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The Beauty that is Belize

Step into a tropical wonderland. Lush rainforests, pristine white sand beaches and an abundant variety of exotic wildlife. This is Belize.

underwater universe marine life

Sea turtle

Belize, a small country located in Central America, is nestled between the countries of Guatemala and Mexico. Bordered by the dazzling turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, it is a favorite for divers and those seeking a tranquil getaway. Along the coast are a series of tiny islands or cayes and a stunning coral reef system, second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in size. The Belize Barrier Reef offers refuge to an incredibly diverse marine ecosystem. It is home to many varieties of coral, playful dolphins, a stunning array of colorful fish and an underwater universe of intriguing marine life. Thanks to this amazing diversity, Belize has become one of the top diving destinations in the world.

Maya cities

Lamanai Maya ruin

Once home to the great Maya civilization, the jungles of Belize continue to reveal the secrets of this fierce people. The ruins that have been discovered offer a glimpse into Maya life and, due to the density of the jungle, there is no telling what other treasures are yet to be discovered. More than 15 Maya cities have been found to date with excavation ongoing.

These include the spectacular ancient city of Altun Ha or “Water on the Rock,” Cahal Pech, the palace and former home of Maya royalty and Caracol, which is situated in the highlands on the Vaca Plateau. One of the most important Mayan cities discovered in northern Belize is Lamanai. Archaeological research has found evidence that the city was inhabited continuously beginning somewhere around 1500 BC and continued until the last known Maya civilization that ended in around the 18th century. To date, over 700 structures have been found at Lamanai.

Seaduced by Belize tours

Spiny Lobster Belize

Once coming in from the splendor of the Belizean landscape, it’s time to sample the local cuisine! Seafood of all varieties is a staple in the coastal areas of Belize. Moving farther inland, the fare leans more toward beef, chicken and pork, frequently simmered in a savory stew served with rice and beans. No matter what part of Belize you visit the one thing that doesn’t change are the delectable sweets of seemingly endless varieties. This is a natural outgrowth of the culture due to the main industry of the country: sugar production.

people of Belize

Friendly face of Belize

The people of Belize are very hospitable and friendly, making visitors feel welcome. The culture is relaxed and informal, adding to the charm of this lovely country. Several distinct cultural groups are found throughout Belize: Maya, Mestizos, Garifuna, Creole, Mennonite, Chinese, East Indian and Arab. The tranquil surroundings seem to bring out the best in people as most residents of Belize live in harmony. This harmony makes Belize a wonderful place to visit and live.

Nisha Sharma editor for Holiday365

Comments (24)

  • al salter

    Belize is known also for tequila worm races held in San Pedro every September. This like raquetball, was invented by the Maya around 400AD. It is an event not to be missed.
    The rules are clearly displayed in the race program. Some of these include penalties for performance enhancing substances like coffee or sugar.
    For a lot of the worms it’s their first time out from the agave plant (also know as maguey) so nervousness is expected and anticipated. A new type of performance anxiety.
    Each tequila worm is introduced as is any competitor in major sporting events. The worm backers cheer and spray their rivals with water, beer and any other substance they can locate. Others rise in Mexican waves, chant, or scream. It’s a hubbub of noise and excitement.
    When the head steward finally releases the worms it’s the climax. The tequila worms wiggle in every direction. In some locations however the worms are placed in walled tracks, and given names and numbers. The entry fee is donated to charity and trophies are awarded. A unique Belize experience!

  • al salter

    Correction: Tequila worm races were imported to Belize from the Yucatan by Mestizo refugees after the Caste Wars of the 19th century. I apologize for the error.

  • S King

    We are looking to move to Belize…but we run internet businesses and the internet ther , from what I’ve read, is so stinking slow and extremely expensive.

    256K for $100 US
    2M for $250 US

    That is ridiculous! And PM Darrow thinks that offering 128K for $50 is an improvement.

    Belize…you’ve got to get with it. The Government controlled monopoly is just raping Belizians on this and really dissuading others like myself from moving, living and spending cash there.

