Many Rhythms, One Heartbeat

Belizean Culture

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.

Creole man
Rice & Beans is a different dish than Beans & Rice
Creole woman

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 Creole culture makes up 24% of the Belize population.
Creole man wearing hat

The Kriol language is best described as a broken English dialect that is understood (mostly) and spoken by all cultures in Belize.

Explore Creole Culture  >

Mestizo

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.

mestizo women
The Mestizo make up 48% of the Belize population
mestizo woman red flower

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.

The Mestizo are people of mixed Spanish and Maya descent
metizo women dancing

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.

Explore Mestizo Culture  >

Garifuna

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.

Garifuna drummers
The Garifuna created punta: a hypnotic drumbeat music.
Garifuna drummers

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.

Garifuna Settlement Day is celebrated on November 19.
Garifuna drum building

With festivals throughout the year, it’s impossible not to experience the warm and vibrant Garifuna culture during your visit to Belize.

Explore Garifuna Culture  >

Maya

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 woman working
The Maya culture began as early as 1500 BC
Maya fire pit

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.

Maya population in Belize reached 1 million in 250 AD
Maya woman at table

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.

Explore Maya Culture  >

Activities

Don't just see the wonder of Belize, Experience it.

Grab your oar and get out there.

Whether you’re a beginner at canoeing or really know your way around a boat, we have the waterways for any paddling traveler. Tour companies and jungle lodges also cater to canoe travelers, with some...

Learn More

Set sail for adventure.

Hidden coral heads make navigation tricky, so if you’re up for it, this could be your most rewarding sailing experience ever. If not, charter a boat and let our people do the work. It’s your vacation....

Learn More

The big ones are always biting in Belize.

From spi to fly to trolling, our abundance of game fish guarantees excellent sport fishing all year round. Since many rivers empty into the Caribbean Sea, you’re practically guaranteed a daily catch,...

Learn More
View All Activities

Attractions

Put these sites on your list, you won't regret it.

Green Iguana Conservation Project

About the Project

The Green Iguana Conservation Project is a continuous effort that aims to conserve and look after the endangered Green Iguana species in Belize. The Project uses interactive...

Learn More

Xunantunich

Take the hand-cranked ferry over the river to Xunantunich, which sits atop a hill overlooking the Mopan River and the Cayo District. The area was a major ceremonial site built on a natural limestone...

Learn More

Lebeha Drumming Center

Learn to play drums like the Garifuna at the Lebeha Drumming Center. The drums are made by a famous drum maker in Dangriga, Austin Rodriquez, and are primarily made from mahogany or mayflower wood...

Learn More
View All Attractions

Perspective

Your curated guide to Belize

Don’t Swim? | Here are 3 water-based activities you can still enjoy in Belize

Ah, Belize. The country of known beaches and hundreds of cayes, islands and of course, the world-renowned barrier reef. For those fellow travelers who wished they could enjoy the underwater marvels...

Keep Reading

Belize on a Budget | Tips to save money in Belize

Traveling is something sacred, an experience many avid wanderlusters claim adds purpose to their life. Which is why it is unfortunate when such experience may be limited by financial matters. However,...

Keep Reading

Sweet Tooth, anyone? Chocolate Festival of Belize 2019

Chocolate aficionados’ favorite time of the year has come: the annual Chocolate Festival of Belize! The agenda of this lively event, coupled with the beatific scenery of Southern Belize, is the mold...

Keep Reading
View All Blog Articles

Local

Events

Placencia Lobster Fest 2018 | 1

Placencia Lobster Fest reels in the masses

For 18 savory years, the not-so-lowly lobster has graced our palates in extravagant ways at every annual Lobster Fest held in Placencia. Spanning three days, this food festival has only grown over the...

Learn More
Mango Fest 2019

Mango Festival 2019 | Celebrate the fruit in all its forms

Diced, sliced, on a stick, or straight off the tree, there are so many ways to devour the (unofficial) fruit of Belize: Mango! You know us for throwing nutty festivals, sweet festivals, and fishy ones...

Learn More
BTB Love Belize Sea Challenge | 0

BTB Love Belize Sea Challenge

Love FM, a local radio station, and the Belize Tourism Board have teamed up to contest what used to be Belize’s most grueling race by rolling out the BTB Love Belize Sea Challenge. La Ruta Maya partic...

Learn More
View All Events