9 Things You May Not Know About Belize City  

by Larry Waight

Belize City is the largest metropolitan area in the country of Belize. Here are five interesting facts about Belize City:

  • It used to be the capital of the country when it was still British Honduras, a former British colony.
  • While the capital has moved to Belmopan, Belize City continues to be the industrial hub of this Central American nation.
  • Belize City has a population of almost 60,000 people, which is about a seventh of the overall population of Belize as a whole.
  • Prior to the pandemic, this busy port saw cruise ships constantly docking.

On set of “The Mosquito Coast”

  • Two movies have featured Belize City: The Dogs of War and The Mosquito CoastIn 1985, filming for The Mosquito Coast began in San Pedro Town, featuring actor Harrison Ford who participated in Indiana Jones and Star Wars. The location was chosen to be the site for the hurricane scene that would be featured in the movie. Belize was chosen after considering Jamaica, Honduras, Brazil, Mexico, and West Africa, and about 3-4 million dollars was spent in Belize for filming the scene. Also, the TV show Mad Dogs was set in Belize.

While visitors to Belize often fly into Belize City and then immediately head off to one of the cayes or some of the less populated interior districts, there is actually a lot to do and see with the city itself. Here are four of the more notable attractions that you should visit while you are here:

1. The Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist

st. john's anglican cathedral

The primary cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Belize, St. John’s Cathedral is also the oldest Anglican church in Central America and one of the oldest buildings in Belize. Its unique orange-colored bricks were originally used as ballast aboard British ships. Built from 1812 to 1820, this is the only Anglican church outside of England where kings have been crowned. Attached to the church is the oldest cemetery in the country – Yarborough Cemetery.

2. Baron Bliss Lighthouse

Baron Bliss, while one of the great benefactors of Belize, never actually set foot on its shores! He did however instruct that a granite tomb and lighthouse be built after his death in 1926. Thus we have this monument today!

3. Maritime Museum

Along with the nearby Coastal Zone museum, this structure educates visitors about Belize’s seafaring and shipbuilding history as well as coral reef ecology. Here, historians and scholars can search old documents and check out early artifacts and paintings.

4. Old Belize Cultural and Historical Center

Not only a great educational place for the whole family, but there is also a train ride and a water park with food available for purchase here, so you can make a whole day of it.  

Header image of The Mosquito Coast filming by Kay Scott

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