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Belize in Pictures

World  (tags: Belize, central america, pictures, tour, world )

- 1748 days ago -
Wide clean beaches, tropical rain forests, ancient ruins, scuba diving, Belize has something for everyone.

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Kit B (276)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 6:00 am


Sharing a border to the south of Mexico and one to the east of Guatemala is the small but beautiful nation of Belize. Though less than 9,000 square miles in size Belize is a surprisingly diverse and colorful country. Here are five interesting facts you may or may not know about the nation of Belize:
5 Facts You Might Not Know

1 Perhaps Belize is best known for the Belize Barrier Reef, located off of the country's coast. The Reef is massive, second in size only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Because of the Reef's great size, there are over 200 islands of varied sizes just off the Belize coast, many of which are not populated.

2 Belize is home to over 900 known Mayan historical and archaeological sites. The Mayan civilization was one of the largest and most powerful Native American groups to occupy South America. Their unique and striking art and architecture have drawn awe from many.

3 Largely because of protective acts, a great deal of the natural forests in Belize have remained untouched and today retain their unique diversity. In Belize forests range from the thick, tropical variety to, in fact, the only pine tree forest in South America. Because these areas have remained undisturbed a great deal of natural wildlife continues to inhabit the country.

4 Standing apart from the rest of the Central and South American countries, the national language of Belize is English. This has lead to Belize becoming a popular destination for English-speaking tourists and expatriates. But English is not the only language in use in Belize ' it is not uncommon to hear Creole and Spanish as well, among others.

5 Belize is home to the first endangered jaguar preserve in the world, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Established in the 1980s, the sanctuary covers an area of almost 150 square miles in the southern region. There are even parks within the preserve which people are welcome to visit and observe the wide variety of flora and fauna including nearly 300 different species of birds.

Some Fun Facts:

1. 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.

2. Belize has an uncommon species of howler monkey that is known as one of the top ten loudest animals in the world.

3. The locals in Belize have created some unique names for its natural wonders including Owl eye butterfly, the Swallow Tail Cattle Heart Butterfly, and the Red Footed Booby Bird, and the False Vampire Bat.

4. Belize is the only Central American country with English as its official language.

5. 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.

6. Belize has the only known jaguar preserve in the world and it is located in the cockscomb Wildlife sanctuary in southern Belize.

7. Archaeologists estimate that at their peak, 1 to 2 million Mayans lived within the borders of present day Belize. Mighty Maya cities such as Caracol, Xunantunich and Lamanai dotted the landscape, with small agricultural communities farming the land between.

8. Belize is roughly only 180 miles long and 68 miles wide. It is a small but sparsely populated country outside the cities because of the protections it has in place for the natural wonders that are within its borders

9. Belize has such a dense population and is one of the most populous in the world for its size.

10. Outside the Belize mainland is one of the world’s natural reefs known as the Belize natural reefs with 200 separate islands.

Food in Belize:

Hot sauce is the perfect complement to any food in Belize -- bottles of it are found everywhere within the tiny Central American country. Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce is the most common brand - the famous label is seen on the shelves of airport shops, at tiny beachside eateries and on any Belizean local's dining table.

Rice and beans -- epitomizes the diet in Belize. A favorite dish amongst locals, the ingredients are cooked and served together -- a flavorful blend of red beans, black pepper, and grated coconut. When you have the big midday meal, you can always expect a heaping portion of tasty rice and beans on your plate. Beans and rice however is considered a totally different dish -- the ingredients are cooked separately --- the beans are then ladled with their gravy onto a serving of white rice.

Aside from rice and beans -- stew chicken ranks really high in importance in Belize. For this recipe you braise chicken in coconut milk along with some tomato, intense spices and other local ingredients. Of course, a dash of the famous Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce goes well on top!

Catch of the Day
For any seafood lover -- you definitely want to sample the offering during a trip to Belize. Fresh lobster, conch, shrimp, mussels, scallops and every type of fish one can imagine are easily within reach. Seafood is integrated into many popular recipes and dishes. Hudut is a fish stew available in certain areas - served in a coconut-milk broth along with fried plantains. Conch ceviche is also popular. Prepared from chopped tomato, onion, habañero or jalapeño peppers, cilantro, the juice of a lime -- and of course fresh conch. If you happen to dine at one of the well-known restaurants along the coast -- the conch fritters are divine. Always remember that lobster and conch are seasonal offerings throughout Belize. The closed season for lobster runs February 15-June 15, and conch season July 1-September 30.

For breakfast experience the tasty fry jacks, which are deep-fried pieces of dough accompanied by beans and eggs -- in some cases jam and honey. Perhaps it sounds like a beignet -- that is because the two foodstuffs are basically the same. Johnnycakes are also popular -- a round biscuit served with ham and cheese or simply a dollop of butter. As you can see, both fry jacks and johnnycakes are true comfort foods.

Fruits and Vegetables
With an abundance of delicious tropical fruits you definitely want to taste the yummy bananas, mangoes, papayas, pineapples or melons found in Belize.

