There are plenty of fun facts about Belize! But what makes this country so exciting and so much FUN? Read on to find out…
- Fun Facts About Belize
- 1. Belize Is a Small Country!
- 2. There Are Many Forests in Belize
- 3. Nobody Knows the True Origin of the Word Belize
- 4. The British Ruled Over Belize for Over a Hundred Years
- 5. Belize Was Once the Home of the Mayan Civilization
- 6. The Official Language of Belize Is English
- 7. Belize Has the Most Colourful Flag Amongst Other Flags
- 8. The Second Largest Barrier Reef Is in Belize
- 9. Belize Citizens Love Football!
- 10. There Are No American Fast Food Chains in Belize
- 11. Belize Is Rich in Flora and Fauna
- 12. Marijuana Is Decriminalized in Belize
- 13. Belize Has Many Myths and Folklore
- 14. The Black Orchid Is the National Flower of Belize
- 15. Don’t Haggle or Bargain in Belize
- 16. Doyle’s Delight Is the Highest Peak in Belize
- 17. Belize Has the Lowest Population Density in Central America
- 18. Belize Is a Treat for Chocolate Lovers!
- 19. Belize Has One of the Biggest Marine Sinkholes
- 20. Belize’s Head of State Is King Charles III
- 21. The Tallest Structure in Belize Is a Pyramid
- 22. Belize City Is the Largest City in Belize
- 23. The Majority of Belizeans Follow Christianity
- 24. There Are Many Ethnicities in Belize
- 25. Belize Doesn’t Have a Pacific Coastline
- 26. You Shouldn’t Swim on Good Friday in Belize
- 27. Tourism and Agriculture Are the Primary Industries of Belize
- 28. Belize Has Over 450 Islands
- 29. Rice and Beans Is a Popular Dish in Belize
- 30. Belize Has Many Caves
- Fun Facts About Belize – Further Reading
Fun Facts About Belize
Located towards the northeast region of Central America, Belize is a small country, filled with a rich history, culture, and splendid sparkling-blue beaches. Now, most of us don’t know much about Belize, due to its tiny size. However, there are a lot of things about this country that are going to blow your mind!
So, without any further ado, let’s unravel some secrets and fun facts about Belize, that the country has been hiding.
Belize is one of the most underrated destinations. It has everything that every other beach or exotic country possesses. If you love exploring cultures, you’ll love this country’s rich history and people. Moreover, it’s also the perfect place for island and wildlife lovers, like me!
These fun facts about Belize will help you know more about this amazing Central American country.
1. Belize Is a Small Country!
Let’s discuss some general fun facts about Belize. It’s one of the smallest countries in the world. If we go by rankings, it’s the 48th smallest country!
The total land area of Belize is only around 22,965 square kilometres. Also, its size is pretty much equivalent to the size of US states, like New Jersey and New Hampshire.
2. There Are Many Forests in Belize
If you love nature, you should read these fun facts about Belize.
In a world where most countries are in a rat race to build big cities, Belize has decided to preserve its natural resources. Therefore, you’ll find that the majority of the country is covered by subtropical forests and rainforests.
According to the official statistics, 61.1% of Belize is covered with forests, and some regions also fall under the protected category.
Most of these forests are protected by the government, and they don’t allow human intervention.
3. Nobody Knows the True Origin of the Word Belize
I’ve covered many fun facts about Belize in this article, but this one is one of my favourites.
Usually, we know the origin of the name of most countries. However, in the case of Belize, it isn’t so straightforward. Even today, there are many different theories and ongoing debates regarding the origin of the name, ‘Belize’.
Some people believe that the name originates from the Mayan word, ‘belix’, which translates to ‘muddy water’. Hence, it might refer to the presence of the various rivers and marshy areas in the country.
However, others believe that it originates from the Mayan phrase ‘bel Itza’, which means ‘the road to Itza’.
There are at least two to three more contradictions regarding the name’s origin!
4. The British Ruled Over Belize for Over a Hundred Years
Here are some historical fun facts about Belize for you.
It’s no secret that the British Empire had colonies all over the world, including Belize!
The British declared Belize as “British Honduras” in 1862. After Belize became a British colony, the country was used to source hardwood and dyewood. Many African slaves were also brought here during the 17th and 18th centuries.
However, due to the growing resistance of people, the British gave independence to Belize on 21st September 1981. Before the independence, the country’s name was also changed from British Honduras to Belize, in 1973.
5. Belize Was Once the Home of the Mayan Civilization
These fun facts about Belize are for my fellow history lovers!
The Mayan civilisation is one of the oldest civilisations to exist. Most people believe that the Mayans only inhabited the areas of Mexico and Guatemala. But, that’s not the truth, as archaeologists found several ruins from the Mayan civilization in Belize too.
Between 1500 BC and 900 AD, the Mayan empire continued to flourish in today’s Belize. Therefore, you’ll find many Mayan sites in Belize today, like Caracol, Altun Ha, and Nim Li Punit.
6. The Official Language of Belize Is English
Here’s one of the surprising fun facts about Belize. Unlike other countries of the Central American region, the official language of Belize is English.
