Located in the heart of Belize City, St. John’s Cathedral is one of the few physical legacies of the long period as a British colony. Built in 1812 as the Church of England’s headquarters in Central America, the cathedral was once used to crown four different native kings of the Miskito tribe in lavish ceremonies matching the pomp and circumstances of coronations in Europe. Today, the cathedral is the oldest surviving building constructed by Europeans in Belize.
Using the enormous ballast stones brought over from Europe, English colonizers in what was then known as British Honduras erected the mighty St. John’s Cathedral as the power base of the Church of England in Central America. Visitors today can marvel at the well-preserved architecture made from sapodilla and mahogany wood, an antique pipe organ and tombstones of English colonists from the earliest days of the settlement of Belize City.
The Museum of Belize is an art and history museum. Located in Belize City, this museum was built between the years of 1854 and 1857 while Belize was still under Britain's rule, and initially served as a prison. It was later transformed to The Museum of Belize in 2002. The museum is divided into three sections: History, Exhibits and Activities. The museum of Belize strives to provide inclusive history and learning experiences of Belize's history and Culture.
The Belize Zoo was started in 1983, as a last ditch effort to provide a home for a collection of wild animals which had been used in making documentary films about tropical forests.
Today, The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center exhibits over 175 animals, representing over 45 native species. The Zoo keeps animals which were orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo, rehabilitated animals, or sent to The Belize Zoo as donations from other zoological institutions.
A visit to the Zoo is the best way to get an introduction to the animals of Belize, and to understand why it is important to protect the habitats that sustain them. We hope this website will be the next best thing to visiting us in person.
The southern tip of Ambergris Caye is the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Hol Chan is Mayan for 'little channel." This sanctuary was officially established in 1987, and since then the return of all species of fish has been quite dramatic.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley is approximately 6.4 km south of San Pedro Ambergris Caye. It is the single most popular day trip from San Pedro, perfect for snorkeling or diving. The reserve covers approximately 7.8 sq km and is divided into three zones. Each one is clearly marked by buoys. The entire reserve focuses on a cut through the reef which is little more than 23 m wide and 9 m deep.
You must hire a boat and guide out of San Pedro or Caye Caulker. The costs depend on the services offered. It is easy to mix diving and snorkeling. Trips usually run once in the morning and again in the afternoon.
One place that contains a wide array of all these wonderfully beautiful things is Belizean Arts. Nestled inside Fido’s Courtyard, Belizean Arts carries original artwork by Belizean artists from across the country. Owner Lindsey Hackston also has an excellent eye for jewelry and gifts that are unique – you certainly won’t be wearing the same thing as everyone else!
Whatever your desire, whatever your budget; be it a Valentine present, a souvenir, or anniversary, birthday, or Christmas, or just because, Belizean Arts is sure to have something for you.
Ambergris Caye is the name of Belize's largest island. The history of the island goes back to the days of the Maya, European Pirates, and Mexican Refugees who fled during the Caste War. The descendants from Mexico make up most of the island's population today. The economy of the island was once dependent on the coconut industry, followed by the fishing industry, but it is now dependent on tourism.
Ambergris Caye is the largest of some 200 cayes that dot the coastline of Belize. Ambergris is 25 miles long and a little over a mile wide, in some places, and it is located in the clear shallow waters of the Caribbean Sea just off the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Her coastline is protected by the 190 miles long Barrier Reef, the second largest living coral reef in the world. In Mayan times, Ambergris Caye was a trading post. San Pedro Town is the only inhabited area on the island. It's atmosphere is that of a small bustling, fishing village but with "hot spots" of events, restaurants, and entertainment.
Father of Belize's Independence 1981 and Founder of the City of Belmopan 1970.
A man who has dedicated fifty eight years of his life to the Government and people of Belize.
As First Minister, he initiated the process for Belize to become an independent country, which finally occurred in 1981. After independence, Price became the first Prime Minister of Belize and served in various government posts until 1996. In 2000, Price became the first person to be given the Order of National Hero, the highest honor in Belize.
Guanacaste National Park (GNP) is a popular getaway, located only two miles from the capital city of Belmopan at the confluence of the Belize River and Roaring Creek. The park’s small size of 50 acres allows visitors to observe wildlife and tropical vegetation readily.
At GNP, it is easy to learn about plants and their traditional uses, fungus farming leaf-cutter ants, or the mini-ecosystem inside a bromeliad. Its habitat is known as a secondary broadleaf forest, which benefits many birds and wildlife, including the shy and secretive “tiger cat” or Jaguarundi and Black howler monkeys.
Visitors can enjoy various recreational and educational activities throughout the year at GNP. The park provides a picnic area, interpretive displays, two miles of maintained trails, a bird watching deck, and a clean swimming area. It is a perfect environment for a class field trip or family gathering.
