A newspaper in Belize reports that cruise ship passengers were robbed at gunpoint yesterday while on an excursion at the Altun Ha Maya ruins site.

The newspaper explains that a tour guide, identified as Clifford Hoare, and six cruise tourists "lost cash and other valuables to two armed and masked men."

The newspaper also says that "the transport from the cruise ship had left just minutes before, and the tourist police acting as security had left along with them."

Neither the cruise line nor the cruise ship were identified in the article.

Alta Ha BelizeLocal police detained a number of people from a nearby village as suspects.

Earlier this year, a U.S. tourist from Chicago was found murdered while on vacation in the Cayo District of western Belize. She was an executive producer of online operations at a local ABC affiliate in Chicago. 

Earlier in January, a Canadian filmmaker Matthiew Klinck was found stabbed to death in his home in Spanish Lookout. 

These and other murders in Belize led a number of publications to question whether Belize is safe for tourists?

The Minister of Tourism of Belize was quoted earlier this year saying that that violent crime has been decreasing in the country. He said that over one million people visited Belize last year and crime against tourists was "rare." But the country is impoverished and, my thoughts at least, tourists from a cruise ship stick out like a sore thumb and are often targeted while ashore in Central America and the Caribbean. Also Belize has a murder rate of 44.7 murders per 100,000 of the population, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (Only Honduras and Venezuela are worse.)

To put this into context, the U.S. has a murder rate of around 4.5 per 100,000. Detroit has a rate of 43.5 murders per 100,000. So traveling to Belize is essentially like traveling to an country with a country-wide murder rate comparable to a city with the highest murder rate in the U.S.

Robbing cruise passengers on an excursion is hardly rare.  Read Robbing Cruise Passengers in Bulk – Yes, It Happens!

March 10, 2016 Update: Channel 7 Belize reports that only two cruise passengers, along with the private tour guide, were robbed. The two men who robbed them had what appeared to be a "black 9 millimetre handgun and a machete." Here’s what Channel 7 reported: 

" . . . as we later found out from the officer in command of Belize Eastern Rural, the tourism police officers were lax in carrying out their duties. When the last tourist bus left, so did the tourism police, although the site had not been closed. According to police, two tourists were then robbed of items including 1 gold necklace and about $450 US Dollars in different denominations. They were on a private tour with one Clifford Hoare Belizean Tour Guide of Hattieville Village when the men accosted the tourists and tour guide."

March 11, 2016 Update:  Channel 7 Belize reports that the pollice in Belize arrested a suspect in the robbery.  It cites the Ministry of Culture’s press release saying, quote, "There was adequate police and security presence at the Archeological Site." this is in contrast with the the local police and the news organization stating yesterday that the security was "lax."

Map credit: NordNordWest – using United States National Imagery and Mapping Agency data, CC BY-SA 3.0, creative commons / wikimedia.  

4 Responses to Cruise Passengers Robbed in Belize

We were with the Norwegian cruiseship Star out of Tampa and I was in the group that got robbed.. Along with my husband, brother and sisters law. There was another couple from Tampa with us when they came out of the Jungle.. They took my husbands gold necklaces and our cash we had on us. Clifford our guide had his wallet taken wich they gave back to him but kept his cash.
The site was very nice and Clifford was a very good guide. Glad we made it out alive! They need permanent security at these sites and not just at the gate!
This could have happened to anyone at anytime.

We were victims of an attempted armed robbery on Tuesday, March 8,2016 near the Museum of Belize after lunch at Senor Coconuts while walking back to port. My husband was hit on the head with the barrel of a rifle and sustained injury to the head (requiring stitches) and bruises on the arm and hand and I also sustained scratches and bruises. Luckily, there was a women nearby who scared him off. The police never arrived until we were at the hospital. We were driven there by a couple in the area. We were treated at the hospital and driven back to port. We were on RC Vision of the Seas. It is our understanding there is little police presence because they are underfunded and undermaned. This is a very dangerous place filled with crime and cruise ship visitors are not advised of this by the ships. I was really concerned because of all the young college girls on the ship. Do not go out of Tourism Village. The city of Belize is very unsafe.

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