Belize City is the largest city in the country of Belize, with a population of about 70,000. Belize was known as British Honduras until 1981 when they gained their independence from Britain. Located on the east coast of Belize at the mouth of the Belize River, Belize City sits on a peninsula jutting into the Caribbean Sea. As the nation’s main port, the city is a hub for cruise ships and is often a jumping-off spot for excursions to other parts of Belize, including the Cayo District’s caves and the Maya archaeological sites along the Macal and Belize rivers. Belize City boasts the only manual swing bridge in the world and the oldest Anglican cathedral in Central America.
Historically it was once the capital city of Belize, however in 1961 when Hurricane Hattie swept ashore and almost entirely destroyed the area – a few years later the capital was changed to Belmopan. Belize City does not exactly top the list of tourist destinations in Belize. In fact, many visitors choose to bypass the country’s only major urban area. This may be because the country’s main attractions are natural and nautical.
Haulover Creek separates the downtown commercial area (focused on Albert St) from the more genteel Fort George district to the northeast. Hotels, guesthouses and places to eat are found on both sides of the creek, with the majority of the city’s high-end hotels being in Fort George.
The northern end of the city has been undergoing much needed road construction, so as the saying goes ‘expect delays’. The Swing Bridge, which crosses Haulover Creek to link Albert St with Queen St, is the hub of the city, and – some say – the heart of Belize itself.