Beach and Water / Scuba Dive Detecting Forum

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Belize beaches and detecting
Posted by: artifactjack
Date: December 22, 2010 04:45PM
New member here... I have been enjoying and learning from this forum for several months now.

I will be on Ambergris Caye in Belize in February and am trying to decide if I should take my metal detector.

Does anyone have any info on detecting in Belize? Can I bring a detector into the country,etc?

Any info or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Re: Belize beaches and detecting
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: December 23, 2010 10:31AM
Well, no one else seems to be chiming in, so I'll take a stab. I haven't been to Belize, so this is just generally speaking, since Belize is in the general category of Mexican, Carribean, and south American sort of locale. There are scores of various beach destinations all throughout these locales, of course, that Americans travel to all the time. Thus the question comes up over and over on forums, for all the different islands and/or little independant countries down there.

Basically, you might get a "no", if you kept asking long enough (for example, talking to consulates, lawyers down there, border guards, travel agents, bureaucrats, etc...).

For example, this question came up, for Mexico in general, years ago, in a periodical that Fisher Co. used to put out, back in the 1980s. Someone had written in to the Q&A column of their periodical, asking if metal detecting was legal in Mexico (apparently they were getting ready to go to one of the tourist beaches down there). Fishers answer to them, in this Q&A column, was "no", and went on to elaborate the laws, etc.... In the following edition, several other readers had written in to take exception to Fishers answer to the earlier inquiry. They were asking things like "Since when?" and "who told you this?" and "we've gone down for years, and never had a problem, so where are you getting this info?" etc.... Fisher defended their answer by expanding on their earlier answer: In order to answer the earlier inquiry, they had simply gone to some border consulate bureaucrat, or lawyer or whatever ........... AND ASKED! Doh. Seems logical enough, right? I mean .... who better to ask, than Mexico themselves, right? :rolleyes: But of course, whomever fielded their question, probably couched the answer in terms of Shipwreck salvor laws, export laws, federal historical monument type stuff (ie.: raiding the pyramaids, etc...). So too might the same answer be given to you, if you asked long enough, and hard enough, at a lot of USA sites too. Why is this? Because perhaps the bureaucrat is thinking of Shiloh, Gettysburg, Mel Fisher legal hassles, or that you're going to be a moron and leave holes, etc....

And using that example of Mexico, detectors are a common site on tourist beaches, despite any answer that Fisher might have gotten. And there are detector dealers in all the major cities of Mexico (including Fisher dealers! Doh!), who presumably sell them to people who are going to use them. So the answer made no sense.

This is the same thing I would be afraid of in any other Mexican, Carribean, or S. American place: You may get a technical answer, when in fact, no one really cares. A lot of people who got "no's" (when they asked their cruize line, or travel agent, or whomever), have been surprised to see others on the beach once they got there, having no trouble at all.

The same pyschology is seen on a micro-scale here in the USA: A lot of parks (for example) are detected with no problem for as long as anyone can remember (it never occured to anyone there might be a problem, or that you even needed to ask). But then someone takes it upon themselves to waltz into city hall, and ask permission. They get a "no". What's up with that? So it's the same thing ...... a lot of times ...... on a national scale too I suppose.

If you are still skittish, you might look to see what dealers are close by (Whites, Fisher, Garrett, etc... all have lists of their international dealers on their websites), and contact the dealers who are close (even if not exacty right in that particular country/state). See what the real skinny is.

Re: Belize beaches and detecting
Posted by: kered
Date: December 28, 2010 02:07AM
A good answer, same applies here in spain, some places are a no no like andalucia without a permit, others places you have no problems but the official answer is its not allowed

Whites Surf Dual Field, SovGT/SEF 12x10 y XS2aPro/wot15, Uniprobe & sunray

Re: Belize beaches and detecting
Posted by: Tom_in_CA
Date: December 28, 2010 11:14AM
kerced, thanx for chiming in. And you say (using Spain as an example of this psychology):

" ....others places you have no problems but the official answer is its not allowed "

What I'd be afraid of, in those situations, is ..... Even though no one may care now, just give it enough people going and asking for clarifications and permission, and here's what starts to happen: Those desk-bound bureaucrats who ...... in all reality probably don't care or notice, yet are compelled to pass out some technical answer, will begin to boot others. Mind you, they probably would never care or notice if they just randomly passed you by. But given enough people asking, and guess what becomes "fresh in their mind"? They'll perhaps see others, and think "aha! there's one of them!!" and start booting people. Or they'll invent or start to clarify in laws, to specifically address it. Why? to "address this pressing issue" ! doh!

So the moral of this story is? Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, and sometimes we need to leave good enough alone. Like taking your Spain example as an example, if visitors or other locals had simply asked fellow hobbyists what the real skinny is, things would be left "good enough", and we would continue to be thought of an innocuous and thus ignored.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/2010 11:16AM by Tom_in_CA.

Re: Belize beaches and detecting
Posted by: XT18000
Date: December 29, 2010 03:21PM
If you get it through Customs ( there's ) you should not have any problem. Most ( maybe all now ) all offshore
Keys are privet owned and they like to keep there guests happy. There is only a few mainland beaches
and you don't want to use them ( unsafe day or night for tourist ). You can expect Customs to want proof
that the equipment you bring into the country to go out with you. That is, that it is not for sale or rent and that
you are not going any where near any MAYA sites. Be sure to take proof of ownership with you and keep some
kind of proof as to where you will be staying on your person to prove where you will be. I almost moved down there
a few years back so I know some of the problems you can face. I took several cameras and extra lens with me and
they thought I was going to sell them or take photos on a huge scale for ad's or something. Took a while to sort it out
and get loose of them. Have a great trip. Oh and be sure to take a light jacket with you just in case a cold front blows
through ( yes they make it that far south! ).

Re: Belize beaches and detecting
Posted by: UK Brian
Date: December 30, 2010 05:14AM
As XT says. You can try getting a permit for land searches from the Dept. of Archaelogy in Belmopan (for recreational use) but I doubt if you will get one. Beach detecting is allowed but you have to take care from the point of view of crime as with most of the poorer countries.

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