22 Things that surprise me about Belize.

1. Belize is the same size as Wales with the population of the West Midlands.

2. It is also home to the second largest Barrier Reef in the world which stretches down the entire coast and is incredibly healthy.

We thought previous snorkelling trips were good, but this place blasted it out the water. It's just a shame the reef is not accessible from the shore, but then it wouldn't be so healthy. 

The Eldest, watching the Stingrays and Nurse sharks from the snorkelling boat.  

The Eldest, watching the Stingrays and Nurse sharks from the snorkelling boat.  

3. Belize is not just another Central American country. It is proud to be the only English-speaking country in the region and is more allied to the Caribbean than its bordering countries.  In fact, Caye Caulker was nicknamed 'Little Jamaica' for good reason  

4. The sea is 36 degrees Celsius in September.

5. Howler monkeys in the jungle sound just like Jaguars. There are hundreds of Jaguars here too, thanks to conservation work. 

Chinese supermarkets: the unlikely heroes, saving everyone's cash-strapped bacon.  

Chinese supermarkets: the unlikely heroes, saving everyone's cash-strapped bacon.  

6. Most people speak English, Spanish, Garifuna, Patois and Mayan. It's really multicultural- there is even an Amish community.  

7. Chinese shops are The main supermarkets here. They also provide essential 'cashback' services when the bank ATMs fail (which is always)  

8. Everywhere accepts US as well as Belizean dollars. $1US is  $2BZ. easypeasy

The life-size cut-out of Marie Sharp made us jump every day.  

The life-size cut-out of Marie Sharp made us jump every day.  

9. Marie Sharp has become a Belizean celebrity after making a collection of mind-blowing hot sauces. A bottle is on EVERY table in the country and our hotel in San Ignacio even devoted their entire reception area to tasting her sauces. 

REALLY TASTY.  

REALLY TASTY.  

10. Belize's main industry is tourism and farming- practically everything is imported, so it is expensive. We managed to travel in low season so found great accommodation for under £50 per night. However, trips, tours and entrance fees were extortionate. Unless you want to look at more ruins....

Xunatunich ruins, in San Ignacio.  

Xunatunich ruins, in San Ignacio.  

Jacob was very proud to be Ranger in this beautiful part of the jungle. He was king of the Jaguars and showed us the way to the waterfall. 

Jacob was very proud to be Ranger in this beautiful part of the jungle. He was king of the Jaguars and showed us the way to the waterfall. 

11. Mayan ruins are beautiful, all over the place and are overrun with Iguanas. 

12. The Hummingbird Highway runs through Belize's amazing untouched jungle, if you venture inland. Entry to most of the caves/ tubing/ zip line activities are expensive at £60-£120 PER PERSON, but walking to the pristine waterfalls was a steal at £3.

13. September is low season because of hurricane threat, but it is also party season!  

On the 10th September they celebrate the Belizean and British defeating advances from the Spanish to colonise the country.   

IMG_1418.JPG

On the 21st September Belize celebrates independence from the British.

The celebrations start with fireworks at midnight, partying all night and a street parade called 'jouvert' at 5am. Then another parade at 1pm for families. I literally don't know how they do it in this heat  

14. Unskilled workers earn around £7.50 a day.

15. As part of the Commonwealth, Belize receives a lot of money for conservation from the European Social Fund. The impact of the UK leaving the EU will no doubt have a drastic affect here.

FullSizeRender.jpg

16. We've seen loads of gang graffiti including Bloods vs Crips. Everyone wearing colours all seem too friendly for any nasty business, though.

17. The food is great! You can't beat a Caribbean barbecue, can you? After a month of Mexican tacos, the stew beef and jerk chicken with coconut rice was heaven  

laid-back Caye Caulker.  

laid-back Caye Caulker.  

18. On Caye Caulker there are no cars: just bikes and golf carts. Golf carts are actually slower than bikes.  

19. Buses are punctual and old American school buses.  

20. There are loads of posters outlining the 'Ten Commandments' everywhere.  

21. it is not uncommon to see people drinking rum and smoking weed from morning till night.  

22. The people are amongst the friendliest I have met and here, family is king.  

 

The boys, with a new friend.  

The boys, with a new friend.