Belize City No Longer the Capital of Belize
Favorite thing: I thought it was an interesting fact that the government of Belize had the insight to move their capital from Belize City to Belmopan which is farther inland. While Belize City remains the country's social, commercial and historical center, Belmopan is less likely to suffer the effects of severe hurricanes.
In 1961, Belize City was devastated by Hurricane Hattie which battered the coast with 160 mph winds, killed hundreds of people and caused $50 million in damages, not to mention leaving scores of people homeless. While moving the capital won't necessarily save more lives, it probably does save the government from being at least temporarily paralyzed, and hopefully helps to keep the government functional and carry on the business of aiding those on the coasts affected by hurricanes.
Fondest memory: I was impressed by the way not only our main tour guide but several others encouraged us to tell our family & friends to visit Belize. It's a beautiful country from what I saw and the people on the whole were very warm and friendly to tourists.
Favorite thing: The Fort George District of Belize City is found on the north side of Haulover Creek, right by the Cruise terminal. It is a charming and quite affluent area dotted with lots of small and colourful wooden houses, a not-very-scenic lighthouse, a modern American Embassy, the Museum of Belize and quote a few roads that need to be resurfaced.
Favorite thing: Belize city is a city divided in two parts by a hand-operated swing bridge that sits at the mouth of Haulover Creek, it has no beaches and it is located below sea level. One quarter of the country’s inhabitants (roughly 70’000, mostly Creole) live here in the capital. The northern part is where the marine terminal is, along with the colourful Fort George area of pastel houses, some museums and embassy. All the rest (more or less) is in the south, including Albert street, which is the main commercial street.
Fondest memory: The impression I had is that – despite its small size, it that Belize City is slightly congested/frenetic. About its rumours of being crime ridden, I did not stay long enough to really understand the situation – but I saw literally dozens of policemen in the commercial centre, and a local added that there are dozes more wearing civil clothes. This could mean either that the crime rate is very high or that – because of the high number of police – crime is virtually under control.
Favorite thing: Belize is one of only a handful of Latin and South American countries that speak English. Obviously due to proximity of their neighboring nations, Spanish is widely used and understood.
This has to do with the historical connections to the British colonization.
However, Belize is the only Latin American country to speak English.
Other non-Spanish countries are to be found in South America:
Suriname - Dutch
Guyana - English
French Guyana - French
Brazil - Portuguese
There are a few in the Caribbean too, like Trinidad & Tobago, which speaks English.
(I've been to all but one of the above... hope to complete the list soon!)
Went to Belize but didn't get to see much
Favorite thing: Belize was at war with itself when we were there. We stayed in the little mall area right at the pier th entire time we were there. My daughter, daughter-in-law & granddaughter got their hair braided. There was a small flea market area behind the mall that was fenced in & there were armed guards at the gates.
We are planning to go back in January 2010 on the Triumph & I hope that we get to get out & see more. My neighbors went there for a week & said it's a beautiful place.
Fondest memory: We tendered for the first time in Belize. It was fun for me but my daughter was scared to death. We were cramped up inside the boat as were going to Belize but when we headed back to the ship we sat outside in the back. She felt better out there she said.Related to:
Cruises : to pre-book excursions or not?
Favorite thing: The majority of visitors who visit Belize City will do so as a port of call on a cruise liner. Many of those cruise ships will have excursions available on a first-come-first-served basis.
For those of you who did not sign up early enough and/or thought the costs to be quite extortionate, do not worry.
After arriving on the docks after taking the tenders from the ship, there are several rows of tourist booking offices and people soliciting business.
Nearly all of the excursions offered on the boat can be booked on land for half price of what the cruise liners charge. Excursions for the cave tubing, Lamanai ruins, city tours, etc. can all be booked on the spot.
Payment can be made in USD or Belize dollars. Belize dollars are fixed to the USD and will always have an exchange of 2:1USD.Related to:
National Flag of Belize
Favorite thing: The Belize National Flag is unique among the national flags of the world on two counts. First, it contains twelve colors, which three more than on any other national flag. Second, it is the only national flag to have human beings depicted on it, in the Coat of Arms.
The Belize Flag was adopted on September 21, 1981 upon independence from the United Kingdom. Belize was known as British Honduras during the colonial period, while under British rule. This photo is of a Belize National Flag we saw hanging from a giant Banyan Tree in an open courtyard of the Great House Hotel.
