Belize City, Belize
Belize City is by far the largest urban area in Belize with a population of around 58,000 people. Located on the Caribbean coast, the city was originally known as “Belize Town” but later changed its name to Belize City as the population grew. Belize City was the capital of the country for more than a century, but after a severe storm hit in 1961, the government decided to move the capital further inland to Belmopan.
All international flights arrive at the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) which is in Ladyville, approximately nine miles north of Belize City. Most cruise ships make port in Belize City, making Belize City the first place in Belize that most foreign visitors see.
Originally a small Maya city named Holzuz, Belize Town was founded in 1638 by the earliest English colonizers who used the port to export valuable hardwoods.
The area of Belize City has many buildings from the colonial era that are now popular tourist attractions. These include:
- St. John’s Cathedral – Still a working Anglican church, this is one of the oldest buildings in the country. It’s main claim to fame is that it is the only Anglican cathedral outside of England where kings were crowned.
- The Belize Museum – Formerly a prison during colonial times, the museum now has exhibitions on the people and history of Belize.
- Baron Bliss Lighthouse – Built to the exact specifications of Baron Bliss, the eccentric benefactor of the country. Although he never set food on land in Belize, he fell in love with the people while aboard his yacht anchored offshore and donated millions of dollars to the country in his will.
- Baron Bliss gravesite.
Other attractions inside the city limits include:
- Travellers Distillery – Maker of the famous “One Barrel Rum.”
- Belikin Brewery – Maker of the country’s most popular beers.
Nearby attractions include:
- The Belize Zoo – A rescue center for orphaned and injured animals, the Belize Zoo has more than 100 indigenous species and is the only handicap-accessible facility of its kind in the country.
- Old Belize – A kind of “theme park” representing the entire country, Old Belize has the Cucumber (“Kukumba”) Beach marina, water slides, and historical exhibitions.
Tour Belize Auto Rental has two convenient locations in Belize, one in downtown Belize City and one at the international airport. Tour Belize Auto Rental has a fleet of modern vehicles perfect for exploring the historical attractions of Belize City as well as other popular destinations like San Ignacio, Dangriga, and Placencia.