Belmopan, capital city of Belize
In 1961, Hurricane Hattie ravaged the capital of Belize. After Belize City was nearly destroyed, the government realized that capital on the coast would never be safe from the threat of hurricanes and began building a new capital, Belmopan, in the country’s center in 1971. The result is a quiet capital that is still growing and developing its own personality. Belmopan lacks many of the national museums and monuments that characterize other capitals, but the city has a distinctly international feel thanks to its large concentration of government ministries, embassies, and other organization’s headquarters. Most of the area’s attractions are located just outside the city, making Belmopan a great jumping-off point to exploring Belize.
The George Price Center for Peace and Development is one of the capital’s most important institutions. Built in honor of Price, the man who lead the nation to independence, the center includes a small permanent exhibition dedicated to his life and work. It is also the cultural heart of the city, regularly hosting traveling art exhibits, movie showings, theater performances and dance recitals.
The Belize Zoo is one of the city’s biggest draws. The 29-acre zoo was established in 1983 and is home to over 125 native animals. None of the creatures have been captured from the wild; they are either injured and rehabilitate orphans or gifts from other zoos around the world. The tropical environment closely mimics the natural habitat of the animals. Instead of being confined to glass-walled rooms or cages, the animals live in their own compounds complete with thick native vegetation.
The area around Belmopan is riddled with caves, which were considered by the ancient Maya to be mystical portals between the underworld inhabited by the dead and spirits and the living world above. They used the caves for many rituals and mundane purposes, such as burials, sacrifices and storage. Visitors today can explore the fascinating cave system on foot or by traversing the underground rivers via inner tube, canoe or kayak.
Actun Tunichil Muknal
One of the most impressive and rewarding caves to explore is Actun Tunichil Muknal. Visitors must trek through the dense rainforest for 45 minutes to reach the mouth of the cave, then wade through waist-deep water until they come to several sacrificial and ceremonial chambers. Earlier explorers have found 14 burial sites and skeletons in the caves in addition to many artifacts used by the Mayans during religious ceremonies. A number of these bones and tools are now covered in calcium, but many others are quite well preserved.
Guanacaste National Park
Just north of the city lies Guanacaste National Park, named for the area’s oldest tree ñ a 100-year old Guanacaste, or tubroos, tree blanketed with nearly 40 species of epiphytes, including mosses, orchids, ferns, bromeliads and lichens. The 50-acre park is home to over 100 species of animals, including birds, jaguarundis, deer, large iguanas, agoutis, armadillos and more, many of which can be spotted from the park’s two miles of hiking trails.
Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
The nearby Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary offers another opportunity for visitors to experience Belize’s incredible wildlife up close. The environmental reserve and education center spans over 1,000 acres of lush natural habitat, and daily tours introduce visitors to nearly 300 different species of birds.
Why isn’t the Largest City Belize City the Capital?
Why is BELMOPAN the Capital of BELIZE? Why is Belize’s 3rd largest city the capital and not Belize City? I explain in this video along with other fun facts about Belize!
Belmopan Geographical Location
Belmopan is located in the center of Belize near the Belize River.
The approximate population of Belmopan is 14,000.
English is the official language of Belize and while most speak it well it is usually their second language. The majority of Belizeans speak Spanish or Creole as their first language.
Belmopan Predominant Religion
- 50% Roman Catholic
- 27% Protestant
- 14% Other
- 9% None
Belize guarantees religious freedom and many Christians visit the country for religious ceremonies.
The official currency of Belize is the Belize Dollar.
Belmopan is warm throughout the year with the most rainfall occurring in September and October.
Belmopan Main Attractions
La Milpa, Actun Tunichil Muknal, and Cahal Pech have been voted the best of the 12 tourist attractions in Belmopan by visitors. There are 15 tourist attractions in Belize City, which is only 81 kilometers from Belmopan, and 11 tourist attractions in San Pedro, which is 70 kilometers away. The most well-known are Belize City’s Great Blue Hole and San Pedro’s Cuello.
- Guanacaste National Park
- The Belize Zoo
- Caves Branch River Cave System
Other Attractions in Belmopan
- Blue Hole National Park
- Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
Escape the Cold Months With a Trip to Beautiful Belize
The beautiful Belize rests on Central America’s Northeastern coast attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists annually. Bordering Mexico, Guatemala and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, Belize houses approximately 356,000 inhabitants and the official language is English sure to lessen the traveling tension for American tourists. Eclectic wildlife, ancient Mayan ruins, lush jungles and the famed Belize Barrier Reef are awaiting you. Follow these travel tips and formulate your itinerary for a sublime Belizean vacation.
Travel to and traverse the luscious landscapes of Belize by taking this traveling advice to heart to save money and stay safe. Secure trip insurance first to begin your tropical excursion.
Timely Flight Take heed of this advice, frugal travelers. For those not as interested in going during the winter, plan your trip for any of the five months outside of October to April. Within those off-peak months, book your flight for any of the three midweek days: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the cheapest and should be absent of business travelers and other tourists.
Alternative Transportation Belize’s bus system is the primary mode of travel used by the locals. Travelers should utilize this service rather than spending exorbitant amounts of money on shuttles. Hitchhiking is a common custom among citizensif you can overcome your American aversion to hitchhiking, this is a delightful way to explore the countryside with a friendly, native Belizean at the wheel.
Considering the purported end of the world, why not check out Belize, home of the clairvoyant Mayans? To begin your journey, check in at the Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort. Stay for eight days and seven nights in a beachfront room while engaging in the package’s five Mayan-themed day excursions. Rooms range from $251 to $690 depending on which time of year you go. If there’s only time for one Mayan site, make it Caracol, one of the most powerful cities when the Mayans were at their peak. The far-flung ruins and temples are immersed in the jungle green. Among the most prolific is Canaa, the Sky Place, the tallest man-made structure in the country. Also of interest are the sacrificial caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal and the well-preserved ruins of Altun Ha.
Belize Zoo provides a sprawling 29 acres of tropical savanna full of 150 animals native to Belize. Tickets are $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for children. Among the mammals, birds and reptiles are the jaguar, black howler monkey, toucan, scarlet macaw and the dangerous Fer-de-Lance, the venomous pit viper. The world renowned Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in the eastern Maya Mountains protects large swaths of rainforest, majestic jaguars and an array of fauna. Avian enthusiasts are sure to flock to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, a world-class location to spot our feathered friends.
Belize Barrier Reef The second largest in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef stretches on for 186 miles as part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. A true underwater wonder, the Barrier Reef is the largest barrier reef in the norther hemisphere, according to UNESCO.org.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Near Ambergris Caye, Hol Chan is a diver and snorkeler’s aquatic paradise. Swim through the caves and coral while soaking in the sights of technicolor tropical fish. Swim alongside sharks and stingrays in Shark Ray Alleydon’t worry, they won’t bite.