It is because the British Empire continued to rule Belize for a long time. Hence, English has become the official medium for communication in government offices, schools, and judicial places too.
However, English isn’t the only language spoken in Belize. You’ll also find people speaking other languages like Creole patois and Spanish.
7. Belize Has the Most Colourful Flag Amongst Other Flags
It’s always fun exploring the flags of different countries. If you look at Belize’s flag, you’ll notice that it is the most colourful one!
Belize’s flag has around 12 colours on it. It’s also symbolic in nature, as it represents the country’s past as a British colony and the present as an independent nation too. You’ll also find a mahogany tree drawn on the flag, as it’s the national tree of Belize.
There are many other objects present on the Belize flag such as two woodcutters, a shield, a ship, and a wreath of green leaves.
8. The Second Largest Barrier Reef Is in Belize
Most of us are only aware of the largest barrier reef, the Great Barrier Reef, located in Australia. But, did you know that the second largest barrier reef is in Belize? These fun facts about Belize are a must-know for divers.
The Belize Barrier Reef is also the largest barrier reef in the entire Northern Hemisphere. It extends for approx. 300 metres in the north, and 40 kilometres in the south.
Today, the Belize Barrier Reef is one of the best diving spots for both scuba divers and snorkelers!
9. Belize Citizens Love Football!
Just like the whole world, the people of Belize are also crazy about football! If you visit Belize, you’ll notice that football matches are organised at every level – school, district, and national level too.
The most popular national-level football competition, the Premier League of Belize, is held annually. Every year eight teams participate in this competition!
Belize also has a football team at an international level. It has qualified once in CONCACAF Gold Cup, but never in FIFA.
10. There Are No American Fast Food Chains in Belize
If you’re a fan of American food chains, these fun facts about Belize are going to give you a shock!
Even if Belize is a hotspot for American tourists, the country has no popular American fast-food chains. Not even a McDonald’s or Subway. It also doesn’t have American supermarket chains, like Walmart.
On the contrary, you’ll find many local restaurants that offer authentic Mexican food, and make you feel like a true Belizean!
11. Belize Is Rich in Flora and Fauna
Since a major portion of Belize is covered with rainforests, you can get to see a wide variety of flora and fauna there.
There are more than 300 to 400 species of trees. Out of these, the common trees of Belize include Mahogany, Australian pine, palms, cedar, and papaya too.
Belize is also home to over 145 species of mammals and 600 species of birds! If you’re in Belize, you’ll spot many tapirs, jaguars, armadillos, macaws, and toucans.
12. Marijuana Is Decriminalized in Belize
There are only a handful of countries that have decriminalised marijuana, and Belize is one of them. Belize was also the first country in the whole of Central America to decriminalise marijuana.
As of November 2017, the Belize government allows the possession or use of 10 grams of cannabis or less on private property. However, if you’re caught possessing more than that, you might get fined or imprisoned.
13. Belize Has Many Myths and Folklore
These fun facts about Belize are interesting to me, as folklore and myths depict the culture of any country!
One of the most common myths of Belize is that of the Sisimitos and Sisimitas. The locals believe that they’re hairy men and women who used to live in the caves of Belize. Their appearance resembles more to apes due to their short figure, compared to humans.
Some also believe that the Sisimitos and Sisimitas love snacking on human flesh. They were also known to abduct and molest humans. Sounds scary, doesn’t it?
14. The Black Orchid Is the National Flower of Belize
Belize is known for its vivid flora, including its national flower, the Black Orchid.
The Black Orchid (Encyclia Cochleatum) isn’t a black variation of the purple orchids. Instead, it is deep purple in colour, such that it almost looks black. On the contrary, the sepals and petals are slightly greenish-yellow.
The unique fact about Black Orchids is that you cannot purchase them in Belize, as selling or purchasing them is an illegal act!
15. Don’t Haggle or Bargain in Belize
One thing that all types of tourists love to do in small countries is haggle or bargain to get products at a discounted rate. However, you shouldn’t do the same in Belize, as it is considered rude.
The Belizeans don’t bargain or haggle even in local markets, or restaurants. Instead, they simply pay the official price of the product or service.
16. Doyle’s Delight Is the Highest Peak in Belize
When it comes to Belize, you might only think about beaches. However, it is not the case, as these fun facts about Belize show that it also has some mountain ranges.
The northern area of Belize is full of flat and swampy regions, whereas the southern area has mountains. It has a mountain range, known as the Maya Mountains. These mountains are present in eastern Guatemala too.
The highest peak in Belize, Doyle’s Delight, is also located in the southwest region of Belize. It has a height of 1,124 metres or 3,688 feet, above sea level.
17. Belize Has the Lowest Population Density in Central America
As per recent studies, the population of Belize is around 410,825. In the previous years 2022 and 2021, it was around 405,272 and 400,031 respectively. Hence, it is the least populated country in Central America.
The population density of Belize is also the lowest in the entire Central American region. As of 2023, the population density of Belize is around 17.89 people per square kilometre.
18. Belize Is a Treat for Chocolate Lovers!
If you’re a fan of chocolates, you’re going to love these fun facts about Belize.
