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MarkM Nov 8th, 2003 05:55 PM

"" comments about Belize?
A couple months ago I was at an urgent care clinic for a minor injury. (Why do they always happen on holiday weekends?) In the course of conversation with a nurse, I mentioned I was going to Belize in December. She very kindly gave me a two-page "Provider Summary" about Belize from "". I don't know anything about Travax, but the contents of their "Provider Summary" seem to be alarmist, at best, and contrary to most of what I've read here and on the CDC's and State Department's websites. Here are a few "Provider Summary" items about which I have my doubts:
"Belize has the highest malaria risk in Central America."
"Traveler's Diarrhea:
-High risk throughout the country including deluxe accommodations.
-Tap water is not suitable for drinking. Drink only bottled or boiled water."
"Security:...Advise extraordinary vigilance and strict adherence to personal security strategies at all times."
Note that Travax is referring to the entire country, and doesn't specify any region.
Anyone veteran Belize travlers care to comment? Lan? Katie Volk?

Wildflower Nov 9th, 2003 06:00 AM

Mark, as you see I am not Lan or Katie but after five trips to Belize and and after reading your post now I know why I never read such things as "Provider Summary."
This would scared me too. All I want to do is to travel and enjoyed my stayed there. We always did.

Never had to cope with it and we stayed in some very inexpensive places and places such as Chan Chich, for instance

-Tap water is not suitable for drinking.
We drink ony bottle water anyway

"Security:...Advise extraordinary vigilance and strict adherence to personal security strategies at all times."
Well, if Belize is such unsafe place I don't know if there is anywhere in the world any safe destination
Have a great trip and do not worry too much about it otherwise you won't be able to travel anywhere.

LanSluder Nov 9th, 2003 08:00 AM

I only know that Travax is a commercial, subscription-based service that purports to offer information for travel medicine providers.

If the comments you quote are typical, I would be very leery of this outfit.

At best it seems out of date. For example, at one time (several years ago), Belize had one of the highest risks for malaria of any country in the world due to the small population and the number of people, mostly illegal immigrants, who came to Belize from Guatemala, Honduras and elsewhere and who had malaria. As a practical matter, though, the risk was very low for visitors and since then the number of malaria cases has fallen to only a few hundred reported cases a year.

As for diarrhea, I've been banging around Belize for a dozen years and not once have had traveler's diarrhea and only rarely do I hear anyone complain about it. Really, the standards of health and hygiene in Belize are considerably higher than in most other countries in the region with the possible exception of Costa Rica and parts of Panama.

Water is potable almost everywhere visitors go (I'd be wary only on Caye Caulker and perhaps Dangriga and in remote areas.)

As to security, there is crime in Belize, of course, but something like 99.8% of the visitors I hear from say they feel very safe, and that's certainly true in the major tourist areas.

I suyspect that this service does not have anybody on the ground in Belize and relies on probably out of date information from incomplete sources.

Places like Ambergris Caye and Placencia are like visiting Florida in terms of health or safety risk.

--Lan Sluder

babykitty Nov 9th, 2003 04:59 PM

Sorry about your trip to the ER!

We went to Belize in March 2001. It was fabulous! I never once felt uncomfortable or unsafe. I could see how folks wouldn't recommend exploring Belize City at night (away from the hotel area) might be a little scary if you were out on foot. But you can say that about certain areas of almost all US cities.

The Belize Zoo & the ruins in the jungle were the only places we used bug repellent--not at the beach.

We had bottled water from the hotels, but we assumed the ice was regular ol' ice--no problems.

The people we encountered were super. The only thing that even annoyed me about Belize was "Belize Time". People get around to things in their time--which usually isn't in any sort of hurry! A memorable experience was waiting for the Hattiesville police to file a report--a French couple rammed their rental car into ours at the Belize Zoo. We had to wait forever for them to come, then they didn't have the paperwork so we had to go to the station on our way back from the ruins--where we waited & waited for the chief to return so that he could unlock the forms. When he did show up he had a live iguana strapped to his bicycle--for a "Bamboo Chicken" supper. We passed on his dinner invite.

Leave your valuables at home. Belize is so laid back you won't need anything flashy. Have fun!

Katie_Valk Nov 11th, 2003 05:34 AM

I don't know who does research for Travax and am dismayed to read their take on Belize. We do not suffer from the same medical problems endemic to our neighboring countries. We are much smaller and cleaner, both health and sanitation wise. As for safety, I travel all over, many times in remote areas on my own and feel a high degree of personal safety. That being said, you have to remember that Belize is like much of the rest of the world where dark and lonely city streets can be dangerous. However, Travax is way out of line.

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