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  • The real Swiss Tony 654 posts

    Playing around with our summer trip and the idea of spending some time in Belize has surfaced. Anyone been? We’ve found a resort near Corozal that would allow us to do a bunch of different things, but I’m seeing some slightly troubling reports in terms of safety. We would be collected at the airport by the hotel driver & taken immediately North, so avoiding Belize city completely.

    Richie 990 posts

    What does the FCDO travel section advise?

    strickers 660 posts

    Many times in the Military but that was a long time ago and my memory is hazy for some reason? Xunantunich is an interesting place to visit, I also vaguely remember the brewery tour being good!

    Scott 240 posts

    If it’s good enough for Lord Ashcroft…

    The real Swiss Tony 654 posts

    What does the FCDO travel section advise?

    The FCDO is far more – how shall we say – sympathetic than its Canadian or US counterparts….

    NorthernLass 7,573 posts

    If it’s good enough for Lord Ashcroft…

    Lol! It didn’t go too well for his family.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/apr/27/former-partner-of-lord-ashcroft-son-pleads-guilty-in-belize-over-shooting-of-police-officer

    There’s a rather salacious documentary as well called something like A Bullet in Paradise (on one of the Amazon Prime channels, IIRC).

    But probably overall no more dangerous than any other Latin American destination.

    GillyDee 92 posts

    It’s 6 years since we went there as part of a tour around the Yucatan peninsula, Belize and Guatemala.

    Used a company called Belize VIP Transfer Services who were excellent for cross border transfers. We visited a couple of wildlife lodges – Chan Chich and Hidden Valley; also excellent if that’s your bag. Side trip of 2 nights in Tikal was absolutely amazing – fantastic Mayan architecture and the birdwatching was sublime.

    Spent a couple of nights at the Radisson Fort George. Belize City was a bit seedy but I didn’t feel unsafe although there were the usual advisories back then too. We didn’t venture out after dark. I would have thought that Corozal would be just fine…

    masaccio 721 posts

    Went there two years ago and did all the travel arrangements myself. We stayed in Belize City, Lamanai Chaa Creek and Ambergris Caye. Belize City was the only place we didn’t feel safe, but only because when we asked our hotel for restaurant reservations they had a look of horror on their face that said “Please don’t let a tourist die on my shift”. But everywhere else felt as safe as any developing country.

    It was stinking expensive in resorts as the Americans seem to like the place and think nothing of paying top dollar for average food dressed with lobster and truffle oil. Ambergris Caye was plagued by American tourists in buggies paying silly money for said lobster and food ruined by truffle oil.

    Everywhere else was amazing. I’m sure you will have loads of fun. Rent a car and get yourself out on the road. Try and get into the jungle or go see Altun Ha.

    redlilly 110 posts

    Beautiful country. Great food, beautiful nature and great people.

    I agree with the comment above, hire a car and travel around. Avoid Belize City, as whilst a bit sketchy… quite frankly there is nothing to do or see there.

    If you can, try and get over to Flores for an overnight stay. Such a beautiful town on the lake, with great ruins around. Ended up doing a 5 day trek there to some ruins in Parque El Mirador, no roads. Only way to get there was walking with pack horses, or helicopter! San Ignacio is a good go between place to stop.

    Get out to at least one of the islands too. Otherwise… I never got there, but I heard Hopkins was beautiful.

    supergraeme 128 posts

    Spent a night in Belize City before a week on the beach in Placencia last Summer. Loved it. That night was only required because of a flight change, otherwise we’d have gone straight to Placencia. Very much enjoyed short (but bloody expensive) flights on Tropic Air.

    Placencia was safe as houses and lovely. Belize City was fine, although it was more like a city/town than a resort area (because it is!) – people hanging about, kids on bikes etc. Ate in a very ‘local’ restaurant in BC and the Polish chap who worked there and had lived there for years said that if any kids on bikes hassled us to tell them to go away or we’d call the Police. Later that night a kid rode alongside us for a while asking for money. He then said he was in the Taliban, so I told him to go away or I’d call the Police – and off he shot! We didn’t really feel unsafe though. Drank at a brilliant local ‘bar’ that was basically a shed overhanging the river where beer and “seagrape wine” cost pennies.

    The real Swiss Tony 654 posts

    Thanks all

    Interesting that people are recommending heading south. We were planning on going north as we need to get back to Mexico City. No flights from Belize City so we were aiming to cross the border to Chetumal then fly to MEX. Any thoughts?

    The hotel (just south of Corozal) will take the 5 of us to Chetumal airport for $125 which seemed quite reasonable.

    redlilly 110 posts

    Taxi price seems reasonable by Belizean standards. Though do check the latest re. arriving into Mexico by land. I got caught out… having not paid the neccessary taxes to leave, which I didn’t know because I entered Mexico by land from Guatemala (air fares include the tax). For me, Aeromexico let me check in at the desk at CDMX for a flight to JFK, I got to the gate and I got turned away. I obviously flipped a lid and they put me on the next flight when I paid the tax. For others, it was when going to Belize on the boat having entered Mexico by land. There is no way around it, and for the latter I distinctly remember having to pull up my flight ticket for entering Mexico from Colombia.

    Otherwise, I only transitted Chetumal to get the boat from there to San Pedro, then on to Caye Caulker. Didn’t see much of it, but looked like a normal enough Mexican town.

