Belize is a country in Central America ideal for diving, its barrier reef is the second largest in the world, after Australia. Blue Hole is one of the top destinations for professional and amateur divers. Although you must be relatively experienced to face the challenge, because Blue Hole is made up of beautiful caves 40 meters deep and more, with strong currents, fishes, sponges, corals and sharks. They were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Belize is protected for its great biodiversity of flora and fauna. Three of the four coral reefs in the Western Hemisphere are found on the coast of Belize and near their 450 islets and islands known locally as “cayes.” Belize’s rugged geography has also made the coastline and jungle attractive to drug traffickers, who use the country as a gateway for narcotics into Mexico. In 2011, the United States added Belize to the list of nations considered the largest drug producers or transit countries for narcotics.
Belize’s economy is based primarily on services, industry, and agriculture. The currency is stable, which attracts foreign investment. Mainly exports are seafood, fish, sugar, citrus fruits, bananas, garden products, clothing, concentrated juices, molasses, wood and crude oil. They also produce corn, papayas, rice and soybeans.
ACTIVITIES OF INTEREST
– Ambergris Caye: It is the largest island in Belize with a good range of hotels and resorts, located especially in San Pedro, which is known as “La Isla Bonita” because of the Madonna song. If you expect pristine white sands, this is not the case because the sand in Belize has rocks and shells, it’s not the best in this sense. Secret Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches.
– Diving course: Belize is one of the best places in the world to dive. In Ambergris Caye there are several alternative providers.
– Palapa Grill Bar: It is a restaurant/ bar in Ambergris.
– Rojo Lounge: It is a restaurant/ bar with lounge chairs on the beach in Ambergris.
– Excursion Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley: Those are ideal areas for snorkelling, to which you are taken by boat. You can have direct encounters with rays, sharks, corals and thousands of colourful fishes. To attract them, the tour operators feed the sharks with pieces of fish.
– Blue Hole: You can see it from the air, diving or snorkelling. The circle is 300 meters in diameter, thousands of years ago it was a cavern in the earth that was covered by water, you will be able to see the submerged stalactites and stalagmites.
– Glover Atoll: It’s the furthest atoll, which is why it is the least plagued by tourists, you can swim, dive and kayak. Depending on the weather, it will take 4 hours from the capital by boat, but hopefully, along the way, you will see dolphins and manatees that will make it worth the effort. By plane, it takes 17 minutes from Belize City. There is a resort on the atoll where you can stay for a few days.
– Caye Caulker: It’s another very beautiful caye for snorkelling or diving. You can find sharks, rays, moray eels, turtles and even some manatees.
– Watch a percussion show, learn percussion and make drums with the Garifuna community in Hopkins.
– Take a horseback ride and visit Xunantunic, this Mayan pyramid is 170km from Belize City.
– Visit the Mayan ruins of Laminai and Caracol (they are also far from Belize City, so you must have time).
– Nohmul archaeological site: There was a Mayan pyramid in the jungle built 300 years before Christ, but it was destroyed by a construction company to repair roads with limestone. An absolute outrage by a group of ignorant people who did not take into account the historical and tourist value of this place for humanity and for its country. Only the central part of the pyramid remained saved from the backhoe.
The gastronomy of Belize has similarities with the Mexican and the Caribbean. Its basic ingredients are rice and beans, often consumed with chicken, pork, beef, fish (snapper), chilli, fruits and vegetables. Other typical Belizean dishes are the following: Tamales (made with corn tortilla dough and filled with chicken or beef stew, chilli peppers and sauces, then steamed in banana leaves or corn)/ Panuchos (fried corn tortillas stuffed with pork or chicken, beans and vegetables)/ Sea snail soup (in English: conch soup)/ Fry Jacks (fried flour cakes that can be accompanied by cheese, beans, sausages, eggs or cereals)/ Pozole (it’s a cornmeal soup with corn grains and broth chicken).
Coconut milk and fried banana add a genuinely tropical flavour to dishes. Traditional exotic recipes include armadillo, venison and bale meat, a type of brownish rat similar to a guinea pig. Descendants of the Maya culture use to cook “recado”, which is a mixture of spices and corn. Their most famous dish is Caldo (chicken soup accompanied by corn tortillas in which they wrap the food to eat). The Garífuna -ethnic group of descendants of Africans and aboriginal Caribs- use cassava, fish, shellfish and vegetables in their preparations. The typical dishes of them are Hudut Soup (fish cooked in coconut milk) and Bundiga (fish cooked in coconut milk and green bananas).
