Although nearly a million American cruise passengers enjoy momentary contact with Belize each year, the number of its actual tourists is only 250,000 persons, and the country is therefore uncrowded and somewhat innocent of commercial development (except in Belize City, to which no tourist goes).
A stay here is like a trip to Costa Rica many years ago, before tourism enveloped and changed that Central American nation.
Because Belize has the lowest population density of any Central American nation, and a government determined to protect its natural environment (plants and animals), Belize is the non-Costa Rica, a refreshing antidote to that other once-untouched place.
Plus, the official language of Belize is English, of the sort spoken in most countries of the British Commonwealth (as Belize is).
Combine that fact with the countless ocean reefs of Belize, the other seaside wonders, the largely-untouched terrain, the caves and animal habitats, and you have the reasons why a large number of my acquaintances have returned enchanted by their stays in Belize.
To the extent that crime occurs there, it is largely confined to Belize City or to fights between drug gangs, which normally have no impact on the tourist.
And recently, the Belize government has begun arranging truces between gangs, an effort thus far showing some success.
Finally, keep in mind that Belize is the gateway to Tikal, on the Guatemalan border with Belize. Tikal is perhaps the leading ruin of the Mayan Empire, an extraordinary sight to see. You reach it most easily from Belize.
Next time you yearn to experience “the Caribbean as it used to be,” consider Belize.