The following is a first person account of one woman’s visit to explore the mysterious cave of the Maya underworld at Actun Tunichil Muknal – also known as the ATM Cave. This attraction is located in the western part of the country and is one of the more interesting places to visit.
The ATM cave is a hiking and adventure experience with the added dimension of being an educational trip for those interested in archaeology. Here you will find Maya artefacts just the way they were left by the Mayas hundreds of years ago. The cave is ranked as one of the Top Ten Caves Of The World by the National Geographic Society. National Geographic and the Discovery Channels and History have done documentaries on this spectacular cave.
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS) is recognized internationally as the world’s first jaguar preserve. It is also known for its spectacular waterfalls, mountain views, nature trails, and rich diversity of neotropical birds. The tracks of wildcats, tapir, deer, and other wildlife are often seen on hiking trails or along the bank of South Stann Creek.
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is a reservoir for biodiversity. Hundreds of species of plants with exotic leaves and flowers, colorful insects, singing birds, furry mammals, scaly reptiles, and wide-eyed amphibians live in this complex tropical forest community. Each one has a function that serves the community as a whole. Each one is adapted to the conditions that make the community unique. The mosaic of ecosystems in this rugged landscape suggests the limited extent of our knowledge of the Sanctuary’s biodiversity.
Chichen Itza is probably the most important city of the Mayan Culture in the Yucatan peninsula and has the most amazing buildings of any other Mayan ancient cities. Chichen Itza is also the largest and most impressive of the Mayan ruins, is an spectacular and mystical place to visit, if you only want to do one day trip during your vacation in Cancun, this should be this one.
Chichen-Itza (chee-chehn eet-sah) in Maya, was a sacred city of the Itza and the name literally means: "Mouth of the well of the Itza". Located 75 miles east of Merida, the capital of the State of Yucatan, Mexico; it covers an area of approximately six square miles where hundreds of buildings once stood. Now most are mounds but more than thirty may still be seen by tourists.
The ruins of Chichen Itza are divided into two groups. One group belongs to the classic Maya Period and was built between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D., at which time the city became a prominent ceremonial center. The other group corresponds to the Maya-Toltec Period, from the later part of the 10th century to the beginning of the 13th century A.D. This area includes the Sacred Well and most of the outstanding ruins.
Undertake a magical expedition in a hidden corner that guards ancestral mysteries. An old guesthouse houses the spectacular Yaquis Museum, internationally recognized for its work to disseminate and preserve the valiant culture that it represents. Accompany the ancestral tribe throughout eleven themed rooms carefully designed by a talented group of researchers, artists and other professionals, resulting in a delightful journey.
If you've ever wondered how or why the Mayan culture ""disappeared"", how it was originated and why it is considered one of the most important civilizations of the ancient world, you will find your answers in the Great Museum of the Mayan World, a compound that has been added as one of the many attractions of the """"white Merida"".
The Cayman Turtle Centre is the perfect place for families to learn about our islands’ history while having lots of fun at the same time. This award-winning wildlife park provides its guests with a chance to come face to face with some of the most remarkable and ancient animals on earth. Within the centre, there are a variety of interactive activities available – including, predator tanks and swimming or snorkelling in a saltwater lagoon filled with vibrant species of fish and green sea turtles.
Another magnificent stop along the tour is the free-flight aviary, where guests can feed colourful birds as they soar around the room. Before you leave, take a stroll down the tranquil nature trail and admire the unique plant species and butterflies, or stop by Smiley’s Saltwater Lagoon and watch the nine-foot crocodile get fed. Guests can also learn more about the history of sea turtles and the centre’s on-going conservation efforts.
The Cayman Motor Museum is the realization of a vision by businessman Andreas Ugland to have a local showroom to share his collection of exotic, rare, and classic motorcars and motorbikes.
The Cayman Motor Museum features the first car ever brought to the Cayman Islands: a 1905 Cadillac brought in from Havana Cuba in 1914. Among Ferraris, Rally Cars, Porsches, and Bentleys there are also motorbikes, power race boats, plenty of artwork and motor memorabilia.
In the Cayman Islands, tourists can go to Hell. This uniquely named attraction located in the district of West Bay on Grand Cayman, is well known for a small patch of black limestone formations that can be seen poking out from its lush surroundings. Hell was created by salt and lime deposits over 24 million years and the legend behind its name still continues to be debated. After marvelling at the field of black peaks, make sure to send your friends a postcard from Hell.
The Hell attraction site is accessible at all times and is free to the public. There are three gift shops on the property as well as public restrooms which are open daily from 8:00 am – 5:00pm.
Located in George Town and housed inside the oldest public building in the Cayman Islands, this museum showcases both the natural and cultural history of the islands through dynamic programmes, exhibits, and displays.
