In this blog post, we bring to you 20 amazing facts about beautiful Belize.
Belize is the only Central American Country where English is the official language. Apart from English, there are many recognized regional languages: Kriol, Spanish, Garifuna, and Mayan.
September 10 in Belize is celebrated as the National Day or St George’s Caye Day. On this day in 1798, Spanish forces were repelled by the British in the Battle of St George’s Caye, with no reported casualties on either side.
Belize has a private enterprise economy that is largely dependent on agriculture, agro-based industry and merchandising. However tourism and construction and the recent discovery of oil field have presented new prospects for the country. The estimated GDP of the country is 1.354 billion dollars and the major trading partners are the United States of America, Mexico, Central America and the European Union.
Belize obtained its independence from the United Kingdom on September 21, 1981. George Cadle Price was the first prime minister of Belize and he served from 12 September 1981 to 17 December 1984.
The currency of Belize is Belize dollar and its ISO 3166 code is BZ. Since 1978, the official value is pegged at 2 BZD = 1 US dollar.
Belmopan is the capital of Belize and its name derives from the union of two words: “Belize” and “Mopan”. After the devastating Hurricane Hattie destroyed the former capital, Belize City, in 1961, the government was shifted to Belmopan in 1970.
Belize has the only Jaguar reserve in the world which is known as Cockscomb Basin Wildlife sanctuary.
The islands in Belize are called Cayes (pronounced “keys”) and total around 450 including those on the outer atolls.
Belize has around 900 Maya temple sites.
The largest city of Belize is located at the mouth of the river Belize River and is known as Belize City. It has an estimated population of 79,600 and is the main port and the industrial hub of the country. It was discovered in the mid-17th Century by British lumber harvesters and was the capital of British Honduras.
The total land area of Belize is 8,867 square miles or 22,700 square kilometers. The country’s greatest length, north to south, is 170 miles (274 km) and its greatest width, east to west, is 68 miles (109 km). Using an offshore territorial limit of 20 km, the country covers 46,620 km2 (18,000 sq mi), of which only 49% is land.
Belize is in the Central Standard Time zone and does not observe daylight saving time.
Belize is subtropical, with a mean annual temperature of 80o F.
The first people to inhabit Belize were the Maya around 1500 B.C.E. As shown in archeological records, they established a number of settlements such as Caracol, Lamanai and Lubaantun.
Belize’s Black Howler Monkeys are one of the top 10 loudest animals in the world.
See also: 12 Incredible Belize Vacation Photos
Some of the exotic names for Belize’s natural wonders include the Owl-Eye Butterfly, the Blue Morpho Butterfly, the Swallow Tail Cattle Heart Butterfly, the Peanut-Head Lantern Bug, the Red-footed Booby Bird, the Lady-of-the-Night Orchid and the False Vampire Bat.
Close to 1 million tourists’ visit Belize annually of which 70% of are Americans.
Belize is one of the least populated countries in the world.
Ambergris Caye, which is 25 miles long, is Belize’s largest and most developed island.
More than 400 species of fish live in the waters of Belize’s 185-mile long Barrier Reef.
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Placencia is a sleepy, bohemian fishing village located on the eastern coast of Belize. It’s the kind of place where the sun and the sea conspire to make everyone slow down. But on the last weekend in June, the entire town becomes one big, exuberant beach party during Lobsterfest, celebrating the beginning of the Belizean lobster season.
Here’s how to make the most of your time at Lobsterfest in Placencia:
While Lobsterfest is all about the great, clawed crustacean, there is no shortage of edible alternatives among the open-air food vendors. Placencia’s full rainbow of cultural diversity is reflected in the smorgasbord of Lobsterfest food offerings, which showcases Creole, Mayan, Garifuna, Caribbean, and Asian influences.
Should you seek a more refined dining experience, head straight to Rumfish y vino. Owned by a husband and wife team who honeymooned in Placencia, and just couldn’t leave, Rumfish y vino is pure food artistry served in a sophisticated setting. Alternatively, head up the peninsula to the Maya Beach Bistro, where only the epicurean creations will draw your attention away from the gorgeous, Gilligan-like beachfront setting. For authentic local breakfast fare, nurse your party hangover with stuffed fry jacks at DeTatch Cafe or have a breakfast burrito and a smoothie chaser at The Shak Beach Cafe.
The aptly named Tipsy Tuna is ground zero for imbibing among the Lobsterfest celebrants. But watch your back, Mr. Tuna, because the beloved Barefoot Bar has relocated to the beach. If you want to see how the moneyed set knocks ‘em down, you’ll have to put on your shoes before dropping in for a drink at Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn.
It just doesn’t get much better than Chabil Mar Villas, located on a peaceful beach, yet proximate to the Placencia action. Chabil Mar’s guest bicycles and a free van shuttle make getting to and from the village a breeze.
Chabil Mar features exceptional service, lush landscaping and expansive villas equipped with full kitchens and washer/dryers. I may be the only person in the world who relishes the sight of a washer and dryer on vacation. But let’s face it, lobster is messy, and I was mighty glad to have a clean shirt more than once during our stay.
The challenge will be tearing yourself away from your lounge by the sea. But Placencia is a springboard to the planet’s second largest barrier reef. The fishing, diving and snorkeling are world-class. The folks at Splash Dive Center are friendly, professional and totally in the know about what’s happening on, and under, the sea.
Lobsterfest, Placencia: sun, swim, eat, drink, sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat.
This article was published on www.globalgallop.com and the original copy can be found here.