When you think of Belize, you probably picture tranquil beaches and big blue holes. But there’s more to this compact Central American destination than you originally imagine. Take a quick read through five of our favorite facts about Belize.
The British influence.
Belize is not your typical Central American country for many reasons, one being its deep connection to Great Britain. The area’s first European settlement was in 1638 by the British, who later formed the Colony of British Honduras in 1840. It wasn’t until 1973 that the country dropped “British Honduras” and rebranded as “Belize”, but English remains their official language to this day. In fact, the image of Queen Elizabeth is still portrayed in the Belizean dollar!
Before the British, there were the Mayans.
Archeological records show that the Mayan civilization had many settlements in Belize including Lamanai, one of their biggest and longest lasting cities. In all, there are about 900 Mayan sites in Belize, and one of the temples is still the tallest building in the country!
Under the Shade, I Flourish.
Belize’s official motto hints at their large quantity of forested land. It was even the mahogany tree found here that motivated the British to colonize Belize due to its quality of timber. But much like its culture, Belizean geography is highly diverse. You can find swamps along the coast, hills and low mountains in the south and interior regions (one range even looks like a sleeping giant), jungles and, of course, BEACHES!
Land lovers can take a trip to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the world’s first and premier jaguar preserve. But if you prefer to be around sea creatures, you’ll be happy to hear that Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, making for some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the Caribbean.
Iguanas, also known as Bamboo Chickens, are hunted for food in Belize. The local demand for iguanas is so high that they became a threatened species, causing the Belizean government to criminalize the hunting of iguanas during breeding season. The most exotic Belizean delicacy, though, is the gibnut rodent. Gibnuts are the world’s second largest rodent and are known as the “royal rat” in Belize because it was served to Queen Elizabeth II when she visited in 1985. We can confidently say she did not recommend smoked gibnut as part of Harry and Meghan’s wedding banquet.
If our facts about Belize don’t have you sold on booking your next Belize adventure, consider this: you’ll more than likely get to roam the country in a golf cart!
If you’re just dying to get to one of these fabulous bars, check out our fabulous deals in Belize or some of the other great places to explore in Belize. Or you can always call one of our friendly Beachologists at 1-800-915-2322 to hear even more about Belize!