Drinks: Atole (a drink made with corn and water)/ The most famous brand of beer is Belikin/ There are blackberry wines, cashew and ginger. Rum cocktails in Belize are also very popular using the local rum production. There is also a drink made from algae, with milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.
Belize was part of the Mayan Empire that stretched from southern Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. The Spanish conquerors explored the land, declared it a colony and the territory became part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, but they chose not to colonize it due to the lack of resources such as gold and the strong defence of the Yucatan Peninsula by the Mayans. Later, the English colonists named it British Honduras and established a commercial colony based on logging the Campeche wood for the production of dye. The wood produced a fixing agent for clothing dyes that was vital to the European wool industry. The pirates saw Belize as an ideal refuge, a protected area from which they could attack Spanish ships. Although slavery was abolished in 1838 in the British Empire, working conditions for workers in the Belizean colony were degrading.
Colonization, slavery and immigration have played an important role in the ethnic modification of the population and, consequently Belize is a country with numerous cultures, languages and ethnic groups. There are descendants of Mayas (a large part of the Mayan population died from European diseases and conflicts between tribes with Europeans), Europeans, descendants of African slaves, natives of Nicaragua who speak Creole or Kriol, Mennonite farmers, Indians, Chinese and immigrants from the United States and Canada. The fertility rate in Belize is approximately 3.6 children per woman.
– Politically Belize is a constitutional parliamentary monarchy. The Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II, monarch of the United Kingdom but who for these purposes is “Queen of Belize”, who is represented in the country by the Government.
– Security is greater than in other Central American countries such as Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador. The only areas where extreme precautions are recommended are on the border with Guatemala, where it is not advisable to travel individually, as there are attacks and robberies to tourists. The area of the Mayan ruins of Caracol is also designated as a medium risk area so take care if you will visit these ruins.
– Most businesses accept cards.
– Do not forget the rain jacket because it rains frequently and the repellent for mosquitoes.
|Belmopan is the capital however, Belize City is the most populous city.
|– You are required to show the yellow fever vaccine if you come from an endemic country.
– It’s recommended to have typhoid, hepatitis and tetanus vaccines.
– There is also a risk of malaria in almost the entire country, especially rural areas, which is why it’s recommended to take preventive antimalarial medication and repellent against mosquitoes.
|Check the time in Belize at 24 Time Zones.
|Check the USD / BZD change in Exchange XE.
|– The official language is English (for being a former British colony) although only 62,9% of the population speaks it.
– 56.6% of the population speaks Spanish, 44.6% speaks Creole, and 10.5% speaks Mayan.
|– BZD (Belize Dollar)
– They normally accept US dollars and Visa cards, but they can add up 5% so it’s convenient to use cash.
|– There are water taxis between the islands, not very expensive.
– You can also travel by plane but it costs twice as much, although the view is beautiful.
|Temperature / Climate
|– The average temperature is 31 °C maximum / 21 °C minimum.
– There are hurricanes during the rainy season, from May to November.
– The dry season is between January and April.
– May is the hottest month of the year and January is the coldest month.
– The climate is tropical and usually very hot and humid. The average annual humidity is 83%.
|European countries do not normally require to manage Visas in advance for a 30-day tourist stay. The passport must be valid for at least 90 days. There is a 20usd departure tax and a 1.20usd plane fee with each flight. Check with your embassy the current conditions to travel.
|Philip SW Goldson International Airport (BZE)
|– G / A / B (Same as in England, two rectangular legs in line and one perpendicular / O two rectangular parallel legs).
– Don’t forget your universal adapter if you don’t have these plugs in your city.
|Population of Belize
|390,353 (year 2019)
|– 40.1% of Belizeans are Catholic, 31.5% are Protestant (Pentecostals, Adventists, Anglicans, Mennonites, Baptists, Methodists and Nazarenes), 1.7% are Jehovah’s Witnesses, 0.4% are Mormons, 0.3% are Buddhist, 0.2% are Hindu, 0.2% Muslims, 0.2% Rastafarians, 9.2% adhere to other religions, and 15.5% have no religion.
– Mennonites are descendants of Europeans who dress and live like the ancient settlers in America, they travel in horse carts and do not use electricity or new technologies.