Jack Trout Fly Fishing International
Belize is a developing Country. Although modern medical practices are common in urban areas, standards are considerably different than in the U.S. Travelers are wise to bring any and all prescription medications they may need, as well as, and ample supply of first aid and hygiene products. Such items are in short supply in the wilderness.
Sunshine is one of the major attractions in Belize, but it can also be your adversary. Severe burns occur all too easily, particularly for folks that travel down from the states during the North American winter. Bring plenty of industrial–strength sunscreen. You’ll be glad you did. Lightweight “flats style” pants, shorts, and long sleeve shirts are key attire for a week-long trip. They will keep you cool and comfortable and help protect you from harmful rays of the sun. Long billed hats, bandannas, and high-quality sunglasses will pay for themselves the first day on the water.
Anywhere in the tropics can be “bug central”. Lots of different species can put the bite on you. Pure deet is perhaps the most effective means of deterring the onslaught. It also helps to avoid the prime portion of the rainy season (July – September). Though many guests drink tap water, we do not recommend this practice. Large water coolers are located in all condo units. Make them you source of drinking water and oral hygiene. When dining out be sure to opt for bottled water. Be wary of ice in drinks. When in doubt, ask. Risks of water-borne disease in are not great. Take precautions and the risk will be no greater than at home.
On the water: When swimming in the salt water, or wading the flats, it is imperative that you have protective footwear. Mature coral cuts like a knife, as many a barefooter can attest. Urchins and stingrays are common on the flats. Stepping on either one of these creatures will result in a painful injury. Play it safe. Bring proper footwear. Sharks, although common in Belize, are rarely large or aggressive. Give them a wide berth and you will lower the risk of dangerous situations.
On land: Organized tours of ruins and the rain forest are your safest means of travelling inland. There is incredible bio-diversity in Belize and it is not be missed. While most animals are harmless, there are a few that pose a serious risk. The mainland jaguar, although shy and reclusive, is a large predator and should be taken seriously. Scorpions and tarantulas are common. Though rarely deadly, their bites/ stings are quite painful and the effects can last for an extended period. Don’t walk around barefoot, especially at night. Keep sliding glass doors closed to avoid any unwanted visitors. Avoid dark and damp places where such species are likely to hide. Fer-de-lance, a large puff adder (rattlesnake family) is deadly. (I know about this snake personally as they seem to like me.) Although anti-venom is available at health clinics throughout Belize, the best approach is prevention. Play it safe. Do no travel alone. Avoid brushy, dark, undeveloped areas where line-of-sight is compromised. Any terrain where animals may not be readily seen should be considered risky. Follow the lead of guides and you will maximize your enjoyment while minimizing the risks. Be very careful around rivers as there are crocodiles that have been seen in the Sittee River, look for two eyes anytime you’re around rivers, something should be lurking at anytime it’s Belize, keep your eyes open and be aware.