Belize may be small, but it's anything but simple. This beautiful country is full of surprises. Here, we've compiled sixteen of our favorite factoids about both our home here in Placencia, and Belize at large.
1. Belize is smaller than Massachusetts
At 10,000 square miles, the American state of Massachusetts is slightly larger than our entire country, which comes in just under 9,000 square miles.
2. Placencia's Main Street is Record-Breaking
Even our Main Street is small! Here in Placencia, our Main Street holds a Guinness World Record for being the narrowest Main Street in the world.
3. Our Sidewalk is Made of Shells
The sidewalk on Main Street consists of cement, coral pieces, beach sand, and an estimated 30,000 conch shells. We'd take that over tar any day.
4. We really love gelato
Here in Placencia, locals and visitors alike rate gelato shop Tutti Frutti the #1 restaurant on TripAdvisor. Stop by for a scoop (or three) of its creamy flavors, like stracciatella, pistacchio, and papaya pineapple.
5. We also love coffee
Placencia's second-highest rated restaurant on TripAdvisor? Above Grounds, a coffee shop. Locals make the pilgrimage here every morning for their fill of expertly brewed caffeine, along with baked goods, house-made jams, and juices.
6. Our entrepreneurs are Pageant winners
7. We said no to chains
You won't find McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, KFC or the like in Placencia—or the entire country. Our government prohibits them, encouraging the proliferation of local restaurants instead. What better way to enjoy the flavors of Belize?
8. Yes, we speak English here
A lasting legacy of Belize's status as a British colony until 1981, English is the official language, and the mother tongue for the majority of Belizeans. That's one of the reasons our tropical paradise has become a favorite destination for North Americans and Brits looking for a taste of Central America without the stress of having to speak a foreign language.
9. But our name comes from Spanish
The name "Placencia" is actually a distortion of Punta Placentia, which means "Pleasant Point" in Spanish.
10. We're proud of our one coast
Every country in Central America has a Pacific coastline, except for Belize. But we don't mind! We make the most of our Caribbean shores, and have even outlawed all oil activity from our waters, ensuring the coast and its fragile reef remain in pristine condition.
11. We prefer speed bumps to traffic lights
To enforce speed limits inside towns and villages and near schools, Belize uses speed bumps instead of traffic lights. There are 27 on the Placencia Peninsula alone!
12. We served Queen Elizabeth a "rat"...and it was delicious
When Queen Elizabeth visited Belize in 1985, she was served with one of the country's finest delicacies—gibnut meat. The large rodent, which is native to Central and South America, looks something like a cross between a chipmunk and a tapir, and tastes similar to rabbit. After the queen's visit, gibnut earned the nickname "Royal Rat."
13. Two million butterflies fly through Belize every day during the migration
Each fall, and then again in the spring, Belize welcomes upwards of two million butterflies and moths each day. That's five butterflies per every Belizean resident, every day! Expect beautiful, monumental sightings of several species, like the Cloudless and Orange Banded Sulphurs, Great Southern Whites, Monarchs and Giant Swallowtails.
14. Our tallest building was built nearly 3,000 years ago
At 141 feet tall, the Caana pyramid at the ancient ruins of Caracol is the tallest building in all of Belize. Built in 1200 BC, it's also the oldest record-holder for a country's current tallest building.
15. Belize is OFF the UNESCO danger list!
This past June, UNESCO declared that the Belize Barrier Reef has been removed from the list of endangered World Heritage Sites. A huge accomplishment for Belize and all the efforts put in to protect our loved reef.
16. No more single use plastic
Belize is making huge moves in the global market by announcing earlier this year that they planned to ban all single use plastic by April 2019. Since, we've seen multiple companies around the world begin to make similar changes that will make a huge impact for our planet.
Ready to move beyond the factoids and into the actual experience? Come discover our small, but surprising land for yourself!