All photos by Ramona Emerson

It is almost physically impossible to get drunk in Belize. Especially, if you are drinking the one and only local beer, Belikin.

Belikin is like Smirnoff Ice in that it starts out tasting okay, but becomes exponentially worse the more days you use it at your main source of nutrients. The bottles are also smaller than regular (read American) bottles, and it is an American in Belize’s favorite happy hour activity to try to calculate exactly how many ounces you’re losing, which is made exceedingly difficult by the fact that Belize is part of the evil empire of the milliliter.

When you finally crack the King’s code and realize that you are only imbibing about 2.3 ounces less per bottle than you would be if you were drinking a PBR, this small loss means a lot less than the realization that your third grade teacher was lying to you when she said that math was the universal language.

It’s easy to get uptight in a place like Belize, where everything is a bit dirty, and your ideal bohemian self is easily lost during the first day without water, and a sudden unwanted understanding of how a toilet really works. The small tropical storms of July cause the water shortages, but they are so beautiful that they give you something to look at when you would otherwise be taking a shower. A dichotomy that seems to be at the heart of Belize itself: it is the problem and also its own solution.

Depending on how much explaining you want to do you can order pretty much any drink you want in Belize, but I would recommend the strong rum, which is made by pouring 150 proof Belizean rum over the snakelike root of the Contribo plant. The stuff is so alcoholic that it’s illegal to sell without first watering it down or giving the customer one of the ubiquitous bags of Crystal water to dilute it themselves. The warm taste of anise, with which the liquor is infused, makes this drink a refreshing counterpoint to three days of Belikin.

Although most will go out as they came in, remember to drink happy when you travel. Figure out what you’re doing there, and then forget it, the answer is always yes, fantasies of a better you in a strange land.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!