Belize is often thought of as a Caribbean country in Central America because it has a history similar to that of English-speaking Caribbean nations. Indeed, Belize’s institutions and official language reflect its history as a British colony. However, its culture is more typical of that of other Central American countries. Belize’s small population is ethnically diverse and includes a large proportion of immigrants.
Compared to other Latin America countries, Belize has the second largest Barrier Reef in the world. (Some say it’s the largest living Reef although there is no data to officially support that claim). Because of this jewel, it is considered a paradise for divers and marine life.
Belize has a small, essentially private enterprise economy that is based primarily on agriculture, tourism, and services.
Tourism in this Latin America Country
Tourism in Belize has grown considerably recently, and it is now the second largest industry in the nation. The results for Belize’s tourism-driven economy have been significant, with the nation welcoming almost one million tourists in a calendar year for the first time in its history in 2012.
Popular tourist destinations include San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker, both located about 70 km and 40 km east off the coast of Belize, both situated only a few miles from the Barrier Reef at any point. They have been regarded as a “tropical paradise” by the Los Angeles Times. Cruise ships have been docking in Belize City, and average 850,000 tourists alone every year.
Voted Best New Cruise Port in 2017, Harvest Caye in Southern Belize is the Caribbean’s premier island destination. Owned and Operated by the Norwegian Cruise Line, the 75 acres of oasis features wildlife exhibitions including a Blue Morpho butterfly house.
While these jewels remain the #1 island destinations in Belize, San Ignacio takes the lead as an inland traveler’s center. Together with twin-town Santa Elena, on the east bank of the Macal River, this is the main population center of Cayo, with lots of good budget accommodation, decent restaurants and frequent transport. The town is renowned for its close proximity to Belize’s famous Mayan ruins, as well as a hub for outdoor activities including caving, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, and more.
Small but unique tourist destinations along the coast includes, Hopkins Village and Placencia Peninsula. Both evolved from sleepy fishing villages to vacation destinations. Placencia, Belize is known for its beautiful beaches, scuba diving, snorkeling and salt water fly fishing. Because of their wide range of restaurants, resorts, art galleries and gift shops, many passengers from nearby Harvest Caye stop in occasionally to relax or explore the Peninsula.
Hopkins is known as the cultural destination in Belize. The friendly Garinagu or Garifunas welcomes everyone to learn about their culture – fishing, drumming and way of life. This fascinating village is located one mile from some of the most high-end resorts on the coast, and surrounded by the misty-green Maya Mountains and the blue Caribbean Sea.