BELIZE- key information and facts to know before you go

BELIZE- key information and facts to know before you go

In 2022 we were traveling through North and Central America and had a chance to explore Belize – a beautiful tropical country that actually surprised us all with its nature and landscape. We had not done our research before we went to Belize, but did so while we were exploring it. Here we are sharing some key facts that will help planning a trip to this stunning country.

Here are 100 facts about Belize:

  1. Location: Belize is located on the northeastern coast of Central America, bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
  2. Capital City: The capital city of Belize is Belmopan.
  3. Largest City: The largest city in Belize is Belize City.
  4. Official Language: The official language is English, making Belize the only country in Central America with English as its official language.
  5. Population: Belize has a population of approximately 400,000 people.
  6. Currency: The currency is the Belize dollar (BZD).
  7. Independence: Belize gained independence from the United Kingdom on September 21, 1981.
  8. Government: Belize is a parliamentary democracy and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  9. National Anthem: The national anthem is “Land of the Free.”
  10. Motto: The national motto is “Sub Umbra Floreo,” which means “Under the shade I flourish.”
  11. Flag: The flag of Belize features two red stripes on the top and bottom, with a blue field and the national coat of arms in the center.
  12. Coat of Arms: The coat of arms includes a shield with tools representing the logging industry, a mahogany tree, and two men, one of African and one of European descent.
  13. Climate: Belize has a tropical climate with a wet and dry season.
  14. Geography: The country is known for its diverse geography, including mountains, jungles, and a coastline with numerous islands and coral reefs.
  15. Barrier Reef: The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest coral reef system in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
  16. Blue Hole: The Great Blue Hole, a giant marine sinkhole, is a famous diving spot located off the coast of Belize.
  17. Mayan Ruins: Belize is home to several significant Mayan ruins, including Caracol, Xunantunich, and Altun Ha.
  18. Biodiversity: Belize boasts a rich biodiversity, with over 4,000 species of native plants and hundreds of species of animals.
  19. Protected Areas: Approximately 26% of Belize’s land and marine areas are under some form of protection.
  20. National Flower: The national flower is the Black Orchid (Prosthechea cochleata).
  21. National Tree: The national tree is the Mahogany Tree (Swietenia macrophylla).
  22. National Bird: The national bird is the Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus).
  23. National Animal: The national animal is the Baird’s Tapir (Tapirus bairdii), also known as the mountain cow.
  24. Ethnic Diversity: Belize is ethnically diverse, with Mestizos, Creoles, Mayans, Garifuna, and other groups.
  25. Garifuna Culture: The Garifuna people have a unique culture and language, which is a mix of African, Carib, and Arawak elements.
  26. Languages: Besides English, Spanish, Kriol, Garifuna, and several Mayan languages are spoken in Belize.
  27. Religion: Christianity is the dominant religion, with Roman Catholicism and Protestantism being the major denominations.
  28. Education: Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 14.
  29. Healthcare: Belize has a public healthcare system, but private healthcare facilities are also available.
  30. Economy: The economy is primarily based on tourism, agriculture, and services.
  31. Agriculture: Major agricultural products include sugar, bananas, citrus, and seafood.
  32. Tourism: Tourism is a major industry, attracting visitors with its natural beauty, marine activities, and archaeological sites.
  33. UNESCO Sites: The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  34. Festivals: Belize celebrates various cultural festivals, including Garifuna Settlement Day, Belize Independence Day, and the San Pedro Lobster Festival.
  35. Cuisine: Belizean cuisine is influenced by various cultures and includes dishes like rice and beans, stew chicken, and fry jacks.
  36. Drinks: Popular beverages include Belikin beer, rum, and fresh fruit juices.
  37. Music: Music in Belize includes genres such as punta, brukdown, and soca.
  38. Sports: Popular sports include soccer, basketball, volleyball, and cricket.
  39. Belize Zoo: The Belize Zoo is home to over 125 species of animals native to the country.
  40. Marine Life: Belize’s waters are home to manatees, sea turtles, and numerous fish species.
  41. Caye Caulker: Caye Caulker is a popular island destination known for its relaxed atmosphere and water activities.
  42. Ambergris Caye: Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize and a major tourist destination.
  43. Language Education: English is the primary language of instruction in schools, but Spanish is also widely taught.
  44. Mennonite Community: Belize has a significant Mennonite community known for their traditional lifestyle and contributions to agriculture.
  45. Jaguar Reserve: The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is the world’s first jaguar reserve.
  46. Military: Belize has a small military, the Belize Defence Force, primarily responsible for internal security and disaster response.
  47. Civil Aviation: The Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport is the main international gateway to Belize.
  48. Corozal Town: Corozal Town, located near the Mexican border, is known for its Mayan history and expat community.
  49. Placencia: Placencia is a popular beach destination known for its beautiful beaches and laid-back vibe.
  50. Toledo District: Toledo District in southern Belize is known for its rich cultural heritage and eco-tourism opportunities.
  51. San Ignacio: San Ignacio is a hub for exploring nearby Mayan ruins and the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.
  52. Hopkins Village: Hopkins Village is a cultural center for the Garifuna community and offers visitors a chance to experience Garifuna traditions.
