People are always saying it’s the journey not the destination, right? Well in Belize, we take it literally as our country is known for its scenic marvels that are quite underappreciated in the region. We often boast Belize is so tiny, you can get from one end to the other in less than a day. In a plane? In half an hour. So, it makes sense to hop on a Cessna and go from jungle to beach in a matter of minutes. But where’s the fun in that? Especially when a wonder like the Hummingbird Highway exists, all 53.7 miles of it. Here are 5 reasons it’s also a good option to take a few hours’ drive when heading into Western/Southern Belize, the country’s adventure and ecotourism capital.
- Quaint Villages. There is no shortage of small villages you have to pass through when heading to beachbumming Placencia or hilly San Ignacio. You will come to learn many of their unique names, most of the time them being hand-painted on a sign on the side of the road as you enter the village. Fruit stalls will be lined by the roadside, and you’ll want to stop at every one of them, unable to resist the fresh mangos or cool coconut water they offer. Snap a pic of the beautiful ranches, or stop for delicious ice cream at a barn-like ice cream shop. You’ll forget where you were heading to in the first place!
- Roadside Waterfalls. Yes, literally like 10 minutes off the side of the highway you can come across a waterfall in the mountains. There are a few waterfalls that are easily accessible off the Hummingbird highway, and all you need to do is pull over, spare 15-20 minutes, and marvel at the cascading showers before you’re on your way back to your destination.
- Famous Tamales. If you haven’t sampled a Miss Bertha’s tamale, you haven’t really driven the Hummingbird Highway. Bertha’s tamales, is a family legacy. The tamales is made from scratch every morning, and you can taste it in every bite. A traditional Mestizo/Maya food, tamales are wrapped in plantain leaves, made of masa (a type of dough) and cull (the sauce.) It usually contains chicken, but there have been different variations of one of Belize’s favorite dish.
- Marie Sharp’s Factory. As if the Hummingbird could not hold more fascinating detours, the Marie Sharp’s factory, home to Belize’s premier pepper sauce, is located right in Pomona village. A historical gem, this factory will take you through the process of how Marie Sharp’s world-famous recipes are brought to life in all the different products she makes.
- The Drive itself. Mountains, creeks & waterfalls, what’s not to love when bobbing to your playlist as you drive along? Fog rolling over the hills, the sun peeking through the mountains and of course the Sleeping Giant as you spot it from afar. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful drive, flanked by untainted nature as you make your way to your destination.
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