In a country so small, you’d be surprised of the interesting facts that make up Belize. From the animals we choose as our national symbols to things you won’t find anywhere else, these 8 things about our country will either impress you or have you scratching your head (or perhaps both?):
- Queen Elizabeth II is on our money. Why is an elder British lady’s face on our bills? Well, time for a quick history lesson, friends. Before our independence in 1981, Belize was colonized by Great Britain and as such, their monarchy was ours as well. After we changed from British Honduras to Belize, she still remained on all Belizean money, up to this day. FYI: This is why Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America.
- We served the Queen a rat for dinner. Speaking of Her Majesty, decades ago when she visited Belize, the Queen was served a dish that was (and is) considered a delicacy to Belizeans. This dish was gibnut, in other words, a large rodent that is often eaten stewed alongside main dishes such as rice & beans. Since then, the rodent has been referred to as the ‘Royal Rat.’
- Have more than 400 islands. Actually called cayes, these islands dot our Caribbean Sea and beyond our reef. The two most popular, of course, being Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, though hundreds of others are used for snorkeling, fishing or are protected areas for different species of bird.
- The only Jaguar Reserve in the world. The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary attracts many nature-lovers – and many seeking to spot a jaguar. Though the likelihood of the latter occurring is low, this reserve is considered the only one of its kind in the entire world.
- Our national animal is a mountain cow. Again with the odd animals, Belize’s national animal is the Tapir, known as the ‘mountain cow.’ The chubby critter is often spotted in Southern Belize in the forest, usually munching on leaves and other vegetarian goodies.
- Size of Massachusetts. ’Tis true, though Belize is a whole country, its size is that of one of the USA’s smaller states. With a little over 330,000 people, we have the lowest population density in the region.
- Only 4 main highways. In the entirety of Belize, only four highways are used to travel across the country. Namely, the Hummingbird Highway, the Philip Goldson Highway, the George Price Highway and the Southern Highway.
- No fast food chains. If you’re looking for your trusty Five Guys or Subway, you’ll be disappointed – but only momentarily – before you discover the culinary wonder that is Belize’s cultural food. The only fast-food chain you’ll find around here is perhaps the many taco stands that are parked at every corner in Orange Walk.
There are many facts about Belize that pleasantly surprise new visitors, and oftentimes become the reason for those to visit again. For more information on Belize, feel free to call us toll-free at 1-800-624-0686 or email us at [email protected].