In order to connect to just about anywhere in Belize, the traveler must first pass through Belize City. In the past, the city had a (well-deserved) unsavory reputation, but the city has cleaned up somewhat in recent years.
The Museum of Belize, which was a prison in the mid-1800s, has a nice display of ancient Maya relics and artifacts, as well as a section dealing with the history of Belize City itself. If youâ€™re in town for a while, you may also want to check out the Yarborough Cemetery. The first public cemetery in Belize, the most recent burial there took place in 1891.
Belize Tourism Village is a special tourist zone, designed especially to be easily accessible to cruise ships. Depending on if one is in port, youâ€™ll either have the place to yourself or be lost in a sea of day trippers. It features restaurants, shops, t-shirt stores, etc.
About 30 miles away from Belize City is the Belize Zoo, which is known for having several species of jungle cats on display. The zoo is re-inventing itself as a rescue shelter and adopts rainforest birds and animals taken as pets and later abandoned or given away.
Belize Parks â€“ Near Belize City
There are several interesting parks and wildlife sanctuaries near Belize City: most make for an enjoyable day trip. Hotels and travel agencies in Belize City offer tours and can arrange for guides as well.
Community Baboon Sanctuary is located 30 km west of Belize City. It is basically a poor local community that has learned to live in harmony with a tribe of black howler monkeys. The community has received support in for this project from the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee County. There is a visitor center and small museum on-site. Note that the trails and farms of this community are all private property, so you should come with a guide.
Five Blues Lake National Park is in the forested foothills of the Maya mountains. Established in 1992, it is 4,000 acres of protected jungle. The lake itself is a collapsed cave system known as a cenote, also known as a blue hole. The lake is about 200 feet deep and gets its name from the different shades of blue apparent in the water.
Thirty miles northwest of Belize City you will find the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. It was established as a protected zone for the many resident and migratory species of birds that pass through annually. It is a maze of lagoons, swamps and narrow waterways and is home to many species of birds. The most notable resident is the Jabiru stork: with their 10 to 12 foot wingspan, they are the largest flying birds in North America. They can be seen at the sanctuary between November and May. The Wildlife Sanctuary also is home to crocodiles, howler monkeys, coatimundis, iguanas and more.
Other places nearby Belize City: Gales Point,