  • tacogirl

    We are on 1mb and pay $410.63 a month. It is expensive but small price to pay in the grand scheme of giving up winter to live on a tropical island.

  • al salter

    S King:This article reads like a travelogue and is not at all misleading in this regard. But living there is another story. I paid 200/month for medium speed internet which was off line for several hours or days/month,not conducive to the work I was trying to do. Electricity is shamelessly high priced. The real crime was the cost of drinkable wine. Even Sharon would agree with that. Read BelizeBritts or Lan Sluder for what to expect before you move to Belize. And don’t even think of working there. Belize is meant for retirement and visitation only. And the former only if you have a thick skin or can afford living in San Pedro :)

  • Remo

    Laurie are you sure about that figure?

    I have 1mb and pay $190.00 BZ a month before taxes. Now, that the PM said no taxes on internet it will be set at $190.00 BZ for me now.

    Belize still has one of the lowest internet usage population wise (compared to its neighbors in the region) due to its high prices I imagine.

    Something will have to give eventually. I wonder if the PUP will change things for the better if they win? The public should press both parties to change the internet prices for upcoming elections. Make our voices be heard!!

    Mark my words…..things will change…but the question is…how soon?

  • Sharon Hiebing

    S King – you don’t have to use BTL if you don’t want to. Make a one-time investment in a satellite dish and pay about $60 usd a month, and you can have much better speeds at a lower cost (speeds vary depending on provider).

    Or if you live in Southern Belize, check out Southern Cable-speed fast, not too expensive, and they don’t block Skype, VOIP, etc.

    In Corozal, there’s Stellar Links, $50 usd/month.

    You do have options until BTL gets their act together. I use BTL for my internet based biz, find it sufficient 95% of the time, $109 bze/month for 2 mb. Hope that helps.

    Sharon Hiebing
    Relocate Witihout Rose-Colored Glasses!

  • tacogirl

    Remo I am not sure about that figure as I am becoming convinced they charge differently in different places. That number was direct off our last bill. Price also includes cost of land line they are charging us for but we never use [do not even have that kind of phone]

    Any chance you and Sharon could inquire why the internet is higher in San Pedro when you pay your next bill?

    Things will change on Belize time ha ha.

  • tacogirl

    Grain of salt Al, or in your case sometimes a pound :) You are right about affording to living in San Pedro am now on a quest to find out why Remo and Sharron have decently priced internet compared to us.

  • al salter

    Sharon: Stellar links tries hard with complex technology. They are good at customer service unlike BTL. The rates are from 100 to 400 $ BZ. Still slow and off line at times that were critical for business reasons. Satellite which I tried was slow and expensive to install. Plus a gecko got inside the modem. If you google a comparison of download speeds by country Korea is at the top and Belize 123 out of 183 countries a notch above Syria. The internet however is not important if you are not in Belize for business reasons.

  • tacogirl

    I just downloaded Richard Branson’s loosing my virginity yesterday and it took under 20 min for 17 chapters to download on BTL.

  • al salter

    Must be a small book. After all loosing virginity is not a lengthy procedure. I called a friend, Soon Tek-Oh, in Seoul, Korea. He downloaded that book in 7 min:)

  • tacogirl

    592 pages in small print – each chapter is about 1h long so not small and very decent download speed, considering we were both working at the time [no net slowdown]. I also get lots of music and tacoboy downloads tv shows movies. You can get it in 5 in Mexico :) Playa Del Carmen has lightening fast internet.

  • al salter

    S King: From Lan Sluder, Fodors Travel July,2011:”findings indicate that Belize is woefully poor and very expensive on Internet services and not up to the standards to compete in tourism with the rest of the world.
    Mr. Sluder stated that Belize needs to urgently upgrade internet speed and introduce reasonable prices for the industry to stay competitive.
    “On my recent trip around Belize, from Corozal to Punta Gorda and various points in between, plus San Pedro and Caulker, the internet ranged from pathetic (BTL DSL) to laughable (satellite).
    “I love the hotels that have notices posted about their Wi Fi that it is for email only, not checking the web or downloading files. Really how can this entice people to live and start businesses in Belize?”

