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#377778 - 05/20/10 03:49 PM Beware Caye Caulker Water Taxi Baggage Thieves
Moonracer Offline
I've been a long time lurker here, and just joined at another member's suggestion so I could crosspost this from the Belize Forum, where I posted it yesterday:

As many of you know, my husband and I run a small lodge in Cayo. When our guests want to go to the cayes, we used to recommend that they take the Caye Caulker Water Taxi. That has ended.

We traveled to Caye Caulker with some relatives, one elderly, this weekend. Because we were trying to handle all of their baggage and get them comfortable on the taxi, we did something we usually wouldn't do and stuck our camera in a zipped compartment of our knapsack and checked it. When we got to Caye Caulker and went to take the relatives' picture on the dock, the camera was gone.

Okay, our bad decision for checking the bag with the camera when the signs warn against checking anything of value...but really, you don't expect the baggage handlers to be going through every bag looking for what they can take, but that's apparently what they do.

What made it worse was that when we returned yesterday (without the relatives) we talked to security at the water taxi terminal and asked if they could look at the security tapes for the times when we know our bag was in the baggage handling area. The first response was that the security director wasn't in, but if we came back 4 hours later they could probably do it. They probably thought we were tourists on our way to catch a plane and there wasn't a chance we would show up again. However, we had some errands to run in Belize City, so we did that and went back. This time they let us talk to the security director, Andy, who informed us that, in fact, he doesn't know how to view the tapes...so apparently the security cameras are just for show.

We talked to the security director, the supervisor of the baggage area, and the porter who grabs your bags as soon as you appear at the curb, and told them that we weren't tourists who were just going to disappear. We told them that we would no longer be sending business their way. And, we informed them that if the only way our guests could get to the cayes was with them, they certainly wouldn't be checking baggage and the porter and baggage handlers could kiss their tips goodbye. They all protested and told us that the signs warn about checking anything of value and they put the signs up because they know this is a problem - which bothered us even more. If they know they're employing thieves, why don't they do something about it? I'm afraid the answer is that they don't really care, and figure that the tourists just flow through and there are never any consequences. However, perhaps if they know that there will be repercussions, maybe somebody will turn in the thieves to save their own jobs and tips and hopefully help the reputation of tourism in Belize.

Our recommendation now is to go with one of the other water taxi companies, or fly with Tropic Air or Maya Island Air. The flights are more expensive, but if you're going to lose a couple of hundred dollars worth of stuff, the tickets pay for themselves. And, if you have to go with CCWTA, under no circumstances should you let them touch your bags, even if they insist.

Edited by Moonracer (05/20/10 03:50 PM)

#377815 - 05/21/10 01:08 AM Re: Beware Caye Caulker Water Taxi Baggage Thieves [Re: Moonracer]
spl Offline
Disappointing story. Couldn't this happen on another water taxi or flying too though?

#377816 - 05/21/10 07:04 AM Re: Beware Caye Caulker Water Taxi Baggage Thieves [Re: spl]
ron Offline
Yes it can, years ago on Maya, 2 cell phones of mine were lost from my bag.

#377822 - 05/21/10 09:25 AM Re: Beware Caye Caulker Water Taxi Baggage Thieves [Re: ron]
bonbon Offline
I think this is just a good reminder for all of us who are tired or in a hurry to be a little more careful where we put our things. I think bags with outside pockets are the worst. We should just put mouse traps in those.

#377834 - 05/21/10 10:07 AM Re: Beware Caye Caulker Water Taxi Baggage Thieves [Re: bonbon]
Ernie B Offline
or some c 4, with a fuse attached to the zipper smile
Gun Control is Hitting Your Target.

#377835 - 05/21/10 10:11 AM Re: Beware Caye Caulker Water Taxi Baggage Thieves [Re: Ernie B]
Marty Offline
bad boy grin

#377836 - 05/21/10 10:23 AM Re: Beware Caye Caulker Water Taxi Baggage Thieves [Re: Marty]
tacogirl Offline
Sorry this happened to you. I agree with bonbon it is a good reminder though to pay attention in general about stuff like this.
tacogirl Facebook, Belize Life Linked In - Belize info & images https://www.facebook.com/tacogirl

#377842 - 05/21/10 10:55 AM Re: Beware Caye Caulker Water Taxi Baggage Thieves [Re: tacogirl]
ckocian Offline
As a resident I'm sure you're aware of how bad the economy of Belize is right now. Crimes of opportunity increase in those circumstances. Just like the ladies whose pockets were picked when staying in a rented house on CC while they went out briefly a short time back, people will do things they might not ordinarily do. That's no excuse for bad behavior, of course, but it's a reason for visitors to be super vigilant these days and at least somewhat vigilant any time they visit a poor country.

Edited by ckocian (05/21/10 10:56 AM)

#378097 - 05/23/10 10:50 PM Re: Beware Caye Caulker Water Taxi Baggage Thieves [Re: ckocian]
seashell Offline
All over the world, if one thinks about it, letting those less fortunate than are we, see us tuck our valuable possessions away in a place, that is less than secure, virtually invites them to take them.

Í most certainly do not mean to imply that ĻtiefingĻis acceptable anywhere nor at any time. What I mean to say is, that it doesnīt matter where we are in the world, it pays to look out for your self and your belongings.

Quite frankly, there arenīt many places in the world, that I would trust that ANYONE who saw me stick a camera or other valuable into a zipper pocket would be able to keep themselves from checking out that zipper compartmetnt.

Donīt stop your customers and friends from the experience of the water taxi. Just make sure they donīt leave their good sense at home . . by the way . .. the same damn thing probably would have happened at home, circumstances being reasonably equal. Iīm surprised you donīt know that.
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

#378098 - 05/23/10 11:21 PM Re: Beware Caye Caulker Water Taxi Baggage Thieves [Re: seashell]
Peter Jones Offline
At the same time, if you report that something has been taken to the on-site management and they give every indication of not being interested in finding the perpetrator, it isn't just the individual who was the thief but the whole business institutionally. Then in practice all you can do is to avoid that business in future and make sure others are forewarned. Much as has happened here, in fact.

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