Belize puts out the welcome mat for Canadian visitors escaping the cold, but for many, Belize is becoming a second home for retirees and investors, too!
It’s no secret that just about everyone in the Western Hemisphere is crazy about Canadians. They put up with weather that’s horrendous. Canadians are neighborly (watch the film “Argo” to witness Canada’s generosity). And when Canadians need an escape, they’re starting to flock to Belize.
Coincidence or convenience? The answer is both. Air Canada has recently increased the number of flights to Belize to meet increased demand and Westjet also services Belize by offering flights from both Toronto and Calgary. If this trend continues, many more Canadians will be found hanging around Ambergris Caye, Placencia, San Ignacio Town, and other tourism meccas.
What’s driving all of this traffic?
Canadians vacation in Belize because they find the people warm and welcoming and there’s a familiarity born of common roots, notes “Forbes” contributor Chuck Bolotin. Belize, like Canada, was a former British colony, thus Belize’s first language is English. French Canadians are invited to meet up with Belize’s most colorful minority: the Garifuna. Their native language is a mix of Carib and Arawak.
Cultural and linguistic similarities notwithstanding, the reasons Canadians flock to Belize match those of tourists from everywhere else in the world: manageability. Canada is “about 435 times bigger than Belize,” according to MyLifeElsewhere.com, thus visitors see and do twice as much since favored destinations are in close proximity.
What to see and do
According to “International Living” magazine, no visit to Belize would be complete without seeing these unique attractions and places:
1. Visit as many Maya ruins as time and interest allow. There are around 900 of them!
2. Experience the barrier reef, the second-longest on the planet. Dive, swim, and snorkel.
3. Hit the beaches. The Placencia peninsula is home to some of the best.
4. Talk to the animals. Belize has an abundance of animal sanctuaries, wildlife refuges, and parks that are home to both endangered species and those that are thriving.
5. Become a cultural wonk. Learn more about the Maya, Kriol, Garinagu, Mestizos, Lebanese, Mennonites, East Indians and Chinese, all of whom call Belize home.
6. Go caving. Belize’s cave system is amazing. Some were Maya ritual and secret ceremonial chambers. Others are pure fun thanks to the popularity of river-tubing.
7. See spectacular rainforests, waterfalls, and jungles where medicinal herbs, birds and exotic wildlife coexist.
There’s so much more to do and given all of those extra airline flights, you can more easily accommodate your own busy schedule. When to come? Year-round. But we have a hunch you’ll crave a holiday in the Belize sun just about the time you take your parkas and snowshoes out of the closet.
Written by Larry Waight