¡Hola Guatemala! – The Sweet River

As you may remember from a previous post, last year I took my first trip across Belize’s western border to Guatemala. And after having waited so long to finally go there, I immediately realised how beautiful (and cheap) the country is, and how much I wanted to go back. After taking advantage of one of the many Belizean public holidays to revisit the jungle-covered and ruin-filled Petén department back in March, now it’s the Easter weekend, and time for another trip – this time to another place I’ve already glimpsed, the Rio Dulce, in the tropical south of the country. Continue reading

Garifuna Settlement Day

One of the biggest celebrations of the year in Belize is Garifuna Settlement Day, celebrated every November 19th across the country, but especially in the Garifuna heartlands of southern Belize.  For most people it’s an excuse for a day off work, but for the Garifuna it’s a celebration of their culture, and more specifically, their successful landing on the Belizean coast 180 years ago. Continue reading

The Maya Village

Of all of Belize’s ethnic groups, the Maya are the most indigenous of the lot – they were in Central America long before the arrival of the first white men, and some of their ruined cities are over two thousand years old.  Nowadays, the Mestizos and the Creoles make up the country’s main ethnicities, and the Maya (who now comprise about 10% of the population) are spread round the country’s hinterland, near the borders with Mexico and Guatemala.  One of the areas where they’re most concentrated is Toledo district, in the far south of Belize.  With over 60% of Toledo’s population being Maya, and with them living in over 30 villages, it’s one of the best places to spend some time with the descendants of the original inhabitants of the area.  And I finally get my opportunity to go there by working for a few days in Punta Gorda, the very last town on the Southern Highway. Continue reading