Some Background Information
The country of Belize is the second smallest in Central America. However, no other destination in the Caribbean offers as much diversity in such a small area. The whole country of Belize is the size of one state in the U.S.—the state of Massachusetts. There Cayes and atolls, a pristine Barrier Reef which is the second largest in the world. Imagine its strategic position, Mexico to the North and Guatemala to the West, and the bounty of the Caribbean on its Eastern Coast. Belize has a unique Zoo, Maya temples, lush rainforest and half a dozen ethnicities living in harmony…and the official language is English.
Belize City is the former capital and is still the major hub of commerce; the jumping-off point for all your adventures. Of course, there is much to see, inland and offshore, and you would need more than a day. Nevertheless, in one day on your stopover, there is much to see, and it will definitely be an incomparable experience. Taxis and tour operators will be ready and able to assist you.
Things to See and Do
As you arrive in the port, you need not worry; tendering is speedy; twenty minutes, and you will arrive at your first stop, The Tourist Village. Expect a typical tourist atmosphere of eateries, International shopping sites, coffee shops, duty-free and bars, and music. This is your starting point for all excursions.
There are several landmarks of Historic interest within walking distance from the port. There is the Baron Bliss Lighthouse overlooking the Harbor in the most typically colonial neighborhood left, near the decades-old Fort George area. You can walk along the streets along the riverside and browse the shops. There are cafes with views of the Harbour where you can chill, taste typical Belize rice and beans and enjoy a cool drink. There is WiFi available everywhere.
Pop into the Image Factory to get a glimpse of typical Belizean Art. You will cross the Swing Bridge, the last of its kind, which is still cranked by hand every afternoon for fishing vessels to go from river to sea. People are friendly and helpful.
In another direction, you can visit the Museum of Belize, a sturdy brick building which used to house Her Majesty’s Prison. In fact, all the bricks were brought here as ballast for ships that came from England in another century. The Museum was re-purposed in 2002. Here you can see Maya Artifacts, displays of typical insect and butterflies, and get a feel for what old Belize City used to be.
Rum Factory: Beach
Travellers Liquor is an established rum distillery dating back to the 1940s. Visit their little Museum, do a rum tasting tour while you see witness the manufacturing process. Afterward, you can refresh yourself at Old Belize, just a few miles out of town. It is a restaurant, museum, little shop, and the big finish is KUKUMBA Beach, equipped with slides, lounge chairs—very family-friendly.
So there you have it Belize City in a nutshell. A great memory to take back, and in just a day!
Written by Nelita Castillo