rent a car in Belize?

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Sep 1st, 2002, 12:17 PM
  #1
doreen bochmann
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rent a car in Belize?

We are traveling to Belize on Sept 8 through the 22nd. We are spending the first week on Ambergris and had planned to rent a car and travel to the Cayo and to the Orange Walk district. We have been reading the US Consulate sheet on Belize, updated July 02 and after reading their warnings about not visiting sites other than with a group, and about holdups on the highways we are thinking about going to a lodge and taking their tours. Normally, we would never do this, but is Belize really this unsafe for American tourists driving alone?
 
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Sep 2nd, 2002, 05:56 AM
  #2
Katie Valk
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There have been a few isolated incidents
on more remote roads, but no hold ups on the highways. I'm a single woman living in Belize who drives all over, on highways and roads more remote than you'll probably be on, and go about my traveling without worry, but am aware that things have happened. Assume you'll be fine renting a car and since you'll be staying at a hotel, you can always ask the front desk what they think is fine for you to do. The only draw back to driving yourselves without a guided tour, is the information about the natural history of the areas you'l be visiting and what the importance is about a place or thing your are looking at, or won't see at all without trainned eyes or knowing what to look for. I'm a big fan a doing trips with guides, if for that reason alone. It makes everything you see and do more interesting, especially ruins.
 
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Sep 3rd, 2002, 09:25 AM
  #3
Lan Sluder
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I've been driving around Belize for the past dozen years, often with my kids (now 13 and 18) and except for a few flat tires have never experienced any problems.

Being with a tour group doesn't necessarily make things safer. Several recent incidents in Cayo involved tour groups from lodges.

Keep in mind that if an outsider read the crime reports from your hometown (even if it's a tiny town) they might get concerned about going there. Most visitors to Belize, and I hear from a bunch of them, say they feel entirely safe.

--Lan Sluder
 
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Sep 3rd, 2002, 09:59 AM
  #4
x
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we drove from placentia to cayo and around that area. never had any problems. however, that said, be very aware while driving. i would not say belizians are the best drivers i've ever encountered and don't drive after dark.
 
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Sep 3rd, 2002, 10:26 AM
  #5
Lan Sluder
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After I posted my reply, a friend in Belize alerted me to an incident which just happened, on Sunday.

Several vehicles were stopped at gunpoint near El Pilar Maya site (in western Belize, near the Guatemala border). Several Belizeans and, apparently, some tourists were robbed, and one or two women (the news reports on Channel 5 Belize and elsewhere are sketchy) were raped.

There was another incident at El Pilar a few weeks ago, when a tour group was stopped and robbed.

My previous posting stands, though given this last incident in Cayo I wouldn't be eager to visit El Pilar until the Belize government does more to establish security in that border area.

--Lan Sluder
 
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Sep 4th, 2002, 12:12 PM
  #6
doreen bochmann
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Thanks for the advice, everyone. Lan, we have both Mainland Belize, and San Pedro Cool and really like them. Since I posted I found out Chan Chich is closed in Sept., so we will just stay in the Cayo district, but will certainly avoid El Pilar.
 
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