The Baron Bliss Lighthouse is located in the Fort George District and it is dedicated to a British traveller, Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss (1869 –1926), who left upon his death rougly two million U.S. dollars to a trust fund for the benefit of the citizens of Belize – well, the colony of British Honduras as it was then called. The Baron, who happened to be a fake nobleman, is buried in Belize city and on the 9th of March, the day he died, is celebrated as a public holiday and wreaths are placed by his tomb, which is located right at the foot of the lighthouse.
Like the cathedral, the Belize Supreme Court building with its four clocks is another fine example of Britsh colonial asrchitecture. This is now, however, the very first supreme courthouse building, as it dates back to the 20th century; and not even the second, as this is the third attempt of a courthouse. 1926 was the date of construction.
St John's Cathedral, from the little I saw of Belize City, is a quaint church that dates back to the times it was under British rule - having been built in 1812. It is charming but not opulent, made of bricks outside and with plenty of mahogany (the national tree) inside. It is possibly the most charming building in town.
Right beside it you can find the oldest cemetery all over Belize, Yarborough Cemetery.
On the eastern most point of the Fort George area, this light house serves ships coming into Belize City. At the base is a memorial to Baron Bliss, an English adventurer, who donated much of his fortune to Belize civic projects.
There are many tour guides in Belize City- some are independent and some are controlled by some businessmen and you deal with middle men. Whether middle men or not, it is okay to haggle. Ask around for the cheapest price. The Altun Ha Tour and the Belize City tour are combo (together). Make sure to haggle. We paid $40 dollars each.
The tour is about four hours or more so make sure to consider your time. When you choose this tour, make sure to wear comfortable and wear comfortable shoes. Bring a backpack for your lunch or your snack and drinks. The food in Altun Ha is expensive and there is not a lot of choices there. Make sure to buy your food in Belize City before you head down to Altun Ha.
For $10.00 you can have your hair braided in Belize City. There are many women here who can braid your hair fast!
These are independent women who has little tiny stalls (nor parlors) and they braid hair and do also do manicure and pedicure for a very cheap price.
My daughter Sierra, who is only 7 years old, wanted her hair braided but it takes at least an hour. To braid long hair sometimes takes a couple of hours- depending on the style of braiding.
Floating down the river, on the best rafts they have to offer.. It puts the other companies to shame.. USE Cave-tubing.com.... It's something I've never experienced, in so many ways.. From the walk through the rainforest, to tubing through a pitch black cave.. Your adrenaline pumping.. Not knowing what to expect.. And, then comes the break in the cave wall, with sunshine beaming down on a most exquisite waterfall, surrounded by lush greenery... You can't pass this up.. It's spectacular..
we arrived Belize city by a cruise, we did not buy snorkel tour from the cruise sine they are normally more expensive than the same tours from local tour company, and you would also support local economy if you spend your money to local business.
we wanted to snokel in Hol Chan Reseve and see nurse sharks, so we took water taxi to Ambergris Caye, and bought a snokel tour with two stops: Hol Chan and Nurse shark, from a tour company on Ambergris. the water taxi is $15 round trip per person. the ride will be 75min one way. the snorkel tour is $40 per person(including $10 Hol Chan fee).
The snorkel tour is normally $35, conducted two times per day, 9am and 2pm. since we arrived 8am in Belize, and arrived Ambergris at 10:30am, and need to go back the cruise ship by 4:30pm, we were happy to find a tour company willing to take just two of us to the reef for only $5 extra. the tour company is the first one outside of the water taxi terminal.
we saw turtles, rays, nurse sharks, and so many other fishes.
A boat ride on the Old Belize River is something that everyone should do if possible when visiting Belize--it gives you a different look at this especially beautiful part of the country and the possibility of seeing many types of the country's wealth of wildlife--I thought it was quite magnificent.
I am glad that the boat ride we had was part of an excursion that we had booked because, being there for only one day, we would not have known that the boat ride was even a possibility. It turned out to be my favorite part of the day!
Our tour guide had, of course, come along, but it was our boat captain who made the trip amazing due to his ability to spot wildlife at any distance and point it out for us and then edge the boat in as close as possible to give us the best view possible. In that one ride we saw dolphins, manatee, iquanas, crocs, howler monkeys, bats, and the ingenous, sock-life nests of birds (can't remember the name now) which drooped from the trees along the milky green river. It was fantastic!
Our ride concluded with a spine-tingling mini race with another boat as the river spilled out into the open blue Caribbean Sea. See my tips on out of the way places for additional pictures and details.
NOTE: Unfortunately since this boat trip on the river was part of a ship excursion, I am not sure what it cost. However, I believe the excursion to the "Baboon Sanctuary", lincluding the lunch and this boat ride was only about $50. I image a boat ride on the river by itself would be considerably less expensive!! Check for independently booked boat rides on the dock at the Tourism Village.