  53. Caves: Belize has numerous cave systems, including the famous Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave, known for its archaeological significance.
  54. Wildlife: Belize is home to diverse wildlife, including jaguars, tapirs, howler monkeys, and over 500 species of birds.
  55. Rivers: Major rivers include the Belize River, the Hondo River, and the New River.
  56. Mangroves: Belize has extensive mangrove ecosystems that provide critical habitats for wildlife.
  57. Rainforest: The country has lush rainforests that are home to a variety of plant and animal species.
  58. Fishing: Fishing is an important part of Belize’s economy and culture, with both commercial and recreational fishing activities.
  59. Scuba Diving: Belize is renowned for its scuba diving opportunities, particularly around the Belize Barrier Reef and the Great Blue Hole.
  60. Snorkeling: Snorkeling is a popular activity, with many visitors exploring the vibrant coral reefs and marine life.
  61. Sailing: Sailing is a popular way to explore Belize’s islands and coastal waters.
  62. Maya Mountains: The Maya Mountains are a prominent mountain range in Belize, offering hiking and nature exploration opportunities.
  63. Hummingbird Highway: The Hummingbird Highway is a scenic route that passes through beautiful landscapes and small villages.
  64. Agricultural Exports: Belize exports agricultural products such as sugar, citrus, bananas, and marine products like shrimp and lobster.
  65. Marine Reserves: Belize has several marine reserves, including the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the South Water Caye Marine Reserve.
  66. Ethnic Festivals: Belize celebrates various ethnic festivals, including Garifuna Settlement Day and the Maya Deer Dance Festival.
  67. Kriol Culture: Kriol culture is an important part of Belizean identity, with its own language, music, and traditions.
  68. Telecommunications: Belize has a growing telecommunications sector, with mobile and internet services widely available.
  69. Energy: The country is exploring renewable energy sources, including hydroelectric and solar power.
  70. Belizean Art: Belizean art reflects the country’s cultural diversity, with influences from Mayan, Garifuna, Kriol, and other traditions.
  71. Handicrafts: Local handicrafts include woven baskets, wood carvings, and pottery.
  72. Literature: Belizean literature often explores themes of identity, culture, and history.
  73. The Belize Audubon Society: This organization is dedicated to the conservation of Belize’s natural resources.
  74. Educational Institutions: Belize has several higher education institutions, including the University of Belize.
  75. Belizean Folklore: Belizean folklore includes stories of the Tata Duende, a mythical forest spirit.
  76. Radio and Television: Belize has several radio and television stations that broadcast in English and Spanish.
  77. Road Network: Belize’s road network includes highways and secondary roads that connect major towns and tourist destinations.
  78. Belizean Diaspora: Many Belizeans live abroad, particularly in the United States and Canada.
  79. Botanical Gardens: Belize has botanical gardens, such as the Belize Botanic Gardens, showcasing the country’s plant diversity.
  80. Cultural Heritage: Belize’s cultural heritage is celebrated through various museums, cultural centers, and historical sites.
  81. Marine Conservation: Belize is actively involved in marine conservation efforts to protect its coral reefs and marine life.
  82. World War II: During World War II, Belize (then British Honduras) served as a training ground for British and allied forces.
  83. Caribbean Community: Belize is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), promoting economic integration and cooperation among Caribbean countries.
  84. Central America Integration System: Belize is also a member of the Central American Integration System (SICA).
  85. Diplomatic Relations: Belize maintains diplomatic relations with many countries worldwide and is a member of the United Nations.
  86. Internet Domain: Belize’s internet domain is “.bz.”
  87. Traditional Medicine: Traditional medicine practices are still used in some rural communities, often involving herbal remedies.
  88. Eco-Tourism: Belize is a popular destination for eco-tourism, attracting visitors interested in sustainable travel and nature conservation.
  89. Belizean Music: Popular Belizean music styles include punta rock, brukdown, and paranda.
  90. Belize National Library Service: The Belize National Library Service provides access to books and information resources across the country.
  91. Historic Sites: Belize has several historic sites, including the Government House in Belize City and the Swing Bridge, one of the few manually operated swing bridges in the world.
  92. Waterfalls: Belize is home to beautiful waterfalls, such as Big Rock Falls and Thousand Foot Falls.
  93. Ethnobotany: The study of ethnobotany is significant in Belize, exploring the relationship between people and plants in traditional cultures.
  94. Speleology: Belize is known for its extensive cave systems, attracting speleologists and cave enthusiasts.
  95. Wildlife Corridors: Efforts are being made to establish wildlife corridors to facilitate the movement of animals between protected areas.
  96. Maya Chocolate: Belizean chocolate, made from locally grown cacao, is celebrated for its quality and connection to ancient Mayan traditions.
  97. Belize Film Festival: The Belize International Film Festival showcases local and international films, promoting Belizean cinema.
  98. Public Transportation: Public transportation includes buses, water taxis, and small planes connecting various parts of the country.
  99. Belizean Handicrafts: Belizean handicrafts, such as Jippi Jappa baskets and slate carvings, are popular souvenirs.
  100. Cultural Celebrations: Belize celebrates various cultural and national holidays, including Baron Bliss Day, honoring a benefactor of Belize.

All in all, Belize was supposed to be similar to Mexico and Guatemala, hence the location, but it turned out to be so different from what we explored. From people, to languages, to landscapes and culture – it is a stunning country worth a visit.

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