Belize Travel Guide

Travel Guides

belize-travel-guide

Fast Facts

Belize Currency: Belize dollar (BZD)
Capital: Belmopan
Belize Currency to INR: Rs 34.15 is equal to 1 Belize Dollar
Language: English, Creole, Spanish, German
Population: 399,900 in 2019 (Approx)
Country Phone Code: +501

 

Overview of Belize

If you are tired of cold weather, busy city life and would like to experience warm tropical weather, white sandy beaches, scuba diving, snorkeling, deep-sea adventure. 

If you would like to explore history, archaeology and learn about a new culture while maybe none of these but you would like to spend your vacation in a paradise-like place, then Belize is your dream destination. Let’s Explore all in this Travel Guide of Belize. 

Belize is a small country in Central America with Most of its population live in the cities like Belize City, Corozal, Orange walk town, Belmopan, Punta Gorda, Dangriga, and Placencia. In the north is connected with Mexico, In the west and south is Guatemala, Honduras is just a short distance away but has a common border through the ocean.

On the east side is connected with the Caribbean ocean and thus the open world. 

 

Language

Most of the people speak English however Spanish is widely understood. There is another thing that people speak which is called Creole. Creole is a kind of broken English which you might be able to understand a part of if you pay attention however when the people talk to each other you would not be able to understand anything. 

People are from the descendants of the African slaves who were brought here a few centuries ago and thus have been settled in this land. However, there are people a lot of people from the other places like Honduras, and Guatemala and Mexico and other countries who are living in peace and harmony despite their differences in race and religion.

In general, the least is a peaceful place where people understand each other being a small place almost everybody knows everybody but that does not mean that there are no dangerous areas. One needs to be careful when he comes here in which area he goes and in which areas to a wide. 

At the same time, people of Belize are very friendly because of that government is developing Belize as a huge tourist attraction.

A number of Cruise Ships come here every day and every year and that provides the local people employment opportunities.

People make handicrafts at, home sell them in the tourist village and other troost attractions which provides the means of earning.

 

Belize Flag Meaning

belize-flag

Belize flag with a lot of things to look at and a lot of symbolism. The flag is basically just a flag with the coat of arms.

The backdrop is royal blue with red stripes trimming the top and bottom, a white disc in the center with the coat of arms.

The blue and white represent the People’s Union party and the red represents the United Democratic party of Belize, the two major political parties of the country.

The coat of arms contains two dudes, a mestizo guy holding an ax and a black guy holding a paddle to indicate the major demographical ethnicities of Belize.

Belize and Malta are the only sovereign nations to have humans depicted on their flag.

Behind the men is a mahogany tree in Belize Flag and a shield supported by the hands of the men, tierced per pall inverted which means divided into 3 parts, upside down in a Y-shape and the first, left argent – a paddle and a squaring axe, and the second one to the right – a beating axe and a crosscut saw and the last one on the bottom – a sailing ship.

These items illustrate the historical foundation of Belize, being a nation founded upon logging and the seafaring residents.

Around the men are 50 leaves connected by a circle branch signifying the year 1950 when the People’s union party was established and took power.

Under the men, you have the nation’s motto on a curled parchment: “Sub umbra floreo“, which means “Under the shade, I flourish”.

 

Belize Map

Belize-Map
Belize-Map


Demographics

Belize is small but incredibly mixed.

The country has a population of about 390,000 people, about half of the country identifies as ethnically mestizo, about 25% identifies as creole or afro-Belizean and then you have about 12% that identifies as indigenous Mayan, yes people that’s right, Mayans still exist, they didn’t die out, you’re thinking about the Olmecs.

Then you have about 6% identifying as Garinagu or people who are mixed between black and Amerindian.

About 4% are Indian, like from India – Indian, and here’s where things get really funny. Another 4% of the population is actually German or technically German-speaking Russian Mennonites.

Originally they are descended from Mennonites that started in the Russian Empire in the late 1800s that moved to Canada then to the U.S., then to Mexico and then finally in the 1950s settled in Belize.

Altogether there are about 12,000 Mennonites, most of whom are ethnically white and speak Plattdeutsch or a dialect of German.

Funnier still, in addition, there are 2,000 or so non-white people that have converted to Mennonitism, making it one of the few places in the world where you can see black and mestizo people donning the traditional plain trademark clothing of the Mennonite community.

Belize is also interesting too in the fact that it is the only country Central America that speaks English as an official language and a lot of people in Belize though speak Belizean Creole, which is basically a heavily Caribbean influenced accent of the English language with distinct vocabulary word switches and written in a very basic phonetical structure.

