You will find many places in the world where the natural beauty will take your breath away, and Belize is one of those places. The country features incredible diversity in its natural wonders, which include beaches, coral reefs, jungles, and islands. There are plenty of interesting facts about Belize that showcase its rich culture and history.
To learn more about this Central American country, here are some of the fun Belize facts to know.
Historical Facts About Belize
Belize was settled by humans thousands of years ago, which is why it has a long history full of culture and heritage. Here are some of the most important Belize facts that will give you a glimpse into its past.
In 1961, Belize City Was Almost Destroyed By A Hurricane
Hurricane Hattie was one of the deadliest hurricanes in 1961, and the capital back then was almost completely destroyed. After this incident, the authorities decided that Belmopan would be the capital of the country instead.
Unfortunately, over four hundred people lost their lives during this hurricane, and half of the city was in ruins.
Belize Used To Be The Center Of Important Trade Routes During The Maya Empire
Belize is not just an important city in modern times because it was also a significant country during ancient times.
That is mainly because of its strategic location. That geographical advantage made it ideal as the center of trade routes in the Maya Empire. Even now, when you visit the country, you will notice glimpses of this past.
Jacques Cousteau Found The Great Blue Hole In 1971
If there is one thing that almost everyone knows about Belize, it is the Great Blue Hole. Pretty sure you have seen pictures of it online.
Jacques Cousteau was the first person to dive here, after which many scuba diving enthusiasts started coming to see what this place was about. The incredible thing about this sinkhole is that it is more than 400 feet deep in the center of the ocean.
If you are not the diving type but still want to see this iconic landmark of Belize, fret not! There are scenic flights that give you an impressive bird’s eye view of this natural wonder.
The Country Gained Independence In 1981
There is a reason why English is the official language in Belize; the British colonized the country for a short period. The country only became a self-governing colony in 1964.
In addition, the name Belize was adopted in 1973 before the country finally gained complete independence in 1981.
The First People That Inhabited This Country Came In Around 1500 BCE
The Mayan people were the first ones to inhabit this country in around 1500 BCE. According to evidence dug up by archaeologists, there is evidence that these people created various settlements in Belize. These include the Lubaantun, Lamanai, and Caracol settlements, among many others.
Cultural Facts About Belize
One of the best ways to enhance your trip is to understand the culture of Belize so that you can mingle with the locals. Here are some top facts about Belize culture that are fun to know.
It Is Bad Luck To Swim On Good Fridays
There are some superstitions in the culture that almost everyone believes in. For example, the locals will not swim during a Good Friday because they believe that it will bring bad luck to the swimmer.
If you go to the beach on a Good Friday, you may overhear parents telling their children that they will turn to fish if they swim. Ah… we all have our fair share of folklore tales told to us by our parents.
One Way To Greet Is To Lock Your Thumbs
One unique way of greeting in Belize is locking thumbs. Sounds weird, but don’t be alarmed when you see people doing that, it’s rather customary. Of course, shaking hands or a pat on the back, etc still work. But if you want to try a local way of greeting when in the country, try locking your thumbs with them.
You Have to Try Belizean Rice And Beans
Rice and beans are the staple foods in Belize. People in the country love eating rice and beans with different variations and sides. These can include beef, chicken, or pork, along with vegetables such as fried plantain, coleslaw, or even potato salad.
The Folklores Have A Thumbless Dwarf
There are many folklores in the Belizean culture, and one of them is about an evil dwarf who is three feet tall and is known as El Duende.
The dwarf is said to have no thumb, and he hangs out in the thick forests of the country. The dwarf is said to punish any children that participate in the killing of animals.
People Are Passionate About The Rainforests, Which Is Why They Are Inaccessible
There is a reason why Belize boasts incredible natural beauty. This is because the people love the rainforests, and authorities have done everything in their power to protect these jewels.
That said, most of them are considered protected areas. You will find that you can only access about 20% of the rainforests in the country. But there is already plenty to do and discover in those zones.
Interesting Facts About Belize For Kids
This natural jewel has a lot to offer to the world and many fascinating facts about Belize will interest kids.
A Mayan Temple Is The Tallest Building In The Country
As you wander the country, you might notice that there are no skyscrapers. In fact, the tallest building you will find in the country is a Mayan temple. The height of the temple is around 137 feet, and it is located in Caracol.
It is said that this has been the tallest building in Belize ever since 1200 BC. That’s a really really long time.
Belizeans Believe In A Creature Known As El Sisimito
Another folklore character that you will find in the Belizean culture is El Sisimito, who is the Belizean version of a Big Foot. The creature is large, like a gorilla, and doesn’t have any knees.
Besides that, it is also thought to have backward feet, and it likes to feast on human flesh for sustenance. Looking for a unique spooky tale during Halloween, this might be it.
Belizean Islands Are Known As Cayes
The islands in the country are known as Cayes, and there are more than four hundred of these in the country. This is why it is seen as a paradise for anyone that is looking for an island vacation.
You can hop from one Caye to another and enjoy the natural beauty that these places have to offer.
The Country Has A Small Population
Belize is part of Central America, and all the countries in the region are highly populated except for Belize. The population density here is just 15 people per kilometer. This is perhaps one of the lowest population densities you will find in the region.
You Will Find Baboons Here
Baboons are also known as Black Howler Monkeys, and you will find plenty of them in Belize. The vast jungle scape comes with its fair share of wildlife.
These animals dwell inside the trees, and they have a loud shriek that you can hear from at least three miles. Even through the dense and thick forest, you can still hear their cries, which can unnerve you for the first time.
Useful Belize Facts For Travelers
Anyone that loves nature will find Belize to be heaven because it has a lot to offer when it comes to culture, history, and nature. Here are some fun facts about Belize to know before traveling.
