When you think of Belize, you probably picture tranquil beaches and the famous Great Blue Hole. But there’s so much more to this small, Central American destination than you would typically imagine. Here are some of our favorite facts about Belize that you probably didn’t know!
Belize and the British go way, way back
Belize isn’t your typical Central American country, for many reasons. One, is because of its deep connection to Great Britain. The country’s first European settlement was back in 1638 by the British, who later formed the Colony of British Honduras in 1840. It wasn’t until 1973 that the nation dropped “British Honduras” and rebranded as “Belize.” Nonetheless, English remains their official language to this day. In fact, Queen Elizabeth’s portrait is still used on the Belizean dollar!
But, before the British, there were the Mayans
Archeological records show that the ancient Mayan civilization had many settlements in Belize– including Lamanai, one of their biggest and longest lasting cities. In total, there are around 900 Mayan sites in Belize, and one of the temples is still known to be the tallest building in the country!
Under the Shade, I Flourish
Belize’s official national motto hints at their large quantity of forested land. Believe it or not, it was the mahogany tree found here that motivated the British to colonize Belize because of its quality of timber. But much like its culture, Belizean geography is highly diverse. You can find swamps along the coast, hills and low mountains in the south, interior regions (one range even looks like a sleeping giant), jungles and, our personal favorite, miles and miles of BEACHES!
Belizean wildlife is incredible, from land to sea
Land lovers can take a trip to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the world’s first premier jaguar preserve. But if you prefer to be around sea creatures, you’ll be happy to hear that Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, making for some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the Caribbean.
The locals are quite the hunters
Iguanas, also known as “bamboo chickens,” are hunted for food in Belize. The local demand for iguanas is so high, that they have even become a threatened species, causing the Belizean government to criminalize the hunting of iguanas during breeding season. The most exotic Belizean delicacy, though, is the gibnut rodent. Gibnuts are the world’s second largest rodent and are known as the “royal rat” in Belize because it was served to Queen Elizabeth II when she visited in 1985. We can confidently say, though, that she did not recommend smoked gibnut for Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s wedding feast.
If our facts about Belize don’t have you sold on booking your next Belize adventure, consider this: you’ll more than likely get to roam the country in a golf cart! Seriously, it’s a Belize thing you’ll want to be a part of.
If you’re just dying to get to one of these unique bars via your own golf cart, check out some of our fabulous deals in Belize or some of the other great places to explore in Belize. Or, you can always call one of our awesome Beachologists at 1-800-915-2322 to hear even more about Belize!