The Belize District is one of Belize’s six districts. Home to Belize City, the national capital, the Belize District has the largest share of the population. It also includes many of the country’s beautiful offshore islands, part of the Belize River, and many of the country’s most popular tourism attractions.
Historically, the Belize District was settled by Europeans, who divided the area into independent estates. Many of these older colonial estates have since evolved into villages and communities. Their names still echo the original owners of the estates.
Visitors to the Belize District can glimpse Belize’s breadth of natural and cultural heritage right within the district. Wildlife sanctuaries include The Crooked Tree and the Monkey Bay sanctuaries, and the Belize Zoo is located about 30 miles outside of Belize City. For history and archaeology buffs, ruins of the Mayan civilization may be explored at Altun Ha.
The Belize District is also of interest because it is home to the capital city. With Phillip Goldson International Airport, Belize City is the entry point for numerous visitors to Belize. Those who remain for some city sightseeing can take in the Museum of Belize, the Maritime Museum and a booming nightlife scene.
It would be a shame, however, to remain in the city too long. Just outside the city limits, right within the Belize District, visitors can find numerous opportunities to explore Belize’s natural wonders. The cays right outside town are prime spots for snorkeling and SCUBA diving, as well as world-famous sport fishing.
The Belize River as well as the Burdon Canal are also options for seeing the country by water. River tours let you take in the sights by boat, whether your idea of a great boat trip is in a canoe or sitting back to enjoy a riverboat cruise. Guides can point out wildlife, from crocodiles to herons to egrets and Turkey vultures.
Indeed, birding is one of the major attractions of Belize to many nature lovers. Estimates of the local bird population put the figure at around 500 species, altogether. Of these, about 80 percent of all the birds primarily reside in Belize. By contrast, if you consider all of the birds species found throughout the entirety of North America, from Alaska to southernmost Mexico, the figure is just about 650!
The great array of bird species can be chalked up to the highly diverse ecosystems found within such a relatively small country. Right within the Belize District, visitors can see wetlands, grasslands, savannahs, broad-leaf forests, coasts and cays, each with a distinctive collection of native wildlife.
If you’ve come to Belize for the archaeology, you needn’t wander further afield than Belize District. Altun Ha is perhaps the most famous of the local ruins, with about 500 buildings altogether. Just 55 miles from downtown Belize City, it’s a popular destination for a quick side trip. In addition to Altun Ha, Chau Hiix is a far less visited but no less fascinating site. In fact, the University of Indiana’s team of archaeologists continues to excavate and unearth ancient treasures from this area. Visitors can take in the whole site from a bird’s-eye-view by climbing up the observation tower for a better view. Plus, the site is close to Crooked Tree Village, where you can find local guides.
Whatever brings you to Belize, there’s a good chance you can enjoy a well-rounded visit without leaving Belize district. If you have time to explore, check out the five other districts. If not, simply enjoy Belize District’s unique wealth of sights.