Visiting Belize And Belize City
The name Belize is traditionally believed to have been derived from the Spanish pronunciation of the last name of Peter Wallace, a Scottish buccaneer who may have begun the first settlement at the mouth of the Belize River about 1638. It was also a major part of the Maya civilization that spread into the area between 1500 BC to 1200 BC and flourished until about 1000 AD. It became a British crown colony in 1871. Subsequently, several constitutional changes were enacted to expand representative government and Self-Government was granted in January 1964.
The cruise port of Belize City offers a number of opportunities to visit Mayan archeologic sites, venture into tropical forests for wildlife and bird watching along with exploring one of the largest reefs in the world. English is the country’s official language.
Where Your Ship Docks
Belize City is currently a tender port with ships anchoring off shore about 2 miles from the coast and rather than tendering the port provides their large boats to transfer passengers to the Tourism Village.The trip takes about 20 minutes to the Fort Street Tourism Village dock.
Cruise Tender Terminal & Fort Street Tourism Village
The terminal building offers all the basic services and public facilities, with many of the shops typical of cruise ports along with a few local restaurants.
Plan for new Cruise Port Village
The local official currency is the Belize Dollar and one U.S. dollar equals two Belize dollars. US dollars are gladly accepted throughout the country as well as most credit cards and while there are ATMs be cautious regarding the machines network.
Attractions, and Sights
Archeological Sites – The Mayan legacy can be seen today in the many Maya ruins in Belize. The best-known are those at Xunantunich, Cahal Pech, Caracol, and Lamanai.Mayan ruins with the nearest to Belize City being Altun Ha Mayan Site at 31 miles and is usually available in local tours.
Altun Ha – In most of the Caribbean the Altun Ha site is one of the largest and easiest to reach from a cruise port. It was only first excavated in 1963. It was estimated to once be home to 10,000 people covering more than 3.1 square miles. The Mayan city contains two main plazas and currently is made up of thirteen different structures. The site is completely open and you can climb most of the structures. Going to the top of the Temple of Masonry Altars, the largest temple pyramid at the site offers amazing views of the surrounding ruins and the area. Altun-Ha has not been fully excavated and grass still grows between some of the stones, making Altun-Ha feel as if you are one of its discoverers.
Belize Zoo is 30 miles from cruise port. It’s a small zoo but has an interesting collection of local wildlife. See Harpy Eagle, Jaguars and a number of monkeys.
Little Guana Caye Bird Sanctuary 41 miles by ferry.
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary 50 miles from Belize City.
Manatee Watching 23 miles by water taxi.
Cave Adventures – Cave tubing and cave kayaking are very popular activities on Belize tours and are favorite cruise shore excursions.
The Mesoamerica Reef – The Belize Coral Reef is the worlds second largest after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and provides a fantastic opportunity to snorkel or scuba dive.
Beaches – For those that enjoy secluded beaches, Belize is a stunning cruise destination. There’s Ambergris Caye about 30 miles from Belize City, it is the largest island in Belize, and a major destination for travelers to Belize. San Pedro Town is the only town on the island. Ambergris Caye has been the hub of the areas maritime trade for centuries. and Caye Caulker 19 miles can be reached by water taxi.
Museum of Belize – Housed in a brick building built in 1857 as the main jail. It houses plenty of exhibits in two floors and offers interesting insights to the countries past.
St. John Cathedral – The Cathedral built in 1812 is still a functioning church, home of the Anglican Diocese of Belize. The church is open seven days a week for worship or visits from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.