Fun Facts about Belize

The misty rainforest of Belize.
The misty rainforest of Belize.

The nation of Belize is located in Central America. Its capital is Belmopan, and its largest city is Belize City. The following are some fun facts about Belize:

  • The people of Belize are known as Belizeans. They are of a diverse range of African, European, Asian or Amerindian descents.
  • The country’s most exotic delicacy is the gibnut rodent, also known as the “royal rat” because it was once served to Queen Elizabeth.
  • A large area of the land is covered by forest and has inspired the country’s motto, "Under the Shade, I flourish."
  • Thumb locking is a sign of greeting in Belize.
  • About ninety percent of the population can read, write, and speak in either Spanish, English, and Creole.
  • It is considered rude to greet a Belizean using their first name.
  • In 2005 there was civil unrest triggered by a significant tax increase in the national budget.
  • The Mayans once predicted the end of the world although it never happened. There are about 900 Mayan ruins in Belize.
  • Belize is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System.
  • The Belize Defense Force has total personnel of about 1,400, less than the number of people working at McDonald’s.
  • The mahogany tree found in Belize motivated the British to set up a colony due to the quality timber produced by the tree.
  • The national animal of the state is the tapir or mountain cow.
  • The relationship between Guatemala and Belize has always been hostile. In 2016 a Guatemalan was killed at the border and Guatemala responded by sending 3000 more troops to the border.
  • Belizeans believe it is bad luck to swim on the Christian holiday of Good Friday
  • The country has one of the lowest population densities in the world, at 16 people per square mile.
  • The three top sources of revenue in the country are agriculture, tourism, and cocaine, which is controlled by South America cartels.
  • Many Belizeans move to the United States to work and acquire wealth and then move back to Belize to retire.
  • Despite being a British colony and its proximity to the US, there are no McDonald's, KFCs, Burger Kings, or any other major fast-food chain locations in Belize.
  • The county has only one international airport.
  • In 2000, the largest and most popular gym in Belize was shut down for failing to pay the trade license, despite being the prime minister’s favorite gym.
  • It is the only Central American country whose official language is English rather than Spanish.
  • It is home to the noisiest monkey on earth, the howler monkey. Its shriek can be heard from two miles away.
  • The image of Queen Elizabeth is still portrayed in the Belizean dollar.
  • The entire country has only four highways.
  • The Belizean version of Big Foot is known as El Sisimito. It has no knees and its feet face backward.
  • About 75% of the population are either Roman Catholic or Protestant.
  • The iguana is hunted for food in Belize. In fact, they have been hunted so indiscriminately that the government has criminalized the act.
  • It takes less than 90 minutes to drive from one end of the country to the other.
  • The jungle terrain in Belize is home to some of the largest populations of mosquitoes. Without repellant, you risk getting infected with tropical diseases.
  • The country has the world’s only jaguar reserve, known as the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • One of the mountain ranges in the country looks exactly like a sleeping giant.

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