Belize

Belize
Wedged between Mexico and Guatemala, the tiny and eclectic country of Belize has become one of the most popular eco tourism destinations in Central America for the intrepid traveler. 
Lush tropical rain forests, pristine beaches, ancient Maya cities, diverse flora and fauna, and the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere are just a few of the many natural attractions that allure the adventure traveler to visit.

Here are 11 reasons why you should travel to Belize:

1. Belize is the only English Speaking Country in Central America

Belize is a diverse society with many cultures and languages (Creole and Spanish are widely spoken) however English is the official language, making it easy for travellers to get around. 

2. Wonderful Nature 

Belize has some of the most intriguing and fascinating wildlife in Central America. In fact 40 percent of the land is classified as protected and is habitat to a variety of species of plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles and marine life.
Imagine being alone, paddling down the river and hearing the various sounds of birds and other wildlife. Belize offers the cottage life experience – year round.

3. Belizean food 

Belize’s cuisine is an amalgamation of the various cultures that call the place home. Mestizo, Maya, Creole, and Garifuna. Expect to eat fryjack and refried beans for breakfast and Rice and Beans with stew chicken for lunch. Some of the top must eats are: Rice and Beans, Fry Jacks, Johnny Cakes, Stew Chicken, Gibnut, Escabeche, Tamales, Hudut, and Fish Sere.

4. The weather

The weather in Belize is warm and comfortable all year round. The average yearly temperature is 84° F (29°C), which means that it is pretty much near perfect all year round. In addition the intact jungle and rain forests provide relief in the hot summer months, while winter can be cool but never very cold.

5. Wonderful islands

There's lots to do. Belize has seven World Heritage Sites just on its barrier reef, which, by the way, is the second longest barrier reef in the world. The country also claims more than 1,060 mangrove and/or sand cays. Some of these, like Caye Caulker, are inhabited; others are home only to birds, but there's plenty for you to explore. Some of the top islands to explore are: Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, South Water Caye, Silk Caye, St George's Caye, Laughing Bird Caye and Tobacco Caye. 
You can pitch a tent and sleep under the stars on an uninhabited Caye or enjoy luxury accommodations at a secluded island. You choose. P.S. It’s not without merit that Ambergris Caye was voted the best island in the world for 2013 and 2014.

6. The epicenter of the Maya world

Fact: Belize has the highest concentration of Maya archaeological sites in Mesoamerica. Archaeologists estimate that more than one million Maya lived in present day Belize and flourished during the Classic Period from 300 to 900 AD. Maya temple sites like Caracol, Xunantunich, Altun Ha, Cahal Pech and Lamanai are just a few of the spectacular sites that can be discovered in Belize. Famous sites such as Tikal in Guatemalaand Chichen Itza in Mexico are also just a few hours away.

7. Belize is home to the world renowned Blue Hole

The gigantic underwater Blue Hole off the coast of Belize is believed to be the world's largest hole measuring 1000 ft across and 412 ft deep. It offers divers the ideal opportunity to see geological wonders like giant stalactites, dripstone sheets and amazing marine life such as nurse sharks, groupers and a vast array of fishes and Caribbean sharks.
The Blue Hole was made famous in 1971 by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the French Explorer in the television series - The Undersea world of Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

8. Snorkeling

Belize boasts the second largest barrier reef in the world and snorkeling in its turquoise and clear Caribbean water is a wonderful place to discover the kaleidoscope of colors of corals, sponges and a range of fish and marine life.

9. Belize has one of the most intricate cave systems in Central America

Caves were used extensively by the ancient Maya to conduct their sacred rituals and ceremonies and today a plethora of impressive caves can be discovered throughout Belize. The Chiquibul Cave System for example is nearly 540,000 square foot long and is the longest in Central America and offers a treasure trove of geological and archaeological wonders.
Some of the top caves to explore are: Actun Tunichil Muknal, Barton Creek Cave and Caves Branch and the Chiquibul Cave System.

10. You can visit three other countries easily. 

From Punta Gorda, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras are each about 45 minutes by boat. The Mexican border isn't too far, either. Belize should keep you plenty busy, but if you're jonesing for more passport stamps, this is an easy way to get some ink.

11. Belize is a nature lovers paradise

Belize has some of the most intriguing and fascinating wildlife in Central America. In fact 40 percent of the land is classified as protected and is habitat to a variety of species of plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles and marine life.
A Belize vacation is relaxing and soothing. It’s also physically and mentally stimulating. Many visitors love it so much that they later choose to retire in Belize!




























