The country of Belize (photos) is located in Central America on the Caribbean coast with Mexico on its northern border and Guatemala to the west. It is a country with about 340,000 residents with the official language as English. Spanish is widely spoken but the locals, when speaking to each other use some amalgamation of Spanish, English and Caribbean slang. It was originally part of the British Empire and was known as British Honduras until it became independent in 1981, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.
We arrived here from Playa del Carmen by taking a bus to Chetumal, Mexico, where we took the express boat directly to the town of San Pedro which is on the island of Ambergris Caye. The island is about 25 miles long and relatively narrow, less than one mile. It is by far the largest of the more than 450 offshore cayes or islands along the coast of Belize.
We stayed in a condo in San Pedro Town located on the beach along the Caribbean coast side of Ambergris Caye. From there you could walk for miles along the coastline to the south. This part of Belize feels like a Caribbean island with white sand beaches, emerald green water and cooling breezes. Fortunately for us, two of the favorite items from the local waters, conch and spiny lobster were both in season.
The most dominant natural feature along the coast is the Belize Barrier Reef, a series of coral reefs that extends 190 miles offshore from Belize. The Belize Barrier Reef is part of the 560 mile long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest coral reef system in the world. Along the shores of Ambergris Caye the reef is only about 300 yards offshore and from the shoreline you can see the waves breaking on it. This reef provides terrific opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. More on this in another post.