Belize is the ultimate paradise for chocolate lovers, as there are many cacao trees there. Chocolate was discovered by Mayans, and they ate it during every meal time.
In 1980, the famous chocolate company, Hershey, also had their main cacao farm in Belize. Hence, today, you can also take half-day chocolate-making tours.
The locals will guide you through the cacao trees and the ancient process of making them. They’ll also give you a free chocolate bar to taste at the end!
19. Belize Has One of the Biggest Marine Sinkholes
A sinkhole is nothing but a depression in the Earth’s surface. Similarly, a marine sinkhole is formed underwater due to various geological processes.
Belize also has one of the biggest marine sinkholes, known as the Great Blue Hole. It’s present near the Lighthouse Reef, an atoll located 70 km away from Belize city.
The Great Blue Hole is 410 feet deep and has a diameter of 300 metres (984 feet). Currently, it has also become a favourite spot for divers!
20. Belize’s Head of State Is King Charles III
Here are some surprising fun facts about Belize and its constitutional structure.
Even though Belize gained independence, it is still a constitutional monarchy. So, the government body has to share its powers with a monarch.
Previously, Belize’s head of state was Queen Elizabeth II. However, after her demise, the title was given to King Charles III. Note that the monarchs don’t have much involvement in the day-to-day affairs of the state.
21. The Tallest Structure in Belize Is a Pyramid
The tallest structure in most countries is usually a skyscraper or a tower! But, when it comes to Belize, a Mayan pyramid is the tallest structure here.
The Mayan pyramid, named Canaa (translates to Sky Palace), has a height of 43 metres or 141 feet. If you want to visit it, you need to visit Caracol, an ancient Maya archaeological site in Belize.
22. Belize City Is the Largest City in Belize
Belize is a pretty small country as discussed in other fun facts about Belize. You’ll find that it only has two main cities – Belize City and Belmopan (the capital), and many tiny towns like Dangriga and San Pedro.
The largest city in Belize is Belize City, as it covers an area of 35.66 square kilometres. Belmopan is the second largest, as it is spread over an area of 32.78 square kilometres.
23. The Majority of Belizeans Follow Christianity
Even though Belize has a low population, you’ll find people from various faiths and religions. Therefore, there are around 16 religions in Belize.
The majority of Belizeans follow Christianity. Around 40.1% of the population are Roman Catholics, whereas some are Pentecostal (8.4%). Other divisions include Baptists (3.6%), Anglicans (4.7%), and Seventh-day Adventists (5.4%).
24. There Are Many Ethnicities in Belize
Once you visit Belize, you won’t just see the native Belizeans. Instead, you’ll find people from various other ethnicities residing in Belize.
Some of the common ethnicities include Mestizo, Maya, Creole, Garifuna, East Indian, and even Chinese!
Mestizo and Maya are the most common ethnicities in Belize as 52.9% of the population descend from those groups.
25. Belize Doesn’t Have a Pacific Coastline
Here’s one of the geographical fun facts about Belize.
There are many big and small countries in Central America. Now, all of them, except Belize, have a Pacific coastline!
As Belize is towards the eastern coast of Central America, it is bordered by the Caribbean Sea (in the Atlantic Ocean), instead of the Pacific Coastline.
26. You Shouldn’t Swim on Good Friday in Belize
Every country has weird traditions, and these fun facts about Belize show that it isn’t an exception.
One of the most common traditions in Belize is to not swim on the auspicious occasion of Good Friday.
As per one superstition, people who swim on Good Friday turn into fish or even mermaids/mermen! You may also attract bad luck for the rest of the year.
27. Tourism and Agriculture Are the Primary Industries of Belize
Let’s talk about some economic fun facts about Belize.
Just like other beach countries, the dominant industries in Belize are also tourism and agriculture.
Tourism contributes around 41.3 percent of GDP whereas agriculture contributes around 15% to 20% of GDP.
28. Belize Has Over 450 Islands
Belize is known for its islands, as it has over 450 of them scattered across the Caribbean Sea! The locals also call these islands “cayes”.
The largest island in Belize is Ambergris Caye, as it is 40 kilometres long and 1.6 kilometres wide. Other popular islands also include Caye Caulker and St. George’s Caye.
29. Rice and Beans Is a Popular Dish in Belize
These food fun facts about Belize are for those who love everything about food!
Rice and beans is the national and the staple food for many Belizeans. Red kidney beans are cooked with various traditional spices and also coconut milk. They’re served with steamed rice!
Some other delicious food items to try in Belize are Ceviche, Chimole, and Fry Jacks.
30. Belize Has Many Caves
You need to know these fun facts about Belize if you’re into exploring caves.
Belize has many caves through which you can explore the country’s geographical and cultural history. The most popular caves in Belize are Actun Tunichil Muknal, Chumpiate, and Caves Branch.
Fun Facts About Belize – Further Reading
The country of Belize is small, but it is a kaleidoscope of vibrant culture, breathtaking sights, and flourishing flora and fauna.
These fun facts about Belize only cover a little bit about the country’s richness. Once you visit the country, you’ll get to know much more from the locals!
If you enjoyed reading these fun facts about Belize, I’ve also delved deep into other locations as mentioned below.
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