Belize Travel Guide
This small, trim shop has a no-nonsense atmosphere: two desks, four humidors, and one smoking chair, which keeps the focus squarely on cigars. Many of the offerings—Bolivars, Cohibas—are from Cuba, so you'll have to light up before disembarking in the United States.
Small but jam-packed, the excellent museum has a native butterfly collection, historic photographs, and rare Mayan artifacts, such as geometric-patterned vessels, stone earplugs, and a detailed replica of a 10-pound carved jade head—the largest such object ever discovered.
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Reggae music blares from the speakers outside this tiny store; inside there's an assortment of Caribbean-music CDs. Look for Belize-based label Stonetree
Records, which specializes in homegrown genres such as accordion-centric brukdown
and infectious punta rock.
Wander the streets of Fort George, a residential neighborhood of clapboard houses on stilts and yards lush with banana trees and bougainvillea. Look for the giant wooden barrels behind the buildings, relics of a time when rainwater was fastidiously collected for household use.
The 120-year-old dry-goods store is still the go-to emporium downtown. Its atmospheric interior has cast-iron Doric columns, and aisles are stocked with skillets, bath towels, and more than a dozen kinds of rum.
The stately oceanside mansion was the British governor's residence from 1812 to 1961; it now offers a look at an elegant, bygone era. Cases filled with royal-monogrammed china and silver platters sit next to 19th-century mahogany sideboards and handcaned chairs.
The three-square-mile Hol Chan Marine Reserve was created in 1987 to protect marine habitats in Belize’s coral reef, seagrass beds, Mangrove beds, and Shark Ray Alley. The reserve can be reached by a 15-minute boat ride from San Pedro.
Skip the predictable coconut-shell earrings and head straight for this souvenir store's real draw: locally made condiments and spirits. Pick up jugs of sorrel wine, jars of mango jam or habanero jelly, and bottles of Belizean entrepreneur Marie Sharp's renowned hot sauces.
Belize City has no naturally sandy stretches, but the man-made Cucumber Beach, five miles outside of town, is a sugary expanse that's worth a visit. In the lagoon-like saltwater pool, kids bounce on a floating trampoline and jump from rope swings as lifeguards supervise the goings-on.