When an American man and his Canadian girlfriend were recently found dead in the middle of a field in Belize, people were shocked — not only by the murder itself, but also that it happened in Belize. The country — with its awesome scuba diving, Mayan artifacts and caves ripe for exploration — is an alluring vacation spot for Americans, and generally considered safe.
While most people visit Belize and have a postcard-perfect time, the couple’s tragic death does highlight how the locale is more dangerous than most of us think. In fact, for Americans, Belize has the seventh-highest murder rate, per capita, in the world, as reported on ZeroHedge (a financial site).
Additionally, according to the website SmarterTravel, carjacking traps are something to worry about in rural areas of the country, and Belize City is downright dangerous (“even locals there are afraid to go out at night”). Freestyling an adventurous trip through Belize isn’t recommended — SmarterTravel suggests going the more staid resort route.
At other warm-weather destinations, where beaches are pristine, flights from America are brief and wandering off the beaten path is nearly irresistible, sanitized vacation spots may also be the way to go. Jamaica, Barbados, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic all make ZeroHedge’s top 25 death zones for Yankee travelers. Mexico is number one with a bullet in terms of sheer murders (598 Americans perished there at the hands of others between 2009 and 2016).
But some intrepid explorers just can’t be deterred. When the US State Department issued a warning against visiting Saudi Arabia, visitation by Americans spiked by nearly 12 percent. And journeyers such as Andy McGinlay, who was quoted in The Post last year about his travel habits, practically fetishize high-risk tourism. “I never feel more alive than I do when I step off the plane into some far-flung war zone or despotic country,” McGinlay said. “It’s a dangerous cocktail of adrenaline and the sense that I’m going somewhere nobody else has the balls to — I live for this feeling.”
Maybe so, but these days, perhaps more so than ever, Americans risk death in order to experience that feeling. According to USA Today, overseas sentiments toward the current administration can make things difficult for jet-setters looking to return home unscathed. Scott Hune, director of security operations for Global Rescue, told the paper that international travelers from the US should not be surprised to hear pointed questions about American foreign policy. Hostility should not come as a surprise.
So go if you wish. But if you’re from the USA, and look forward to bragging about a fabulous vacation, consider the advice of Hune: “Take care not to stand out as an American.”