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A Cultural Melting Pot, Mayan Ruins and Jungle Treks
Formerly British Honduras, Belize hosts a melting pot of cultures - Garifuna, Mayan, Mestizo, Chinese, Indian, Creole and Mennonite - each having made their distinct mark on the country’s traditions and its cuisine. In the heart of Central America, bordered by Mexico and Guatemala, Belize offers bountiful nature: from unspoiled jungles, rainforests and caves to the
largest offshore barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, a mecca for snorkelers and scuba divers alike.
While Belmopan is the country’s administrative capital,
Belize City is the country’s business capital, with banks, offices and shops lining the streets, a place where fruit and fast-food vendors jostle with those selling knickknacks. Divided by Haulover Creek, a tributary of the Belize River, Belize City’s north and south sides are connected by the Swing Bridge, the oldest manually operated swing bridge in South America, an admirable example of 1920s architecture and a historical landmark. Built in Liverpool, England, and transported by sea to Belize City, the bridge requires four men to manually operate it—marking it as one of the few manually operated swing bridges in the world still used today.
As you arrive in Belize City on an
MSC Caribbean and Antilles cruise
, you have the perfect starting point for offshore
, offering water sports in the crystal blue Caribbean and a wealth of inland excursions, from
howler monkey sanctuaries
To experience something really special, there’s even an exclusive
Martha Stewart excursion in the jungle that’ll have you tasting street food, cacao and artisanal cheese, while exploring rainforest botany during a full day adventure.
Don’t miss an
to one of three major Mayan archaeological sites:
(Rock Stone Water),
(Submerged Crocodile) and
(Stone Woman). Here, among the foliage of a spectacular jungle, discover the magnificent ruins of a civilization that had survived for centuries. See where the famous Jade Head “Kinich Ahau” was uncovered by Dr David Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum, visit the Temple of the Mask with its huge crocodile-shaped mask, or explore the Temple of El Castillo, the administrative hub of elite rulers of the time.