I must admit that I did not know much about Belize before we came here, therefore I had to rely on the outstanding geographic and historical knowledge of Sergio. The man never ceases to amaze me! This tiny country, on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, has beautiful beaches, blue waters, and white sand. But not only. Just a few meters from the sea the rainforest, with all its richness, rules. Belize is, above all, a mixture of people. Living here are mainly the Mestizos and Creoles. They are about 3/4 of the population. The rest are Mayans, Garinagu, Mennonites, Asians (owners of all supermarkets), Americans and Canadians. Mennonites, often mistaken for the Amish, represent 3.6% of all population. It was a little strange to drive our very sophisticated car in between their chariots.
Belize was British Honduras till 1981, colony of Britanie and the last colony in the Americas gaining independence.
Somewhere, I read that since so many different people have found a home here, it must be a paradise. We invite you to visit this paradise.
We enter Belize from the north and head towards the ruins of Lamanai. And here are the views.
Lamanai was inhabited since the 16th century BC and continuing through the Spanish and British Colonial periods, into the 20th century. Built on the shores of a lake (you cannot take a bath because of the crocodiles :)). From the High Temple, surrounded by the jungle, you have an amazing view. In the distance you can see how the jungle gives way to Mennonite pastures. Although no human inhabits Lamanai it is not without life and sound. From up in the trees howler monkeys make their thing. Most impressive!
We also visited the ZOO in Belize. Belize Zoo is a kind of asylum for native animals that either cannot return to their natural environment or are undergoing treatment. A very well organized place that puts animals first. We could see there 30 native species like the tiny Angouti, toucans, crocodiles, tapirs, monkeys, pumas, jaguars, etc. A nice surprise was The Great harpy eagle – a large bird of prey, whose claws reach a length up to 12 cm. The bird is already completely healthy and could leave the centre. Despite the huge efforts of the employees, literally expelling it from the centre into the wild, it stubbornly kept returning, becoming a permanent resident.
After spending a few days in the jungle, it was time for a change. We headed to the coast. Belize has the second largest coral reef. We would not dive but we wanted to snorkel.
We snorkelled three times – twice on the reef, and the third time in a place where there were sharks, turtles, rays. A wonderful experience. This was our second time, first was in Mozambique. And for the second time, Marzena, made the same mistake. She under-estimated the power of the sun. Painful for her, funny for me. Still laughing when thinking about it. Hihihihi.
The coast, and especially the south of Belize is inhabited by Garifuna people, i.e. Black Caribs. Historically, they are descendants of the Caribbean and African slaves imported into plantations. Their cuisine is full of references to coco and coconut milk. They are also known for playing drums, especially in Dangriga. We unfortunately did not hear the drums, but did taste two delicious local meals, fish Hudut and Pig Tail Sere. Although very tasty, the pig tail sere, can be very dangerous if you don’t possess the proper technique to eat it. Sergio masters the technique. If you don’t know it please do not try it. The end result can be seen in the second movie.
It was time to say goodbye to Belize because Guatemala is just on the horizon. Until next post.