Belize City is the largest city in Belize and the country’s principal port and financial and industrial center. It was also once the capital of British Honduras, the former name of Belize, until the government was moved in 1970 to the new capital of Belmopan. The city is located at the mouth of the Haulover Creek, a tributary of the Belize River, which empties into the Caribbean Sea. In 1961, the city was almost entirely destroyed by Hurricane Hattie.
Originally a small Maya city known as Holzuz, the current was later founded here as “Belize Town” in 1638 by English lumber harvesters — ideal for the English as a central post because it was on the sea and a natural outlet for shipping logwood and mahogany. Belize Town also became the home of the thousands of African slaves brought in by the English to assist in the forest industry.
Today, several cruise ships anchor outside the port and are tendered by local citizens. The area is popular with tourists due to its famous dive site known as the Big Blue Hole, jungle adventures and nearby Mayan ruins. In the city itself, popular activities include horse-drawn carriage rides (above), local souvenir shopping and beach-going.
- Visited: Jan 2010