In the past, Fort George used to defend Grand Cayman from attacks by Spanish marauders from Cuba; though piracy on the high seas was over by this time, there was still frequent lawless activity.
The fort was also used as a coastal lookout for enemy ships as recently as World War II. Despite its small size, Grand Cayman was said to have had both German and British spies present during World War II, and a US Naval base was set up in the area behind the George Town Public Library. Caymanians did much to aid the allied efforts and several also enlisted in Trinidad to support the British during the war.
A contemporary museum showcasing local artwork & traditional crafts, plus lectures & special events. Visitors can explore a spectacular collection of art that illustrates the essence of Caymanian life here at the National Gallery.
Governor's Beach is a relaxing spot within Seven Mile Beach, located beside and in front of the Governor's home. With families visiting in the morning and games played in the afternoon, this shore sees all the action. Governor's Beach is excellent for snorkelling, a picturesque stroll or floating on the water with a cold drink. Beachgoers can enjoy the shade while snacking on the sea grapes that fall from the trees in June and July. And as with all views to the west here, you’ll witness the most memorable sunsets.
Off Shamrock Road in the Spotts Newlands part of Grand Cayman is where you’ll happen upon Spotts Beach. Away from everyone else, Spotts Beach has homes and waterfront condos surrounded by iron-shore cliffs and white sand, while still providing plenty of space for a surfside walk. It’s a nice place to watch the sunrise since Spotts Beach faces to the south. There are cabanas along with some benches and tables available for barbecues or picnics. There is also great snorkelling due to the limited amount of watercraft.
Discover the unique heritage and culture of Cayman via this lovingly restored window into the 18th century that’s only a 20-minute drive from George Town.
At a time in the Cayman Islands when most people lived in tiny, thatch-covered houses, a wealthy Englishman, using slave labour from Jamaica, created an astonishing 3-storey building called Pedro St. James.
In the 1990s, the Government of the Cayman Islands purchased Pedro St. James and painstakingly restored the Great House to the splendour of its 18th-century heritage.
Today, visitors can stroll through the imposing edifice with its period furniture and authentic artefacts to experience what life was like so long ago in Cayman’s history.
Stingray City is among the Cayman Islands’ most popular attractions. It’s where aquatic lovers can mingle with marine life by wading among friendly stingrays that congregate near the sandy shore. This once-in-a-lifetime Cayman experience invites adventurers to get up close to some of the most magnificent animals in the world. Experience the majestic southern Atlantic stingrays in only three feet of water as you brush up against these creatures. Stingray City is a group of sandbars located 25 miles off the shore of Grand Cayman, and offers tours ranging from 3 to 5 hours. During the tours, you can swim with, feed, and take memorable photos with these friendly rays.
Located on the picturesque north side of the island, “Rum Point” is famous for its island atmosphere, white sandy beach and shallow clear waters. It is an ideal spot for swimming and snorkelling. The beach hammocks, shady trees, picnic tables and delicious food beckon visitors and locals alike seven days a week.
Rum Point also offers changing rooms, showers, huts, hammocks, snorkelling and volleyball nets. About 45 minutes by car from most hotels and the cruise terminal, Rum Point is well worth the day trip. Another option for accessing Rum Point is by ferry! With affordable prices and killer views, this is a great way to get here and relax or enjoy a wonderful lunch or dinner.
Spectacular Crystal Caves located in a Lush Tropical Forest. Fully guide by local guides. One of Caymans newest and most popular tourist attrations: Situated in a lush tropical forest in Northside, Grand Cayman, Cayman Crystal Caves is the island’s newest nature tourist attraction All visitors receive guided walking tours. Tours are approximately 1 ½ hours and take you through the surrounding tropical forest area and 3 caves spectacular caves. When you visit Cayman Crystal Caves, you will be escorted with a knowledgeable Tour Guide, and you will join us on an adventure exploration of “Cayman Down Under”. You will venture into amazing caves where you’ll see stalactite and stalagmite crystal structures and otherworldly formations, formed by single drops of water and the slow passage of time. Tour through the unique tropical forest nature, under which the caves formed. Amongst the forest and caves is captivating tropical plant and animal life, including strangler balsam trees, air plants, parrots, and bats…. Winner of the Governor's Award - The Tourism Industry Conservation Award One of the very highest rated top "Things To Do in Grand Cayman"
The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is a unique blend of natural beauty, culture and history. Enjoy the simple elegance of a traditional Caymanian garden with the startling beauty of an exotic floral display. Spend an hour or two… or a full day! One thing is certain, each of our visitors will leave with a greater appreciation for the delicate balance of nature and the dedicated care in it’s preservation. There are so many different gardens and natural areas to enjoy, providing something for everyone to enjoy at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
The first lighthouse on Grand Cayman was erected at Gun Bluff in the early 1900s, which is approximately a half-mile from the present site of the East End Lighthouse Park. This was required under the Justices and Vestry’s East End Light Law (1906). A 60-foot ship’s mast stood on the Bluff and William James Watler was hired as a lightkeeper to ensure that a kerosene lantern was hoisted to the top of the mast at 6:00pm every evening and lowered at 6:00am every morning. A fine “not exceeding forty shillings” was to be imposed on him if it was discovered that he had been lax in his duties. The light could be seen 10 miles out to sea.
