Belize City Cruises
Welcome to Central America's English-speaking gem, the tiny country of Belize acclaimed as an adventurer's paradise with an intriguing mix of tropical forests, majestic mountains, Maya temples and spectacular diving opportunities. Only slightly larger than Massachusetts, the variety of the country's terrain is astounding. Situated on the Caribbean coast, nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize boasts 174 miles of coastline and the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.
In colonial times, the Spanish conquistadors initially had little use for Belize, apart from harvesting logwood. But the safety of the barrier reef provided an ideal hideout for English and Scottish pirates, who operated from here capturing Spanish galleons laden with riches from Spain's American Empire. Later, many of the pirates went into the logwood business with some protection from Britain. Although a Spanish possession, most of the country was British by sympathy and tradition.When England defeated the Spanish fleet off St. George's Caye in 1798, Spain officially lost its possession. In 1862, Britain declared Belize its colony with a new name - British Honduras. After World War II, various political parties were formed striving for independence from Britain, which eventually became a reality in 1981.The country then returned to its original name of Belize.
Although the capital was moved to Belmopan after Hurricane Hattie in 1961, Belize City is still the heart of the country where most events of significance take place. It is the country's largest city perched along the Caribbean Sea and also the major port of export and import. Major commercial enterprises and tourist facilities are located in Belize City. Haulover Creek runs through the middle of the city, separating the commercial center from the residential and hotel district of Fort George. It was in this area where the first British settlers made their homes. Colonial type houses with their red roofs lend the town a degree of old-world charm. A unique contraption, the Swing Bridge, connects the commercial district with Fort George. Built in 1923 and a product of Liverpool's ironworks, it is the only manual swing bridge in the world. Operators manually rotate the bridge daily at 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to let tall boats pass and bringing most of the traffic in the city center to a standstill. Belize City also boasts the oldest Anglican church in Central America.
But most important, Belize City makes for a great gateway to the country's natural attractions, adventure sites and mystic Maya ruins.