If you like sand, sun and sea, it doesn’t get any better than Blue Parrot Beach House. Start your day with a glorious sunrise over the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean sea, or explore postcard-perfect stretches of beach made for a morning run or an early morning stroll. Kayak up the coast, take a tour, soak up the rays or just relax hanging around in the hammocks on the beach.
The first people in Belize were the Maya around 1500 B.C. Evidence of their civilization is seen in the settlements left in the ruins of Xunantunich, Caracol, Lamanai and Lubaantun and many others. The first European to reach Belize was Christopher Columbus in 1502. In 1638, the first European settlement was established by England, and for 150 years, many more English settlements were set up.
In 1840, Belize became a "Colony of British Honduras" and in 1862, it became a crown colony. For one hundred years after that, Belize was a representative government of England, but in January 1964, full self-government with a ministerial system was granted. In 1973, the region's name was changed from British Honduras to Belize and on September 21, 1981, full independence was achieved.
Belizean people are proud of their ancestory. It is a diverse community with traditions and customs representing more than eight diverse cultures. For generations, the people of Belize have demonstrated a cultural commitment to preserve the country’s unique charms. It is truly a melting pot of colorful personalities, making our 320,000 residents the country’s greatest resource. The Belizean people are made up of Maya, Mestizo, Kriol, Garifuna, East Indian, Mennonite and Chinese.
There also are a number of expatriates in Belize from Canada, Europe, South Africa and the United States–and many of them retire here. Although culturally diverse, Belize is one of the happiest and most peaceful countries in the region with a widespread reputation as one of the world’s friendliest tourist destinations.
English is the official language. Other languages spoken include Kriole, Garifuna, Mandarin, Spanish and Maya.
The BZ$ is the official currency of Belize. It has a locked exchange rate of US$1=BZ$2. It is advisable to bring some cash (USD). Small curio stores do not have credit card facilities, although they will accept USD. Most hotel and tour operators quote their prices in USD, while local shops will have prices in BZ$. ATM's are available in most tourist areas.
Driving in Belize
US and Canadian citizens do not need International drivers licenses, just a valid, unexpired drivers license. There are several international as well as local car rental agencies. When booking a car rental, ensure you are aware of all policies, such as deposits, insurance (most credit cards will only cover paved roads), etc. A GPS is always a good idea -- the maps can be bought online for about $50 and installed on your own unit -- or a GPS rented at the car rental compony for about $10 per day. Always stay on the main highways - avoid coastal roads - it might be shorter in distance but can cost you tires and time.
The average yearly temperature is 84° F (29° C); it’s always warm, yet comfortable. Coastal sea breezes as well as the jungle and rainforest keep you cool even in the hottest summer months, while winters can be cool but never very cold. In short, the climate is pretty much near perfect.
Even in winter (November-March) the temperature in Belize rarely falls below 60° F (16° C), while the summer (May-September) is around 86° F (30° C). Humidity is also fairly consistent at around 85 percent.
Belize’s dry season is between February and May and has significantly lower rainfall than the rest of the year. When it does rain, it is usually in mild, short bursts.
June through December is the wet season. Sometimes wild storms associated with the Caribbean occur, usually in the late afternoons. The most frequent rainfall usually happens in June or early July and is punctuated by a break in late July or August known as the "little dry".
Belize has a hurricane season, and while statistically Belize does not attract many major direct hits, it does get its share of severe tropical weather with high winds and rain. However, Belize has a cooperative early warning network. Belizean safety, evacuation and other procedures have proven to be effective, so no worries.
- Belize has around 900 Mayan sites.
- The islands in Belize are called Cayes (pronounced “keys”) and total around 450 including those on the outer atolls.
- Belize has the only jaguar reserve in the world, otherwise known as Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Belize is home to the narrowest main street in the world, as recorded by the Guiness Book of Records. Visit quaint shops, enjoy a traditional meal or Italian gelato on Main street in Placencia.
- Many Belizeans avoid swimming in the ocean or rivers on Good Friday; it is viewed as bad luck. Local mothers can often be heard telling their kids they “will turn fish!” if they swim on this day!
- Belizean folklore tells of a 3-foot tall, evil dwarf called El Duende. The thumbless dwarf is said to hang out in the forest and punish any children who kill animals!
- Belize has its own version of Big Foot/Sasquatch, called El Sisimito. It is a large creature that has no knees, has its feet on backwards and likes human flesh!
- Belize is the only Central American country where English is the official language. However, you will still hear a mixture of Creole, Spanish, Garifuna and Mayan languages being spoken on the street.
- The former capital, Belize City, was nearly completely destroyed by Hurricane Hattie in 1961! After Hurricane Hattie, the capital city was moved to Belmopan. With just over 12,000 inhabitants, Belmopan is the smallest capital city in the World!
- The tallest building in Belize is a Mayan temple!
- There is no McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks or KFC in the entire country of Belize!!!