Although Belize City is no longer the official capital of Belize, it is still the main gateway to everything and anything on the mainland. It is also home to the largest population of Belizeans yet it is situated on a tiny stretch of peninsula.
Belize City is home to the largest concentration of large hotels, conference facilities, and even the cruise ship terminal. This city is not necessarily the ideal base for a long holiday in Belize, but it’s worth exploring some of the sights for a day or two and using it as a temporary base for some of the nearby sights.
Things to Do
Spend a day and explore the old capital which is full of historical sites like Baron Bliss Lighthouse, Belize’s Supreme Court, the House of Culture, and St. John’s Cathedral. You can also check out the Museum of Belize, housed in the old prison built back in 1857. It was an active and working prison until 2002 when it was converted to a museum.
Within a short drive of the city are abundant nature and wildlife opportunities. The entire Belize district is home to a number of wildlife sanctuaries and reserves such as Crooked Tree. One of the top attractions in the country, the Belize Zoo is home to a number of rescued and endangered native animals. Manatee viewing opportunities are nearby as well.
Also worth a visit is one of Belize’s signature Mayan sites, Altun Ha. After a few days in Belize, you are likely to recognize its largest temple, “The Temple of the Masonry Altars.” It is the featured temple on Belize’s national brew, Belikin Beer.
Food and Drinks
A lot of people come from all around Belize to eat in Belize City with its array of multi-ethnic restaurants that may not be found in all parts of the country. While you can eat everything from Chinese to Lebanese, some of the best local eats can be found throughout the region. Think fry jacks, johnny cakes, meat pies, conch ceviche, rice and beans, and my personal favorite – the seaweed shake. It’s one of the most unique drinks you can get in Belize and as the name suggests, it is made with seaweed. It has condensed milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg and some vendors even sell them with a shot of local rum or brandy for an extra “pick me up”. You must also try the famous Panty Ripper!
As mentioned, Belize City is home to the largest hotels with conference and meeting facilities. Hotels like the Radisson and Princess are key properties for both local conferences and international seminars held in Belize. As you venture beyond the waterfront area, you will find smaller guesthouses and properties like the Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom and Maruba Jungle Resort, renowned for its unique mud menu and spa treatments.
Most people arrive to Belize via the Phillip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) which is located near Belize City. From the airport you can catch a taxi, arrange a transfer or rent a car at the airport. Since Belize City is Belize’s largest district, you can also use various means of public transportation to get there.