Each region is kind of distinct in its populace, for example in the south in Stann Creek you have high populations of Garifunas who speak and dress differently from the people in the north like in Corozal and Orange Walk, which by the way has a high population of Mayan people. Closer to the coast you have the Creoles and inland, don’t be surprised to find the Mennonites.

Eventually Belize gained its self-governing autonomous status in 20th century and full independence in 1981, but still remains a Commonwealth country of the UK.

Nearby Countries

Belize is, without a doubt, a joyful little kipper. It’s funny though because diplomatically Belize is kind of technically closer to their Caribbean neighbor nations, but geographically they’re still kind of surrounded by and attached to Central America.

This circumstance factors heavily in how Belize plays on the playground. They have a ton of memberships into multilateral alliances, such as CARICOM, Interpol, the ACF, IMF, UNESCO, WTO, WTF (debatable), U.N., IFC and many more.

If you can think of an acronym, Belize is probably part of it. Nonetheless, recently they’ve been working harder to invest in the Central American ties to complement the historical ties that they’ve had to the Caribbean.

Spanish is commonly spoken as a second language to most of the population as interactions between their neighbors are common.

Nicaragua and Mexico are close friends of Belize as they all have developed bilateral agreements fairly well and conduct business on a relatively well level with each other.

Guatemala, however, has a little bone to pick with Belize as they have disputes over territorial claims, as in they believe all of Belize should belong to Guatemala.

In 1981 they recognized Belize’s independence, however, decades later dispute still lingers ever so slightly to the minds of Guatemalans.

Belize is also one of the few countries that recognizes Taiwan as an independent sovereign state. It all started with some Taiwanese Belizean guy named William Quinto who was into politics, yadi yadi yada… they built ties with Taiwan.

When it comes to their best friends, more or less they might consider the U.S. and the UK.

As a former colony and Commonwealth, the UK still keeps a close embrace on Belize and in fact, prince Harry even visited in 2012 on a Commonwealth tour. In honor, the Belizeans renamed a boulevard in the capital as Her majesty Queen Elizabeth the II Boulevard.

Belize may be both a Caribbean and Central American nation.

 

HISTORY

The history of Belize dates back thousands of years. 

Several major archaeological sites including Cahal pech Caracol Lamanai lubaantun Alton ha and Shannon tonic reflect the advanced civilization and much denser population of that period.

The Maya civilization emerged at least three millennia ago in the lowland area of the Yucatan Peninsula and the highlands to the south in what is now southeastern Mexico, Guatemala, western Honduras, and Belize.

Many aspects of the culture persist in the area despite nearly 500 years of European domination.

Believes both important sites of the earliest Maya settlements majestic loins of the classic period and examples of the late post Classic ceremonial construction.

The first recorded European settlement was established by shipwrecked English seamen in 1638. Over the next hundred and 50 years more English settlements were established Belize was termed the colony of British Honduras in 1840. 

It became a crown colony in 1862 the official name of the territory was changed from British Honduras to Belize in June 1973 and full independence was granted on September 21st, 1981.

Belize is also known for this extreme biodiversity and distinctive ecosystems.

On the coast is a swampy coastal plain with mangrove swamps in the south and interior there are hills and low mountains. Most of the country is undeveloped and is forested with hardwood.

Belize City is the largest city in Belize its population is about 70,000 inhabitants. Until 1961 Belize City used to be the capital of beliefs however Belize City lies in the direct path of hurricanes.

In 1961 the city was flattened with the hurricane thus it was decided to move the capital inland and Belmopan which is about 50 miles to the west became the capital of Belize.

Currently, the population of Belmopan is only about 14,000 and most of the people live in Belize City.

Tourists who come to visit Belize do not stay in Belize City mostly. Most of them like to go to the islands like Key Cocker and San Pedro that has beautiful sandy beaches providing them with a lot of opportunities to take part in the water sports in Belize.

Belize is blessed with the second largest Barrier Reef in the world. 

That provides a lot of opportunities for you to see the wildlife in this in the ocean and different kind of fish live here. It provides tourists a lot of opportunities to take part in water sports if you are interested in that. 

Belize used to be a closed country and not many people used to come here. However, the government started changing the rules and regulations opening up the country for the foreigners and a lot of tourists started coming here.

That created a lot of opportunities for the people of Belize, however, these opportunities are merely not enough.

