We would love to go back to Belize, you just have to do a tour there. You have to get away from the port a little to see some real beauty.
If you go to Belize City the best thing to do is to take a shore excursion to the cave tubing or mayan Ruins instead of walking the streets there. It is very depressed and what can you expect from a 3rd world country but poverty?
We did Xstream cave tubing and it was AWESOME! Belize is truely bueatiful if you get away from the city and to the rainforest or river.
Looks like we were on the same cruise! We did the coral reef and stingray snorkling in Belize and returned to the ship with only enough time to dump our swim stuff in the cabin and grab a tender to the city. We were not impressed at all, and we only stayed in the tourist part where the tenders dropped you off. Guess it's a good thing we didn't have time to explore the city!
Gotta ask, did you love the folks that made the ship pull back to the dock in Progreso?!!
Never imagined the ship would actually leave knowing folks were not back on board. And does anyone know anything about the passenger that had to be rushed off the ship in the ambulance when we docked?
Believe it Moni - I'm surpised they "went back" - I've never heard of a ship returning for passengers that missed the ship, but have heard from plenty of people that were left!
Funny, Belize is our most anticipated port. We plan on doing the biking through the rain forest to the ruins. I don't particularly enjoy the "touristy" stuff, but like getting a real taste of the county and culture. I'm glad to hear some folks have enjoyed this port - we are really looking forward to the stop.
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We also did the xtream cave tubing and LOVED it ....I could only wish for rain forest and caves like that here where I live...And although I didnt enjoy seeing the town dirty and children probly at age 5 walking the streets to school of a main hwy it gave me alot of hope that us visiting that port could someday help to change that .It also showed me that I take alot of things for granite and how very fortunate my family is and I pray that they will get to experience a tenth of what I have in my life...So although some of you are digusted with the poverty there just try to see things in a different light ......Think that you may be contributing to help make Belize a more beautiful place someday......I would love to make it back to Belize and seei t in ten years I do believe it will change for the better...........
Triumph Jan 8, 2011:-D
Why Not Belize? Sure the country is poor and with the poverty you find all the trappings of a people who are in dispair. Get away from the port and go see something. We took the Mangrove river tour and also the museum. It was not the best tour but we enjoyed it. While in the museum, I picked up a book of short stories written by Belizean women. It really helped me understand the culture better. If nothing else, seeing a country like this helps me appreciate what I have here in the U.S.A.
my family was just on the glory and we went cave tubeing. We really enjoyed it. We drove through the city on the way there and back It didnt seem like a city to spend time in though I did see lots of police which was nice. Also one reason that the city doesnt look that nice our tour guide told us that when a person in belieze turns 18 they get a piece of land and it can be taken away if they dont develop anything on it. The people are poor so somtimes they just put a foundation down making the area not look very nice.
See other post on Belize, we did passion island... rum punch on a catamaran. our walking tour.... all 15 minutes had my husband propositioned to have me killed and a 14 yr. old "put in place" for $20 american $$'s. As dirty man showed shinny gun inside vest pocket.
Mind you we were trashed on the punch and decided to do for a "walk" downtown to check it out, even though the ship said not to. Lucky I hadn't ticked off hubby, yep, propositioned to kill me.. yes, with me standing right there. Umm, no poliece, ran back to he ship that told us NOT to go downtown, where we told our unbelieveable story to our dinner companions, only to have our waiter say how lucky we were to have walked away with out paying off this slug NOT to kill me. We were one side street down about two blocks off the main road.
Reported this to the pusers desk, strongly demanded Belize be removed, wrote a few letters....... the itenerary hasn't changed... the carnival warnings, which are there, are legit!!! Don't walk downtown!!
You people are scaring me. My daughter in in Belize for a study abroad program for her Masters with another 25 other students etc. They are staying at some really nice resorts and doing a few fun things while they do what they are there for. I have been looking at web sites about the city and they seem to be trying to do a good job with what they have to work with. 95% of their money comes from tourism. I read in the Belize paper where Carnival is building a dock and have signed or will sign a contract for 25 years to stop there as a port site, so it will be on the schedule. I think there is crime everywhere. If you look at someone wrong in New Orleans you could get shot or beaten up.
I sound like I am taking up for a place I've never been but I do try to look at things as some others have posted for the real beauty and making myself thankful I don't have to live there. Safety is a issue for us everyday now and you better know how to defend yourself no matter where you are and be safe.
If the ships only stopped at the Cayman's I think we would get bored with all that richness don't you, isn't variety the spice of life.
