Belize City in Belize is the second port on our present cruise. An English-speaking country, Belize is home to many interesting areas including great snorkeling and diving on the barrier reef, habitat for unique animals like the jaguar, Mayan ruins, unique geological sites like deep lakes, and historical sites from the British rule and from the recent (last 300 years) like the Garifuna culture we also found in Honduras. The country is relatively new, having been created from British Honduras in the last 30 years, and small, containing only 300,000 people in the 9000 square miles. Unfortunately, many of these sites are out of range from our initial 25 mile circle from the port of entry. The port of entry will be at the tender location near what is called the Belize tourism village near the historic Swing Bridge. We may visit the tourism village in the beginning of the day and likely the historic Swing bridge, but our further travels through the city may be affected by the opinions of others we have found on the internet.
These people indicate Belize City is not a very nice place—many call it a s__thole. Apparently, their opinions are formed by their experiences with attempted robberies and fraud, with unclean hotel and eating facilities, and the constant soliciting encountered throughout the city. I can only hope that these opinions are somewhat dated and that we will find more friendly and interesting people on our journeys. We may try some unique food in the city but our expectations are not high. I’d like to try the local Belikin beer and I’ve heard the seafood (Conch sandwich?) may be excellent and that local taco-like sandwiches are excellent and unique. Rice and beans are the staple.
So for our first visit to Belize City, we plan to take the Western Road through the City to the Southwest to head toward the inland Blue Hole about 30 miles south of the city. We may stop short at a large lagoon on the way. We will also be looking for opportunities for later visits to take our bikes on buses which can get us to several interesting sites about 30 miles northeast of the city. Among these are the Altun Ha Mayan sites and the Baboon rescue facility which also provides the opportunity through jaguar habitat in the Cockscomb Basin wildlife sanctuary, although I am loath to encounter a jaguar in the wild without my own proper protection and that I know jaguars are primarily nocturnal. We may be able to see jaguars in special circumstances in this prime habitat of Belize.