Belize City cruise

The Victorian Museum of Belize
The Swing Bridge
Electrifying Caribbean rhythms

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Belize City

A Tribute to Peter Wallace, the Pirate

For those who spend some time in Belize City during an MSC Caribbean cruise to Belize, this town will reveal a distinguished history, several superb sights and fascinating cultural spectacles. The city’s astonishing energy comes from its 76,000-plus inhabitants, who represent every ethnic group in the country, with the Creole descendants of former slaves and British Baymen forming the dominant element and generating an easy-going Caribbean atmosphere.

This relaxed attitude blends with an entrepreneurial flair, for Belize City is the country’s business capital; banks, offices and shops line the main streets, while fruit and fast-food vendors jostle for pavement space with others selling plastic bowls or cheap jewellery. The jubilant September Celebrations, which pack the already full streets with music, dancing and parades, culminate in Carnival, with gorgeously costumed dancers who shimmer and gyrate through the city to electrifying Caribbean rhythms.

A holiday to Belize will show you two of the very best colonial structures carefully restored which are open to visitors; the former city jail, built in Victorian times, now the Museum of Belize, and the even earlier Government House, a museum and cultural centre. The city is divided neatly into north and south halves by Haulover Creek, a delta branch of the Belize River.

The pivotal point of the city centre is the Swing Bridge, always busy with traffic and occasionally opened up to allow larger vessels up and down. The surrounding Belize District, which extends north, west and south of the city, is tailor-made for excursions and includes some of the country’s top sights, including the Altun Ha Maya site, the splendid Belize Zoo and the Community Baboon Sanctuary.

Must see places in Belize City

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A pre-Columbian civilization
A pre-Columbian civilization

A cruise to Belize offers a phenomenal range of experiences: snorkel the longest barrier reef in the Americas; dive the inky depths of the Blue Hole; and embark on thigh-aching treks up soaring Maya pyramids. And while geographically it may belong to Central America, at heart Belize is Caribbean, a combination that serves to create a unique blend of both cultures. Wedged into the north-eastern corner of Central America, Belize features some of the most breathtaking coastal scenery in the Caribbean.

Throw in vast archaeological sites and wildlife to rival any destination in the region, and it’s easy to see why the number of visitors is steadily rising year upon year. Belizean territory comprises marginally more sea than land, and for most visitors the sea is the main attraction. An astonishing natural wonder lies just offshore – the dazzling turquoise shallows and cobalt depths of the barrier reef.

Beneath the surface, a brilliant technicolour world of fish and corals awaits divers and snorkelers, while a chain of islands known as cayes, scattered along the entire reef, protects the mainland from the ocean swell and holds more than a hint of tropical paradise. Beyond the reef lie the real jewels in Belize’s natural crown – three of the only four coral atolls in the Caribbean.