Each and every visit to the Caribbean is like no other. There is always something new to learn, places to go or things to do. Sculpted by nature, the islands are ever-changing and evolving. With so many islands to choose from it is never easy to decide on where to stop.
We want to introduce you to our beautifully unique islands. Make sure you stay a while, take your time! In the Caribbean there’s no rush, let’s just ‘go with the flow’.
The more you learn, the more you will want to know, so relax and discover
The current flag of Belize has been used unofficially since 1950. The flag was officially adopted on September 21st 1981, when the country gained independence from the UK. The flag is a symbol of the unity of the nation. The blue represents the People’s United Party and the red stripes represent the opposition party. The flag uses twelve colours, which is more than any other national flag. In the centre of the flag is the Belize coat of arms, which was granted to Belize in 1907.
The circular border of the coat of arms is formed by a wreath of leaves. Within the border is he shield of the Coat of Arms, which is divided into three sections by a vertical line and an inverted V. The base section depicts a ship in full sail on waves of the sea. The two upper sections show tools of the timber industry in Belize: a paddle and a squaring axe in the right section and a saw and a beating axe in the left section.
Above the shield rises a mahogany tree. Below the shield is the motto scroll, with the latin words ‘Sub Umbra Floreo’, this means ‘Under the Shade I Flourish’. Supporting the shield are two woodcutters, the one on the right holding a beating axe over his shoulder, and the one on the left holding a paddle over his shoulder.
O. Land of the Free by the Carib Sea,
Our manhood we pledge to thy liberty!
No tyrants here linger, despots must flee
This tranquil haven of democracy
The blood of our sires which hallows the sod,
Brought freedom from slavery oppression’s rod,
By the might of truth and the grace of God,
No longer shall we be hewers of wood.
Arise! ye sons of the Baymen’s clan,
Put on your armour, clear the land!
Drive back the tyrants, let despots flee –
Land of the Free by the Carib Sea!
Nature has blessed thee with wealth untold,
O’er mountains and valleys where prairies roll;
Our fathers, the Baymen, valiant and bold
Drove back the invader; this heritage hold
From proud Rio Hondo to old Sarstoon,
Through coral isle, over blue lagoon;
Keep watch with the angels, the stars and moon;
For freedom comes tomorrow’s noon.
One of Belize’s most spectacular natural wonder’s and a Scuba Diver’s haven, the Great Blue Hole is a giant sinkhole off the coast of Belize. It was formed as the roof of an underground cave subsided. As the ocean levels began to rise, the cave filled with water. The Great Blue Hole is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of many Mayan sites and ruins in Belize, Xunantunich is appropriate for the whole family. It is the most accessible Mayan archaeological site. The name of the site is from the Yucatec Maya language and means ‘Stone Woman’. The climb up the ruins is well worthwhile for the spectacular views and of course a great workout.
In western Belize, Actun Loch Tunich is a massive sinkhole that begins high above the rainforest. Start with a vigorous hike up into the foothills of the Maya Mountains to the mouth of the cave. The edge of the Actun Loch Tunich sink hole sits over 300 feet above the basin below, 200 feet above the rain forest canopy that grows out from the sink hole basin. This is where the descent begins. A thrilling rappel over the canopy of the forest below, offering unforgettable views, before landing safely back on solid ground.
Information adapted from cavesbranch.com
The coastal area of Belize is an outstanding natural system consisting of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, offshore atolls, several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries. The system’s seven sites illustrate the evolutionary history of reef development and are a significant habitat for threatened species, including marine turtles, manatees and the American marine crocodile.
Information courtesy of UNESCO.org
The History of Belize dates back thousands of years. The Maya civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 BC to 1200 BC and flourished until about 1000 AD. Several Maya ruin sites, including Caracol, Lamanai, and Xunantunich reflect the advanced civilization and much denser population of that period.
The first recorded European settlement was established by shipwrecked English seamen in 1638. Over the next 150 years, more English settlements were established. This period also was marked by piracy, indiscriminate logging and sporadic attacks by natives and neighbouring Spanish settlements.
Great Britain first sent an official to the area in the late 17th century, but Belize was not formally termed the “Colony of British Honduras” until 1840. It became a crown colony in 1862. The official name of the territory was changed from British Honduras to Belize in June 1973, and full independence was granted on 21st September 1981. Guatemala had made claims on the territory since the 1800s, and as a result refused to recognise it. In order to defend the country, British troops remained there even after the country was granted its independence. Guatemala eventually recognised Belize’s sovereignty in 1991. However, the dispute between Guatemala and Great Britain remained unresolved, and Guatemala still claims more than half of Belize’s territory.