• Belize
    © Mariusz Blach / 123RF
  • Belize
    © iStockphoto.com / Mlenny
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Belize

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Over a small stretch of jungle bordering the Caribbean sea lies a real paradise, although not many tourists travel to Belize. Previously a landmark for pirates, Belize is an old British colony, making it one of the only English-speaking places in Latin America. There is a certain air of Africa in this small country that has a sizeable black population descending from slaves. A paradise for ecotourism, Belize is covered by the impenetrable jungle of the Peten, which shelters rich and varied fauna and flora. Enthusiasts of the Mayan civilisation will go and find lost cities hidden jealously by the tropical forest. Tourists travel to Belize for its diving along a coral reef that extends over 180 miles, between beaches of white sand and cays, the islands bordering the coast.

Our Editorial team's advice

Avoid limiting your discovery of Belize to the "cays" (small islands). You would leave out the essential. Draw up a programme including at least one archaeological site and one natural reserve, before exploring the beds of the lagoon.

pros

  • +Belize is a destination that is off the beaten track, so it is not often visited by tourists.
  • +The country combines natural and archaeological riches
  • +The rocky islands and coral reef here are of unparalleled beauty.

cons

  • -The tourist season is short due to the climate
  • -Limited hotel infrastructure
  • -There are no direct flights from the UK.

Traditions

Bargaining is common in markets, as the prices given wildly exceed the value of the items.

Food

Belize cuisine is simple, but of good quality. The traditional dishes consist of rice and kidney beans accompanied by pork or chicken. On the coast, try the fish (sea bream, shark) and the seafood (shrimps, spiny lobster, lobster). For small appetites, cakes, bread rolls (including banana bread) and sandwiches are abundant. The local beer is good, but do not forget to ask for it cold, as it is often served at room temperature.

Souvenirs

You can bring back hand-woven Indian textiles, earthenware pottery and wooden masks. However, avoid buying items made out of shells (combs, jewellery) in order not to contribute to the disappearance of sea turtles. Shops are open from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and from 1:00 PM to 5.00 PM in the week.