Culture Guide to Belize


400,031 (2021).

Official Language


Languages Spoken

Beyond English, Belizeans commonly speak in creole patois and many residents are proficient in multiple languages. The Maya community speak Yucatec, Mopán and Kekchí.


Despite its relatively small population, Belize shines as a remarkably diverse nation. The majority of Belizeans identify as Mestizo, a rich blend of Spanish and Maya heritage. This group is closely followed by Maya, Creole, Garifuna, Chinese and Mennonites. There are also small groups of Jamaicans, Lebanese, Americans and Europeans living in Belize.


Religion in Belize mirrors the country's multicultural spirit. While Roman Catholicism stands as the dominant faith, Belize's history of British influence has ushered in a growing Protestant community, surpassing other Central American countries in its numbers. The Maya and Garifuna communities often intertwine traditional shamanistic beliefs with Christianity. A smaller fraction of the population identifies with diverse faiths, including Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Bahá'í, Rastafarianism and others.

National Holidays

Belize observes an array of national holidays:

January 1: New Year's Day

January 15: George Price Day

March 7: National Heroes and Benefactors Day

Late March to early April: Easter (from Good Friday to Easter Monday)

May 2: Labour Day

August 1: Emancipation Day

September 10: St. George's Caye Day

September 21: Independence Day

October 10: Indigenous Peoples' Resistance Day

November 19: Garifuna Settlement Day

December 25: Christmas Day

December 26: Boxing Day

Political Landscape

Belize's political structure is a parliamentary representative democratic monarchy. The reigning British monarch serves as the head of state, while the prime minister assumes the role of head of government within a multi-party system. Governance encompasses executive power exercised by the government and legislative authority vested in both the government and the Parliament of Belize. Belizeans participate in elections to choose their government representatives.

A Glimpse into Belize's Story

Geographic Location: Belize, a Caribbean and Central American nation, sits on the northeastern coast of Central America. It shares borders with Mexico to the north, the expansive Caribbean Sea to the east and Guatemala to the south and west. A maritime boundary also extends to Honduras in the southeast. The capital city is Belmopan, with the largest city bearing the same name, Belize City.

Caribbean Connection: Belize's historical narrative is closely intertwined with English-speaking Caribbean nations and their institutions, earning it a distinct Caribbean identity. This cultural fusion is evident even in its official language, English, reflecting its prolonged history as a British colony.

Ancient Maya Legacy: Between 1500 BC and AD 300, the Maya civilization thrived across Belize, leaving behind a rich legacy. However, by around 1200, their flourishing era began to wane.

European Exploration: European contact with Belize traces back to Christopher Columbus' voyage in 1492, navigating the Gulf of Honduras. English settlers arrived in 1638, setting the stage for Spain and Britain to stake their claims. In 1798, Britain triumphed over the Spanish in the Battle of St. George's Caye. Belize officially became British Honduras in 1840, transitioning to a Crown colony in 1862. The nation's ultimate quest for independence materialized on the 21st September 1981. Belize is the only remaining mainland Central American country to be part of the Commonwealth, with the reigning British monarch serving as its head of state, represented by a governor-general.

Biodiversity Hub: Belize has emerged as a prominent destination for those captivated by marine life and diverse ecosystems. Its strategic location within the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor underscores its ecological importance. The nation straddles both the Central American and Caribbean realms and maintains strong ties with both the American and Caribbean regions. Belize is an active member of various regional organizations, including the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Central American Integration System (SICA), boasting full membership in all three.

Etiquette and Cultural Insights

Belizeans are generally known for their warm and laid-back demeanour. However, it's important to note that public attitudes toward homosexuality may not be as accepting, with many individuals keeping their sexual orientation private. Avoid public displays of affection, as such gestures may not be well-received. There are no dedicated gay venues in the country.

Show respect when entering churches; photography is typically discouraged, and it's polite to seek permission before photographing indigenous individuals.

While Belizeans tend to tip sparingly, it's customary for foreigners to offer around ten percent gratuity in taxis and restaurants. Haggling is not a common practice in Belize, and many may find it impolite except in street markets.

Belizean Food and Drink

Belizean cuisine is a fusion born from its diverse population and various cultural influences. It's a treasure trove of seafood, fresh fruits, Caribbean classics and an array of savoury indulgences, ideal for those on the move.

A Caribbean staple, rice and beans take centre stage, often paired with a medley of meat options; from tender, spiced chicken chunks swimming in savoury broth (stewed chicken) to the rich and flavourful Chimole, affectionately known as the 'black dinner'. Chimole combines local spices, chicken and a paste crafted from annatto seeds. With such variety, you're in for a treat whatever your preferences.

Don't miss Belize's famous snack food - Salbutes. These miniature, fried corn tortillas come adorned with an array of fresh toppings, from chicken and avocado to locally crafted hot sauces. For fans of Mexican cuisine, Tamales make a welcome appearance in Belize. These steamed cornmeal and meat delicacies are wrapped in Belizean-style plantain leaves and hold a special place in the hearts of many.

Seafood enthusiasts are in for a treat, with an abundance of ceviche options gracing Belizean menus. Freshly caught seafood stars as the main ingredient, whether it's conch, fish or lobster. Pair your ceviche with a chilled beer on a sunny Belizean day for a perfect culinary experience.

In Belize, tap water is generally not safe to consume. Opt for bottled water, widely available in supermarkets and restaurants, to ensure safe hydration.

For a taste of Belize's national cocktail, order a Rum Punch from the drinks menu. This sweet and straightforward concoction is perfect for sipping on warm, sunny days. Beer enthusiasts will love Belikin beer. It proudly bears the label 'brewed by Belizeans, for Belizeans and only in Belize'.

Belize does not cultivate its own grapes, meaning most wine is imported and so is a pricier option. As a result, more Belizeans have ventured into crafting their own fruit wines. Among them, cashew wine has gained popularity and can be sampled throughout the country.

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