Belize is the latest Caribbean country to reopen its air border for tourism, but what do you know about this Central American and Caribbean nation? After 192 days of being closed to leisurely travel, we’re highlighting 8 fun facts about our jewel Belize to celebrate its opening. Besides, you might even learn something new!
Belize is uniquely apart of both the Caribbean and Central America. It is situated between Mexico to the North and Guatamala to the South and West. The country is also considered part of the Caribbean and is part of the CARICOM. The Caribbean Sea dots its coastline. Similar to its Caribbean neighbors, its boasts some of the best beaches and reefs in the world.
Interestingly, Belize is the only country in Central America where the official first language is English. Belize was colonized by the British, which explains the English language. Queen Elizabeth II is also still Belize’s head of state. This year, Belize celebrates its 39th year of Independence. Another fun fact of Belize? Gibnut, a large rodent that is considered a local delicacy, is nicknamed the royal rat. So what do you serve to a queen? If you’re Belizean, the answer is just that – a gibnut. Or, at least that was the answer back in 1985 when Queen Elizabeth II visited the newly independent nation.
3. Belize is TINY
At only 9, 000 square miles, Belize is tiny. To put it in comparison, the country is the same size as New Jersey in the USA or Wales in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, it has one of the lowest population density’s in Central America with only 44 people to every square mile.
4. The Belize flag is one of the only flags in the world to depict people
That’s right! The Belize flag is one of a select few flags in the world to depict people. It is inspired by its people and history and the story behind its creation is worth reading more about.
Established in 1990, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is the world’s first jaguar reserve. Within its 127,000 protected acres, all five of Belize’s wild cats roam free, including the elusive jaguar. Check out all the big cats you have the chance to spot while in Belize here, if you’re lucky.
The Great Blue Hole is the world’s largest sinkhole, measuring an incredible 300 meters (984 feet) across and roughly 125 meters (410 feet) deep. After all, Fabien Cousteau, grandson of underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau, put the Blue Hole on the map back in 1971. Additionally, it is a composite World Heritage Site by UNESCO, attracting scuba divers from all around the world. Check out Belize’s Great Blue Hole from above and below here.
7. Belize’s Howler Monkeys are some of the loudest in the world
The Black Howler Monkey, also called ‘baboon’ is the largest monkey in Belize and the Americas. And they are loud! The deep whooping call of their howls can be heard up to 3 miles away. They can be seen in their natural habitat of the Belize rainforest, Howler Monkeys of Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area with Programme for Belize. However, the Community Baboon Sanctuary offers a guaranteed sighting.
8. Actun Tunichil Muknal was named one of the top 10 Sacred Caves by National Geographic
Nicknamed the ATM Cave, National Geographic includes this popular site in their top 10 sacred caves around the world. Access to the cave involves hiking, wading, and underwater swimming. Nearly a mile (1.6 kilometers) underground you will reach the resting place of the “crystal maiden,” a complete female skeleton that sparkles from eons of crystal calcification. In addition, the cave also contains Maya pottery shards, many showing the “kill hole” intended to allow spirits to escape. This trip should definitely be on your bucket list of must-sees for Belize.
Whilst the fun facts above highlight only some of what makes Belize special, there are so many more to share. For everything you should know about Belize, make sure to visit Caribbean Culture + Lifestyle. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Feature photo © Oliver Pilcher via CN Traveler, taken in Southern Belize.