Criminal Minds Beyond Borders

Where Criminal Minds Beyond Borders went wrong about San Pedro, Belize

Amber Edwards Featured Article 37 Comments

There is always a buzz around town when Belize is featured on international television, but this one stirred us up more than usual. Belize was featured on Criminal Minds Beyond Borders (Episode: “Love interrupted”) and so many of us were waiting by our TV!  We were very excited to see our jewel and the footage of it that would be seen around the world.  Little did we know, we were in for a disappointment and a couple laughs to say the least.

Although there was some footage of Belize on the show, it was very little and showed only the mainland which is not where the events were said to take place.  Let’s break down where they went wrong shall we?

Our geography

Ambergris Caye and San Pedro on Google Maps

Ambergris Caye and San Pedro on Google Maps

The show featured a couple on their honeymoon in San Pedro, Belize, who were kidnapped.  San Pedro is the name of the town on an island off the coast of Belize (as seen above).  It can not be reached by road or bridge, the only way to get there is by airplane or boat.  There is no international airport yet either and our airstrip only caters to small aircrafts, so that big jumbo jet the FBI arrived in would have no place to land on the island.

Screen Shot of CBS

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders “Love interrupted”

The picture above shows what Criminal Minds Beyond Borders showed as the FBI team landed on San Pedro.  This is actually the Philip Goldson International Airport which is located on the mainland in the Belize district.  Below see what our airstrip actually looks like in San Pedro, Belize.

Criminal-Minds-BB-04

Although you are most likely to be welcomed anywhere you go in Belize, if you are passing this sign in a rental car looking to drive to the islands, you’re going the wrong way!

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders "Love interrupted"

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders “Love interrupted”

The beach

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders "Love interrupted"

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders “Love interrupted”

Another thing to notice about our island is that in some places it is so narrow that if our beaches were as wide as in the show obviously shot in a big city (above), they would literally cover the front end of town (below).  Our island is small and charming and we like our front porches close enough to watch our kids play in the water.

Aerial view of San Pedro, Belize

Aerial view of San Pedro, Belize

Hotel Staff

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders "Love interrupted"

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders “Love interrupted”

This snobby lady wouldn’t last a day at a hotel in San Pedro.  We are a friendly welcoming people and we do anything to make anyone visiting our country feel happy to be here.  Our entire population on the island depends heavily on the tourism industry and everyone here is directly or indirectly linked to it.  San Pedro is the heart of tourism in Belize and we pride ourselves in taking care of our visitors and this includes keeping them safe, making the entire kidnapping thing highly unlikely.  Even if anyone were to get kidnapped, the odds of hiding someone on an island the size of ours is even more unlikely.

Friendly staff

Friendly staff at Ramon’s Village

Our language

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 11.30.19 AM copy

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders “Love interrupted”

What?  Ok, this is bad, but it’s probably the closest Criminal Minds Beyond Borders got to actual Creole in the entire episode.  The “native” in the show sounded more illiterate than native and don’t get me started on their bilingual agent!  The truth is our first language is English and Creole is a dialect derived from it.  There is absolutely no Spanish in Creole as mentioned in the show.

Our birds

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders "Love interrupted"

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders “Love interrupted”

While the Scarlet Macaw does grace the sky above our beautiful country, it makes it’s home above the lush rainforest deep in the mainland, not usually on the coastline and definitely not on the islands. You are way more likely to look up at a pelican in San Pedro than a Scarlet Macaw.

Pelican Flying over San Pedro

Pelican Flying over San Pedro

The bay?

Screen Shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders "Love interrupted"

Screen Shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders “Love interrupted”

Banyan Bay is a Hotel on San Pedro, not an actual Bay and not even located on a bay. It is on the same straight coastline as everyone else as seen below.

Banyan Bay Hotel

Banyan Bay Hotel

Our transportation

san-pedro-car-rental

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders “Love interrupted”

The couple rents a red jeep from “San Pedro Car Rentals”.  This one is funny considering the only rentals you will find on the island are for golf carts, scooters or bicycles.  Golf carts are the main mode of transportation and while you will find a few cars on the island, they are privately owned or taxi cabs. Oh, and there is ONE red jeep on the island!

Red jeep

DJ Debbie’s Red Jeep

Transportation in San Pedro

Transportation in San Pedro

Pretty much everything is wrong with this next picture but lets go with the fact that the island is flat, no hills anywhere, much less mountains.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 11.59.24 AM copy

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders “Love interrupted”

The fireplace in sunny paradise

Screen shot Criminal Minds Beyond Borders "Love interrupted"

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders “Love interrupted”

Being so close to the equator, our record low on the island is pretty close to fifty degrees fahrenheit and it rarely ever gets that cold.  We do not have indoor fireplaces on San Pedro and come to think of it we don’t construct with brick here either.

Our Mayans don’t eat people!

The fact that this show implied our Mayan people would eat someones heart, hands and feet was plain rude.  We live in 2016 and so do our Mayans.

Heart steak

Screen shot of Criminal Minds Beyond Borders “Love interrupted”

Besides the fact that Mayans are more likely to be making chocolate in Belize than “heart steak”, islanders are way more fond of the super fresh and readily available seafood like this killer ceviche at Elvi’s Kitchen!

Elvi's Kitchen Ceviche

Seafood Ceviche, Elvi’s Kitchen

I think I speak for most Belizeans and even expats who now call Belize home when I say “I wish there was a little more research done before this episode was put together”.  Still, it made for good laughs and some of the community even gathered at the Truck Stop’s movie night to watch it and poke more fun at it.

Truck Stop San Pedro

Did you watch?  Did I miss anything?  Let me know in the comment section below!  Don’t forget to follow iTravel Belize on Facebook!

