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[ Belize it or not ]

Kayla’s Worldly Inventions – Kayla DeVault

It seems like a lot of people have heard of Belize, but not as many could place it on a map. Say “Mexico” and everyone knows exactly where it is. Ironically, Belize isn’t too far. In fact, it’s bordered by Mexico to the north, by Guatemala to the south and by the Caribbean Sea to the east. Its coat of arms, which is pictured on the Belizean flag, could very well serve in an advertisement for Axe. (It’s a couple of buff dudes with extremely white pants about to go do some serious yard work under a tree. Not bad.)

Although Belize was traditionally occupied by the Mayans, its population is only 10 percent pure Mayan and as much as 50 percent Mestizo. There’s also an impressive Mennonite population—about one Mennonite per two Mayans. The capitol is not Belize City, but Belmopan. The Belize dollar (BZD) is the currency in circulation now that Belize has been independent from the United Kingdom for over thirty years. However, Belize still runs under a constitutional monarch: Queen Elizabeth II.

I’m not sure what it is about little countries, but some of them really pack a lot in. (Liechtenstein, not so much). Belize has a lot to offer, from its biodiversity to its ancient history and beyond. Naturally, any country once dominated by the Mayans or a similar culture is ruin-rich. And think about it: When you look at illustrations of or by the Mayans, what kinds of things have been depicted? Well, you see lots of big buildings.

And those are still there, just kind of broken and, well, ruined. You see lots of people, people in pelts and some of them missing heads and such. (Okay, so no pelted, bleeding men can be expected anymore in Belize, but you can still visit their domain.)

Hmm…How about those jaguar pelts? Remember seeing those? Yup, you can bet there are jaguars in the jungles of Belize! That’s just one example of biodiversity—awesomeness still available in this little Gaza strip of the Western World. You can also expect a number of monkeys and even toucans.

But if getting lost in a jungle where you could be massacred by the ghost of a Mayan or a jaguar doesn’t appeal to you, feel free to meet another fate in the life-teeming sea. Belize’s coast is lined by a barrier reef that is as diverse as anyone would expect a barrier reef to be. In other words, you can probably convince a plethora of sea critters to poison, bite or eat you. But if you linger around the cities too long unguarded, you can probably also convince drug or human traffickers to either steal, gravely injure you or both.

Now that you’re just rearing up to go to Belize… Jokes aside, it’s a pretty cool place. Jokes back from aside, it’s also a poor country where you can expect more for your money because who doesn’t like cheap labor? And while you might get killed, stung, hurt or whatever else by a number of things in the wild, just remember that Belize isn’t as bad as Honduras or Guatemala; those “on the way” countries are for drug smugglers.

Regardless, pack a bag, grab a plane ticket and check out some outdoorsy things in Belize. Just bring a lot of First Aid stuff, some knives and water that you can drink without dying. If you rent transportation, rent four-wheel drive so you don’t get washed out in the rainy season. And avoid bringing drugs home. Probably a poor life choice, but if you decide against that advice, I won’t judge.

Kayla loves to travel the world alone and experience new things in places that most people avoid like the Plague, all the while dreaming of the day her cats will decide to tag along and go somewhere more interesting than their litter box.

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