Little Belize is a modest settlement in the Corozal District (Northern Belize). It is sometimes also called “Progresso” due to its close proximity to that settlement. Little Belize is just one meter above sea level and 70 miles north of Belmopan (the capital of Belize).
Established in 1958, Little Belize is notable for being the second most prominent colony of the “Old Colony Mennonites” within Belize; only Shipyard, Belize, has a larger Mennonite populace. Despite being known as Russian Mennonites, these people speak a dialect of Low German known as “Plautdietsch.” Anyone who is familiar with the Amish within the United States will recognize a lot of similarities in the Mennonites. These are a people who dress in attire from over a century ago and shun most forms of modern technology-the most high tech piece of equipment you will find in Little Belize might be a a smartphone, for doing business; a chainsaw, for more efficiently felling lumber for housing; or a steel-tired tractor, for working their farms. Those aforementioned farms are how most of the Mennonites make a living and interact with the rest of the country, selling and trading their eggs and dairy products in the markets of places like Progresso.
Know that when interacting with Mennonites, adults tend to be polite but a Mennonite woman is not to look any man in the eye if she is unfamiliar with him. Children, on the other hand, can be outright rude to non-Mennonites. Visiting Little Belize is a lot like visiting the sorts of Amish communities found throughout the United States. These people like to keep to themselves but are willing to engage in polite conversation and commerce. They greatly cherish their community and place a great deal of value on being good Christians and working hard. As a consequence of this, the main benefit of visiting this place is similar to dealing with Belize’s Garifuna or Creole communities-a chance to observe another way of life. That being said, you might be able to pick up some incredible cheese, baked goods or woodwork.
Little Belize is one of the major communities for Belize’s insular Mennonite population, allowing visitors to encounter a culture nearly out of sync with the rest of the world. If you are visiting Belize and want to experience something truly off the beaten path, why not consider checking out the community known as Little Belize?