Belize is a nation on the eastern coast of central America, with Caribbean Sea shorelines to the east and dense jungle to the west. Formerly British Honduras, is a country located on the north eastern coast of central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. Offshore, the massive Belize Barrier Reef, dotted with hundreds of low-lying islands called cayes, hosts rich marine life. Belize’s jungle areas are home to Mayan ruins like Caracol, renowned for its towering pyramid, lagoon-side Lamanai, and Altun Ha, which is just outside Belize City.
The Maya Civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 B.C. and A.D. 300 and flourished until about 1200. In 1502, European contact was made when Christopher Columbus sailed along the Gulf of Honduras. In 1638 there was initial European exploration by English settlers. Significantly, this period saw Spain and Britain both laying claim to the land until, in 1798, Britain defeated the Spanish in the Battle of St. George's Caye. In 1840, Belize became a British colony, named British Honduras, and a Crown colony in 1862. On 21 September 1981 independence from the United Kingdom was achieved.
UK: Not required up to one month. Fee thereafter.
USA: Not required up to 30 days. Fee thereafter.
Belize is a very casual country. T-shirts, shorts, loose-fitting trousers and shirts can all be seen. It has a hot climate so dress to stay cool and comfortable.
The Belizean culture is a mix of influences and people from Kriol, Maya, East Indian, Garinagu (also known as Garifuna), Mestizo (a mixture of Spanish and Native Americans), Mennonites who are of German descent, with many other cultures from Chinese to Lebanese. Belize culture is a vibrant latticework of different peoples, being themselves and being with each other, so it doesn’t have one single culture, but instead is one people with many cultures to enjoy and explore.
In Belize (formerly British Honduras), English remains the official language, but the most diverse language in Belize is Kriol (Belizean Creole). Other languages spoken include Garifuna, Mandarin, Spanish and Maya.
Tipping is becoming more common as more people explore the country so in restaurants and bars, one should tip 10-20%, depending on the quality of service. Andante Travels will take care of gratuities to restaurant staff, local guides and drivers.