Belize is a country of various ethnicities co-habiting in harmony. Today Belize boasts of cultural aspects from different cultures. Belize is a refuge, a home of diverse multi ethnic cultures with people of different skin tones, different languages, belonging to various ‘pots’ all adding to our colorful Belizean culture. Lying amidst the horizons of Central America and the vast Caribbean Sea. We are a nation with the most diverse population among its neighboring countries, rich with a blend of different cultural practices.
The first to inhabit Belize was the Maya; the Maya civilization is indigenous to the lands of Belize since 2500 B.C. After them the Garifuna migrated to Belize around 1802 after running from British invaders.Shortly after, the Mestizo fled from the Caste War of Yucatan to the northern regions of Belize in 1847. At about the same time in the 1800’s, the Creole were Being born into Belize from African slaves and European merchants. With indentured labor, here is where the East Indians and East
Garifuna Settlement Day Parade
Asians were brought to Belize in 1858 and 1865. They were followed by the Mennonites who came into Belize in 1958 pursuing a life free of religious persecution and the pressures of modern society. When it comes to the population here in Belize nearly half of Belize’s population is Mestizo. Mestizo is the beautiful mixture between ethnic American and Europeans, primarily Spanish. On the other hand the Creole is any person who has some African blood, and in a few instances some locally born ‘whites’. They are mainly the descendants of the slaves brought to Belize. Other Native languages include Mayan, English, Garifuna.
Mennonites in Shipyard
Belize a sanctuary; a harbor for cultures to spread and add coloring to the cultural melting pot. A free pass to let culture seep through our hearts, showing the true colors from the soul. This cultural blend indeed a jewel of a country from east to west creating peace and harmony amongst neighboring regions is what certainly makes up a melting pot.
Author- Limayri Guerra
When most foreigners hear the word Belize, they don’t know that it’s an English Central American country nestled between Mexico and Guatemala. I have always heard of people talking about exploring their country and getting to know those little hidden parts of nature that everyone else enjoys, everyone except you. So when my boss decided to give us a company trip and an opportunity to explore my own country, I was excited. I had never been to the heart of the western part of Belize so this was an experience I couldn’t wait to achieve. We were going to Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. We were going to visit Rio Hond Pools and Big Rock Falls.
On the day of the trip we all gathered together in our bus, said a prayer and set off. Most of us slept the 4 hours until we arrived at the junction of Pine Ridge. Most of my coworkers had never been to this part of the country so this was going to be an adventure for them as well. I personally didn’t expect that we were going to be on a dirt road for like almost an hour before getting to our first destination. My boss kept saying that we were going to enjoy the view and the falls but after being in a bus for almost 6 hours, I was getting a little cranky.
When we got to Big Rock Falls I was amazed. It was such a beautiful site. The falls itself was gorgeous and the water was super cold. It was so refreshing to jump into that ice cold water and breathe in the freshness of Mother Nature. Swimming against the strong currents to actually get under the falls was a weeks’ worth of exercise but it felt good. The long drive was worth it at this point.
We stayed by the falls for an hour before heading off to our next site, Rio Hond Pools. We were going there to have lunch and just relax for a couple of hours before heading back to our home town of Orange Walk. We got to Rio Hond and setup our grill to BBQ and take a dip into the icy water. My friend and I decided to explore a little and the view we were met with was spectacular. We were able to get a view of the area from the top of the hill. I was humbled by the beauty of this hidden paradise.
As we headed back home I realized that I had much to learn and explore in my own country. There are so many beautiful places that I have never gone to and I need to change that. In order for me to fully appreciate and enjoy my country, I need to know it. I’m sure that many share the same sentiment. I’m glad I got the chance to visit and enjoy this beauty.
Author- Catalina Funez
For those who have heard about Belize, but don’t know exactly where it is, or what all it consists of, this article is for you. Geographically we are located in Central America. Yet our language, culture and vibe mirrors the Caribbean. Fascinating right? Belize is a small country with a lot to offer.
Lists always makes things easier. So here is a short list of must see destinations in Belize.
Belize’s Great Blue Hole
- If diving the Great Blue Hole is not on your bucket list, then are you really living? It is perhaps one of the most famous dive site in Belize. It is over 300 meters across and 125 meters deep; bursting with various marine life species.
- Ambergris Caye is Belize’s largest island and definitely the most popular destination in Belize. The island is much laid – back and is just filled with some of the friendliest people. Annually thousands of tourist flood the island to get away from all the hassle and bustle. There is a lot to do on the island. You can choose from water activities like parasailing, kayaking and snorkeling to name a few.
- The number one stop on Belize’s mainland. Cayo is located on the western side of the country and is Belize’s largest district. Adventure seekers often consider Cayo to be the most desirable spot, with its rich nature and high concentration of Mayan Sites. It is home to a number of spectacular caves and waterfalls that travelers enjoy to hike. It is the most diverse and can appeal to every type of traveler looking to experience Belize’s natural wonders.
Mayan Ruins of Belize
An important part of Belize’s History is the Mayan Ruins. A legacy of extraordinary temples once inhabited by the Mayan Civilization. There are approximately 12 Mayan Ruins in Belize all which are both essential ruins and some small but notable ruins. Altun Ha, Xunantunich, Caracol, Cahal Pech, Lamanai, Nim li Punit and Lubaantun are a few top Maya Sites to visit while in Belize. Mayan treasures have been found deep within the earth and amongst these temples. An example would be the sacred Jade head (Kinich Ahau). Each ruin was held sacred by the Mayas and contained ceremonial altars, religious carvings, ball courts, stelas and remains of sacrificial victims.
Author- Brianna Leiva
Belize is a nation on the eastern coast of Central America, with Caribbean Sea shorelines to the east and dense jungle to the west. Offshore, the massive Belize Barrier Reef, dotted with hundreds of low-lying islands called cayes, hosts rich marine life. Belize’s jungle areas are home to Mayan ruins like Caracol, renowned for its towering pyramid; lagoon-side Lamanai; and Altun Ha, just outside Belize City. Belize is the only Central American country with English as its official language. However, you will hear a variety of Spanish, Creole, and Maya in some greetings.
Belize is a small country but it is known for its high biodiversity! With thousands of species of plants and animals, Belize boasts one of the greatest hotspots of biodiversity in all the world. Of course we have equally cool National Symbols to go along with it! They include a flower, a tree, a bird, and a large mammal.
The black orchid is the National Flower of Belize. This orchid grows on trees in damp areas, and flowers nearly all year round. The black orchid flower has greenish-yellow petals and sepals with purple blotches near the base. The "lip" is deep purple-brown, almost black, with conspicuous radiating purple veins.
The Mahogany Tree is one of the magnificent giants of the forest. Rising straight and tall to over a hundred feet from great buttresses at the roots, it emerges above the canopy of the surrounding trees with a crown of large, shining green leaves.
Our national bird which is the Keel billed Toucan. Best known for its oversized bill, the keel-billed toucan is a large and colorful bird with black plumage, a bright yellow throat and cheeks, vibrant red feathers under its tail and a yellow-green face. Its light green, banana-shaped bill is splashed with orange and tipped with red and blue, and can grow to be a third of the size of the toucan’s 20-inch body.
The Tapir is the largest land mammal of Central America. Known as the “mountain cow” in Belize, they are forest dwellers, active mostly at night as they forage along river banks and forest clearings. The tapir is the national animal of Belize.
Author - Tanairi Baeza