You may have already heard about this amazing english speaking nation named Belize. After all, it is a country nested within Central America and perfectly perched on a spectacular 290km Barrier Reef. You may already know that this Barrier Reef is peppered with small islands, called Cayes. So many people have made this island their home. My family and I chose the island of Ambergris Caye, the largest of all of them.
This weekend the television show, 48hrs on CBS aired a special about a recent and quite frankly shocking incident that occurred on a moonlit dock in San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye. This popular show was dedicated to highlighting the personal story of the defendant and her bizarre involvement in the sudden death of a prominent, Belizean policeman. It’s a sensational story that is churning through the Belizean court system now. This has recently opened up a lot of questions for those considering visiting or moving here. So many of our client’s have asked, “Is Ambergris Caye safe?”
What Makes Island Living Better?
With hourly flights and several water-taxis bringing people back and forth from the mainland, there is a constant flow of people on and off this popular caye. We drive golf carts, ride bicycles or walk to get where we want to go because this isn’t a big place. Overall it is very easy to navigate the island and get everything you need.
Children have a choice of good preschools and primary schools to attend. Many children are international and my daughter has developed a diverse group of friends. It’s a fun experience for her. After the school-day we hop in our golf cart and go to our favorite spot to fish or we run down a dock and jump in for a swim. Everywhere we go here during the daytime, we feel safe.
One of our favorite activities is collecting ripe bananas and feeding them to Iguanas at our local Iguana Sanctuary. And yes, there are crocodiles nearby, but truly they are more afraid of us than we are of them.
Raising a family here is made easier because we are able to afford a little help. We have a trilingual nanny to help keep the house a little tidier and the chores done. This allows me to have more time under the sun and in the sea to spend time with my daughter. And at the end of the day that means everything to me. There is simply nothing better than enjoying my favorite activities with my child and our friends. Being invited to birthday parties on mock pirate ships destined to feed and snorkel with sting ray and nurse sharks in a marine park reserve. It is a GREAT thing for a child and parent to experience. Truth be told, I have always felt safer in the wilds or on the ocean than I do in any urban jungle, a crowed concert or at a nightclub.
The Honest Truth About Crime
The population of Belize is just over 350,000, which makes this country one of the sparsely populated nations in the world. The U.S. Department of State shows that over the last decade there have in fact been less than 25 murders of North Americans in Belize. The proximity to the violence on the mainland, from Ambergris Caye, feels as if it were in another country. Certainly crime occurs everywhere. Whether you are a tourist or you are an expat it’s wise to always have your wits about you. I grew up in Canada and to compare the crime there vs living on a small island, is like trying to compare apples to oranges.
As a young woman in Toronto it was engrained in me to always carry my cell phone. Check the backseat before getting in the car. Walk or park only in well lit areas. Always carry a whistle or pepper spray. Go out in groups. Don’t wear headphones when running. Watch what you wear. Lock your car doors and windows. The list goes on and on. I am grateful to say that most of those habits aren’t necessary here, so yes, I feel safe. Violent crime doesn’t usually impact tourists even in Belize City but less so in the cayes.
In December 2020 Belize was awarded the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council in recognition of the enhanced healthy and safety protocols that the Belize Tourims Board has implemented. Belize is positioned to enhance the visitor experience with many infrastructure improvements and projects that will reinstate its position as a livable, wonderful offshore destination and in offering a world class experience.
Living the Ambergris Caye Island Life
To see my young daughter and her friends enjoy life without fear leaves me filled with appreciation for this beautiful country that we now have the privilege to call home. Living on Ambergris Caye puts so many wondrous experiences at our fingertips everyday. I love the simplicity of island life and the connections that quality time with my friends and family brings me. This is what makes living here so attractive.
“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, and the decisions we waited too long to make.” Lewis Carroll