Dangriga

Belize’s culture capital, Dangriga—an agricultural and commercial town where the orange, banana and shrimp industries thrive—is the primary hub of the Garinagu people, who settled on these shores in the 19th century. Time your visit for November 19, Garifuna Settlement Day or Yurumein, and you’ll witness the inspiring sunrise reenactment of their arrival to Belize in canoes, while drumming and…

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San Pedro

By Lebawit Lily Girma  Sitting a mere half-mile off the Barrier Reef—in easy view of its beachfront—San Pedro remains Belize’s most visited destination. A fishing community at heart, this lively island town offers the widest variety of plush beachfront resorts, shopping, and restaurants. Diving, fishing, snorkeling, and exploring marine life are bona fide daytime activities, while nights are for bar…

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Caye Caulker

  By Lebawit Lily Girma Belize’s second largest inhabited island is a small fishing village turned tourism hub, located just a mile west of the Barrier Reef, and 21 miles northeast of Belize City. It’s easy to heed Caye Caulker’s official motto: “Go Slow.” Cayo Hicaco, as it was called in Spanish, is a place where tradition and island village…

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Orange Walk

By Lebawit Lily Girma  Known as Holpatin in the Maya days, and now affectionately dubbed Shuga City—hub of sugar production and Belizean rum—the northern district of Orange Walk, a mere 53 miles north of Belize City, draws culture lovers, naturalists, and archeology fans. Aside from being sweetly favored with rum factories, Orange Walk is home to Belize’s largest fresh water body at 28 miles…

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Corozal

By Lebawit Lily Girma  Strategically placed between Mexico, the northern Cayes, and Orange Walk, this northernmost corner of Belize offers a lesser-crowded, off-the-beaten track escape that first-time visitors might otherwise miss. Fishing villages with iridescent turquoise shores, key archeological sites, and a diverse population of Mestizo, Mennonites, and East Indians—who settled here in the 19th century to work on sugar cane fields—are just a few of Corozal’s surprises. In town, examine the gun turrets at Fort Barlee, used during the…

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San Ignacio

  A small town surrounded with wildlife-rich, verdant outdoors, rivers and Maya history, San Ignacio is the Cayo District’s main hub. Those who stop here for nearby jungle adventures fall in love with the town’s picturesque scenes of bridges over emerald rivers, horses grazing along hilly roads, and markets overflowing with produce. This is after all, the breadbasket of Belize. With a predominantly Latin pulse, days are for exploring the outdoors while nights are for dining at casual or chef-led restaurants,…

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Belmopan

The smallest capital in the Americas, inland Belmopan sits on the banks of the Belize River, against the backdrop of the Maya Mountains. Aside from being home to the National Assembly and Government buildings downtown—unpainted to resemble a Maya plaza and temples—you’ll find a city that packs its own punch in adventure, history and cultural experiences, and a solid international community.   Visit the George Price Center for Peace and Development, a museum honoring the…

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Belize City

,The primary entrance hub of first-time visitors, Belize City might seem but a mere stopover on the way to the northern cayes and other parts of the country. But beyond its commercial bustle, those who venture here will find riverfront and wildlife-rich surroundings, and a deep insight into Belize’s colonial history and Kriol culture.   A guided walk around the city center will throw you into its Caribbean rhythms, from roadside market stands to waterfront views across the iconic Swing Bridge, as boats sway in Haulover Creek. At the House of Culture, examine relics…

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The Mestizo

By Giovanni Pinelo, Sr.    When Spanish soldier Gonzalo Guerrero married Princess Zazil Ha, daughter of Maya Lord Na Chan Kan of Chactemal—present-day Santa Rita archaeological site in Corozal, northern Belize—their three children gave birth to the first Mestizo population. In subsequent years, northern and western Belize welcomed migrants who sought refuge during Yucatán’s Caste War (1847-1901), the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), and the social upheaval in Petén, Guatemala (1880-1920) respectively.     According to the last official census in 2010, over 50 percent of Belize’s population are Mestizo. Estimates have also revealed Spanish as the first language of at least 56 percent of Belizeans.  …

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The Mennonites

By Phylicia Pelayo    One of the more recent groups to settle in Belize, forming just over three and a half percent of the population, the Mennonites reside primarily in the rural villages of Orange Walk, Corozal, and Cayo Districts, respectively. Over the past 60 years since their arrival, they’ve helped transform Belize’s physical, cultural, and economic landscape. Highly regarded for their farming traditions, industrial agriculture, and scenic communities, the Mennonites have a unique culture, heavily influenced by Anabaptist beliefs and practices.   Settling in Belize  Between the 18th and 20th centuries, Mennonites…

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