Geography
Belize is located on the Caribbean coast of northern Central America. To the east in the Caribbean Sea, the second-longest barrier reef in the world flanks much of the 386 kilometres (240 mi) of predominantly marshy coastline. The undulating courses of two rivers, the Hondo and the Sarstoon, define much of the course of the country's northern and southern boundaries. The western border follows no natural features and runs north-south through lowland forest and highland plateau. The north of Belize consists mostly of flat, swampy coastal plains, in places heavily forested. The flora is highly diverse considering the small geographical area. The south contains the low mountain range of the Maya Mountains. The highest point in Belize is Doyle's Delight at 1,124 m (3,688 ft). The Caribbean coast is lined with a coral reef and some 450 islets and islands known locally as cayes (pronounced "keys").
Climate
Belize has a tropical climate with pronounced wet and dry seasons, although there are significant variations in weather patterns by region. Temperatures vary according to elevation, proximity to the coast, and the moderating effects of the northeast trade winds off the Caribbean. Average temperatures in the coastal regions range from 24 °C (75.2 °F) in January to 27 °C (80.6 °F) in July.
Banking
Belize has five commercial banks, of which the largest and oldest is Belize Bank. The other four banks are Heritage Bank, Atlantic Bank, FirstCaribbean International Bank, and Scotiabank (Belize).
Cuisine
Belizean cuisine is heavily inspired by British, Mexican and Western Caribbean cuisines. Basic ingredients are rice and beans, often consumed with chickens, pork, calves and fish or vegetables, coconut milk and fried plantains added to the dishes truly tropical taste. The traditional exotic recipes include armadillo meat, venison and fried paca, brown rodent similar to a guinea pig.(also known as the water rat).
History
Before the arrival of Europeans, the Maya civilization spread itself over Belize beginning around 1500 BC and flourished until about A.D. 800. Spanish colonists tried to settle the inland areas of Belize, but Maya rebellions and attacks forced them to abandon these efforts.
English and Scottish buccaneers known as the Baymen first settled on the coast of Belize in 1638, seeking a sheltered region from which they could attack Spanish ships. The settlers turned to cutting logwood during the 1700s. The Spanish granted the British settlers the right to occupy the area and cut logwood in exchange for an end to piracy. By 1724, the Baymen began importing African slaves who spent brief periods in Jamaica, the Miskito Coast of Nicaragua and elsewhere in the Western Caribbean to cut logwood and later mahogany. In 1862, Great Britain formally declared it a British Crown Colony, subordinate to Jamaica, and named it British Honduras. As a colony, Belize began to attract British investors. British Honduras was officially renamed Belize in 1973. When Belize finally attained full independence on 21 September 1981, Guatemala refused to recognise the new nation. About 1,500 British troops remained to protect Belize from the Guatemalan threat. As of March 2007, the border dispute with Guatemala remains unresolved and quite contentious Since independence, a British garrison has been retained in Belize at the request of the Belizean government. Notably, both Guatemala and Belize are participating in the confidence-building measures approved by the OAS, including the Guatemala-Belize Language Exchange Project.


Demographics
Colonization, slavery, and immigration have played major roles in affecting the ethnic composition of the population and as a result, Belize is a country with numerous cultures, languages, and ethnic groups. The country's population is currently estimated to be a little over 320,000. Mestizos comprise about 34% of the population, Kriols 25%, Spanish 15%, Maya 11%, and Garinagu 6%.
Language
English is the only official language of Belize due to being a former British colony. It is the main language used in government and education.[32] Although only 5.6% of the population speaks it as the main language at home, 54% can speak it very well, and another 26% can speak some English.
Culture
The Belizean culture is made up of influences and people from Kriol, Maya, Garinagu (also known as Garifuna), Mestizo (a mixture of Spanish and Native Americans), Mennonites who are of German descent, with a blend of many other cultures from Chinese to Lebanese. It is a unique blend that emerged through the country's long and occasionally violent history. Courtesy is important to most Belizeans. It is not uncommon for Belizeans to greet each other on the street even if they have never seen each other before, or for acquaintances to spend minutes at a time chatting, oblivious to what is happening around them. Another aspect of the culture is the idea of the mystical healing and Obeah. However, there is still talk of evil shaman practices like putting "Obeah" on certain houses.
Religion
Religious freedom is guaranteed in Belize. Nearly 80% of the inhabitants are Christian, with 49.6% of Belizeans being Roman Catholics and 29% Protestants.[36] Foreign Catholics frequently visit the country for special gospel revivals. The Greek Orthodox Church has a presence in Santa Elena. Jehovah's Witnesses have experienced a significant increase in membership in recent years. According to the Witnesses, around 3% of the population attended at least one religious meeting in 2007. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims 3,300 members in the country .Other non-Christian minorities include: Hinduism, followed by most Indian immigrants, and Islam, common among Middle Eastern immigrants and has gained a following among some Kriols.
Economy
Belize has a small, essentially private enterprise economy that is based primarily on agriculture, agro-based industry, and merchandising, with tourism and construction recently assuming greater importance. In 2006, the exploitation of a newly discovered crude oil field near the town of Spanish Lookout, has presented new prospects and problems for this developing nation. The country is a producer of industrial minerals. Sugar, the chief crop, accounts for nearly half of exports, while the banana industry is the country's largest employer. The tourist and construction sectors strengthened in early 1999, leading to a preliminary estimate of revived growth at 4%. Infrastructure continues to be a major challenge for the economic development of Belize. Belize has the most expensive electricity in the region. Trade is important and the major trading partners are the United States, Mexico, the European Union, and Central America.
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2017 Belize Beach Bum

Belize The best place to sit back and enjoy the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean is Ambergris Caye, the largest caye in Belize. This itinerary takes guests to the second largest barrier reef in the World, where guests discover the fascinating marine life and swim with Nurse Sharks. ..

