I wanted to write about my visit to Belize in numbers, like I did with my Mexico and Cuba trips, but because of the low number of hours spent in the country – only 21 – there are very few numbers I can report about. So instead, here are some fun facts about Belize you might not know yet:
- It used to be called British Honduras, it was a British colony, which is why it’s the only country in Central America where they speak English.
- It’s super small! Its population is 370.000, there are only 60.000 people living in Belize City. I guess I don’t have to explain that (at least when it comes to the size of the country) the Slovenian here felt like at home.
- Pub quiz alert: What’s the capital of Belize? Belize city? Wrong. It’s Belmopán. Belize city used to be the capital, but then it got quite destroyed in a hurricane in 1961, which is why nine years later, for safety reasons, the government decided to move the capital more inland – to Belmopan. It’s one of the smallest capitals in the world.
- Almost 40% of land in Belize is protected, the north part and the coastline is mostly a mangrove swamp.
- Its people identify more with Caribbean than Central American culture and there is a strong Creole presence in the country. A lot of people are Rastafari so in Belize City it’s not unusual to see a skirt-wearing bank employee with dreadlocks.
- Even though Belize became independent in 1981, Guatemala recognised its independence only 10 years later. The exact border between the countries is still in dispute. Sounds familiar?
- I got the feeling Belize is very religious. Although only 40% of the population declared themselves catholic in the last census, I saw churches on every corner in Belize City, signs “Jesus is everywhere” hanging from every second house fence and pro-life campaign billboards educating people that embryo’s heart beats at two weeks and a half already.