If you are expecting loads of green leafy vegetables locating them may present somewhat of a task. According to Frommer's, "On the whole, you'll find vegetables surprisingly lacking in Belizean meals. Fresh garden salads are rare and hard to come by. A lack of fresh ingredients makes other vegetable dishes and sides almost as uncommon. Most restaurant meals come accompanied by a simple slaw of grated cabbage, or a potato or beet salad." During a holiday in the amazing country -- the scarcity of leafy vegetables is definitely not something travelers tend to notice.

"Fast Food"
Vendors with snack fare are common all over the streets of Belize -- selling "fast food" items from stands and storefronts. You may even see a few locals atop bicycles, golf carts or scooters rolling through with baskets of freshly prepared treats. Foods sold are infused with elements of Mestizo and Maya cultures, with items like garnaches, tamales (called dukunu), and chicken tacos readily available. A garnache is a fried corn or wheat tortilla served piping hot, and topped with refried beans, a bit of shredded cabbage, cheese, carrots, salt and a dash of vinegar. You will also frequently encounter salbutes - a kind of soft cooked tortilla -- and panades which are little pies with meat or fish. Loads of delicious "treats and eats" are available in Belize -- certain to please even the pickiest palate.

pam w (139)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 9:14 am
I brought back an interesting souvenir from Belize....a BOTFLY! If you're going there....use the heaviest insect repellent you can find and put it on before going to bed!


Arielle S (313)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 9:24 am
As Jimmy Buffet said, "If there's a heaven for me, I'm sure it has a beach attached to it." I love the Caribbean and all that goes with it....

Elizabeth Fuller (134)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 9:49 am
Wow awesome place Kit, would love to go there....I saw a documentary once about someone who visited the jungles of Belize and got a nasty infection from....yes...botflies...they are among the vast insect population...they bite you and lay eggs under the skin and soon you have little maggot babies crawling out from under the bite site....ewwwww! Yes insect repellent is a must.

Pat B (356)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 11:42 am
Beautiful place. A teacher friend of mine, her daughter went there, and wants to relocate there, she said there are a lot of Americans who live there. Thanks, Kit for viewing Belize today.!!

. (0)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 12:41 pm
It was a wonderful place back in the 80s. Pristine beaches and none of the plastic on the sea bottom that you have today. I'm just wondering how the Deep Water Rising accident is affecting life there and along other places.
I still have hopes of retiring in Ecuador

Birgit W (160)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 1:14 pm
Our world is so beautiful, and we are killing everything. Thank you.

Barbara K (60)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 1:18 pm
What an awesome place, my friend. Love the pics too. What is not to like there? There is such natural beauty all around.

Nicole W (646)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 1:20 pm
just beautiful, thank you Kit

Mike M (43)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 1:37 pm
Another place I want to visit or stay but got to pack food and/or seeds

Sheryl G (363)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 6:50 pm
I almost moved there back in my twenties but I got the job I was really wanting so I didn't go. I often wonder how things would of been had I went, but maybe with those botflies, that I didn't know about at the time, it is maybe best I didn't go. lol

I had always regretted not moving to a warmer climate, but I finally did by moving to Florida. No regrets, just get this Tea Bag Governor out, move Marco Rubio along, and fix the Legislature and this place could be my bit of paradise.

Kit B (276)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 7:53 pm

I think it is just beautiful, all the luxury of living in a tropical climate and not near the expense of most places.

Past Member (0)
Sunday July 7, 2013, 11:43 pm
Kit, you are like having a wonderful travel agent, but your info is much better Cheers

Mary Donnelly (47)
Monday July 8, 2013, 1:08 am
Great post--thanks Kit.

Sherri G (128)
Monday July 8, 2013, 2:35 am
Beautiful post and TY Kit for Belize important facts and data. Noted.

Colin Hope (243)
Monday July 8, 2013, 3:35 am
On my list of where next to go..... sometime?

Phil P (94)
Monday July 8, 2013, 9:14 am
Haven't been there or Costa rica for a while so thanks for the reminders. Would have loved to have spent some time there 30 years ago.

JL A (281)
Monday July 8, 2013, 10:16 am
It used to be a favorite travel spot for co-workers. One kept visiting one of the islands to live in a hut and dive to view the reef...used to say she had to bring a huge supply of chocolate with her since none would be available on the island. I also read it is one of the few places where you can ship a car from the US easily if you plan to move there. A couple years ago you could buy a small island for a million dollars.

Suzanne B (246)
Monday July 8, 2013, 11:26 am
Thank you for sharing this!

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Tuesday July 9, 2013, 11:19 am
Thank you for the fabulous journey!

marie C (163)
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 5:10 pm
Nearly went there 30 years ago to observe lemurs
Changed my mind and decided to go back to Rwanda to the mountain gorillas
Wish I had gone food sounds great haha

Melania P (122)
Wednesday July 24, 2013, 11:42 am
Thank you, I hope I can dive there someday :)
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