Comments 37

  1. I watched and small bit of it when my sister called me when it was about half way through, and boy did that show have it ALL wrong. I only watched a few minutes of it and couldn’t take it any longer. I LOVE San Pedro, Belize. That show did it NO justice!!!

  2. Well stated! I felt the same way! But now we can keep the beautiful of all we feel about San Pedro to those of us who really know! ❤️

  3. You forgot to mention the waves in the opening scene coupled with the dude heading out in a surf board. Oh, and the remark about calling the Paramedics. What?!

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      Author

      Donna you are so right about the waves and surfer! Our great barrier reef does a great job of keeping those waves from crashing ashore:)

  4. Pretty good detailing of what was wrong… aside from that, the roads on the island would NEVER allow for speeding at the speed the unlucky couple where going on…much less a high speed chase… LOL… Thanks for writing!

  5. Thank you for this. I laughed so hard reading it. It was more like a Comedy show watching this episode. I’m so sharing this on there page.

  6. Fun read! I completely missed the brick fireplace! Here are a couple of links to posts about the show that I wrote. The first includes a lot of reaction from Belize. The second was after finally seeing the show myself!

    https://robertjhawkins1.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/criminal-minds-episode-in-belize-it-was-just-criminal/

    https://robertjhawkins1.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/criminal-minds-in-belize-after-screening-even-worse-than-we-imagined/

    As your post shows, the real Ambergris Caye is so much more fun and interesting than whatever it was they showed on TV! Well done!

  7. I watched a part of it, because a relative advise us on FB that it was about to be aired. I was disappointed. When I heard the issue of the Mayan, I thought something was wrong and then I heard the CREOLE and the interpretation of it and I KNEW this was not made on site. Yea, and all that speeding and curves – Terrible, terrible, terrible.

  8. Agreed – as I was watching it I couldn’t help but wonder were there any communication with our tourist board or any government official for all this to take place? I mean someone had to negotiate some kind of info or approval for this to happen? Or was this just on a whim of their own? Either way I’m sure as noted from everyone we were all disappointed. So maybe official should take note and be more on top of anything that pertains to Belize and be sure everyone has their facts and info correct. As we protect and try to protect everything Belize – I think we should start with that. In the end we are all Belizeans and we love our country. So thanks for the info. I’ll be sure sure to share – it’s a “Must Read”!

  9. I was so appalled because this was one of my favorite shows. Now, I refuse to watch it and I would really like an apology from the producers of this show.

  10. How embarrassing on their part! Belize Tourism Board should contact them to let them know of their inaccurate and misleading series about Belize. Perfect comparisons on Itravel Belize’s part!

  11. Excellent overview of a laughably awful portrayal of Belize. I never watched it, and now I never will. I had already gotten plenty of feedback from friends that did.

    One minor correction I’d point out is that Belizean Creole (or Kriol if yuh really want get technical!) is better suited to be called a language, not a dialect. It has its own rules on grammar, structure, phonetic spelling, and quite a few words in our Creole have no origins in English (like ‘pikni’).

    Yet another thing to be proud of about Belizean culture, and equally to be annoyed about that this show butchered it so thoroughly.

    Cheers!

  12. I feel for you! Having spent a wonderful two weeks in Belize (Bullet Tree Falls for one and Ambergris for the other) I know it’s more beautiful than Hollywood could portray it. I have the same gripe with NCIS, that consistently gets just about EVERYTHING wrong about my area, like travel distances (it’s not 15 minutes from D.C. to Newport News!), locales (the Naval Academy has no woods to take a run in!), and backdrops (there are no mountains in the distance at either of Washington’s two airports).

    Ah, well…

  13. Yes Amber you missed the bride stating that she Samba … but that’s natuve to BRAZIL ??not Belize and I’m not even sure how you would samba to Andy Palacio.

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      Author

      Ahh! I totally caught it and forgot to plug it in to the article! I think mostly because I was trying to work with comparisons with pictures and I didn’t have an image to show in that one. Good save! 🙂

  14. We lived on Ambergris Caye for 15 years and seem to have missed the U.S. Consulate and the Courthouse!….along with all the other things mentioned above!

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      Author
  15. Must say I saw the episode too and was waiting patiently for it to air. All the errors you pointed out was on point and maybe I’ve been away from Belize too long but when did they build a US consulate or embassy on San Pedro?

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  16. I just had a great laugh while I watched the show. Criminal Minds is on of my favorite shows but they definitely messed up “big time pon this one ya”. The Creole part seriously offended me. I’m a Mestizo but the fact that the bilingual agent translated from English to Creole is what got to me. Ummm, hello! We are an English speaking country.

  17. I want to thank them for doing their first episode in Belize. You are right though, there could have been a little more research done before they did this episode. I was shocked that I didn’t know about roads in SPR. All the time I been there never saw it. I believe when they saw the guy on the road getting ready to inbound the vehicle they should have had him talk creole and have the agent them translate. That would have been more believable. I am a Criminal Mind fan but wasn’t impressed with The first episode. I was like correcting every scene like that’s not true. Where is that beach? Definitely not in San Pedro(mind you I love all things about my home Belize). Maybe they read this and do better next time. Again, we are thankful for Belize being advertised out there but they need to advertise it the correct way. Just my 2 cents.

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  18. It is a TV show and I don’t think the directors and producers made any claim that the events are actually historical factual or geographically correct. Therefore, it is meant just for entertainment purposes and nothing else. If one is keen about the entertainment industry they would note that often times movies get filmed in certain locations not so much as to highlight the country and the culture but to suit the purposes of the story line. Whomever would believe that these events are actually true really needs to improve on thier awareness.

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