 

Geography

Belize’s geographical location is very unique because it’s technically kind of considered the gateway between the Caribbean and the Central American region.

Belize’s located on the east coast of the Central American region of North America, east of the very end tip of Mexico and Guatemala with the Caribbean Sea to the east.

Although it looks like to the untrained eye, the west border of Belize is actually not a straight line and in about 2/3 of the mark heading north from the southern tip around the town of Banque Viejo del Carmen, the borderline tilts ever so slightly at about a 5 degree angle and continues up until the northern river in Mexico.

Belize has over 400 islands, islets, and cays along its coast in the Caribbean including one of the largest and inhabited ones, Ambergris Cay, which if it weren’t for that one small little bicoastal separating creek, it would technically be an exclave attached to Mexico’s Costa Mesa peninsula.

A lot of the cays and islets are home to world-famous resorts and beaches that tourists, especially from English-speaking nations, flock to for vacation getaways.

The capital of Belize is Belmopan located in the Cayo District near the center of the country.

The capital used to be Belize City, which to this day is still the largest city and center hub for all commercial and economic activity.

However, cute motion graphic, after extensive damage done by hurricane Hattie back in the late ’60s, Belize literally built an entirely new capital about 80 km/ 50 miles inland.

They chose a really interesting and kind of morbid spot though because apparently, it’s only about 16 km away from the Crystal maiden of Actun Tunichil Muknal cave.

Also known as the cave with sparkling calcified skeletons of children, that was kind of, yeah read up on ancient Mayan culture.

Belize is home to over 900 ancient Mayan sites speckled all over, in fact the tallest building in Belize is a Mayan temple – The Caracole Mayan ruins. The town cost only 24 million dollars to build or after inflation rates today would only be about 73 million dollars.

That’s actually kinda cheap considering that many airports alone cost several times more than that.

Belize is also interesting because it’s one of the only 3 non-island nations to be part of CARICOM or the Caribbean Community,

 

Also Visit: Antigua and Barbuda Travel Guide


Physical Geography

Belize is a tropical wonderland. Because of the low population density, a huge portion of the land, about 60% especially inland is the forest, most of which is undisturbed.

This makes an ideal home to over 5,000 species of plants and hundreds of different animals including monkeys, leopards, snakes, frogs, armadillos, bearsharktopuses (debatable), toucans, coatimundis, tapirs, scarlet macaws and tree otters, and kinkajous, not Kinky Jews, kinkajous, y’all nasties.

Belize is also home to the first and only jaguar preservation reserve in the world, Cockscomb wildlife sanctuary, and that’s not even including the coast.

In fact, Belize has the second largest Barrier Reef in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and is a hotspot for scuba enthusiasts, speaking of which, one spot that Belize is absolutely famous for is the big blue hole located on the Lighthouse Reef Atoll about 70 km/ 40 miles off the mainland and this spot is a huge circular sub-marine sink-hole that goes down for about a 120 meters / 400 feet where you can go into the hole and you’ll be greeted by several colorful species of fish, like parrotfish, angelfish, lionfish, trumpet fish, balloon fish, bearsharktopus fish (debatable).

Despite the abundance of fish and fishing being a huge part of the industry, Belize is actually very concerned about maintaining the reefs and has actually become the first country in the world to ban bottom trawling or sea floor fishnet dragging.

 

Education

Education level is not very high in Belize. A lot of people, A lot of youngsters drop out of school at a very early age and they fall through the cracks and they do not know what to do so. Lot of youngsters roaming around walking in the streets doing nothing, that’s creating a sense of loneliness in them.

Government is taking certain actions to correct the situation however the resources are not enough for these people and they do not know what to do with themselves.

So they are always looking for some opportunity and that also takes them onto the wrong path.

Just because of that Belize City is clearly divided into two paths one is northern Belize and one is Southern Belize

In northern Belize you will mostly find the people who are well-off and they are living on their own but in southern Belize you will find a lot of people who do not have many opportunities or say no opportunities at all and they do not even have the place to sleep or they do not even have anything to eat.

 

Islands

There are many islands in the coastal boundary of Belize. Many of them are privately owned however some are open to the public. Some are large enough to sustain a good-sized City, for example, Amburg is key

In order to travel to the island, you will need to hire a water taxi for a 45 minutes ride to keikaku or 75 minutes ride to San Pedro

San Pedro is the city of 14,000 friendly people and one of the major tourist attractions in Belize.

The city San Pedro serves as a hub for water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving and day-long excursions to Blue Hole.

