“You might find Belize City menacing, but you certainly won’t find it dull”. Lonely Planet guide to Belize.
For some extraordinary reason, that I am really struggling to recall right now, I decided to spend a night in Belize city, en-route to San Ignacio (western Belize). As it turned out, Belize city ended up being a detour rather than an en-route!
Leaving the relative safety of the main bus station in Belize city felt like walking into the proverbial ‘lion’s den’. As a method of avoiding eye contact I donned sunglasses and broke into a head-down-power-walk in the general direction of my pre-booked accommodation. I managed to ignore the many shouts and heckles that accompanied my journey and safely made it to my destination in a little under 15-minutes; mentally traumatised but physically unscathed.
Sea Breeze Hotel is a budget traveler’s dream, though I have to admit that the razor wire, surrounding the property, was somewhat unnerving! My allocated room was super clean, for the price, and the owners, Mr and Mrs Kalam from Bangladesh, were friendly and very accommodating.
Belize City doesn’t exactly top the list of tourist destinations in Belize. In fact, many visitors choose to bypass the country’s only major urban area. This might be because the country’s main attractions are natural and nautical, rendering it superfluos to visit its only metropolis. Of course me thinks the more likely explanation is that the city has a bad reputation for poverty and crime!
On a positive note, the city’s s ramshackle streets are alive with colorful characters who represent every facet of Belize’s ethnic make up, especially the Creoles. The urban scenery encompasses not just fetid canals and grungy slums, but also handsome colonial houses, a great little museum, housed in a former prison, and a beautiful cathedral.
St. John’s Cathedral was built between 1812 and 1820 with bricks that had been used as ballast aboard ships from England, it was the first church to be built in the colony of British Honduras.
Belize city proved to be character building!
Next stage: Amazing San Ignacio.