Belize: Thrilling Mayan Culture with a Caribbean Twist

By ~ Eric-Sheets 

While many Belize natives can be heard speaking a creole patois or even an indigenous Mayan language such as Yucatec, Mopán, or Kekchí, the official language of the Central American nation is English. And yet, despite the ease of communication between most travelers and locals, the natural beauty and living culture found in Belize is difficult to express in words.

Bordering Mexico’s southernmost tip, Belize is home to the Northern Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef system and thus, unsurprisingly, has become a top draw for scuba diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. The country’s under-water world is so biodiverse that UNESCO inscribed the natural system as a World Heritage Site in 1996. To match the kaleidoscope of sea creatures are the wild and raw Mayan ruins, nestled in the rainforest and tucked underground in ancient ceremonial caves.

Sail across the crystalline Caribbean waters one day and gain a thrilling cultural experience the next: Belize has it all.

Sail Towards Solitude

Whether shared with an intimate group of family or friends, a tailored sailing trip across the crystalline waters of the Caribbean is a luxurious adventure that rewards travelers with privileged views and private comfort.

Make the most of time spent in great company and mark the pace and focus—be it a sailing excursion that is solely sea-based or one that also incorporates land-based activities (think grand Mayan temples and uninhabited islands that dot the barrier reef). Use your chartered yacht as a gateway to world-class scuba diving, underwater meetups with nurse sharks and manta rays, kayak explorations of manatee reservations, and more.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the private vessel by indulging in unparalleled relaxation. As the boat skims the azure waters that surround Belize, find time to sun on the deck or dine under the stars. Be sure to request the full range of chartered yachts that we offer, varying in size and amenities.

Underground and Back in Time

More than just underwater explorations, visiting Belize is an opportunity to explore the largest cave network in Central America. Stemming from the Maya Mountains of Belize to Guatemala, over 55 km of cave passages belong to a network of four caves known as the Chiquibul Cave System. And while walking along these seemingly never-ending archaic walls (originally formed by the Chiquibul River) is a thrill, Belize hosts a myriad of caves for every type of traveler to choose from.

The twisting passageways of Actun Tunichil Muknal (also known as Cave of the Stone Sepulcher) force visitors to walk, swim and climb their way through the narrow passages of a Mayan ceremonial center.

Laid-back yet just as unique, the Barton Creek Cave is explored via a leisurely paddle session beneath twinkling calcite crystal formations. Typically used for ceremonial purposes, keep your eyes out for skeletons, ceramics, and other Mayan artifacts in any of the aforementioned caves.

Flavors of a Multi-Cultural Land

Perhaps one of the most efficient and enjoyable ways to familiarize yourself with a new culture or destination is through local gastronomic offerings. And there is quite a bit to swallow regarding the convoluted history of Belize, a coastal land that has gone through the hands of the Mayans and Europeans and numerous name changes. What has resulted in national kitchens is an amalgamation of varied ethnic influences.

In between Caribbean staples of red beans and rice with savory stewed chicken,  Mayan-influenced snacks like salbutes (fried corn tortilla), and irresistible fish panades (empanadas), be sure to save room for the traditional Garifuna cuisine. Of mixed African and indigenous Caribbean descent, the Garifuna people were exiled from their island of Saint Vincent in the late 18th century by European force, and sought refuge along the Caribbean coast of Central America.

Today, travelers can head to southern Belize to indulge in a variety of Garifuna-style dishes: from seafood chowders to the traditional cassava bread ereba. (Fun fact: Garifuna literally means “cassava-eating people.”)

For detailed information on travel restrictions and health requirements, visit the Belize Tourism Board site here or email us directly: info@latinexcursions.com