Belize travel guide
Formerly British Honduras, Central America's Belize is made up of several cultures and languages. Even though both Creole and Spanish are spoken here, the main language is English. In fact, it's the only country in all of Central America with English as its official language. Culturally on its own as far as Central America goes, Belize is the only Central American country with an English colonial heritage. And indeed it has stronger ties to the Caribbean in terms of politics and culture than it has with Central America, despite its location. With Mexico to its north, Guatemala to is west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to its east, tiny Belize is situated in an interesting part of the world. Its wealth of biologically unique ecosystems make it a hotspot for ecotourism and environmental research. This Belize travel guide is dedicated to providing tourism and travel information with tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, things to do, places to visit, traveller tips, tourist information and more.
Attracting almost a million visitors a year, people come to Belize for many reasons, one of them being the fascinating Mayan ruins such as Lamanai or Altun Ha. It's also a birdwatcher's haven, especially at the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary where parrot, toucans and macaws are easily spotted in their jungle home. Snorkeling and all manner of water sports are popular along the coast, snorkeling especially on the reef in the Northern Cayes and at Caye Caulker. Tourism is the main source of revenue in Belize, but it also brings with it a huge environmental hazard. The country doesn't have the needed infrastructure for all the tourists who come daily on cruise ships, nor does it have the resources to preserve and protect its ecological reserves. Sadly, neither does it have politicians who are willing to halt or at least regulate the massive development along the coast. It is estimated that eighty percent of the coast has been sold to foreign investors who are building or planning on building resorts and condos.
Luckily, the people of Belize are for the most part environmentally aware and some of them environmentally active, which means the country has many opportunities for tourists to tread lightly. This means some resorts are solar and even wind powered, some jungle eco-lodges are built with reclaimed hardwood trees, and some guides are nature interpreters, informing their groups about various medicinal powers of certain flora or about the threats to wildlife.
One such eco endeavor is Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, 32 miles north of Belize City. Not only is this outstanding nature park a sanctuary for wildlife, and birds especially, it's also a community of almost 1000 people, mostly Creole, who fish and farm in the area and have been doing so well before anyone ever uttered the word 'ecotourism'. This is a peaceful beautifully rural community where visitors can spend the night and rise early for bird watching. The village contains several budget and midrange places to stay and some excellent nature guides.