For this week's Travel Tuesday we will visit Belize. This small country on the Caribbean is a mix of English and Spanish colonial influences. It provides the cautious traveler with a Central American country with English as a second language. It has lovely beaches and other lush, tropical beauty in nature associated with other countries that tourists visit frequently.

There are many things travelers and curious folk can learn about COUNTRY by reading through the country profile in Global Road Warrior. Listed below are 5 more quick facts to get you started.

  • History: "The Spanish conceded to Britain the right to cut timber while maintaining their sovereignty over the territory. This changed in 1798, when the Battle of St. George's Caye saw British forces, aided by their slave laborers, drive the Spanish out of the territory. Belize later formally became Britain’s only Central American colony. Britain renamed the territory British Honduras in 1862, and began a successful international trade in mahogany, bringing wealth to the new colony. The country was not named Belize until 1973, by which time a strong independence movement had been initiated. In 1981, independence from the United Kingdom was finally granted."
  • Money: The Belizean dollar is divided into 100 cents. Banknotes for the Belizean dollar are for 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. Coins include a $1 coin and 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cent coins.
  • Climate: "Belize is a small country in Central America that borders the warm and tumultuous Caribbean Sea. For most of the country, the climate is tropical monsoonal, with a brief dry season and pronounced wet season. However, the extreme south has a tropical rainforest climate with no discernible dry season, and the northern part of the country is a tropical savanna with a winter dry season."
  • Transportation--water travel: "The sugar industry operates motorboat links along Belize's coast. Fast and frequent water taxis link Belize City with Cay Chapel, Cay Caulker, and Ambergris Cay. In addition, you can arrange locally for any of a number of small boats to transport you along the Belize, Hondo, or New Rivers, or between cays. Be advised that many craft do not carry ample safety equipment or may be overloaded with passengers. Be sure the weather forecast is favorable, too; some skippers tend to be a bit too optimistic."
  • Points of Interest--Belize Barrier Reef: "The Belize Barrier Reef is a diver's paradise and stretches for a length of 260 kilometers (162 miles), making it the second largest barrier reef in the world and the largest in the Western hemisphere. Belize's barrier reef is a place of great scenic natural beauty, beautiful islands, sand bores, pristine reefs, and various underwater structures. It supports an incredibly rich ecosystem and is home to over 200 fish species, ranging from small sea fish to large sharks. In fact, more fish varieties are found here than anywhere else in the world. In addition, the reef supports numerous varieties of invertebrates like corals, mollusks, crustaceans, and echinoderms."

    Language Learners: English (national language) and Spanish (spoken by 56% of the people in Belize) is available through both Mango Languages and Pronunciator.

    Music Lovers: Visit our Freegal music service to explore more music options from Belize or elsewhere in Central America.

    Recipe Corner: For an example Belizean recipe, try Rice and Beans.

    Red beans and rice are a Belizean staple, normally cooked with coconut milk.

    Recipe Serving: Serves 6

    1/2 lb (225 g) red beans, soaked
    2 cups (480 ml) rice
    1 cup (240 ml) thick coconut milk
    1 onion, sliced
    1/2 bell pepper, chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 1/2 tsp (7 ml) salt
    1/2 tsp (2 ml) black pepper
    1/4 tsp (1 ml) thyme
  • Combine beans, onions, bell pepper, garlic, and water to cover.
  • Simmer until tender.
  • Add coconut milk and seasonings and stir well.
  • Add rice. Cover and cook over very low heat until rice is tender, adding more liquid as needed.