Most people will tell travelers to avoid Belize City at all costs. However, some people want to see all sides of a country. I know some travelers that purposely plan to stay there as was the case with William, a world traveler by profession. He had to leave Honduras for a few days in order to be able to return and stay longer. Before coming to visit me on Ambergris Caye, he chose Belize City for a few days.
Since Belize City was the last topic that the Belize Tourism Board gave me to write about for their Toucan Talks series, I decided to ask my friend Jack to come with me and make it a work, food and shopping trip. For this mission, we definitely needed a driver, so our friend Cheryl lives there and she was more than happy to drive us around in her Mercedes to take pictures and get in on the shopping action.
There are a few great historical buildings to see in the city as you will read below. I also find it very interesting that it was British and Scottish Pirates who came after the original Maya people. They used the city’s canals and mangroves to hide out and pillage treasure filled Spanish Ships.
From its origins as a logging camp for Mahogany in the 1600’s to its modern day museum that used to be a jail, Belize City has a rich historical background.
The city has long been multicultural. Today Belize City holds a unique cultural mix of Garifuna, Creole, Maya, Mennonite, Chinese, Lebanese, Hindu, East Indian, Mestizo and others. This makes for some amazing food, from traditional to some well-loved international restaurants; so well-loved in fact, that some restaurants fly out orders countrywide.
Lay of the Land
Belize City has two main areas, North and South. North Side Belize City is marked by Haulover Creek and Fort George. South Side Belize City extends to the Western Highway. Both sides offer great food, guest houses, and hotels. Go northeast to Fort George area for higher end accommodations.
The heart of Belize City is the well photographed Swing Bridge. An aquatic parking lot of colorful fishing boats. It connects Queen Street to Albert St. – the main downtown commercial core.
Belize City Attractions
Museum of Belize
The Museum of Belize was built in 1857, with lots of character and history, and started as a prison, housing criminals up until 2002. The building was transformed into a treasure-filled museum well worth visiting. The current exhibition is “enSLAVEd – The Rise and Fall of Slavery in Belize.”
House of Culture
The current exhibit at the Belize City House of Culture is: Hurricane Hattie – 50 years. When the residents of British Honduras (which became Belize in 1981) were breathing a sigh of relief as the 1961 hurricane season was ending, a powerful Category 5 hurricane Hattie hit Central America on Halloween night. The former capital, Belize City, was buffeted by strong winds and flooded by a powerful storm surge.
St. John’s Cathedral
St. John’s Cathedral is the oldest surviving architecture from the Colonial period in Belize. It’s also the oldest Anglican Church in Central America.
Other Places To See in Belize City
• Big bright letters make the “Belize” sign a perfect spot to snap a few fun pictures.
• Baron Bliss Lighthouse is a memorial to Baron Bliss. A well-known English adventurer and philanthropist, who donated much of his wealth to Belize’s civic projects.
• Old Belize: If you are looking for waterside fun, this is the place. Complete with marina, museum, and Cucumber beach.
• BTL Park is a great place to enjoy a view and hear some Belizean music.
Plan to spend a few days in Belize City to enjoy its history and cultural diversity. To see finished Belize City AD that went full-page in the Reporter newspaper and 4 others about various places and events click through to my Belize Tourism Board Page.
While this next picture is not an attraction I threw it in anyways as you will definitely see some interesting things around Belize City beyond attractions. My friend Cheryl dubbed this the Elvis Mobile. I took the picture outside of Mirab to show Jack as he was still inside paying. I also took it in memory. The hearse happens to be a 1983 (I think) Cadillac. My dad used to have a vintage Cadillac collection. Now he is with Elvis at the big party in the sky.
Tropic Air Gives Back to Liberty Children’s Home
Tropic Air, The Airline of Belize, August results are in for the 2016 nationwide #TropicGivesBack charitable fundraising campaign. Belize City Municipal Airport was the chosen location for the month of August. For every ticket bought at Municipal airport, $1 was donated to a worthy organization chosen by staff living in that community.
Tropic Air business partners, staff, and customers joined efforts and raised $635 for the Liberty Children’s Home in Ladyville. This was done in spite of the devastating effects that Hurricane Earl left in its wake. The check was presented to Agatha Valentine of the organization by station manager Rudolph Perez, and staff member Francis Trujeque, on Wednesday, September 14th.
“The child-centered care Liberty provides to the Belize City community is truly fantastic”, said John Greif III, Tropic Air’s president. “It was an honor to make this donation on behalf of our customers, and we hope it will aid the organization’s efforts to continue with their mission. At Tropic, we strive for our employees to be inspired to enhance and serve the communities in which we live and work. We want them to be agents of positive change on the issues that impact the quality of life for members of the community.”
To achieve this mission, Tropic’s volunteer and philanthropy program encourages employees to increase their presence in the community by participating in activities of community organizations. “Throughout the year, Tropic provides numerous opportunities for employees to give back and support the community with financial and human resources,, ” said Steve Schulte, Tropic Air CEO. “We look forward to participating in many more philanthropic opportunities”.
The #TropicGivesBack program moves to the Belize International Airport for September, with San Pedro scheduled for October.
About Liberty Children’s Home
Liberty Children’s Home is a safe haven for children in need, providing a natural environment, love, nurturing, and a high standard of education. Located in Ladyville, on the outskirts of Belize City, Liberty Children’s Home strives for excellence in its commitment to child-centered care and education. The home’s philosophy has been influenced by the Pikler method of childcare, an approach developed to prevent the damaging effects of institutionalization on children.
About Tropic Air
Founded in 1979, by John Greif III, with just a single airplane and two employees, Tropic has steadily grown to become the largest and most experienced airline in Belize. It now employs over 300 staff and offers over 200 daily scheduled flights with 14 aircraft to 18 destinations in Belize, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. Tropic Air joined IATA’s ISSA Registry in 2015. In the same year, it carried 320,000 passengers and moved 424,000 pieces of freight system wide.
Tropic believes in giving back. It supports the development of the communities it serves through health, sports, drug prevention, education and community projects. Tropic also supports the development and growth of the wider tourism industry of Belize through promotional initiatives locally and internationally.