How much do you know about Belize? Little? None?
Get a load of these fun and interesting facts about Belize!
Have you ever wondered how the Country got its name “Belize”?
If you were to ask any Belizean, they would say that Belize was once known as “British Honduras”, and officially changed to “Belize” in 1973. Although the history is unclear, there are two possible origins.
- The Maya’s for example were the first settlers in the country. It is believed that the name was given by the Priest’s translator and originated from the Mayan word “Balix” meaning “Muddy Waters”, referring to the Belize River, or another derivation of the Maya word “Belikin” meaning “land facing the sea.
- Another origin is from the Scottish Buccaneer Captain Peter Wallace, who was credited in 1827 for discovering the mouth of the Belize River. He used the area as a place of retreat and named it after himself; however, his followers were Spaniards and couldn’t pronounce the W, it was substituted with a V, creating “Vallis”, which led to B, thus resulting in “Balise”.
The Placencia Sidewalk!
Did you know that the Placencia sidewalk was named “The narrowest street in the World” by the Guinness Book of World Records?
Placencia’s side walk was created over 30 years ago as an easy passage way to transport fish due to the challenge of carry a wheel barrow through the thick sand. Fishermen used this side walk after their fishing trips to transport and sell sea food. Over the years, the villagers extended the side walk making it an easy way to access the beach and other popular places. When visiting Placencia in Southern Belize and looking for a restaurant, bar, gift shop, tour shop, ATM or coffee house, everyone will say, “Follow the sidewalk”!
Belize contains over 900 Mayan Sites!
Belize is known as the Heart of the Mayan World and there is no way of denying it. Although the country contains hundreds of ruins, there are only 10 major sites that are open for tours including: Caracol, Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, Nim LI Punit, Lubaantun, Santa Rita, Cerros, Altun Ha, Lamanai, and El Pilar. Archaeological sites all over Belize holds evidence of the amazing lifestyle of the intelligent Mayas.
The Tallest building in Belize is a Mayan Pyramid!
Yes that’s right! Belize has sky scrapers dating back a thousand years ago! The tallest building in Belize is the Mayan pyramid “Canaa”, the main pyramid at Caracol Ruins, measuring approximately 141 feet high. Caracol is the largest Maya site in Belize covering about 75 square miles, containing 24 known stelae, 24 alters, a ball court, reservoirs, causeways, 5 plazas, an astronomic observatory, central acropolis, two ball courts, over 35,000 known buildings and more than 100 tombs.
The National Animal
The National Animal of Belize is the Tapir or Mountain cow. This animal is related to horses and rhinoceroses, but looks more like a giant guinea pig with a short snout. As a matter of fact, tapirs are gentle, lazy creatures that actually likes to snorkel! They use their amazing snouts as tubes above the water to breathe. Would you like to get close up to a Tapir? Visit the Belize Zoo and get a chance to feed and possible pet one.
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