Due to its climate, interesting culture and the varied activities available, Central America is a popular tourist destination. Central America consists of Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Panama. As this is a popular destination there are many airlines providing discount fairs. However, one concern that people have about travelling to this area of the world is their safety and this is something that many tourists enquire about before booking their holiday. Yet are their concerns founded? Here is an overview of the safety of the countries in Central America.
As a developing nation there is still a lot of crime in Belize including violent crime and muggings, especially in Belize City. However, this is not necessarily aimed at tourists. By using a little common sense they can take measures to avoid being a victim of crime in this country. For example, it is suggested that travellers should store their money safely and that they should not use taxis unless the green license plates are clearly displayed.
Costa Rica is considered one of the safest country in Central America although there are issues with car crime and a disregard for traffic laws. Advice for visitors to this country are not to park their cars in urban streets and to avoid areas with a busy night-life, such as Limon, San Jose, Jaco and Puntarenas.
This is a reasonably safe country to visit with very few visitors having any problems. However, some crimes, such as rape and armed robbery, have increased in recent years. An area that is best avoided is Zone 1 in Guatemala City because this is notoriously the most dangerous area. Antigua is also another area where crime is on the rise and caution should be taken by tourists. In both of these areas of Guatemala it is recommended that you do not travel at night.
Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world and is possibly the most dangerous of the Central American countries to visit. Travellers are encouraged by the US State Department to be responsible for their own safety by not travelling at night, locking their car doors and not carrying large sums of money around with them.
Overall, this is probably the safest Central American country. However, as with all countries, there are still some areas where crime is more likely. Reports suggest that violent crime has risen in Managua and this area is best avoid after nightfall. Advice that is specific to safety in this country is to avoid violent political demonstrations, but most travellers to Central America will be going to enjoy their holiday rather than involving themselves in foreign politics!
Although Panama is known as a country that is involved with drugs due to its proximity to Columbia, it is a relatively safe destination for tourists. Petty theft and credit card fraud are two of the major concerns in Panama so travellers are warned to take care when withdrawing from cash machines and to avoid using credit cards unless it is absolutely necessary.
There are many benefits to visiting Central America including the culture and climate. However, many travellers are concerned about the safety of these countries because of crime. As with most countries some areas have a greater problem with crime and others that are peaceful areas to visit. By avoiding the notorious areas and taking some basic safety precautions, visitors to Central America can have a wonderful and memorable holiday.