Belize City Tourist Attractions
Belize City is the county's largest urban center with a population estimated to be around 70,000. The city surrounds Haulover Creek, which is the name given to the last 4mi/6.5km of the Belize River.
Belize City rests a few inches below sea level and most of the houses are built on piles above the swampy ground. Occasionally, cruise ships will dock at Belize City's port. The colorful and somewhat ramshackle city is less tourist-oriented and offers a more authentic Belizean experience than other towns and villages.The seaside city has a gritty appearance, reflecting its interesting native and colonial past. Gingerbread detailing on Victorian buildings contrasts with window bars on clapboard homes along the city's narrow streets. Belize City's residents are comprised of the nation's various ethnicities; Mayan, Spanish, Creole and Garifuna, creating a cultural center that is the heart of the country.Actually built on the site of a Mayan fishing village, popular legend claims Belize City was built on a landfill of mahogany chips and rum bottles. These would be items left over from British pirates (Baymen) who sailed throughout the1700s and settled in Belize. Belize City was the first settlement on mainland Belize and eventually became the nation's capital. Originally, the city served as a logging camp and was the main center for the exporting of logwood and mahogany.During Belize City's tenure as the nation's capital, multiple unfortunate incidents devastated the city, including three large fires, smallpox and other epidemics, as well as numerous damaging hurricanes. In 1961, Hurricane Hattie ravaged Belize City, killing hundreds of people and leaving many homeless. The damage resulting from Hurricane Hattie was estimated at U.S.$50 million. Following the hurricane the nation's capital was moved to Belmopan where it remains today. Nevertheless, Belize City is still the country's social, commercial and historical center.
Fort George District
Belize - Independence Day Festival
Belize's Independence Day is September 21, and the nation celebrates with several activities including flag-raising ceremonies, street parades and sporting events. Music, dance and food are abundant, and the crowning of Miss San Pedro takes place on this day.
Taking place annually in September, the Carnival festival held in Belize City features dance, music, food, pageantry, street parades and costumed bands. Festivities run from the beginning of the month through until Independence Day on September 21. It is also often refered to as National September Celebrations.
Museum of Belize
The Museum of Belize is a unique building with interesting exhibits. The museum is housed in a former prison build in the late 19th Century. While most of the museum is dedicated to history, natural history, and development of Belize, one area has been left to show the history of the building, with a jail cell.
Baron Bliss Day Festivities
Baron Bliss, a great benefactor of Belize, is honored with a day in his name (March 9) and nationwide festivities. In Belize city, a regatta is held near his tomb and there are kite and cycling races.
Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic
The Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic bike race features international participation and starts in Belize City, moves along the Western Highway around San Ignacio and returns to Belize City. The event is usually held in early April.
Pan America Day (Columbus Day Regatta)
Mestizo (mixed ancestry) culture is celebrated annually on October 12 with beauty contests, horse and bicycle races. Belize City's festivities culminate in yacht regatta races, all of which is known as the Pan America Day/Columbus Day Regatta.
Philip Goldson International Airport
The Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) supports all international flights to Belize. There are a number of shops, including duty free, restaurants, and car rental facilities located at the airport.
Princess Belize Hotel
The Princess Belize Hotel also features a movie theater, marina and bowling alley. Dancing shows are featured in the evening. The hotel sits on the waterfront with views over the bay.
Address: Barracks Road, Kings Park, Belize
Belize - Fiesta de Carnival
Held one week before Lent in February, the Fiesta de Carnival is celebrated nationwide. The festivities feature comparsas (special dances) competitions.
The small Municipal Airport (TZA) flies to local Belize cities and the offshore cayes.
Placencia Mountain Bike Classic
Starting in Belize City, this international cycling competition ends in Placencia Village.
San Cas Belmopan Cycling Classic
Beginning in Belize City, this cycling race leads to Belmopan and back and is held each year in March.
Belize City Surroundings - Altun Ha Archaeological Site
Altun Ha Archaeological Site was founded around 600 BC and consists of two main plazas and 13 temples.
Belize City Surroundings - Belize Zoo
The Belize Zoo features native Belizean wildlife in natural surroundings covering 29ac/12ha of tropical savannah. More than 125 species are found at the zoo, including jaguars, black howler monkeys, vultures, storks, tapirs, crocodiles, ocelots and peccaries.The zoo was founded in 1983 by Sharon Matola, who had previously been taking care of 17 animals during the making of a film in Belize. After filming, the animals had become semi-tame and Matola feared they would not survive in the wild. Matola created the zoo in response to the situation and continues to educate visitors on the importance of supporting native Belizean wildlife.
Address: Box 1787, Belize
Tropical Education Center
Managed by the Belize Zoo, the Tropical Education Center is situated on 84ac/34ha of pine savannah habitat in the Sibun River watershed. The purpose of the center is to provide environmental education about the area, and the center generally hosts visits from scientists and school groups. The grounds feature a nature trail and wildlife viewing treetop platforms. Canoeing on the Sibun River is a popular activity.
Address: Box 1787, Belize
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