Belize City is the historical (if no longer the actual) capital of the nation, making it an interesting place to spend a day or two. Its ramshackle streets are alive with colorful characters who represent every facet of Belize's ethnic make up, especially the Creoles. And while the urban scenery may involve the occasional fetid canal or run-down neighborhood, it also features colonial architecture, seaside parks, bustling shopping areas and sailboats that bob at the mouth of Haulover Creek.
While it doesn't top the list of Belize tourist destinations, visitors often admire the city's raffish charms and cultural vibrancy. Lately the government has gone to greater lengths to make tourists feel safe, with some success. But the city remains markedly less relaxed than the rest of Belize, and its reputation for poverty and crime persists.