Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Belize—really?

As soon as we tell anyone about our plans to move to Belize, invariably the question asked of us is, "Why Belize?" Because few folks have experienced this tiny Central American country, the follow-up question, "Where is Belize?" seems to never be too far behind.

 

Good things really do come in small packages.
From the westernmost border with Guatemala, the edge of the Caribbean is never more than 75 miles away and the country stretches 180 miles from Mexico, in the north, to Guatemala, in the south. With an area of 8,866 sq. miles, Belize is only slightly larger than Massachusetts.
 
Something for just about everyone:
Natural wonders abound: largest barrier reef in the Western hemisphere, coral atolls, idyllic cayes (islands), lush rain forests, rivers, mountains, exotic wildlife: jaguar, manatee, birds, tapir, howler monkey, fish.
Adventures await: swimming, snorkeling, diving, boating, hiking, biking, cave tubing, canoeing, fresh and salt water fishing, rough roads, horseback riding, Mayan ruins galore (over 900 documented sites).
Relax, refresh, renew as the sun bathes you in its warmth, the Caribbean gently laps at your feet and tropical breezes sway palm trees along footprint-less beaches.

And the people
The Belizeans describe themselves as "a Caribbean nation in Central America." Because of the British heritage, English is the official language. The entire country’s population is estimated between 300,000-400,000. Belize has one of the youngest populations in the world—more than 50% are under the age of 18.
The tossed salad of color and culture consists of: Creole - 25 %, Mestizo -50 %, Garifuna - 7 %, Maya -8%, East Indians – 3.5%, Syrians, Lebanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, North American and Mennonites – 6.5%. They all seem to just get along!
The best quote I’ve found to describe this mix of cultures is by Belizean artist Phillip Lewis: "A tink a si wan new Belize weh di creole man, di mestizo, di Garifuna, and di Maya, no separate…but instead all da Belizeans." "I think I see a new Belize where the creole, the mestizo, the Garifuna and the Maya are not separated…but united as Belizeans."
We feel welcome in Belize, by and large the Belizeans are a friendly and welcoming bunch of people. For the most part, Belizeanas genuinely like Americans, Canadians and Europeans!
 
Little known and little developed, Belize brims with hospitality and nature just waiting to be experienced.


The above information was gathered through reading:
Insight Guides, "Belize", by the Discovery Channel
"Belize Guide", Paul Glassman

No comments:

Post a Comment