5 Things Only Those Who Have Been To Belize Will Understand

Article by the Belize Tourism Board

Everyone’s Belize vacation experience is unique, whether you decide to have a solo trip, a romantic getaway or a group trip with the squad. However, there are certain requirements that absolutely cement your experience as the basis for any Belize visit. Here are some of the most popular tropes that every Belize traveler shares with the locals living them out every single day.

1. There is such a thing as “Belizean timing.”

Lazy Lizard Caye Caulker Lobster Fest

If the motto for Caye Caulker (Go Slow) is any indication to this established notion, Belizeans really do abide by a “Belizean timing.” Here’s a tip for your first trip to Belize: nothing will ever start on time. There’s a good chance any event or friend meet-up will start around a half hour later, the earliest. We like to take our time, so you should, too. There’s no need to stress over here, leave that for when you return home! Here, the Belizean timing is a blessing, reminding you to not take life too seriously and that everything happens in due time.

2. No such thing as too much pepper.

Marie SharpIf you listen closely, you can hear Marie Sharp evangelists touting support for the famous pepper sauce that has become the mascot for pepper in Belize. Local pepper sauces grace almost every single table across restaurants and homes in Belize. And for those that don’t, it’s not an unusual sight to see a local pull out a mini-sized pepper bottle from the depths of their pocket (it’s true, I’ve seen it happen,) and drizzle a bit onto their rice and beans. If you don’t leave Belize with a bunch of these little bottles as souvenirs, you did your vacation wrong.

3. The Blue Hole is absolutely worth all the hype.

flights to belize airport getting around
An aerial flight of Belize's Great Blue Hole. Photo by Duarte Dellarole
great blue hole belize
Stalactites of the Great Blue Hole. Photo by Antonio Busiello/WWF

No matter how many times you fly over the Great Blue Hole, it’ll leave you in awe every single time. True, it is our most famous selling point, but for good reason. This natural phenomenon is listed as a composite of Belize’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, deservedly so. The experience of flying across the barrier reef, spotting the gaping, dark blue cavern from above, is arguably close to enlightenment. Every person who has been lucky enough to experience this tour has never regretted it. In fact, many do repeat trips! Definitely keep it on your bucket list when traveling to Belize.

4. A Maya site is like pizza. There is no bad pizza.


Atop Lamanai Maya Site. Photo courtesy BTB

We’ve all heard the original rendition of this saying, but it also applies to our many Maya temples scattered across Belize. Sure, Mr. Popular Xunantunich is a gargantuan marvel that everyone should visit when in San Ignacio, but don’t overlook the many others that might be more accessible to your location, with the same amount of grandeur. Caracol is massively underrated, despite housing the tallest temple in the entire region. Lamanai in the north has a unique means to access the site, earning the experience extra adventure points. And let’s not forget about Altun Ha, the closest one to the international airport, yet devoid of crowds. In Belize, no Maya site will leave you wanting for more, we promise.

5. The never-ending debate about ketchup on garnaches.


Garnaches are a street-food favorite in Belize. Photo by Flavors of Belize

This debate plagues Belizeans every day, the social media spheres battling as to whether ketchup belongs on the fried-tortilla treats that are piled high with refried beans, cheese and other toppings. (Serious stuff, I know). If you have experienced this traditional dish in Belize, you have probably been subjected to a bystander’s aggressive suggestion (or their mortification, depending on the region) to add ketchup to garnaches. Apparently, there is a wrong way to eat this Belizean dish, and about 50% of Belize agrees. ­

Header image courtesy Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge.

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