The Creole influence is widely seen in the cuisine of the country. As with any other country in the Caribbean belt, the diet is mainly based around rice, chicken and beans. Wholesome soups, stews and rice dishes are the found in most restaurants. If you are traveling on a budget then the best bet is to find a small shop which serves rice and combine it with a chicken dish. These small meals will probably cost you less than $10 and they are quite healthy too. If you have a chance to eat with a Belizian family then you will be able to taste traditional fare.
You can also expect the use of spices and peppers and most notably the world famous habanero pepper. Most of the tourist oriented restaurants at Belize are quite expensive and it is better to search for places where the locals are found. These are cheap and the food is like ‘mama’s food’. Street stalls sell maize cakes and pancakes and they are the cheapest option. These pancakes are usually served with some form of topping or the other. They are ideal for those who are on a strict budget. But at the same time, these papusas are clean and healthy. Freshly caught sea food is available along the coast. Prawns, fish and crab are commonly found but some places offer lobster meals as well. You should ask the locals regarding the best place to get good sea food.
Vendors near the Belize beaches offer a variety of quick options. If you want to go for something more luxurious then most of the hotel restaurants offer high end foods of Belize. You will find a variety of dining options but be prepared to spend a bomb. A typical meal for two can cost anywhere between $50 and $100 at these places. Most of the towns have a specific area where all the tourist restaurants are located. Places such as San Pedro are known for its influx of tourists during the season and some of the restaurants in town charge quite a bit of money for a normal meal.
Rum is widely drunk around the country and one can also find a local beer known as Belikin. There are several distilleries around the country and these make for an interesting visit. Local rum is available in several colors, flavors and sizes as well. You can take a few bottles back with you but always check the customs limit before you buy. You will also find different types of wines made from cashew, sorrel, ginger and blackberry.
Most of bottles which you buy can be recycled and you might have to pay a deposit. Always return the bottles and reclaim your deposit money. Coconut water is also widely available in the region and this is a perfect way to quench thirst. There is nothing better than fresh coconut water as an accompaniment for rum.
The region also has a wide variety of tropical fruits and some of them are quite exotic. Fruit juices and milk shakes are commonly made with these and you could try these as well. Some of the juices are used to make some delicious drinks in the hotel bars too. You can lounge by the pool and sip on one of the colorful concoctions. You will also find most of the international soda pop options in the country. These days one can never go far enough to avoid these fizzy drinks.
The culture of Belize is a curious blend of local and foreign influences. The Spanish, Mayans, Americans and to an extent the Mennonites have had a part in the culture. The people are generally laid back and the society if very liberal. Tourists are treated with kindness and curiosity. Belize culture and society is mainly Christian and it is a family centric world. People welcome visitors to their homes with warmth. Whenever you visit a Belizian home you will always be made to feel at home, irrespective of how poor the family is. It is considered polite to smile at even the smallest acquaintance. The music scene is quite heavily influenced by Jamaican reggae and calypso. The native people such as the Mayans are quite shy and they have their own traditions and beliefs. They might take a while to warm up to you but a few smiles and hand signs should do the trick. Always go bearing gifts as some of these places are quite poor. Weddings usually take place in the church and processions might occur. Belize is one of the few countries in the region were people are actually free to practice any religion without fear of persecution. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic and the practices reflect this belief.
Facts and Figures
Area: 22960 square kilometers
Population: 333,200 (2010)
Weather: Tropical (Humid)
Nearest Airport/Bus Stop: Belize City
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