Top 5 Myths about Traveling to Central America
Central America gets a bad rap in the rest of the world. It’s important not to think of this region as just one big clump of people, but rather as made up of many individual countries, each with its own people, culture, food, and lifestyle.
Many people will write off countries like Belize because they hear about drug trafficking in Mexico. Reality check: Belize is not Mexico. Mexico also isn’t actually that dangerous. There are places in the US that are much more dangerous than Mexico—but I digress. It’s time to dispel five of the biggest myths about traveling to Central America:
1. It’s dangerous. There are dangerous places in every country all over the world. No country is perfect, simply because there are bad people in every culture and place. It’s unavoidable—but that doesn’t mean you should hide in your home. Countries like Belize are no more dangerous (and in many cases less dangerous) than where you live.
2. It’s a third-world location. Some countries in Central America are less developed than others. Some are still feeling the effects of civil war and financial collapse. Others have industrialized, stable economies and comforts that are indistinguishable from those in your homeland.
3. You can’t drink the water or eat the food. This is a statement that is born of fear and ignorance and it just isn’t true. Especially in countries like Belize that have modern plumbing systems and food regulations, it’s just as safe to eat in any café or restaurant as it is at home. Part of getting to know a country should be testing out its cuisine.
4. It will be expensive or dangerous to get there. Anyone who has taken on the challenge of driving through Mexico has had a friend or relative regale him with stories of how dangerous this is. And most people are under the misconception that all flights are going to be expensive. The truth is that you can fly extremely cheaply to Belize, especially from the US.
5. The culture is unfriendly. Especially in countries like Belize (and, let’s face it, anywhere in Central America), the exact opposite is true. Unlike in countries like America or continents like Europe, where hospitality is reserved for those who already know, Central American extend hospitality to everyone who shows earnest interest and love of the culture.