I found Belize to be very interesting and the people extremely friendly (esepecially when they were trying to sell you something lol) Granted there is a lot of poverty but can you imagine what we as passengers are doing for their economy. We did the Howler Monkey tour and it was great - saw a whole troop and their babies. The countryside was really very beautiful when you look past the houses. It can only get better but we have to have a little faith in the future of Belize. TTFN Jennifer
We have been to Belize four times now and while we did find the city itself to be run-down and poor we had no problems with any local and they all seems friendly. They weren't even pushy in trying to sell you good, rather just friendly. My wife and I walked all over the city on two occasions and enjoyed ourselves. The other two times we did the cave tubing and Xuntanauch (sp) ruins tour and had a wonderful time on both and never once felt any concern for our safety. Undeveloped and poor yes, but the folks there are pretty friendly. The only serious crime that I know of is in the city at night and no ships are there at this time.
Belize was our favorite port last cruise (Paradise in Sept. '03), but we were on an excursion. The people were friendly and our tour guides were very knowlegeable and pleasant. I can't really say anything bad about it. Yes I can, the "paved" road to the Altun Ha ruins was really bad! Everything else was great though. We didn't really tour the city, just drove through it on the way back to the ship, but it didn't look too bad from the bus window. Many opportunities for tipping though, take plenty of small bills!
I hadn't read the article Anita but did know that CCL was making lots of commitments to Belize as a Port of Call. I really have not heard of any problems with crime against cruise ship passengers. As I said, my wife and I walked all around the city a couple of times and never felt threatened in any manner. Now one area had a very foul odor to it so we believe sanitation wasn't very good in that area. <G>
My kids 8 and 5 year old kids have lifetime memories as they had a terrific time on the Shark Ray Alley Tour in Belize. I would recommend anyone going to Belize try this out. The kids were able to actually touch the stingrays as they swam by in 8-10 feet of water and there were nurse sharks and a barracuda swimming by.
We also ate lunch in San Pedro at Big Daddy's. The food was good and the hosts and boat tour guide were helpful and friendly. We walked around town for over an hour. The town was not the wall to wall tourist stores like Mexico but we purchased a carved stingray for $20 and it now sits in our display cabinet. You can actually get a map of San Pedro on the internet so you can check out some specific stores or sites.
I would stay away from Belize City but would enjoy the other parts of Belize. I have heard good things about the Caye snorkelling and golf tours as well.
It is nice to see Carnival supporting a developing tourist area and hopefully over time things will improve in Belize City. I would take Belize anytime over my past cruise experiences in Jamaica where the locals constantly harrassed the tourists.
I was wondering if you could give me some information about cave tubeing in Belize. We have booked with extreme tubing and wanted to know if you should tip the guide or do they not want you to? We just want to know approx how much we need to take with us on that excursion. What is an approximate amount per person if we do need to tip? Thank you for your help
We just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Elation last week. However, when we arrived in Belize city we were turned around due to a Port Strike!! We had to turn around and spend the day at sea. The captain made the wise decision to venture to Playa Del Carmen instead. Good choice, it was much more fun!!
Someone wrote "It is nice to see Carnival supporting a developing tourist area"
I don't see it that way.
I believe that Belize is on the itinerary is because of it's proximity to other islands but mostely because of it's cheap docking fees for the cruise ships. If the country was truly interested in maintaining and continuing to increase the tourists visiting there, a more concerted efford would be made by the government to begin cleaning the City up.
I will have to think twice about our next cruise if Belize is on the itinerary (even though there are many positives to visiting there).
On our first cruise, our first port was Belize. We were so dissapointed not knowing what we were in for we didnt book any excursions since being Canadian and with the exchange rate most excursions were beyond our budget. We thought we would get off the tenders walk around and see a beatiful country. But as stated above we were wrong. We ended up getting our two teen daughter's hair braided then looked around for a short while then back to the ship. One thing my husband did mention to me was that for a very poor country the majority of the shop personel had cell phones hanging from thier belts or they were on them.... It would have been nice to know before hand that there would not be a beach we could go to nearby.
Next up Elation Aug 23 '10
then the Miracle again Feb 7,2011
hockeyluver, One thing you see in most countrys other than North America is a great abundance of cell phones. In these countries it is cheaper than "regular" phone service would be. Imagine trying to run phone lines into some of the places you saw. Here in the U.S. we assume that people who are on cell phones must have at least some disposable income. In other countries, even the poor have them.
Well to be quite honest, you need to do research before you travel anywhere as there dangerous places in many city's in the world including many US destingations for that matter.
We did a lot of research with Belize and I think we made a great choice. We read that Belize City is like any central american city and they are never that beautiful or safe. We picked a trip with X-Stream Cave Tubing as it offered what we wanted, saw rainforest which is stunning, caves which are unique to Belize and spectacular and our guide Richard, a Belizean was so knowlegeable about his country a true embassador.
There are damagerous people everywhere ( ever been to New York) the secret is to cruising and ports is to find the best thing to do at each port to see the best of each place. There is good and bad everywhere!!!