you'd better Belize it
We crossed into Belize just over a week ago and have seen a large section of its south and its west. It is shocking how different Belize is from Mexico. Immediately, we saw much more linguistic and ethnic diversity than we had in most of Mexico over the previous ten weeks. Here in Belize, there are Maya, Garifuna (African-Carib), Creole (African-European), Mestizo (Spanish-Maya), Hispanic, Mennonite, European, Middle Eastern, and South and East Asian people. Despite English being the official language, people speak Creole, Spanish, Garifuna and Chinese to name a few (though most understand English and can communicate in multiple languages).
Paul and I hit the coast and made our way south where we were hoping to dive and snorkel on Belize`s famous barrier reef. Instead, we got rain and wind. We got a lot of rain. I guess we kind of deserved it after ten dry weeks in Mexico. What can you do though… just enjoy the change of pace, and wait it out, in the Caribbean trading our tequila for rum.
Another adjustment for us was the scale. Belize is a tiny country. It is easily driven, in its entirety, in one half day. This has allowed us to explore the more ‘remote’ spots in Belize’s many nature reserves relatively easily and quickly. There are some beautiful and relatively accessible spots for anyone with a 4wd vehicle and a bit of time. We saw some pretty great waterfalls, and met some interesting people (mostly American or European) who have created some pretty sweet lodges/traveler havens. We learned that it is possible and relatively straight-forward , as a foreigner, to own land and become a resident of Belize. Perhaps this is the reason for the incredibly diverse population. Belize’s natural beauty is hard to beat, and its laid back vibe is infectious.
We also have run into a fair number of travelers in Belize. Many North American and European vacationers en masse, but also some pretty cool overlanding traveler types. For the past few days, we have been rolling in a convoy of three vehicles checking out some sights in parks. Zach and Jill, and James and Lauren, all have the same Pan-American goal in mind. They have been a lot of fun to hang out with, and are headed into Guatemala with us tomorrow.