Why are travelers opting for vacations in Belize rather than crossing oceans to tour Paris, London, Rome and Berlin? Because they save a bundle, have access to water sports and perpetual sun and they don’t have to learn another language. But the highlights of any visit to Belize will always be the nation’s rich cultural diversity, rivaling anything you see elsewhere, minus the jet lag. Seeing Belize through the eyes of so many heritages will open your eyes to a world where cultural diversity is celebrated.
Here are 4 ways to get your cultural fix in Belize:
1. Build a Belize City itinerary to experience the richness of the nation’s Creole culture. Start at the Government House of Culture on Regent Street to see a collection of artifacts symbolizing Belize’s past as a British Colony. Walls, shelves and display cases are filled with silver utensils, paintings, photos and more, but don’t linger too long because heaping plates of rice, beans and stew chicken await at a variety of nearby restaurants. Alternately, tour the stained glass and mahogany environs of St. John’s Cathedral across the street before you eat. Enjoy a road trip to a Creole village like Burrell Boom to sample fruit wines and spot howler monkeys. Want more? Take the water taxi to Caye Caulker where friendly islanders, cultural sites and more Creole foods await.
2. Nothing compares to visiting a Garifuna Village—especially after you learn how founders risked their lives to escape their homeland, arriving in Belize in 1802. Music is so important to Garifuna society, the culture’s unique, drum-driven beat has come to re-define Caribbean music. For full Garifuna immersion, go to Hopkins, a fishing village easily navigated by foot if you like to walk and find yourself eating too much delicious Garifuna cookery. What’s the most popular cultural experience of all? A stop at the Lebeha Drumming Center where you can quickly learn a few signature drum moves. Visit in November for Garifuna Settlement Day, a national holiday that pays tribute to the history and culture of this unique society.
3. Immerse yourself in Mayan culture by visiting Toledo, where the most number of Mayan settlements in close proximity are located. For the ultimate cultural experience, don’t just tour ruins filled with cultural reminders of Mayan culture; book a two-night stay in a thatched hut at any of six ancient villages eager to host guests via the Toledo Ecotourism Association. The Mayan ancestors of Belize’s original settlers will welcome you into their world, but be forewarned, this is a hands-on stay! You’ll not only see how members of this ancient culture lived but you may be asked to help make tortillas or undertake another ancient chore. Round out your cultural experience by reading the Toledo Howler, your authority on current cultural events in Toledo.
4. Close proximity to Hispanic neighbors is the reason Spanish is Belize’s second language. Learn more about the heritage of Mestizos (people of Spanish and Mayan descent) in Northern Belize where this society enjoys a lifestyle that’s distinct from Central American neighbors. Whether you tour Corozal or Orange Walk, expect to see beautiful Mestizo art, hear foot-tapping Latin music and eat mouth-watering foods. Living in close proximity to the Mestizo people of Corozal is a large community of East Indians who arrived in the 19th century as slaves and wound up staying in Belize after being freed. Sample the curry. It’s distinct. Visit the only East Indian Museum in Belize. You’ll enjoy the unique experience of exploring a culture within a culture, and what other Central American country can make that claim?
Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize cultural vacation.