Preparations for a Royal Belize Vacation for HRH Prince Harry of Wales
By Janelle Chanona
On the historic occasion of The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee, members of the royal family are touring many of the Commonwealth countries which her Majesty has visited during her sixty year reign. The Queen has asked her grandson, Prince Harry of Wales, to start his overseas travels in the Central American country of Belize. Belizeans were determined to make his first visit to Belize the highlight of his itinerary. Showing why travelers make Belize vacations the perfect choice for R&R.
Prince Harry arrived in Belize on Friday, March 2nd by private jet at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. The Prince’s schedule was filled with both formal and informal activities, many of which are available to excited Belize vacationers. On the official end, the Prince was greeted on the tarmac by Sir Colville Young, the Governor General—who is the Queen’s representative in Belize. The royal also met Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his wife, Kim Simplis Barrow at the airport. After those formalities, the Prince headed west by car to the country’s capital, Belmopan, a prime location for anybody looking to branch out into Belize for raw, unique adventure.
Following a ceremony in which a boulevard was named in honour of Queen Elizabeth II, the royal attended a street festival called the Diamond Jubilee Block Party. The outdoor party included lively music, colourful presentations and tasty local delicacies from several of Belize’s diverse ethnic cultures including the Mestizo, Garifuna and Creole. His Highness also made a brief address to the hundreds of students gathered at the Street Fest.
On Saturday morning, Prince Harry visited the Adjacency Zone Office of the Organization of the American States where he had the opportunity to interact with young artists from both Belize and Guatemala. From there, the Prince traveled across the Mopan River by hand-cranked ferry to the ancient Maya temple of Xunantunich, the Maiden of the Rock. Prince Harry was welcomed to the site by a Maya Shaman while costumed players performed the traditional Deer Dance. His Highness then climbed the site’s highest structure, El Castillo, which rises 130 feet above the forest floor. In addition to spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding areas, El Castillo also gives visitors a chance to take in impressively intricate stucco friezes that have been restored to their former glory. To make a plan to experience El Castillo yourself, try the My Belize Vacation Planner.
In celebration of 2012, the year of the Maya, Belize is offering unmatched opportunities to visitors to immerse in the mysteries of the past and experience first-hand the cultural traditions that live on today. There’s even a special Maya 2012 passport– a souvenir booklet that allows the holder single entry to a number of archaeological sites.
Prince Harry’s visit to Xunantunich also included a lunch with young students in one of the main plazas as well as a fashion show where models took to the runway wearing dresses made from recycled paper and plastic.
Before heading to the airport, Prince Harry made a stop at the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) to honour soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while participating in training missions in Belize. The royal departed the country with an official send off by the Governor General.
Though his entire visit was only a mere twenty-three hours long, Prince Harry’s memories of Belize are sure to last a lifetime. Recap his whereabouts at the BTB website.
Find more about Belize vacations and travel here.