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 life and times of Belize’s Father of Independence. Take a city tour, and experience the town’s gourmet cafes and eclectic restaurants, contrasting against the lively Belmopan Market adjacent to the central bus station. At its busiest on Tuesdays and Fridays, it’s where rows of food stalls and local cooks dish out tacos, tamales, and other Belizean specialties enjoyed on shared picnic tables.
Heading away from town lands you quickly in the midst of verdant Belizean scenery: forests and farmlands hugging riverside and jungle lodges, horseback riding trails at Banana Bank Lodge, river canoeing on the Sibun, and birding at Guanacaste National Park. As you drive down the scenic, snaking Hummingbird Highway, you’ll find the Blue Hole National Park’s sinkhole and cave at St. Herman’s, as well as the stunning Sibun River nearby, where you can kayak against glorious views of citrus orchards–all of which will tempt you to stay longer. Meanwhile, a short drive west from Belmopan are Cayo’s most visited Maya sites.
In between these adventures, shop for made-in-Belize paintings and crafts at the Art Box, and sample locally made cheese, among other cultural experiences. Belmopan is a small town with big perks.