Likes & Dislikes

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Unfortunately, like in Guatemala, the food choice is very limited. Tortilla, beans and chicken. At least the locals are nice, though; people would call out to us at almost every step, and everyone seemed curious about these foreigners who had come from so far away.

We reached Belize City after dark, and the taxi drivers were quick to tell us how dangerous it was to be out walking the streets so late at night, but they still wanted $8 to take us the 700m to our hotel. We laughed, of course, and said we’d rather walk.

There was a slightly ghetto-ish vibe, with little kids playing outside, women leaning against a fence, and men sitting on a bench, drinking. It occurred to us then that our sense of danger was mostly caused by the darkness, and that in actual fact it wasn’t so bad. I chose our hotel because it was right by the port:

Belize City isn’t a place you want to spend days in, but sailboats depart from here every hour to the country’s remotest and most beautiful islands. (2016)

 

Belize - beach life

Practicals

Transport

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Belize - Belmopan - pubic buses - k.a. photo

Food

During a state visit, Queen Elizabeth II ate with relish a dish set down before her, then daintily wiped her mouth with a napkin and asked what exactly she had just eaten. That was when they confessed that she had been served a good-sized rodent, known as a ‘gibnut’. The taste resembles rabbit, apparently. In memory of the event, the creature is now also known as the ‘royal rat’.”


Belize - Belmopan - cookshops - k.a. photo

Background

Belize - national flag - Sub umbra floreo means Under the shade I flourish" - crest slogan sponsored by beach umbrella rental guys

Destination in brief

Belize in brief 

Belize is a country located in the eastern part of Central America, on the Caribbean coast.

Neighbors: Mexico (north), Guatemala (west and south).

Belize is an independent country, a constitutional monarchy and a member of the Commonwealth, so its formal head of state is the Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. 

Size: 22 965 km² (8 867 mi²) - 386 km (239 miles) of coastline

Capital city: Belmopan - The former capital Belize City was almost entirely destroyed by a hurricane in 1961, so the capital city was moved to the small city of Belmopan (which has barely 12,000 habitant).

Population: 394 000 – 53% mestizo (mixed Spanish and Mayan ancestry), 26% Creole (mixed European and Black African ancestry) 11,3% Maya (direct descendants of the country’s indigenous people). There are about 46,000 foreigners who have made Belize their home, including Americans, Canadians, Europeans, Chinese, Jamaicans and Central Americans.

Religion: The majority of Belizeans are Roman Catholic, but due to the substantial British legacy, there is a significant Protestant population (larger than in any other Central American country). The Maya and Garifuna people practice their own particular mixture of shamanism and Christianity.

Official language: English – Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America. 

Official currency: Belize dollar (BZD)

Most frequent surname: Martinez

Belize made an immense contribution to human civilization: the chewing gum originates from there. 

Public safety: Belize is a dangerous country for the members of the local crime gangs or for local citizens caught in the crossfire of gang violence. Tourists, however, are unlikely to be victims of violent crime. Hotel room thefts or pickpocketing are the most serious crimes committed against visitors.  

Best timing to visit Belize for tourism and vacation: December-May (dry season)

What to see / what to do?

Belize has about 900 ancient Mayan ruins.

Belize is home to the world’s only jaguar reserve: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife sanctuary.

Belize is one of the best places to observe sharks. The best period for that is between April and July 

There are jungle adventure tours, waterfalls, and caves. 

Belize has some of the best dive sites in the Caribbean. The Belize Barrier Reef spans the length of the country's coastline and is the second largest barrier reef in the world. While in many other parts of the Caribbean, you can only dive around volcanic rock, the Belize Barrier Reef boasts an incredible array of marine life, making it one of the premier Caribbean destinations for diving and snorkeling.

Belize is a destination that’s best suited for experienced travelers as the tourist infrastructure is still quite poor and requires a lot of flexibility, patience and resourcefulness. It is however constantly and visibly improving.  

Geography

Most of the country is a swampy coastal plain.

Belize - Black Howler Monkey ("baboon") - a.b. photo

Belize - Red-lored Amazon (parrot) - s.v. photo

People

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Belize - farmer with machete - s.v. photo

Attractions

Caracol Archeological Reserve

Belize - Caracol Archeological Reserve - Nature has overgrown an ancient Maya city that once had a population of 150,000. - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Belize - Caracol Arceological Reserve - Maya script - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Belize - Caracol Archeological Reserve - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Belize City - former capital and largest city in the country

Belize - Belize City - port - k.a. photo

Belize - Belize City - k.a. photo

Belize - Belize City - k.a. photo

Belize - Belize City - k.a. photo

Xunantunich, - Maya ruins

about 120 km from Belize City - near the Guatemalan border

Belize - Xunantunich - k.a. photo

Belize - Xunantunich - k.a. photo

Belize - Xunantunich - k.a. photo

Belmopan - the capital of Belize

Belize - Belmopan - k.a. photo

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