The Great Blue Hole Is Ideal For Scuba Enthusiasts
There is a lot to do in Belize for outdoor and adventure lovers. For example, if you love scuba diving, you will find the Great Blue Hole to be the perfect dive site. It is one of the top natural wonders in the world, and it can ever be seen from space.
It Has A Nature Sanctuary To Protect Jaguars
Belize has the only sanctuary for jaguars in the world. The locals have created this sanctuary to protect the jaguars from any harm. Pumas and jaguars are native to the country, and the locals are fiercely passionate when it comes to their preservation.
There Are Over Nine Hundred Mayan Sites And Ruins To Explore
If you love learning about history, then Belize is the perfect place to uncover the deep secrets of the Mayans. There are more than 900 sacred Mayan sites and ruins that you can visit and explore.
It will provide you with a glimpse into its past, which will also help you understand the Belizean culture and people of today.
The Belize Barrier Reef Is A UNESCO Site
The Belize Barrier Reef is the 2nd largest barrier reef system in the world, and one of the main reasons why thrill seekers want to visit the country. The reef is a UNESCO site, and it stretches for almost 200 miles.
The best part is that you can explore this reef system and enjoy various activities, which include sailing, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, and more.
You Can Take Tours To See How Chocolate Is Made
Belize is rich in natural abundance, and cocoa is one of the products that are a result of this gift from nature. There are many places that make chocolate here because it is a local delicacy.
You can opt for a tour that will take you through how chocolate is made, especially at the Toledo Cacao Fest. So get ready to indulge in some raw, chocolatey goodness.
Common Facts About Belize
There is some general information about Belize that are interesting to know about.
The People Eat Hot Sauce With Just About Everything
There is one thing that the locals love to eat with everything, and it is Marie’s Hot Sauce. The sauce was created by Sharp, and it is still being produced in Belize because the locals can’t get enough of it.
If you also love some spice in your food, make sure you try it because it doesn’t get better than this.
You Can Easily Use The US Dollar In Most Places
One good thing about Belize is that you probably don’t have to exchange much local currency when you visit. You can easily use US dollars in almost all places, particularly in tourist areas.
While it is still good to hold some local currency, don’t exchange too much Belize dollars beforehand. You can keep some US dollars with you to conduct transactions.
The Most Traditional Breakfast Item Is A Fry Jack
To start your morning like a local, be sure to indulge in a fry jack. This is a traditional breakfast food in Belize.
These are sweet cakes that have been fried to crispy goodness. You can enjoy them with syrups, honey, yogurt, and anything else you would enjoy your pancakes with. Some even have them with eggs and beans for a savory breakfast.
An Important Part Of The Agriculture Economy Are Mennonites
Mennonites are an important part of the Belizean economy, specifically in agriculture. These are people or communities that live a more simple lifestyle, without indulging in technology and electronics.
These communities are responsible for creating handcrafted furniture, agricultural goods, dairy products, and much more in the economy. Many of the basic necessities come from their hard work.
Keep in mind that there are also modern Mennonites in the country, and they also have a lot to contribute to the economy.
There Are Major Festivals In The Country Every Month
If there is one thing that the locals love to do, it is to party and enjoy their time. Belize has a rather laid-back culture You will find that almost every month there is a major festival that is happening.
For example, there is a Lobster Feast, Cashew Festival, Mango Festival, Chocolate Festival, and many other celebrations that take place throughout the year.
Other Fun Facts About Belize
Here are some other interesting Belize facts to know about.
There Is A Watchman For Every Caye
The authorities are protective of their islands, which is why a watchman has been appointed for each Caye in the country. Even if some of the islands are not inhabited by humans, there is still a watchman that has been appointed to look after them.
This is perhaps one of the best jobs for anyone who loves to spend time in beautiful nature.
The Locals Successfully Conserved Tapir
Before the conservation took place, the people of Belize used to hunt these animals. This led to them being on the brim of extinction.
When Belizeans realized this, they knew it was time to take steps to conserve this animal and protect the species. Throughout the years, they have made immense efforts to stop the hunting of Tapirs and also breed the animals so that they could repopulate.
Now, the tapir has successfully been conserved, and you can also find them at The Belize Zoo.
The Vendors Consider Haggling To Be Rude
Shops and local vendors think that haggling is rude because they have already set their prices.
The only place haggling is more acceptable are the street markets. Here, you can negotiate with the vendors, and they will try to ensure that the pricing is reasonable for you.
So take note of where you are shopping before trying to push prices down. In general, don’t haggle anywhere except some of the street markets.
Gibnut Was Served To Queen Elizabeth During Her Visit
Queen Elizabeth visited the country a few decades ago, and the locals decided to serve their finest delicacy, which is gibnut. This is also known as the Royal Rat. Yes! These are rodents that have a taste similar to a rabbit.
The royal rat also looks like a hybrid of tapirs and chipmunks. It is fair to say that this delicacy may not be for everyone, as it does have an acquired taste.
Exotic Animals Are All Around
One of the best things Belize is known for is the rich biodiversity throughout the country. This is why it is considered a great country for nature lovers. Some exotic wildlife that calls Belize home includes False Vampire Bat, Peanut-Head Lantern Bug, and Owl-Eye Butterfly.
These are just some of the animals and creatures that you will find here. Be sure to be on the lookout for interesting wildlife when hiking in nature.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Belize
This Central American country may often be overlooked as a travel destination for other larger nations in the region; however, there are many interesting facts about Belize to explore.
The country is full of nature, and it is easy to in love with it once you spend some time discovering the place. If you are looking for something different, Belize has plenty to offer from nature to culture and even history. Plan a trip down and you are sure to uncover more amazing Belize facts on your adventure.