Belize Flag and Symbols
My 50th Country
Favorite thing: When Karen and I arrived in Belize it was a milestone for me because it marked the 50th country I have visited in my life, according to the list put out by the Traveler's Century Club. Belize was the 117th different place I have visited according to the much more extensive list on MostTraveledPeople.com.
At the docks we saw these two lovely native women who were wecoming people to Belize and posing for pictures. Of course they expected - and deserved - a tip for their effort. It was definitely a touristy thing to do ... and we took full advantage of it. After all, we are both travelers and tourists.
Just passing through!
Favorite thing: Belize City is not somewhere I would go to see, just a necessary passing through point to other parts of the country. The shopping is fine, but the city isn't the cleanest & not somewhere I would want to holiday.
Fondest memory: Just passing through!
When you're at Belize Zoo.....
Favorite thing: Don't forget to see the rare harpy eagle. She did have a name but I forgot what her name was. These birds were pretty much all hunted out and it's rare to see them in captivity apparently. So I snagged some pictures of her being fed by one of the zoo's staff. We all should do our part to protect wildlife as much as we can.
Fondest memory: Seeing this magnificent bird up close and personal.Related to:
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: Other than some of the downtown shops and the high-end cruiseship tourist facilities around Fort George and the north side of Haulover Creek, Belize City generally gives off the impression of a tired and rundown old colonial city. This building, located at the hub by the swing bridge, is the government Administration Building, housing offices of the Ministry of Finance & Treasury. Although located in the downtown core and very close to the cruiseship disembarkation areas, even this building looked very unkempt. The sides of the building looked like they could stand a good paint job to get rid of the mould and the big pile of trash on the street by the clump of trees did not help matters any. I guess it is just indicative of the lack of cash for infrastructure upkeep in Belize, maybe something that will improve as it more and more becomes a tourist destination. That being said, none of the other places we visited in Belize showed a lack of upkeep anywhere near like Belize City.Related to:
Favorite thing: I went on a cruise this christmas that stopped in Belize City, Belize. All of the ports of call were nice, and Belize was nice, but incredibly boring. There is NO beach, if thats what you like to do. There are lots of vendors and even very expensive jewelery stores. My sister ventured outside the gates of the port and she said she was harrased incesently by the people of Belize, trying to get her to go somewhere or buy something. We ended up taking a snorkelling trip on an island about a 30 minute boat ride from Belize harbour, and it was worth every penny. We got to snorkel through a beautiful reef and after that they took us to a private island resort, very posh, very nice. If I was to go back to Belize, it wouldn't be to Belize City, and I'm not sure I would even go back.
Fondest memory: The snorkelling excursion was one of the best on the trip, the reef was unbelievable!
Fiction set in Belize City
Favorite thing: I really wasn't expecting to find any books set in Belize City, let alone a prize-winner written by a local Belizean author, but I did, and it's a good one. Beka Lamb, by Zee Edgell, is a compassionate coming-of-age type story of a 12 year-old girl growing up in the heart of the city several decades ago. You get a good sense of the diversity and hardships of daily life in the city, and a taste of the politics surrounding the move for independence from Britain. Most of the story takes place in the Southern Forshore neighborhood, and the Fort George area. I found it on Amazon.com, and really enjoyed it. As far as I can tell, Zee Edgell is the only Belizean author to find much of an international audience so far.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Cruise? Book an Excursion or Shop.
Favorite thing: I f you happen to travel to Belize on a cruise ship it seems best to book an excursion. If not you may well be stuck in the Tourist Village "compound". This is fine if you simply wish to shop & eat in Belize. When it comes to prices, Belize seems to be what Mexico was about 15-20 yrs. ago. One can buy good quality goods for less than expected. So if you see something you like, do not hesitate to buy it. The same thing will cost twice as much in Mexico.
Fondest memory: To be honest --catching the tender back.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: Belize has two nationally produced beers, Lighthouse and Belikin. Both are produced by the same brewery. I enjoyed the Belikin, as the Lighthouse was a little too typical. Many locals called the Lighthouse "Women's beer".
This was a very full beer, and I enjoyed it after cave tubing all day! Enjoy one with friends!
Fondest memory: http://www.sanpedrosun.net/old/belikin.htmlRelated to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Road Trip
- Beer Tasting
Belize City Hotels
PARADISE. A true vacation. Fabulous scenery and beautiful diving. You feel taken care of by the...more
Oceanfront Street, , Belize
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
2 Dawson Lane, Burrell Boom Village, Belize City, Belize
Good for: Business
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