We were not on shore long enough to really judge, nor develop a more exhaustive list. Nonetheless, these lovely people deserve a review. Here are our top 5 things from our day on shore:
- The aforementioned people. Once the British colony of “British Honduras”, and a mixture of creole, Spanish, British, African and Maya, these folks are lovely. They pride themselves on being a diverse hodge podge of races and cultures. 60% of the populace makes their livelihood from tourism and they act as such. I mean, just lovely.
- The jungle. 70% of the land of Belize is covered by vegetation. The jungle consumes. Altun Ha (our Maya ruin discussed in our previous post) had been eaten up and covered by the jungle before it’s discovery and excavation.
- Snorkeling, the blue hole and the reefs. We didn’t do this. However, the reef rivals that other one in Australia (so we are told) and the blue hole is a massive oceanic sink hole. We had a difficult time choosing but picked Maya because of my aforementioned 5th grade obsession. When we are back, straight to the hole we go!
- The Maya ruins. Unlike in Mexico, you can climb them, at least for now. I mean these things are like 3,000 years old. That’s more than I can add quickly in my head older than I am (and yes I did add it up and it’s a lot). Fortunately, we visited five years after the end of the (Mayan) world (the calendar ended in 2012) but it was still fully there (world and ruins).
- Shameless commercial plug: the beer. We tried both the stout and the ale. The Belikin beer is local and legit good. “Just try it honey” says the bartender and quaff we did. Delicious.
We learned from our guides that the Belizean government will pay for its citizens to get a college education (even in another country) as long as the recipient gives five years back to Belize upon their return and also grants everyone a parcel of land when they turn 18. The land must have something built on it (a building, a fence, some indicator of development) with five years or it can be taken back. The result is lots of parcels of land with half built (some inhabited) structures.
Yes, it’s a third world, but developing, country but go, visit, spend and tip. Please.