The country of Belize has become one of Central America’s hottest destinations thanks to its Caribbean coast, proximity to Mexico, plentiful natural resources, and English speaking population. This nation, once a colony of Great Britain has been welcoming tens of thousands of tourists a year. If your next cruise makes a stop at the port of Belize here are some things you should know.
Incoming cruise ships dock in Belize City that not only borders the Caribbean Sea but the Belize River. The city was almost completely destroyed in 1961 by a hurricane that swept through the region. There is not much for tourists to do specifically in the city itself, outside of the port area. There are however plenty of things to do beyond the city.
Even though Belize has become a favorite stop for cruise lines it still has a developing infrastructure for welcoming tourists. The port area itself has many touristy shops but generally isn’t a place worth spending much time as there’s little to do aside from visiting these shops. The roads of Belize are not in the best condition and it’s recommended to book a guided excursion instead of setting off on your own. While it’s possible to rent a car here, trust the professionals and go with a guide.
The famous “Blue Hole” can be found off the coast of Belize. If you want to experience world class diving this is the place to do it. If you’re only in port for one day and don’t have a scuba diving certification you likely won’t have enough time to do any deep diving however you may be able to snorkel in the general area. Don’t despair! Even without the ability to deep sea dive you’ll still be wowed but the natural beauty and marine life here.
Belize has a long, interesting history. From the days of indigenous tribes like the Maya, through European influence and colonization, to present day independence you can see remnants of every time period. Some of the most popular Mayan ruins to visit include Cahal Pech, Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaatun, Altun Ha, and Xunantunich. The first recorded European settlement was in 1638 and over the next 150 years more and more settlements were built but it wasn’t until 1840 that Belize became an official colony. It wasn’t until the 1973 that Belize became officially independent.
Belizian food is a combination of colonial influences and traditional ingredients. It may not be the most flavorful of Caribbean nations but it’s worth experiencing. Enjoy the plentiful seafood of the area in dishes like fish serre. Chicken stew, rice and beans, and plenty of hot sauce are also commonplace on Belizean tables.
Wildlife and Nature
Belize City is on the Caribbean coastline and any large cruise boats must tender passengers into port. On the tender you have a good chance of seeing dolphins and a variety of sea birds. If you take an inland river cruise through the rainforest you may see monkeys, tropical birds, crocodiles, and huge iguanas just to name a few types of wildlife. Many of the indigenous people still rely on the jungles to provide food and ingredients for traditional herbal remedies.
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