The Land of NOT That Far Away

CHAT Tourism - The Land of NOT That Far Away

Let’s talk geography and transportation. Sometimes a trip is prolonged, or worst, completely abandoned because the destination just seems too far to travel. The more mysterious the place, the further it sounds and more difficult it seems to get there. Belize often has that problem. People are quick to assume we are far away when we are just skip and a hop from most places in North and South America. Europe may take a few extra stops but we are working on that. We were Mother Nature’s “best kept secret” after all, but that did not mean to suggest that getting to the Jewel would be its own mystery story. Travel to Belize was never too difficult and these days, it is easier than ever. In real estate they say that location is everything. In tourism, aviation is everything. So, let’s start with our geography.

Belize is quietly nestled in the northeast coast of Central America. We say quietly because we are still relatively unknown to most of the world. With Mexico bordering us to the north and Guatemala to the east and south, many visitors are often surprised and confused to know that we are an English-speaking Central American country that is also a part of the Caribbean region. If that sounds complicated it just means that we have an interesting history. For the cartophiles (lovers of maps) among us, Belize’s geographical coordinates are 17° 15’north latitude and 88° 45’ west longitude.  We can be travelled to by land, sea, or air. Most travellers arrive by air and that is because a flight from Miami to Belize City is just over two hours. We can be reached via 27 airports, spread around 25 cities in 6 different countries, and eight airlines that fly directly to the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA). Eight cruise lines including Carnival, Norwegian, Oceania, and Celebrity, travel to Belize The point of saying all that is to say you can get here on your own time, a slow time, a good time, and any time.

Travel within the country is even easier. Most of the major local tourism destinations can be reached by land, air, or sea. Our local airlines and boat ferries are small by US and European standards but they are safe and efficient. By road, the entire country can be travelled from top to bottom in less than a day. With six major districts and a highway network that connects all of them, no place in Belize is too far away. Why do we speak English and are a part of the Caribbean region? As a former British colony formerly known as British Honduras, Belize shares a similar history to that of other Caribbean countries. Those similarities are reflected in our system of government, our education, our food, our past-times, and our Afro-Caribbean ancestry. However, while traveling through Belize you can expect to hear more than just Creole and English —Spanish, Maya, and Garifuna are also spoken.

Geography is important because it helps us to navigate the physical world around us, it gives meaning and awareness to places and spaces, and it can help us to realize the interaction between places and environments. On a world map, Belize is a tiny, rectangular clump of earth pushing out its coastal belly to the Caribbean Sea. Never mind our random location, double region history because our tourism coordinates mean that you are only a few hours away from some of the best landforms, climate, and natural resources you will ever see. If our geography could talk for us, it would say “Belize is a barrier-reef, blue-hole, beach bearing, biodiversity with a deep demography endemic of its environs”.

Chat again later.


Jasmine Anderson

For the Belize Tourism Board