From Seattle, Belize Is Barely Off the Beaten Path

When travelers dream of a trip off the beaten path, they imagine something like this. It’s after sunset at an out-of-the-way locals’ bar in San Pedro, Belize, where an entire wall is decorated with the words “Hello!!! It’s after 5, let’s not talk.” Hot air hangs in the small room, interrupted only by the bartender reaching into a refrigerator for chilled bottles of Red Stripe and the local Belikin lager.

We often say we want to get away from crowds to see the “real” place—though increasingly that very concept has come into question. If tourists come in and “ruin” a place with their colonial-tinged presence, why should

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