Is it proper to fall in love with a country? Of course—particularly if that nation is Belize where meteoric changes over recent years have turned a once-sleepy destination into a one-size-fits-all vacation spot. Why use the one-size-fits-all descriptor? Because the vast array of lifestyles, venues, enterprises and experiences found in Belize are so expansive, you’ll wonder how a country this small can offer so much diversity. Why do we love Belize? To quote the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Let us count the ways!”
We love Belize weather--even during green season--when nourishing rains feed the lush landscape and replenish rivers, lagoons and streams, giving us an excuse to do some puddle jumping so we feel like kids again. Temperatures stay within a short range, from 70- to 88-degrees, year round, requiring only one wardrobe for the entire year!
We love Belize’s heritage—a mix of so many ethnicities and cultures, the United Nations is our closest competitor! Folks immigrating to Belize from every nation these days join a melting pot of cultures and societies who have collectively gifted this nation with a distinct character. Even languages spoken in Belize represent diverse influences, though English is the most often spoken one of all.
We love Belize’s sense of community. It’s contagious. For indigenous peoples, sense of community remains as strong as the bonds that tie families together, so whether neighbors are in need, partners for commercial ventures are sought or a network of buddies is required for deep-sea fishing, Belize ties are strong and tight, as are the connections between ex-pats moving here who quickly adopt a community sensibility, too.
We love Belize’s exploding commercial and investment scene. Small businesses pop up as forward thinkers strive to build a nation that’s financially and commercially viable. Find mom-and-pop shops, small home craft businesses, an agricultural industry that is diversifying via a growing list of exports and a home real estate market that is expanding impressively thanks to a healthy balance of growth and value stability.
We love the idea of “Belize Ease.” It’s easier to live here than most neighboring nations. While carriers like Southwest Air provide new links to the world, things never get so crowded in Belize that peace and quiet are unattainable. The $2 BZD per $1 USD exchange rate is easy to remember and no car is required when bikes, kayaks and buses suffice. Traffic? Not much. And nobody makes judgments about lifestyles, either.
We love the huge variety of things to do in Belize. Think the country’s treasures begin and end with the Great Belize Barrier Reef? Hardly. There are seven World Heritage Sites in-country ranging from ancient Mayan burial and ceremonial sites to wildlife preserves for endangered species plus enough marine sporting opportunities to last a lifetime.
We love Belizean food! From authentic Garifuna dishes that taste like nothing you’ve sampled in this hemisphere to gourmet restaurants and vegetarian establishments, it’s impossible to order a bad meal here. Resorts employ highly-trained chefs to please guests with international food choices and world-class wines, but family-owned spots serving hudut with local wine impress visitors and residents even more.
We love the excitement that is Belize. Any excuse will do in a nation dedicated to pulling out all stops on holidays and special occasions. From September’s month-long Independence Day party and Carnival to July’s international film festival, being bored in Belize is impossible. If you must escape, a 45-minute boat ride to Honduras or Guatemala offers a respite. When you’re tired of trying to speaking Spanish, enjoy the ride back to Belize.
We love feeling welcome in Belize. Ex-pats moving south from bustling northern locations say it takes getting used to: Everyone greets you, even if they don’t know you. Friendliness, a lost art in North American environs, is on display 24/7 in Belize, so if you need help, it also takes getting used to having strangers offer assistance without being asked. In other words, look up the definition of the word Welcome and find a picture of Belize.