Shelley Metcalfx

To make your visit to Belize a breeze, follow this practical advice.

1. Don't sit under a coconut tree bearing brown coconuts."Brown means they are ready to fall, and we've had people knockedout by them," says Ranguana Cay caretaker Steve Rowland.

2. Do wear insect repellent and long pants at dawn and dusk.Too late? Buy some Rainforest Remedy at the pharmacy. It's theBelizean antidote to itching.

3. Do get proper vaccinations before you go. Visit cdc.gov/travel/vaccinat.htmto see what you need.

4. Don't speak Spanish. Belize, once British Honduras, wasan English colony, and that language remains widespread.

5. Do go to the local health clinic immediately if you havemedical problems. (The Belizean method of overcoming illness may beadmirable―"When I got the bug last week, I played soccer andthen built a fence," Steve says―but not necessarily wise fortravelers.)

6. Don't step on the coral or touch it when snorkeling.Second largest in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef is highlyfragile.

7. Do wipe the lip of a Belikin beer before drinking. It's atradition for good reason: The bottles are dirty.

8. Don't worry about paying in U.S. dollars, but expect yourchange in Belizean currency. (At press time, the U.S. dollar isworth about double the Belizean dollar.)

9. Do save $32.50 U.S. from your rum-punch funds to paydeparture tax when leaving the country.

10. Don't even think about checking your PDA. "When you'rein Belize, you're at ease" is the local saying.

(published December 2006)

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