Belize is incomparable to any other country I ever visited. While planning my vacation to Belize I was captivated by the diversity of cultures all in one tiny country. I can surely say that this was one of the many factors that influenced my decision to visit Belize over Costa Rica, which my husband and I were deliberating.
It is the locals that make a difference. Similar to many Caribbean countries the people are ‘laid-back’. Leaving the hustle and bustle of our everyday life took some getting use to. I had to constantly remind myself that we were here on vacation. As we entered the airport my husband and I were greeted by the rhythmic drumming, what we now know to be Garinagu music. The Garinagu music is a traditional music of the Garifuna culture. It didn’t take long for us to notice that the Garinagu were only one of the many racial ethnic groups that share the beautiful and natural land of Belize.
The fact that Belize’s official language is English made our travels easier. This was surely a relief, as we were both able to interact more with the locals and not only experience the touristic side of the country. We later learned that although everyone understands and speaks English, many locals speak Belizean Creole (Kriol), which is best described as broken English. However, trying to eavesdrop on two locals conversing, sounds like mayhem.
Two Spanish-speaking countries, Mexico and Guatemala surround Belize; contributing tremendously to the prevalence of the Spanish language and the Mestizo culture. I was surprised by the intense flavors of many traditional mestizo foods such as the tamales, panades, and tacos, to name a few. Many cultural foods can be easily found at the markets, and is commonly sold by many street vendors. Traditional Mestizo foods are primarily made using corn. Corn is also a staple used by the traditional Mayas who we encountered in the village of Maya Center a small Mopan Maya Village on our way to Placencia, where we were heading.
We drove south to Placencia after leaving Belize City and we were greeted with a welcoming smile by many different faces. Heading to Placencia we passed by Belmopan, the country’s capital which happens to be near Spanish Lookout - an area inhabited by Conservative German Mennonites, who strictly use simple machines. While on the main road we were approached by a fast galloping horse and buggy driven by conservative Mennonites, this took us by surprise. Belize is truly a natural haven comprised of many racial ethnic groups who all contribute to the rich and diverse culture in Belize.
After arriving in Placencia, we instantly knew that we were in paradise. The sandy beaches and crystal blue waters made Placencia the perfect vacation getaway for my husband and I who had never been on a honeymoon. Belize is certainly a ‘melting pot’ of different racial ethnic groups working and living together in harmony.