$1,553.75

Actun Tunichil Muknal

After an exciting drive to the trailhead, guests will trek for 45 minutes through dense jungle in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve and wade across three streams, learning about the plants and animals of the jungle along the way. At the entrance of the cave guests are outfitted in the necessary equipment preparing them for the caving adventure ahea..

$191.25

Baboon Sanctuary & Altun Ha Maya Site

Clients will be met at their hotel and transferred to visit the fascinating community conservation program of the Baboon sanctuary. Here guests can learn about how the local community have worked together to protect the natural habitat of the Howler Monkey (known locally as Baboons) and have an opportunity to get “up close and personal” with these ..

$150.00

Barton Creek & Butterfly Farm

"Guests are picked up from their hotel and transferred through the Cayo region to the Butterfly farm and Green Hills. Here we enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful butterfly sanctuary and learn about butterflies of this area. When we are ready we continue on through the Mennonite Community of Upper Barton Creek to the river at Barton Creek. The Bar..

$197.50

Barton Creek & Horse Back Riding

Guests will be picked up at their hotel and will be transferred to Mountain Equestrian Trails. Guests take a leasurely ride to the Barton Creek Cave. Equipped with Canoes and high powered lights guests gently paddle along the river into the cave system known as Xibalba (she-bal-ba), Maya for underworld. Stalactites and Stalagmites hang high overhea..

$222.50

Belcampo Lodge

Nestled in the verdant hills above the Caribbean coast of southern Belize, Belcampo Lodge Belize is a self-contained sanctuary from the everyday world. The main lodge is the communal heart of the resort, with dining and lounge areas, our lobby and rum and coffee bars, and observation decks open to stunning vistas of the coast, Maya Mountains and se..

$487.50

Belize Botanical Gardens

Guests visit the Belize Botanic Gardens which, are made up of 45 acres of native and exotic plants growing in the Cayo district of western Belize. The garden is in a valley on the banks of the Macal River, surrounded by the Maya Mountain foothills. The mission of Belize Botanic Garden is to protect the floral biodiversity of Belize by existing as a..

$78.75

Belize City Tour

A half day tour of Belize City will take guests to visit a variety of sites including the only manual swing bridge in the world (which still being swung daily) and the oldest Anglican Cathedral Church in Central America, St. John’s Cathedral, which was built in 1812 from brick brought as ballast from European sailing shops. Other sites include Gov..

$56.25

Belize in Bold

On this journey guests discover Belize´s diversity. They begin in the jungle area of Cayo exploring Mayan ruins and venturing through the jungle before heading to Toledo, the heart of the Mayan community in Belize; they conclude the trip in the Caribbean fishing village of Placencia, where they can relax on the white sand beaches. On this itinerary..

$3,707.50

Belize Jungle Explorer

This itinerary takes guests into the Belizean jungle where they discover the wonders of the Cayo District. The area is full of Mayan history and adventure. Guests explore extraordinary Mayan archaeological sites and venture into the wilderness where they can take it easy enjoying their exceptional surroundings or discover the wonders of the Mayan c..

$1,682.50

Belize Luxury

This is the ultimate itinerary for the discerning traveler looking to experience the best of Belize in unadulterated luxury. Guests enjoy Belize´s premier jungle lodges and beach escapes as well as some of the most spectacular tours the country offers such as helicopter over the great Blue hole and snorkeling with Nurse sharks. Please note that all..

$11,842.50

Belize Wildlife & Jungle Adventure

Belize Wildlife & Jungle Adventure Belize This is the ideal experience for the adventurer and the nature lover. Guests first get their feet wet in the Cayo District, where they discover stunning Mayan ruins and venture into Belize´s mysterious Mayan caves. The journey continues deep into the jungle where guests may see monkeys, tapirs, croc..

$4,326.25

Belize Zoo Tour

Visit the famous Belize Zoo which was started in 1983, as a last ditch effort to provide a home for a collection of wild animals which had been used in making documentary films about tropical forests. Today, The Belize Zoo is settled upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 125 animals all native to Belize. The zoo keeps animals which we..

$103.75

Birdwatching Cayo Area

Today, guests get an early start and transfer to Aguacate Lagoon with our birding guide. On route, they travel through a Mennonite area and do some birding along the way. Once guests reach the lagoon they take a short jungle hike until they reach the small Mayan site of Aguacate here guests may see a variety of hawks and fly catchers as well as man..

$103.75

Blancaneaux Hotel

Tucked away in a pocket of the Maya Mountains, Blancaneaux Lodge is a 20-room luxury resort hotel in Belize where waterfalls tumble into turquoise pools above the jungle canopy. Its remote mountain setting makes it a perfect place to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Guests can also explore the ancient civilization of the Maya..

$702.50