The lighthouse at Gorling Bluff served until 1937, when the British Government gave order for five modern “navigational lights” to be erected around the coasts of all three Cayman Islands. The lights were to be placed on Crown Property, however, so that same year the Crown acquired Gorling Bluff. The replacement lighthouse was constructed by Mr. Morell from England, and it is this light which serves to the present day, though it is now solar-powered. Part of the wooden frame of the previous lighthouse remains, but the old kerosene lamp is now in the Cayman Islands National Museum.
Known for "naive" and "childlike" style, Cuban artist José Fuster created colorful, dream-like houses covered entirely with ceramic tiles.
Go back in the history, after successful gallery tours across Europe, Fuster was struck with a desire to recreate something like Gaudi’s public works in Barcelona and Brâncuși’s across Romania in his own homeland. He wanted to put his artistic reality into his real-world surroundings, and he began in his own neighborhood. In 1975, after moving into a modest wood house in the rundown neighborhood of Jaimanitas outside Havana, Fuster set about decorating his studio in colorful mosaic. Once he was done there, he asked his neighbors if he could decorate their homes and business as well. A few accepted his offer and the tile creations grew. Over the course of a decade, doctors’ offices, bus stops, fountains, benches, gateways, and more were enveloped by Fuster’s whimsical imagination. Today, his artwork coats the neighborhood in a rainbow of strange, enchanting fantasy.
Jaimanitas was an economically depressed area before Fuster arrived, and now it has turned into an artist’s paradise. Tourists are bussed into the neighborhood to admire Fuster’s still-growing kingdom, which has spawned a new generation of artists inspired by the surroundings they came up in.
The Malecón, first named Avenida del Golfo, is Cuba’s most famous sea-side avenue. The project was undertaken by Don Francisco de Albear, Cuba’s greatest engineer at the time. Albear came up with a complex but smart design for the seawall, which was to be a lot more than just a promenade. According to historical records, the avenue was supposed to be constructed 4 meters above sea level. The whole project would cost 850,000 pesos, but the Spanish government didn’t bring itself to issue the construction permit and Albear’s proposal was postponed.
The construction of the Malecón began in 1901. After the first stretch was completed, for which several public facilities were demolished, construction works were resumed in 1921, and again in the 30’s.The architectural richness of the Malecón is also expressed through 18th- and 19th-century stately homes, followed by a row of 20th-century buildings with an unusual combination of styles and profusion of portals, columns and pilasters that loosely follow classical lines.
But beyond the architectural values of the buildings, its greatest charm lies in being somewhere to stroll or hang out on a stiflingly hot day. It is a place where couples come to make amends, especially at sunset, in the company of children and fishermen. It is Havana’s outdoor lounge.
El Capitolio, or the National Capitol Building is one of the most visited sites in Havana. This majestic construction, located in the Centro Habana, is similar to that in Washington D.C, but a meter higher, a meter wider, and a meter longer, as well as much more rich in detail. It was started to be built by Gerardo Machado in 1926 supported by North America.
Formerly, it was used as headquarters of the Cuban Congress, but since 1959 it has hosted the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the Science and Technology National Library. The entrance is sheltered by 6 huge Doric columns, on top of a 55 steps granite staircase. In both sides on top of the stairs there are two amazing sculptures in bronze, a masculine and a feminine one, both 6,70 meters high, by the Italian Angelo Zanelli. When you cross them you’ll arrive to the Hall of Lost Steps, named in this way due to its wonderful acoustics, and in which center is the Republic statue, a huge woman in bronze 14,60 meters high and more than 30 tons weight, representing the virtue of the nation and work.
Old Havana, located around the five main squares, and has one of the most impressive ensembles of historical architecture. From Baroque to Art Deco, from Neoclassicism to Art Nouveau, the rainbow-colored facades of the area adorn the diverse cultural heritage of Cuba.
Founded in the early 16th century on the southwest coast of Cuba by Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez, Havana moved twice before taking permanent establishment on the Caribbean island’s northwest coast.
Strategically chosen for its location in the Gulf of Mexico, Havana became a mandatory stop for ships traveling to and from the New World, and quickly became the largest port in the Spanish West Indies. Today, the city still claims some of the oldest stone fortifications in the Americas, and Old Havana, or Habana Vieja, claims some of the most beautiful architecture.