Belize City, Belize
Bestowed with a treasure of natural beauty, the country of Belize lies along the east coast of Central America. Bordered by Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea, Belize is blessed with the best of both land and ocean. Its mainland is covered by dense forests and ancient sites but fringed by 300 kilometres of largely untouched coral reef.
A melting pot of culture and ancient history, Belize is a popular destination for diving, snorkelling, boating, river rafting, kayaking and hiking. A number of cruise liners include Belize on their itineraries, including Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Holland American Line.
Ships anchor in the harbour of Belize City and passengers are tendered onto shore at the eastern docks of Belize’s Tourism Village.
The Belize Tourism Village is small but equipped with all of the necessary facilities.
Facilities at the Tourism Village include:
How to Get Around
Taxis are required to reach the various sights of Belize. A line up can generally be found at the Tourism Village. Be sure to hop into a licensed taxi that is certified with a green license plate and discuss the fare with your driver before setting off. If you’re planning on visiting the neighbouring cays, a water taxi and ferry services also departs from the Marine Terminal.
Travel times from the port:
It is a 46 minute journey to The Belize Zoo
It is a 1 hour and 2 minute journey to Altun Ha
It is a 1 hour and 1 minute journey to the Community Baboon Sanctuary.
Currency – The Belizean Dollar (BZ$) is the official currency of Belize; however, the U.S. Dollar is readily accepted. The Belizean Dollar comes in 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents, as well as $1 dollar coins. Banknotes can be found in $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. U.S coins appear in 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents (dime), 25 cents (quarter), 50 cents (half dollar) and $1. Banknotes are available in $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
Time Zone – Throughout the entire year, Belize runs on Central Standard Time, which is 6 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – Belize’s tropical monsoon climate has a distinctly short, dry season and an extended wet season. Temperatures and weather patterns vary across the region, depending on elevation, proximity to the coast and the ocean winds. Belize City is generally quite warm and humid all year round with temperatures peaking around 30 degrees Celsius and dropping to around 23 degrees Celsius. Temperatures tend to increase as you move further inland. February, March and April are the driest months, with the rest of the year experiencing rainfall almost 50% of the time.
Altun Ha – Take a day trip out of the city and discover the history of the Maya civilisation, which dates back to around 900 BC. Altun Ha, roughly translating to ‘Rockstone Pond’, is about an hour from Belize City. Excavation of the site has revealed a number of ancient tombs, stately stone temples and large ceremonial plazas. There is also an abundance of wildlife that runs around the site including foxes, raccoons, armadillos and white-tailed deer. Around 200 species of birds can also be found flying around while crocodiles lurk in the water reservoir.
The Belize Zoo – The Belize Zoo is unlike any other. Better described as a halfway house for wild animals, the Belize Zoo began after the producers of a wildlife documentary found themselves as the new parents of several, now-tamed animals. The zoo has since grown into a place for injured or orphaned local creatures, including tapirs, macaws, hicatees, warrees, jaguars and pumas. Many of the animals are tame and unable to return to the wild; however, you’ll most likely see subjects from the wild jumping into enclosures to hang out with the tame residents or find iguanas, agouti, raccoons and squirrels wandering freely around the grounds.
The Barrier Reef – The Belize Barrier Reef is the second-largest barrier reef in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 300 kilometre stretch of almost unbroken reef makes this an amazing ecosystem of rainbow coral, tropical fish, turtles, eels, stingrays and even sharks. It is estimated that 90% of the reef’s species are yet to be discovered, with only 10% of the reef having been explored. Visitors often dive down the reef’s atolls, including Turneffe Atoll, Glover’s Reef and Lighthouse Reef.