In 1859 Britain and Guatemala signed a treaty that gave Britain sole rights to the land of Belize, provided that the British built a road from Guatemala to the Caribbean coast. The treaty still stands, and the road, long ignored, is only now being constructed.
In 1973 British Honduras was renamed Belize and in 1981 it managed to gain full independence.
Sitting smack dab between Spanish-speaking Central America and the Caribbean (geographically and culturally), Central America’s youngest nation definitely dances to its own beat. Belize’s 240 miles of coastline and uncountable islands offer swimming and beachcombing, and its barrier reef (the northern hemisphere’s largest) is a diver’s paradise. Belize’s jungles are dotted with ancient structures built in the days when Belize was but a small part of the greater Maya kingdom.
Culturally, Belize is surprisingly diverse. Though officially an English-speaking nation, you often hear Spanish, Kriol, Garifuna and Maya, with perhaps a bit of Cantonese and Mennonite German thrown in for good measure.
My personal opinion of Belize, when I first visited in 2017, was one of disappointment. Perhaps my expectations were set too high. It’s a very poor country with a crumbling infrastructure. Not at all what I was expecting. It’s also (surprisingly) a very expensive place to visit.
On a positive note; I really liked Hopkins, and Plasencia (both on the east coast), and San Ignacio (near the border with Guatemala), which is where I am heading now. I’m also led to believe that the islands of Caye Caulker and San Pedro are truly beautiful and great places to visit.
Next stage: ATM.