Exploring Islas Ballestas, relaxing in the Huacachina Oasis, and a visit to the oldest winery in South America complete this perfect weekend trip from Lima.
A few years back, I spent a couple of months teaching and traveling in Belize. Before I left for the country, I basically knew nothing about it.
For those who have never heard of it, it’s a tiny little country around the size of New Hampshire and with a population of less than 400,000 people. Although it may be small, there’s a ton of stuff to do.
Here are five reasons why you should visit Belize.
#1 You Can Get Around With English
For those who don’t speak a language aside from English, traveling in a foreign country can be a little bit intimidating. While many people in a lot of countries speak some English, it can still be tough to communicate exactly what you want or need. However, you don’t need to worry about that if you visit Belize.
In fact, English is their national language.
As a former British colony, the language that they learn and use in the public school system is English. With that said, you’ll likely hear a bunch of different languages depending on where you are in the country. Belizean Creole is probably the language that’s used most widely, but you’ll also hear a lot of Spanish depending on where you are (in addition to more indigenous languages).
#2 The Local Culture is Still intact
In a world that is increasingly globalized (read: Americanized), it’s refreshing to visit a country in which the local culture is still very much intact. In Belize, you won’t find many American establishments.
As of 2016, there were 36,899 McDonalds restaurants in 120 different countries… but not one in Belize.
You can basically count on beans, rice, and seafood everywhere you go. Despite not having the best food scene in the world, you truly leave everything that you have at home and enter into a different world when you travel to Belize.
#3 The Beaches are Incredible
Whether you’re in the north or south of Belize, you’re always close to beautiful beaches when you visit this country. There are beaches like Placencia in the south with a seemingly endless amount of islands (cayes) that you can visit. I only made it to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, but you also have St. George’s Caye, Tobacco Caye, Long Caye, and many many more.
Also, if you’re into diving, you can also visit one of the most famous diving sites in the world: the Great Blue Hole. Although I didn’t get to visit while I was there, I’ve only heard amazing things.
Seriously, look it up.
#4 It’s Easy to Travel
Getting places in Belize is simple.
There are basically only five major paved roads, and the country is tiny. If you need to go somewhere, just hop onto one of the many buses that run throughout the country. On these old school buses from the U.S., you can get almost anywhere in the country in less than a day of traveling, and for a pretty reasonable price too. Just a fair warning though, the buses can get pretty crowded during peak times (and by that I mean strangers basically sitting on top of you).
If you want something more comfortable, you can always take the taxis (or a helicopter if you’re really feeling yourself).
Let’s put it this way; Belize is not developed.
They aren’t really an industrialized nation, they don’t have a ton of commerce, and their population density is super low. While this doesn’t make for a prosperous nation (not yet, at least), it does mean that much of their nature has been left untouched. As wildlife is one of the biggest attractions for tourists in the country, the government works hard to protect their forests, wild animals, and birds.
In fact, Belize is home to the world’s only (as far as I know) jaguar preserve.
If you want to explore beautiful rainforest and incredible animals in their natural habitats, Belize is the place for you.
Although a little-known country to many, Belize is one of the most underrated places that I’ve been. It doesn’t get nearly as much love on the tourist circuit as somewhere like Costa Rica or Nicaragua, but it’s one of the most unique countries in the world in that much of the country is relatively untouched.
If you want a unique, authentic travel experience, you should definitely visit Belize.
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