    Bacalar, which is near to Chetumal, is stunning.

    supergraeme 128 posts

    That’s a very good point. We used Virgin points on Delta to get from Belize to Atlanta and they cost a lot more than you’d expect because of those taxes. can remember thinking that there must have been a mistake when I saw the cost.

    The real Swiss Tony 654 posts

    OK, just to clarify here, I’d seen there was a total of B$40 to pay per person to leave Belize by land crossing, but are you saying there’s another fee to pay to arrive into Mexico, which is in turn conditional on you being able to leave???

    Seems odd as I’d have thought they would just charge that as a departure tax, but had read about some confusion/attempted extortion at the border. I’d assume that the hotel will be able to guide us on this as it seems a normal enough journey for them. We’re on BA back to London from MEX.

    redlilly 110 posts

    OK, just to clarify here, I’d seen there was a total of B$40 to pay per person to leave Belize by land crossing, but are you saying there’s another fee to pay to arrive into Mexico, which is in turn conditional on you being able to leave???

    Seems odd as I’d have thought they would just charge that as a departure tax, but had read about some confusion/attempted extortion at the border. I’d assume that the hotel will be able to guide us on this as it seems a normal enough journey for them. We’re on BA back to London from MEX.

    It is not a tax on entry by land, it is a tax on departure from Mexico (if you entered by land). It also depends how long you stay in Mexico. If it is for less 7 days, I think the fee is waived. More than 7, I think you need to pay the fee (though rules may have changed and I did this route 5 years ago so best to check and check again, as I remember it not being at all clear on websites including the FCDO).

    If you’re leaving from CDMX they have the “tax booth” in the departure area. Pretty sure it would be the same as in any other Mexican international airport.

    The real Swiss Tony 654 posts

    If you’re leaving from CDMX they have the “tax booth” in the departure area. Pretty sure it would be the same as in any other Mexican international airport.

    Feel like I’m missing something really obvious here but the departure tax is included in the air ticket, no?

    However looking at a round trip breakdrown LON-MEX-LON I see

    Mexico Tourism Tax Derecho No Inmigrante (UK) £33.10
    Mexico Immigration Fee Dsm (S1) £8.60
    Mexico Airport Departure Tax Tua International (XD) £50.40

    But open jaw via the US and the
    Mexico Tourism Tax Derecho No Inmigrante (UK) £33.10
    disappears.

    So do I pay that as I cross the border into Mexico just after paying my B$40 to leave Belize?

    redlilly 110 posts

    It is a tax to leave Mexico, not to arrive in to the country.

    The airline calculating the tax on your ticket does not assume that you leave the country and enter again, and does not assume by which means you do so.

    Previously, when I entered Mexico at Cancun Airport, I received a little ticket at immigration. When I left Mexico at Chetumal to go to San Pedro, I had to handover that ticket and I didn’t have to pay a fee as it was included in my airline ticket (as above – I had to show evidence of the ticket and the fee included). When I then re-entered Mexico (having travelled through Belize and then Guatemala – I can’t remember where I entered Mexico but it was by land) I was given a new ticket. I stayed for about 3 weeks in Mexico after that point.

    I left (or at least tried to leave) via an Aeromexico flight from CDMX to JFK. I have looked through my emails and cannot find a breakdown of the price on that last ticket.

    I believe that two points are key – I entered Mexico by land, and stayed longer than 7 days. The “ticket” you are given when you enter Mexico by land needs to be kept safe. This shows when you entered the country and by what means. It might now be that this has been phased out. I did this trip 5 years ago, so would encourage some further review so you don’t get caught out like I did.

    When I got moody at the check in agent for having let me through all the way to the gate, they were oblivious to my “issue” but re-checked me on to the next flight.

    The real Swiss Tony 654 posts

    OK, I’ve found a blog post that seems up to date. Apparently if you’re staying in Mexico for less than 7 days AND you show an itemised breakdown of your departing air ticket, they are supposed to waive the fee. But the blogger couldn’t find anyone who had managed to get round this and as it’s part of the entrance process into the country, it’s kind of difficult to test.

    It also appears to be about US$40 a pop. And there’s 5 of us travelling. So I need to keep an extra $200 in my (proverbial) back pocket which I’ll probably get shaken down for at the border (we will only be in Mexico for 3-4 days).

    NorthernLass 7,573 posts

    Interesting – I’ve just checked my fee breakdown for our CW avios MEX-LHR-MAN in December and it does indeed include £50 Mexico departure tax for 2 of us. I guess that makes RFS even better value! Maybe don’t highlight this to BA though 😂

    dmm27 55 posts

    We went to Belize in 2018 as a family of 4 with 2 teenage kids. Booked much of it through http://www.naturallybelize.co.uk who were excellent. Stayed at Black Rock jungle lodge for ~ 5 days, then Ambergris. We also then got a land transfer into Mexico (Tulum I think) via naturallybelize.
    I also recall some issue with entry/departure tax both at the land border and then when we left. It also caught us out as I didnt have enough cash left having timed my expenditure perfectly without accounting for the tax.

    cin3 166 posts

    What are you going there for? Guatamala and Mexico have been archaeology. Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador have better beaches. Mexico has much better food and culture. Unless you’re thoroughly fed up with going to the other countries in Central America already, there’s little to recommend Belize over other nearby destinations.

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