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