Somewhere between Mexico and Guatemala, in the Caribbean there is a small country. By tourist Belize is known for 3 things: The Maya ruins in the highlands, the Jungle with amazing Animal wildlife, and the beautiful riffs and island for the one’s that are looking for the sea . The most impressive one is ‘the blue hole’.
Here a little of our impression of Belize.
Pink line to Belize City
The Chicken bus is the main transport in the whole country. A chicken bus is an old school bus from the USA, painted in the most amazing colors. They ride the 3 main roads in the country for a small fee. Local’s buses to small villages are scarce. Ask a local if you need one.
Good roads aren’t common in Belize and tourist attractions are far. For example the fasted way to get to Lamanai is 1h by boat, Caracol is 2h by jeep and for a good diving spots a boat can be very helpful.
€ 2 for a coca
The main economy of the country is tourism, therefore everything is really expensive.
Local tour operators offer you the fanciest tours, with even more fancier prices. In a positive note, prices are all inclusive. (Cold drinks, fresh foods, transportation, guide, and entrance fee). To give you an idea € 90 to Caracole ( Maya ruins) and 250 $ uds to the famous blue hole…. Is it worth it if you can’t dive?
Also most food is imported from the us. You can find cucumber, but they cost 5usd for two. As it is the same price as a bottle of rum, the only cheap things there, you can imagine which one we choose. 😉
There is no real description of who a Belizean is. The citizens are Africans, Jamaicans, descendants of the Maya and a mixture. Also strangely enough almost all the food shops we saw were Chinese and Mennonite (Amish) groups are in charge of the bigger part of the country’s food production.
Since it’s a British colony the national language is English and Kriol as nonofficial language, it sounds like English but its incomprehensible. Other common languages are Spanish, old German and Chinese.
Mayans didn’t disappear.
Today Belize has only 400.000 inhabitants. (more or less) 800 years ago the Maya population reached over 1 million over the same area.
The 3 main ruins to visit are Caracol, Lamanai and Xunantunich. These big cities were populated by the Mayan from there preclassic period until the Spanish conquest.
Caracol has an impressive pyramid representing the 3 worlds of Mayan religion. BTW this is also the highest building of the country.
Lamanai and xunantunich have both impressive sculptures in different kind of ways. And both also have the in 3 parts devided pyramids.
An other nice visit would be ATM. Were in Mexico they used cenotes, here they used caves to do offerings and ceremonies. ATM would be the most impressive one with lots of pottery and a skeleton. Don’t be afraid of a little caving to get there.
Mayan culture declined a long time ago. Contrary of what they say, Mayan evaluates with times. Descendant of maya are proud to tell you about their origin. Now, In the south of Belize there are a couple of modern Mayan communities. Tours can take you there. Since we are going to spent some time in Guatemala, we hope to learn there what ancient traditions they still have left.
Everybody needs money but the main spirit here is ‘go slow’. We taught you can feel it even more on the islands. Peoples are so slow that if they go slower they will walk backward.
All travel books tell you to avoid Belize city, even more at night. But in reality where there are tourists, there is money… So as a tourist pleases be really careful with your belongings and don’t walk alone at night. After being there; Belize city isn’t worth the risk. Unless you have a things for ghettos, there is not a much to see there. Passing through by taxi is enough to catch a glimpse of this peculiar town. The Islands and the highlands are safer but keep your head up.
The country and wildlife are really beautiful. On the local reefs there are so many birds and fishes to observe. You can see deep down in the water. The islands and their beaches are lovely. A divers paradise.
If you are more into safari; the monkey’s are never far away, iguanas are sunbathing on hidden rocks and not forgetting the colors of the toucans around. (This is the national bird). Even as a birdwatchers there is a great deal of fun.
Like locals say: You have to see it before you Belize it!!!