Beware Belize



Went on RCL cruise line's outing that cost $49 per person and it was terrible - included a bus tour of Belize City which is a total ghetto type city - ramshackle houses, minimal sights, that lasted about 10 minutes before they drove 30 minutes to the Belize Zoo. We knew we were in trouble when the tour guide said we could use the restroom on the bus or the outhouses at the drop off point before entering the zoo! What a choice. The zoo, if you can call it that, was 29 acres of swampy land with maybe 20 animals TOTAL and maybe 10 bird species TOTAL -- and I paid how much for this! It was terribly hot and humid which I expected and they gave us one bottle of drinking water for a 1 hour walking tour. When half of us stopped to look at some of the animals, those with sandals on their feet were attacked by fire ants that began biting terribly. The guide herself had the same problem and just recommended we keep moving at all times to avoid the ants infestations on the walking paths (which aren't paved). A hot 30-40 minute bus ride back to the Belize Tourism Shopping Village before getting back on our tender out to our ship. Limited number of approved shops where the tourism council evidently monitors the crime, protections and pricing. BIG warning sign that said it you ventured outside of that approved area you did so at your own risk. Needless to say, we exited quickly from the Belize City shore and plan never to return. Lessons: Only good for snorkeling and scuba divers -- all others need not trouble themselves getting off the ship! Even the cruise ship staff said they didn't know why ships were coming to Belize because so many people were disappointed over and over again if they weren't scuba or snorkelers. Last tip - take bug spray and cover yourself liberally all over - I did this as soon as I got off the bus and I think it is what saved me from the fire ants.


Had a similar experience in Belize. I plan to book a cave tubing tour with Reggie next time I am there.


We've been to Belize twice now. Believe it or not it's probably my favorite port (however I'm an avid snorkler) Cathy took the cave tubing (thru the ship) and loved it...Belize is deffinately an Eco-tourism/adventure travel type place. Don't expect lots of commercial stuff. If you like diving/snorkeling it's paradise...If you're a landlover my advice is to go with the Cave Tubing or maybe take a water taxi to Caye Caulker, or Ambergis Caye (San Pedro town) and visit a resort for some beach time. Belize is a place you really have to research before you go (sites like this help alot...fellow @ddicts have saved my vacations several times) Our cruise director (Carnival) warned us as to Belize city itself, and suggested not taking city tours. Sorry to hear your visit went badly maybe in a few years Belize will have more to offer non-diving/non-snorkeling folks...till then get as much advice as you can and plan well in advance.



I think we will stay on the ship in Dec. when we get to Belize. We are not into snorkeling or diving so the ship sounds like the best place for us.

Laurie :wave

Laura E.

That is good to know. We will be in Belize in April 04. My husband and teenager are doing cave tubing with Reggie and our other child is too young to go. I was planning on taking her on the same excursion that you did. Now I will probably try to find something else to do. Thanks for the info.


I have read many comments about Reggie--who is he? We'll be Belize in December--all the comments have been very helpful


Belize is a beautiful country and one that is a great new experience. An organized tour is a must. It is too bad you did not do research on the "zoo" before you sailed. It is a habitat for endangered and wounded species run by the residents. No big bucks here. Reggie Trapp has been a licensed tour guide for more than 5 years. He and his family and friends operate vans and a renovated school bus primarily to Jaguar Paw for the trek in the National Forest and float down the Sibrun River. It is always recommended to bring Deet, not just "Off or bug spray". This is jungle/rain forest country. Reggie will warn you if you need it. He can also arrange a custom tour to your liking (nice for older and younger cruisers). A float down the River Wallace may be nice as well as a stop at the Altun Ha mayan ruins. Contact Reggie via his web site: (I think).

Laura E.

runner1909 - Reggie does cave tubing excursions. We haven't tried him yet but will in April on our cruise to Belize. According to these message boards, he is the best. His web site is :


My fist cruise starts this Sunday. I was planning on the cave tubing, hope it turns out alright.


Without booking a "pricey" excurion off the cruise ship, who can recommend the easiest & most cost effective way to get to San Pedro from the ship?? Want to go to Shark Ray Alley, but don't want to pay the price NCL is offering. Any suggestions??

NCL Dream
11/16/03 from NOLA


Head toward the marina - it is about a 10 15 minute walk from the belize port where you get off the tender. To Key Cauker (sp?) the water taxi is $30 belize dollars round trip for one (15 US dollars) and is about 30 minute ride. San Pedro is the next stop I believe - we got off at Key Cauker and found a boat to take us to a place where they fed the stingrays and nurse sharks - got to pet them - much better than having hundreds of people at stingray city in Grand Cayman.

We were there just last week. Be warned though - the sun is EXTREMELY strong - bring very high SPF sunscreen. I got very sunburned in Roatan the next day despite reapplying twice!


Post Edited (10-14-03 15:24)

Sarah L

As I read through post on this board, the same thought occurs to me over and over...and over again:

Wy it is that people expect 5* (American sytle) facilities and shopping in every port that they visit?

I cruised on the Norwegian Sun to Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan and Cozumel last Christmas. The cruise was terrific, but the ports were FABULOUS (each in their own way).

In Belize we took a tour of the zoo and travelled down the Belize river by boat. I had taken the time to research the destinations and knew that the bathroom facilities were limited and that bugs could be a problem (it even mentioned that on the info provided by NCL!!!!!). How is it that they should be able to have indoor plumbing in the middle of the nowhere like that when half the city would not even have indoor plumbing???

The zoo was formed when a National Geographic series that was being filmed in Belize accidentally resulted in the domestication of several animals. These animals could no longer be returned to the wild, so they were provided with a shelter in which to enjoy their days. Since then, it has become a habitat to wounded or abandoned animals. The tour down the river was also great, as we spotted many of the animals from the zoo in the wild.

Do your research...if you're not into adventurous activities in countries that are still relatively new to tourism...don't go to these ports. Stick to can shop 'til you drop in the tacky straw market.

Each to their own.


Right on - Sarah L !
I am constantly amazed at people on this and other boards who complain when impovrished countries do not have facilities on par with North America. Where exactly do they think the money for this is going to come from ! And flush toilets in the middle of the jungle - give me strength ! As you pointed out most people in these countries do not even have running water. If 3rd world conditions upset you - stay on the boat! However if you are actually interested in what other countries are really like - get off the boat, explore a little, take an excursion, find out something about the rest of the world.
Read the literature provided by the cruise line - it will usually clue you in on what to expect. Do some research. I am amazed at people who go to Belize or Mexico and do not even think of going to Mayan ruins. Shopping can be fun but you can do that at home - how can it compare to seeing the reminants of a great civilization or being in a real rain forest. And guess what away from air conditioned shopping malls there will be heat, humidity, bugs and outdoor toilets. Be prepared.


Wow, glad we are going on our own. We've booked with X-Stream Cave Tubing as they will pick us up right in the port and they only charge $60.00 and I've been reading some great reviews:)

We also looked at doing Goff's Caye- Sun Kissed excursion as the price is really good and I love to snorkel and its the first beach excursion I've seen for Belize!!!

Definitly sounds like a great port, can't wait!!!