The second barrier reef on earth, Belize is indeed a tropical destination to explore plus a place that shows the significance of travel. Belize can be a location of various attractions as well as activities. A must-see location where all water sports like snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing are offered. Fishing and para-sailing are available too, especially in San Pedro, Belize. Bicycle and golf cart riding are available easily at numerous locations. If you love wildlife then you definitely must head to the Belize Zoo, Jaguar Reserve, and also the Baboon Sanctuary. Also, a popular activity is bird watching. Many bird varieties can be found there such as great herons.
Important and Interesting Facts about Belize
- Belize is one of the world’s last unspoilt destinations. They call it ‘Mother nature’s best kept secret’.
- The Great Blue Hole is a large underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize. Yes, the ocean has a hole in it and it is a couple miles off the coast of Belize and so distinctive it can be seen from outer space. The world’s largest natural formation of its kind, it is part of the larger Barrier Reef Reserve System, a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
- The Belize Barrier Reefis a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second-longest barrier reef in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia). In total, the reef is 560 miles (900 kilometers) long. The reef is home to as many as 500 species of fish, though the total number is unknown; it’s estimated up to 90 percent of the reef is still unresearched.
- Belize has over 500 distinct varieties of birds more than any other country in the world.
- Belize’s islands are called cayes or cays (pronounced “keys”). There are approximately 450 of them, from bustling Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker to tiny coral islets only large enough for a couple palms.
- Belize has the only Jaguar reserve in the world, otherwise known as Cockscomb Basin Wildlife sanctuary.
- There are about 100 habitable and even more “visit-able” islands scattered all over the Belizean coast, from tiny comic book one acre islands with a dozen coconut trees, to big atolls such as Turneffe, and anything in between.
- Belize is one of the best places in the world for shark viewing. The best times to go are during the months of April – July.
- Belize has an uncommon species of howler monkey that is known as one of the top ten loudest animals in the world while their howl is not a piercing sound, it can travel for three miles through dense forest.
- High on the list of Belize’s many charms is a very comfortable tropical climate with an average yearly temperature of 84° F (29°C). Costal sea breezes and Belize’s large tracts of jungle and rainforests provide cooling relief even in the hottest summer months while winters can be cool but never very cold. In short, the climate is pretty much near perfect.
- Belize has 95 protected areas, including terrestrial and marine national parks, national monuments, wildlife sanctuaries, archaeological reserves, nature reserves and private conservation areas. In the country’s three nature reserves, there is no access without a permit, and only researchers can enter.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Belize
- There are no McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks or KFC in the entire country of Belize!!!
- Interesting Factoid: the Belize Flag is the only national flag in the world to depict human beings.
- Some of the exotic names for Belize’s natural wonders include the Owl-Eye Butterfly, the Blue Morpho Butterfly, the Swallow Tail Cattle Heart Butterfly, the Peanut-Head Lantern Bug, the Red-footed Booby Bird, the Lady-of-the-Night Orchid and the False Vampire Bat.
- Some of Belize’s most interesting place names include Laughing Bird Caye, Cattle Landing, Monkey River, Gallon Jug, Bullet Tree Falls, Rio Frio Caves, Teakettle, Coco Plum Caye, More Tomorrow, Never Delay, Mama Noots, Crooked Tree, Hummingbird Highway, Man-of-War Caye and Labouring Creek.
- You can drive across the entire country in a day. From Belize City in the East to San Ignacio in the West, the country is just over 100 km (about 60 miles) wide, and it will take you about 90 minutes to drive from end to end. From Corozal in the North all the way down to Punta Gorda in the South is only about 5.5 hours.
- Almost every Belizean is trilingual. Everyone understands and speaks English. But that’s not all. Most Belizeans also speak and understand Spanish and Creole, a form of English patois.
- The ruins of a 2,300-year-old Mayan Temple in Belize were destroyed by contractors who wanted to use the bricks for gravel to build a road.
- Sunscreen, mosquito repellant, otherwise, you will get eaten alive. Wear proper hiking boots or good tennis shoes.
- The tallest building in Belize is a Mayan temple!
- Ian Anderson Caves Branch is an authentic jungle experience. Rappelling 300 down the side of a mountain into a cave, the “Mother of all Caves”, now how hard could that be? Piece of cake.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Belize
- Many Belizeans avoid swimming in the ocean or rivers on Good Friday; it is viewed as bad luck. Local Mothers can often be heard telling their kids they “will turn fish!” if they swim on this day!
- Belizean folklore tells of a 3-foot tall, evil dwarf called El Duende. The thumb less dwarf is said to hang out in the forest and punish any children who kill animals!
- Belize has its own version of Big Foot/Sasquatch, called El Sisimito. It is a large creature that has no knees, has its feet on backwards and likes human flesh!
- The former capital Belize City was nearly completely destroyed by Hurricane Hattie in 1961! After hurricane Hattie, the capital city was moved to Belmopan. With just over 12,000 inhabitants Belmopan is the smallest capital city in the World
- Belize enjoys a bounty of seafood and most restaurants will be happy to serve up your favorite lobster, sea bass, shrimp, conch, swordfish and fish fillet. Fresh fruit and vegetables abound in the interior and are shipped daily to all areas of the country – anything from papayas, mangoes, kiwi fruit, watermelon, melons, soursop and pineapples. Belize is a major producer of oranges and grape fruit so enjoy these refreshing natural juices any way you want!
- The national dish of Belize is Stewed Chicken with Rice and Beans and Potato Salad also called 1, 2, and 3.
- It is considered rude to greet people in Belize by their first names (unless you know them, of course!). Acceptable greetings in Belize include handshakes, pats on the back, thumbs locking….and to show great appreciation…a kiss on the cheek.
- XunantunichMaya Site of Belize derives from the Yucatec Maya language and means “Stone Woman.” It was first explored in the 1800’s by Dr. Thomas Gann a British medical officer. Records show that in his second visit, he unearthed much Maya treasures, history of which have been lost and the whereabouts unknown. It is believed and quite possible that many museums and private collectors of Maya Artifacts are displaying these items, with no idea of their origin.
- Belize has one of the richest Mayan cultural history locations with more than 900 historic locations.
- Belize is home to the “Royal Rat” (a rodent named the Gibnut). Made famous after Queen Elizabeth was served one during a visit to the country. Considered a delicacy it is said to taste similar to rabbit.
- Cashew trees are found in the forests of Belize. Cashews don’t come in shells; instead they are a seed that grows out of a ‘fruit’ called a cashew apple. The cashew apple is edible, but the skin around the cashew itself is toxic and must be removed before eating. This is why cashews are bought roasted rather than ‘raw.’
- Iguana is eaten in Belize. Nicknamed “Bamboo Chicken“, they became so hunted they are now protected and technically it is illegal to eat them. However for some natives it is still a practiced tradition.