Our small country isn’t defined by one culture, but a unique blend of influences from all over the world. It’s this blend that gives the people of Belize the distinct ability to make anyone feel welcome. While you may be far from it when you visit, we’ll make you feel right at home. From cuisine to language to dancing, explore the cultures and traditions that make Belize so unique.
From the language to the food, the Creole (or “Kriol”) culture always leaves you wanting more. Its origins date back to the late 1700s when British settlers and African slaves gave birth to this new Creole population and they remain one of the staple cultures of Belize.
Popular Creole dishes are universally enjoyed throughout Belize and include Rice and Beans, Beans and Rice (yes, they are two different dishes), Stew Chicken and Salad, and “Boil Up.
The Kriol language is best described as a broken English dialect that is understood (mostly) and spoken by all cultures in Belize.
Mestizo—a culture of the past that is still present today. Mestizo is a vibrant culture whose heritage originated from the Maya and Spanish. Today, the majority of Mestizo descendants populate districts in Northern Belize.
As documentations indicate, a Spanish sailor named Gonzalo Guerrero had shipwrecked off the coast of Belize shortly after the New World discovery. It was this arrival that eventually sparked a new friendship between the Maya Ruler, Nachanhan, and Guerrero. Eventually, this Spanish ally married Nachanhan’s daughter and their children were seen as the first Mestizo of Belize.
With the blending of these cultures came a fusion of traditions, practices and foods, unique to Belize. Take a trip to the North to immerse yourself in this foodie-haven and celebrate the many festivities held annually to celebrate Mestizo culture.
This Belizean culture is known not only for their vibrant colors and delicious food, they’re the creators of a popular hypnotic drumbeat music, punta. The rhythm of the drums will let you hear, feel and move to the Garifuna culture in Southern Belize.
November 19 commemorates the arrival in 1823 of the Garifuna (descendants of Carib, Arawak and West African people) and their contribution to the Belizean landscape. In 2001, UNESCO proclaimed the Garifuna language, music and dance to be among the masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
With festivals throughout the year, it’s impossible not to experience the warm and vibrant Garifuna culture during your visit to Belize.
The Belizean Maya occupation began as early as 1500 BC, but it was not until sometime between 250 AD and 900 AD that the Maya population is thought to have exceeded 1 million people. However, much about the ancient Maya still remains a mystery.
Maya culture is still alive and well in Belize. Today, you can tour authentic sites left by this great culture and, in many cases, be guided through these sites by a direct descendant―a modern-day Maya. In many cities, you can also find Maya cuisine and festivals celebrating this ancient civilization.
To explore Maya sites in Belize, check with your hotel or local tour operators throughout the country to see what ancient Maya temples are open for exploration. And if you get the chance, be sure to speak with contemporary Maya families. They will be happy to tell you about their culture and share stories that have been passed down through generations.