To take full benefit of what beneath has to offer around Belize Barrier Reef one could go for scuba diving, windsurfing, snorkeling, and many other water sports.

However, snorkeling is something that an average person can do easily even without any knowledge of swimming.

Toward course takes you to the Barrier Reef of Belize that you will be able to swim with the sharks, stingrays, turtles, and many other types of fish in their natural habitat.

You beside these islands the main attractions in Belize are the truest reflections cave tubing, inland blue hole, Belize Zoo, and jungle tracks.

 

Hotels and Resorts in Belize

There are several resorts set up all the Trois vallées that provide comfortable living in the exotic settings to provide you the ultimate jungle experience.

You enjoy a good night’s sleep in a mosquito-free environment and singing birds wake you up in the morning.

some species of villages flora and fauna include the black orchard, the mahogany tree, the two cones, and tapers

Besides the magical islands and botanical garden resorts, Belize is blessed with the Maya Mountains that peak at almost 5000 feet. A drive through these mountains on the southern highway takes you to the cities of Hopkins, Dan Riga, Placencia and Punta Gorda. 

Hopkins is a small coastal town with friendly people and beautiful beaches.

Placencia is situated at the end of a long half-mile white strip that connects it with the mainland Belize and Placencia becoming a new tourist destination with all the amenities of the Western world, white sandy beaches, and nice restaurants. 

It is full of beautiful bungalows and gated communities that are mostly owned by experts from North America and Europe.

 

Economy

A blending of cultures has resulted in one of the happiest and most peaceful countries in the region.

Belize is blessed with a lot of marine resources. With the second largest Barrier Reef in the world, a lot of fish and shrimps are harvested along the Belizean coast

These are processed and exported to other countries as well.

The biggest income and the employment that comes with the ocean is the arrival of the cruise ships. Almost every day a cruise ship docks along the coast of Belize and all those tourists flock to the city of Belize.

With the taxi drivers are able to make their income by taking the tourists to visit the Mayan ruins and other inland activities. 

A lot of people who make the handicrafts are able to sell their handicrafts in the tourist village and a lot of other employment opportunities are connected with this kind of Belize Tourism.

The U.S. has been and still is the largest economic aid provider and investor especially in funds and business.

Doing business in Belize is actually surprisingly easy and only requires a few steps for registration and licensing, allowing Americans to focus on utilizing Belize’s tactical position and policies for growth on both countries.

Agriculture

Other than the tourism and marine resources agriculture is another major aspect in the Belizean economy.

Belize produces rice, corn, sugarcane and a lot of other fruits that are sold fresh here and also exported.

In the western part of the BElize, oil is also extracted however it’s merely not enough for Belize and a lot of oil is also imported from the other countries.

In terms of agriculture, about 20% of the land is covered in cultivated land, even though the potential for more is actually totally available.

And to this day, bananas and plantains alone make up about 15% of all exports, agricultural exports all together make about 40%. Inland to the south you reach the Maya Mountains, the highest area of the country, home to the highest point – Doley’s Delight, as well as numerous ancient Mayan sites hidden amongst the hills.

Back in the 19th century New World excavation was like the hottest thing to do that everyone was jumping on and Belize was a favourite spot amongst many numerous British archeologists.

But the British surprisingly aren’t the largest white minority in Belize. You’ll never believe who it is actually, it’s actually kind of funny.

 

Belize Weather all Year Around

BELIZE WEATHER

One of the nicest things about Belize is the weather.

With an average yearly temperature of 84 Fahrenheit or 29 degrees Celsius, Belize is warm yet comfortable.

Coastal sea breezes, as well as the jungle and the rainforests, keep you cool even in the hottest summer months.

While winters can be cool but never very cold.

The temperature in February and May in Belize
Belize
is dry season is between February and May and has significantly lower rainfall than the rest of the year.When it does rain it is usually a mile short first.

The temperature in June, July August, September, October, November and December in Belize
June to December is the wet season when parts of the country receive up to 150 inches of rain.

Belize also has a hurricane season and while statistically, Belize does not attract any major direct hits. It does get its share of severe tropical weather with high winds and rain.

 

Culture

In Belize traditions and customs are varied and represent more than diverse cultures. For generations, the people of Belize have created a cultural commitment to preserve the country’s unique charms.

Whether you are an adventure traveler, family holidays, or in Belize for a relaxing beach vacation every day will be a new experience for you and Belizean people and culture will make you feel welcomed and comfortable.

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