Belize is known as a hidden jewel. Belize is a small country in Central America not known by many. However, in recent years tourism has become a primary source of revenue for the tiny country once commonly referred to as “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret”. Today, Belize is no secret and if you haven’t visited Belize – it should be on your bucket list. Here are 10 interesting facts about Belize.
1. Less Populated than Neighboring Central American Countries
Belize measures approximately 8,867 square miles (22,700 square kilometers) with a population of merely 321,115. Although Belize’s population has seen an increase in the past years it still remains the least densely populated country in Central America. A great portion of Belize’s land is covered by natural resources with a high level of terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity.
2. Equivalent in Size to the U.S State of Massachusetts or New England
Belize is such a small country people often ask where in the world is Belize? Belize is located in Central America bordering the beautiful Caribbean Sea by Mexico to the North and Guatemala to the West.
3. Primary Language is English
Although, Belize is located in Central America do not be surprised to learn that Belize holds more in common with the Caribbean countries. It is the only English speaking country in Central America. The local dialect spoken by all Belizeans regardless of ethnicity is Belizean Kriol. Once colonized by Britain the history has impacted the presence of strong British systems evident in Belize today.
4. Home to 8 Diverse Cultures
Belize: a melting pot of cultures! Belize has been a safe haven and home to many migrants since it was known as British Honduras in 1862. Today, Belize is home to 8 diverse cultures: Maya, Mestizo, Kriol, Garifuna, East Indian, Mennonite, Arab and Chinese. The diversity is immense in this tiny country and many other languages are spoken such as: Spanish, Garinagu, German, Chinese, Hindu.
5. Home to the Largest Barrier Reef in the Western Hemisphere
The Barrier Reef is a natural system that aids in the protection of the reef and its marine habitats. The reef is approximately 300 kilometers long making up the 900 kilometers that extends in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. The Belize Barrier Reef is longest coral reef system with the most diverse ecosystem, housing 70 hard coral species, 36 soft coral species, 500 species of fish, and hundreds of invertebrate species.
6. Houses the Largest Sinkhole
The most amazing sinkhole in the world is the Great Blue Hole located only 2 hours away for the mainland. The Great Blue is part of Belize’s Barrier Reef System and is a world-class divers’ destination. The circular hole measures over 300 meters (984 ft.) across and 125 meters (410 ft.) deep.
7. Divers’ Paradise
Belize is certainly a diver’s paradise with over 7 marine reserves, 450 islands known as cayes (keys) and 3 marine protected atolls. The abundant of marine life and clear crystal waters make Belize the perfect diving destination. Visit Belize around April to June and get a chance to spot the largest known fish in the world, the whale shark. Don’t be alarmed, as these large creatures are the most calm and gentle creatures.
8. Heart of the Mundo Maya
Belize’s beauty can be found both above and below! Belize is the heart of Mayan Civilization and archeologist have today discovered over 1500+ Mayan sites that mark the history of the ancient Maya civilization. The culture, food, and history of the Maya remain vivid in Belize.
9. Large portion of Belize’s land are Protected Natural Reserve
Belize has four categories of protected areas: National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Natural Monuments, and Nature Reserves. A list of wildlife sanctuaries that exists in Belize consists of:
- Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary: world’s first jaguar reserve
- Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary: protecting over 250 species of birds
- Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary: serving as a model of conservation land stewardship.
- Community Baboon Sanctuary: housing and protecting the Black Howler Monkey, locally known as the baboon
10. Fun Fact: Belize’s National Flag is distinct to any
Belize is the only country whose national flag is the only flag in the world to depict human beings!
Find out more about Belize by contacting me at patricia@SplashBelize.com