Upon arrival a person is not surprised to feel the warm air, or to taste the fresh humidity of this small Central American country. It is a good feeling on the skin while it cleanses the pores, especially when arriving from a dryer climate.  Expectations of a country and the reality are never the same. The expectation was to be submersed in a Spanish speaking culture. The reality is that the predominant language is English. Belize, formerly British Honduras until their Independence around the late eighties, was a British Colony. As a result, the dialect is short, broken English that Rasta Man Bob Marley  used.

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Belize City from the fairy boat dock looking south.

The population of the entire country is what many people in the United States wish was their city size. Belize has a current population of 250,000 people with the largest segment, (52%), being children. There has been a population boom in the last eight years but it is not expected to remain constant. Most of the boom is attributed to an influx from their neighboring country, Guatemala.

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River running through the jungle.

The geography is interesting. Most of Belize is quite lush because of the favorable climate. As we travel inland, the elevation gain is minimal, but thick jungle surrounds us except when we head southwest where we find ourselves in the middle of the Mayo Mountains.  In many places heading inland, off the road, a traveler needs a machete to carve the path.  Belize’s biggest attractions are the islands to the east where there are too many to count.  One can travel fairly easily to most of them; however, restrictions do apply depending on what day is scheduled.  Belize has an enormous reef system that is second only to the Great Barrier Reef.  It provides world class snorkeling and Scuba Diving.   From a historic side, the many influences of the Mayan culture of 600 to 900 A.D. can be seen throughout Belize, especially in the jungle.

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Mayan ruins covered in jungle vegetation.

Travel throughout the country is easy.  Belize has four main highways each moving in different directions.  All are in good shape.  Hurricanes Keith stormed through Belize in October, 2000, and left a great deal of work from the destruction.  In many areas, however, one can’t even tell that it was hit.  While the few pathways that are left remind us of the way Mexico as twenty years ago.  Belize definitely has been discovered by the tourist population.

Feature written and photographed by Phillips, January 2001, who traveled throughout Belize for one month.  Population numbers taken from 1998 C.A government census.  Mayan Ruin photographs and information directed by Luis Santiageo, a certified guide at Bannanabank Resort inland Belize.



Arrival in Belize City, one can find many tour operators.

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Globetrotter Adventures
Carbondale, CO 81623