A mixture of ethnic groups and cultures
Belize is a wild, disparate mixture of ethnic groups and cultures. Therefore, it is almost unbelievable that they can all manage to live together without any problems or disputes. Belizean people experienced the brutal hostilities with their neighboring nation of Guatemala, which refused to recognize Belize as an independent country and respect its boundaries for many years.
However, the truth is, this hostility always came more from the Guatemalans than from the Belizeans. Due to the history of the British and the Spanish in the country, it is perfectly acceptable to speak both English and Spanish in Belize. English is the official language and you can speak it almost everywhere. However, communicating in Spanish is much simpler and more common in many areas of Belize, especially in the northern and western parts of the country.
Who lives in Belize?
According to the latest numbers from 2010, the population of Belize consists of about 313,000 people. That population is split into approximately 50 % Mestizos, who are descendants of Europeans (mainly Spanish) and indigenous people. Creoles comprise roughly 21% of the population, the Maya make up 10%, and the Garifuna equal 4.6%. One interesting community of Mennonites in the country makes up 3.6 %, the Indians comprise 2.1%, and about 6% of the population is considered mixed ethnicity. The remaining 2-3%, which only includes about 9,000 inhabitants, falls between a wide variety of other ethnic groups and nationalities.
What are Belizeans like?
Belizeans are some of the kindest people you will ever meet. They are generally polite, friendly, welcoming, and communicative. In today’s hustle and bustle of modern life, it is perhaps only in Africa and a few Asian countries where it is still common for drivers to wave at you from passing cars. In Belize, they might even roll down the window and ask if you need a ride somewhere. They will eagerly ask where you are from and will try to recommend their favorite local spots so you enjoy your stay in Belize as much as possible. Each ethnic group is different and your experience with Belizeans ultimately depends on whether you are in a big city (in Belize City, people might not spend time talking to you) or in rural areas, where people typically greet each other and the relaxed, welcoming mood is contagious.
Music, Sports and Culture
If you adore music, then you will love the mighty rhythms and intoxicating beats of the musical style Punta, which is traditionally performed by the Garifuna. You should visit the village of Dangriga or Hopkins to enjoy the unique atmosphere and have a once in a lifetime experience.
If someone starts to talk about a musical style called brukdown, then pay attention! It is actually a Creole mixture of European harmonies, African syncopated rhythms, and some lyrical elements from the native culture of Belize. There are very few quality recordings of this musical style, so getting a chance to sit in on a live performance is a rare opportunity. Acting and drama is also slowly growing in popularity among Belizeans, but the performances are very limited. The best places to see a live show like that would be in Belize City or Belmopan. If you are more interested in sports, then you probably won’t be surprised to know that football is the most popular sport by far, followed by basketball.