Belize City is more of a town than a city—few of the ramshackle buildings here are taller than a palm tree, and the official population within the city limits is barely over 50,000, though the metro population is near 90,000. Not far beyond the city center, streets give way to two-lane country roads where animals outnumber people. Any dining room downtown could leave the impression that everybody knows everybody else in this town, and certainly among the elite who can afford to dine out, that's probably true. Belize City offers the most varied shopping in the country, and it’s the only place to find sizeable supermarkets, department stores, and the Belizean version of big box stores. There is always some little treasure to be discovered in a shop with mostly junk. All in all, it's far more interesting than any modern mall. Belize City is the commercial, social, sports, and cultural hub of the country. It's even the political hub, despite the fact that the capital, Belmopan, is an hour west. Still—and we can’t overemphasize this—you do have to be careful, as crime is not limited just to certain areas: When you’re in Belize City, bring your street smarts and exercise caution at all times.