19 Fun Facts About Belize

Thought you knew everything there is to know about Belize? Don’t bet on it. Even folks who have lived here for decades could learn a few things within the following 19 fun facts, like did you know that Belize is the only Central American country where English is the official language? Guess that makes 20!

1. Traffic lights can only be found in Belize City. Speed bumps along highways and roads control traffic throughout the nation, but of course the term “traffic” is relative here.

2. Belize cuisine includes Royal Rat as a main course. The rodent’s official name is the Gibnut and it’s supposed to taste like rabbit. Nobody asked Queen Elizabeth her opinion when she found it on her plate during a visit.

3. Order the Bamboo Chicken at any restaurant and you could violate a law since this chicken is actually a protected iguana and it’s illegal to eat this traditional dish.

4. If your goal is seeing every Mayan ruin in Belize, plan a long stay; there are around 900 sites.

5. According to folklore, El Duende, a 3-foot evil dwarf with no thumbs, hangs out in Belize forests and stands ready to punish kids who harms animals.

6. If you are offered cashew apples, say no! The apple isn’t harmful, but the skin is toxic, so opt for another fruit if you want to stay healthy.

7. Belize owes the success of the world’s only Jaguar nature preserve to Alan Rabinowitz, an American scientist who has made preserving the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve his life’s work.

8. Orchid Bay in Corozal is fast becoming the unofficial capital for ex-patriots. This planned community vision (http://orchidbaybelize.com/) includes affordable villas, condos and lands plus myriad amenities in close proximity to major attractions and commercial epicenters.

9. If you’ve had enough urban density, Belize can give you a breathing space since this country has the lowest population density in Central America. In 2010, there were only around 15 people per sq. km.

10. One of the loudest monkeys on the planet makes its home in Belize: Just a few Black Howler Monkeys have been known to put a nursery of screaming babies to shame.

11. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the second largest barrier reef on the planet.

12. Thatch Caye (http://www.thatchcayebelize.com/), a privately owned island resort, offers guests opportunities to sleep over the ocean, rather than beside it, in beautifully appointed thatched huts elevated by hardwood stilts.

13. If you’re superstitious, stay dry on Good Friday. According to an old Belizean tale, if you swim on this day, you will turn into a fish.

14. Everyday cuisine of rice and beans doesn’t taste like other Central American combinations because they’re cooked together in coconut milk.

15. If you can’t live without fast food, Belize could present a hardship. You won’t find a single Burger King, KFC, Starbucks and McDonald’s within the nation’s borders.

16. The Belize equivalent of the Empire State Building is actually a Mayan temple. It’s the tallest building in the land.

17. Belize lays claim to an indigenous Big Foot called El Sisimito, but we don’t know how he gets around since his feet are backwards and he has no knees.

18. Leonardo DiCaprio is building a revolutionary concept off the Belize coastline: an eco-friendly, luxury resort that prohibits the use of plastic. It’s scheduled to open in 2018.

19. After a hurricane devastated Belize City in 1961, a decision was made to relocate the capital to Belmopan. With only 12,000 residents, this made the new the Belize capital the smallest in the world.

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