Belize Warnings Or Dangers Tips by Bwana_Brown Top 5 Page for this destination
Belize Warnings and Dangers: 59 reviews and 28 photos
A morning scene as the traffic begins to build
After coming from the laid back atmosphere of car-less Caye Caulker, the streets of San Pedro on Ambergris Cay were a bit of a shock. The traffic here on the narrowish streets consisted of a varied mixture of large trucks, cars, golf carts (electric and gas), bicycles and pedestrians (since there were not always sidewalks). Some of the streets were one-way, so there was no 'safe' side to walk, facing the traffic. In those cases, the quiet bicycles and electric golf carts can easily sneak up behind you with all the other street noises masking their approach!
Basically, you had to keep your wits about you when walking around in San Pedro - it was not just a leisurely stroll taking in the sights! Although the streets were made of sand as on Caye Caulker, there is no comparison as to which is the relaxing place in which to vacation!
A not unusual sight on Regent Street
Just the drive to our accommodations in Belize City on a Sunday morning gave me the feeling that the neighbourhood had a few problems. However, it was late morning after we had settled in, so we decided to take a stroll toward the city centre, near the swing bridge, to see if we could spot a restaurant of some sort for lunch. As we headed north along Regent Street, we could see many derelect buildings, others outfitted with walls and massive steel doors and gates, and even Security guards here and there on a dead Sunday. There was absolutely no traffic or even other pedestrians as we strolled along in the now hot sunshine, past doorways smelling of urine and with crackheads still sleeping it off. Oh well, we thought, it will get better once we get to the swing bridge - and it did. Problem was, all the shops were shut-up on a Sunday and we were not having much luck. We continued onward from the bridge, dealing with the odd panhandler or two begging for money, as the sweat was now turning my T-shirt sodden. It was not long before the surroundings began to deteriorate again and we gradually became aware that we were the only tourists walking on the street as groups of locals just sat in their doorways staring at us. Beginning to get that uneasy feeling that I had walking around downtown Newark, New Jersey not long after the American race riots in the mid-1970s, we made a very slow turn and retraced our steps back to the swing bridge!! Not very often that I get that feeling in broad daylight!
Deciding to cut our losses, we grabbed a taxi by the water terminal and told the driver to take us to the Radisson Hotel, on the waterfront. We were going to get ourselves a restaurant one way or another, even if it was not what we had in mind when we started out! In the end, we never had any problems in Belize City and most people were very friendly. It just did not exude a good atmosphere - and I hate to think about what happens when darkness falls!
Small bridge ahead on gravel road to Hopkins
Overall, I was very impressed with the highways in Belize. However, in two cases we had to travel across gravel roads that were very rough from the 'washboard' effect of the various wheels that had rolled across them. Both of these cases occurred while we were traversing areas that are occassionally flooded, one near Crooked Tree and the other the final 1.4 mile section connecting Hopkins to the Hummingbird Highway. This is a low-lying marshy area near the coast that obviously has had problems in the past during the rainy season when water levels are high. The vehicles really rattled and shook on these roads no matter what speed we went. A word of warning if you are headed further south to Placentia - it has a much longer stretch like this, that can take about 2 hours to cover, on the similar road that runs down the long peninsula leading to the town.
Termite Nest attached to a tree
While we were on our guided jungle walk in the Community Baboon Sanctuary at Bermudian Landing, Sue and the guide walked past a large termite nest that had fallen off a tree trunk and was lying in the middle of the trail. Being an inquisitive sort, I stopped to have a closer look at it and could see that it was partially broken open and that there were scores of black insects moving around. I did not think too much of it at first knowing that termites are harmless, until these things started to fly and land on me. It was then that the guide turned around and said "BEEs - everyone run for it!" He and Sue had to make a running retreat past the nest on the narrow trail while I swatted away at the 15-20 odd bees that had landed on various parts of my bare skin (it was handy that we had bought a palm frond swatter off him for a souvenir at the start of our tour)! I was wondering why these small black bees did not seem to be inflicting much pain on me (in fact, nothing more than an annoyance). It turns out that there is such a thing as a stingless variety of bee!
Historical records show that variety of stingless bees have been native to Belize for thousands of years, thanks to the cultivation efforts of the lowland Maya. In addition to providing honey, the bees were also used in religious ceremonies. Although they are sting-less, it is said that the bees can inflict a nasty bite, although I did not suffer any ill effects or pain. There are many species of stingless bees in tropical America (and other places in the world) where they nest in hollow tree trunks, holes in the ground or abandoned nests (I can confirm that one!).
Dodged a Bullet !
On the afternoon of our first full day on Caye Caulker, we spent a good part of it relaxing on the hotel's beachfront property, watching the world go by. I had dragged a couple of their wooden chairs across the sand to a row of coconut palms lining the beach, where we sat sipping our drinks in the pleasant tropical breezes off the Caribbean Sea! When we sat down, I did notice that the clusters of coconuts up near the tree-tops seemed to be a yellowish ripe colour, so purposely decided that we had best not place the chairs directly beneath the trees. This proved to be a good idea, because it was not long before the breeze dislodged one of the nuts and it landed just off to the side of our chairs!
It may sound silly, but check out this item from the news: [They are exotic, good to eat, but deadlier than sharks. Coconuts can weigh from two to four kilograms (8.8 lbs) and fall off 25-meter (80 feet) trees with the kinetic force of one metric ton. That is, with the speed of about 80 kilometres an hour. Imagine the blow.
'Anyone walking or sleeping under a coconut palm is at risk,' warns Montreal injury-prevention expert Peter Barss, a former McGill prof who now teaches at the United Arab Emirates University. 'The most frequent cause of hospitalization in the remote Melanesian villages I worked in were tree-related, not shark-related.'
According to George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File housed at the University of Florida, 'coconuts kill about 150 people a year - that is 15 times the number of deaths attributed to sharks in the year 2000.' ]
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