Belize has done a great job of trying to attract more tourists to its shores, particularly those who arrive by cruise ship. Tourism Village is a very good facility on the Belize City harbor front where cruise ship passengers arrive after being tendered ashore. This lively and welcoming center has attractive shops, eating establishments, rest rooms, an Internet cafe and is also the starting point for shore excursions.
If you are not booking shore excursions from your ship, this is the area where you are most likely to be able to independently book snorkeling & diving trips; catch the boat for Caulker Caye and Ambergris Caye; catch buses for other areas of the Belize countryside; book Old Belize River excursions, etc. Check with the tourist desk if someone doesn't just walk up to you with an offer.
The buildings are mostly an open air construction and they surround small plazas with benches right on the waterfront which makes it a pleasant place to linger before reboarding your ship.
One especially nice shop also does double duty as a small post office! Pick up maps here and get information from the manned tourist information desk located in Tourism Village.
On the day we were visiting there was live music by local musicians who were situated in the little plaza at the Tourism Village. I kind of thought this added a really nice touch to the whole place.
Having traveled to many islands in the Caribbean, I can say that Belize City has one of the nicest port areas I've been too as far as atmosphere and facitlites for tourists and I appreciated the effort.
St. John's Cathedral in Belize City is notable for three reasons: 1) It was built from red brick brought aboard English sailing ships as ballast. (Maybe you have seen the blue stones which were used to make the cobblestone streets in Old Town San Juan, Puerto Rico which were also ships' ballast!)
2) St. John's is the oldest Anglican Church in Central America.
3) Between 1812 and 1824, St. John's was the site of the crowning of Kings of the Mosquito Coast. The term "Mosquito" does not refer to the often lethal insect. "Mosquitos" were indigenous "indians" living in this area prior to Spanish and British settlers and who eventually developed a relationship with the British. The ultimate Mosquito leader was referred to as the "Mosquito King."
Before he died, Baron Bliss quickly came to love the waters around Belize, and he had been kindly treated by the local fisherman. During this time, he executed a new will, bequeathing the bulk of his estate to the country of Belize!! Leaving explicit instructions for use of the money, he also requested that he be permanently interred in a granite tomb near the sea, and surrounded by an iron fence and an obelisk or lighthouse to be built nearby. From a trust fund of almost $2 million dollars, the government of Belize has constructed health centers, libraries, a school of nursing, museums, and a culture center.
Imagine what further kindnesses and generosity Baron Bliss might have bestowed on Belize had he lived!
Across Regent Street from old Government House is St. John's Anglican Cathedral. With it's cornerstone laid in 1812 and consecration in 1826, it is the oldest Anglican Cathedral in Central America. The building was constructed of bricks brought from Europe as ballast in sailing ships, with labour provided by slaves! One unique claim to fame is that, between 1815-1845, four tribal kings from the present day Mosquito Coast of Honduras were crowned here, making this the only Anglican cathedral outside of England to have participated in a Royal coronation. Since it was starting to spit with rain by the time we made it to Government House, we only managed this rear-end shot from across the street. The former steeple at the other end of the Cathedral is now only a square flat-topped stub, due to hurricane damage suffered over the 180-years since construction was finished.
What a refreshing way to cool off then to swim in the Blue Hole. It looks muddy but it is clear and of course little fish that is swimming with you.
The St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park (inland Blue Hole) where water on its way from a tributary to the Sibun River, emerges from a collapsed karst sinkhole. The pool, from which the park receives its name, is a beautiful sapphire blue that is about twenty-five feet deep. After a short run through a natural jungle setting, the stream disappears into a large underwater cavern.
Our guide Oscar told us that only once a person tried to check out the cavern and he just never came back.
This is something I'm so glad I got to experience and do in Belize! Tours are available to take you out of Belize City but I got my tour from the cruise ship. From Belize City, it takes about about an hour and a half worth of driving to get to the jungle where you disembark. Along the way you're treated to some great views of the surrounding countryside and towns (such as Hattieville which I caught a very brief glimpse of). Once you arrive at the site, you are handed a inner tube as well as a guide light for seeing inside the cave. Please DO NOT take your digital camera with you, YOU WILL GET WET! There will be no place to store it, so just bring a waterproof camera. Also BRING some water shoes. It's about a 15 minute walk to the mouth of the cave. The water can get cold. You then explore the caves from your inner tube, you see some ancient Mayan carvings and your guide explains all kinds of stuff relating to this and the cave itself. The cave tubing itself doesn't take long. From there, you drift your way along the water and disembark on the bank. I'm glad I got to do it! :) Definitley give it a go!
PARADISE. A true vacation. Fabulous scenery and beautiful diving. You feel taken care of by the...more
2 Dawson Lane, Burrell Boom Village, Belize City, Belize
Good for: Business
Oceanfront Street, , Belize
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families