Impressions Of Belize City

Drummer Girl WEB

Drummer Girl

Belize City, Belize

My first impressions of Belize City, Belize.  Very Caribbean.  Belize City is right on the Caribbean Sea, and the Afro-Caribbean vibe is everywhere.  Some countries are bi-coastal, with one coast on the Pacific side and one coast on the Caribbean side.  Guatemala and Costa Rica quickly come to mind—and there are distinct differences between the two coasts.  Belize is entirely on the Caribbean side.  If you’ve been to Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti or the Dominican Republic then Belize will look and feel very familiar to you.

Caribbean Palms Inn WEB

Caribbean Palms Inn

Belize City, Belize

We’re staying at the Caribbean Palms Inn in Southern Belize City (across the Swing Bridge, and away from the main tourist sector).  Modest, rustic and quaint by most standards, it is nonetheless upscale for us at $20 USD pp per night.  A private room with two double beds, private bath, hot water, air-conditioning, ceiling fan, television and free Wi-Fi are all included (a cut above the typical hostel we usually stay in).

Green Church WEB

Saint Andrews Church

Regent Street – Belize City, Belize

Everyone speaks English.  Belize is the only country in Latin America where English is the national language—before Belize became Belize it was British Honduras.  The native food is definitely Caribbean:  Journey Cake, Fried Jack, various stews and soups (chicken, pork and beef) and beans and rice prevail.  The number one beer is Belikin, and the Belikin Stout is outstanding.  Belize has two currencies, the U.S. dollar and the local Belizean dollar (2 BLZ = 1 USD).  Food is more expensive than I would have thought, but good deals (and probably the best food) can still be found on the street.

Ramshackle House WEB

Ramshackle Dwelling

Belize City, Belize

The weather is obviously tropical, meaning hot and humid with lots of rain.  Definitely a shorts and flip-flops kind of place.  Most folks flock to the offshore Cayes (small islands) for the crystal clear water, snorkeling, diving and fishing.  However, a swimmer I am not, and I came to Belize for the wildlife, and the opportunity to photograph some of the local fauna. So Belize City is the perfect location for me to use as a headquarters—even with its hustle and bustle, touristy amenities, street hawkers with their singsong Caribbean patois and the few sketchy areas I’ve encountered (although any possible danger has been greatly exaggerated I think).

Police Station WEB

Police Station, Precinct 3

Belize City, Belize

Right now it’s Christmas holiday time, and most restaurants and bars have been closed (hopefully to open again on Monday).  Getting food has been a bit problematic, but some of the street stands have reopened making it a little easier.   Early Monday morning I will be going on my first photo-shoot to photograph the indigenous Howler Monkeys (my favorite monkey) at the Community Baboon Sanctuary (oddly enough the local’s here call Howler Monkeys Baboons which they’re not) near the village of Bermudian Landing.  And then later in the week I hope to visit the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary just north of Belize City.

Horse & Carriage WEB

Horse & Carriage

Belize City, Belize

The horse drawn carts and carriages here remind me so much of Cuba.  In fact Belize is a lot like Cuba in so many ways—again, it’s that whole Afro-Caribbean vibe (the whole Bob Marley thing … “Ya know Mon?”).

Riverboat WEB

Model of Old River Boat

The Museum of Belize – Belize City, Belize

(The type of river boat I’ll probably be using in the Amazon)

I think that I will be here for one or two more weeks (the visa is good for 30-days) before traveling on to Honduras.  It kind of depends on how the wildlife photography goes—I don’t want to leave before getting some good shots.

Skeleton 2 WEB

Stephen F. Dennstedt

(I lost my head in the jungles of Belize)

Reporting from Belize City, Belize . . .

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2 responses to “Impressions Of Belize City

    • Thank you my friend . . . I’m looking a little thin in the face. The Caye’s might be nicer (but probably just as expensive, or more), but I would give Belize City a pass. So far, Belize doesn’t begin to compare with Guatemala. I don’t think we’ll be staying here too long. Honduras is next (probably in the next week or so). Take care buddy, and save us a seat at Cafe Pistache.

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