  • Remo

    Sharon: Did you say you pay $109Bz a month for 2mb? That is a damn good price all things considered. Can you please confirm that figure? I am paying $190.00BZ for a 1mb connection.

    Al Salter: the internet at 1mb speeds are more than adequate for many business owners. Of course, that depends on the type of business and its needs. Many average users I know think 512K or 1mb is plenty fast for them. As for me, the faster the better:D I want it downloaded in 20 seconds or less…lol!!

    Laurie: Do you own one of those Black Zoom modems? The Zoom X6 5960 model to be exact. I am having connection time outs ever since I bought it three months ago. It gets very very hot and drops connection sporadically. I was told that its a modem issue and not an internet (BTL) issue. I want to replace the modem with another brand. I have zero faith in the Zoom models now.

    What type of modem do you have? Any problems with overheating?

  • tacogirl

    Been doing internet work here for 5.5 years now Al and while coral cable was a bit crap overall I would say we have managed fine since switching to higher speed and BTL for checking web, downloading and net related business – the other side of the story from a current, active net user in Belize :)

  • tacogirl

    We do have a zoom model and no time outs, not sure the model number a6 ADSL series 1058. It does get hot but has never overheated. I raised ours up a bit on a plank so air circulates underneath it – we keep it on top of kitchen cupboards.

  • al salter

    On escaping winter: Laurie, I lived in the Canadian arctic for several years. Went dog sleddding, out on the land with the locals. (near Cambridge Bay) Ate Muskox (sorta like goat) and raw frozen caribou. Found out that snow was good for sleddding, building shelter, and keeping my beer cold.. Lets see you do that with sand :)

  • tacogirl

    Al my whole family is into skiing so of course I ended up on ski trips many times, thankfully parents also loved the tropics so we got beach vacations too. It was very clear to me from a young age which one I preferred. Isn’t that what coolers are for keeping your stuff cold while enjoying sun and sand? Arctic is nice in pictures :)

  • Remo

    Al Salter, you ever heard of the movie “The Mosquito Coast” with Harrison Ford?

    It was filmed in Belize back in 1986 and River Phoenix was in it as well.

    Storyline goes…..

    “An eccentric and dogmatic inventor sells his house and takes his family to Central America to build an ice factory in the middle of the jungle. Conflicts with his family, a local preacher and with nature are only small obstacles to his obsession. Based upon a Paul Theroux novel.”

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091557/

    What you said about ice reminded me of this movie. Harrison Ford’s character in the movie said who has the ice has the power!! Ice will be the new gold in the jungle:)

    Interesting movie and I urge you all to watch if you have not already done so?

  • al salter

    Remo: yes I have seen this film more than once: “Ice is civilization” the hero said. Wonder if Laurie would agree. When I first came to Belize on the way to Chaa Creek ( the real Belize as opposed to San Pedro) the driver took us to a bar/restaurant on the western highway where Harrison Ford hung out while the film was filmed. Can’t recall the name.

  • tacogirl

    I am off on a grumpy break right now not agreeing to anything till I re-watch the movie :) I will say I was thankful for ice last night to wash up – the water on the boat was not turned on.

  • RumShopRyan

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing Taco Girl. You’ve captured the beauty perfectly.

    Cheers!

  • S King

    Thanks for all the internet info. We are planning on living on Ambergris Caye for 6 months and then who knows what.

    I’d be interested to know how Sharon gets 1mb at $50 US.
    I’m okay with that figure.

    I suppose it is what it is and since my husband is totally convinced that Belize is where he needs to be right now…we’ll be forking over some $$$ for internet.

    Add it to the cost of business, arg.

    If anyone has got work arounds…let me know. I don’t want to pay a huge deposit to get internet set up at the condo we are renting. (Another ARG)

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