Did You Know?
*Belize is physically a small country that can be traveled by car in about five hours (from north to south) as it’s only about the size of the state of Massachusetts. However, the city of Cleveland, Ohio has a larger population than Belize.
*Belize has Mexico to its northern border, Guatemala to its west and southern border, and the Caribbean Sea to its east.
*The people of Belize are wonderfully diverse with Mestizo (Maya and Spanish descendants), Creole (European and African), Maya, Garifuna (African and Arawak’s of Caribbean), East Indians, Chinese, Maya, and the Mennonites.
*Belmopan, is the country’s capital and it is considered the world’s smallest capital city. After Hurricane Hattie, in 1961, the capital was moved from Belize City inland, where Belmopan was created as a planned community. The government buildings are designed to resemble that of the Maya pyramids. The name Belmopan is derived from two rivers-Belize and Mopan.
*Belize gained its independence from the British in 1981.
*Belize, formerly British Honduras, is the only country in Central America where English is the official language and taught in the school systems. Just like the people of Belize are diverse, so are the many languages spoken in the country.
*However, many other languages are spoken in Belize and many people are bilingual. Other languages in Belize are such as Maya, Garifuna, Creole, Spanish, Chinese, and German.
*Belize is on Central Standard Time, but does not observe Daylight Savings Time.
*The Belize dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar at two to one. $1US=$2BZ. The dollar is accepted everywhere. You can use both U.S. and Belize dollars to pay for something. Cash is preferred, but more places are taking credit cards. However, they may charge a service fee to use them. ATM cards with no foreign transactions fees are more common than they used to be, so why not save on fees and acquire one before traveling?
*Electricity is the same as the U.S. and Canada, so no special plugs and adapters are needed. However, many jungle lodges are “off grid” and do not appreciate energy-draining accessories, like hair dryers and straightening irons.
To reach the police, dial 911.
*Belizeans drive on the right side of the road.
*If you are making a left-hand turn, you should pull over to the right and put your left-hand blinker on and wait until the road is clear from both ways before making a left turn. One should not travel the highways at night because they are no lights, reflectors, and many people walk and ride bicycles on the streets with in dark clothes and no reflectors or anything.
Facts to Ponder:
*Approximately 1,000 Mayan ruins are scattered throughout Belize. Most are unexplored. Xunantunich and Caracol are some of the most impressive sights in Belize.
*Belize’s Black Howler Monkeys are one of the top 10 loudest animals in the world.
*Belize is the first and only country in the world to create a Jaguar nature preserve (officially titled The Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve.)
*Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and home to some of the best scuba diving on the planet.
*Over 540 species of birds have been recorded in Belize.
*There are no fast-food chains in Belize. (That’s right, no drive through Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Subway, etc.) And there are no “big box” stores like Walmart and Target. There are places called “fast food” and it means it is food to go and does not have a restroom. It is typically “snack” food such as panades, empanadas, or sambutes.
This post was written for RideBZE.com by Leslie Sorrell, and posted with her permission.
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