Belmopan is the capital of Belize, nearer the geographic center of the country than (former capital) Belize City. It was established following the massive damage that occurred when Hurricane Hattie struck Belize City in 1961. An inland location was deemed a safer location for the national government than the low-lying seaside metropolis of Belize City.
Getting into Belmopan is easy. Two highways serve as a entrance to Belmopan: the Hummingbird Highway and Western Highway. Travel from Belmopan to Belize City using the novelos or the batty bus lines is less than USD6 (BZD12) per person.
You can get around Belmopan by car or taxi, but Belmopan is a small city. Walking can get you around and really show you the true city.
Many tour companies in and around Belmopan, Belize Jungle Masters being the best for Zip Lining and run tours to a wide variety of interesting caves, ruins, and jungle trails. Belize True Adventures and Upside Down Tours are known for providing amazing tours to St. Herman's Cave and Crystal Cave at the Blue Hole National Park. It's a good idea to look for reviews for other tour companies on review sites before booking, in case some of them may have treated guests poorly.
Most of these are day trips, leaving early in the morning and returning the same afternoon. Note that not all tours are available on any given day. Most tour companies require a certain minimum number of registrations before they'll make the run. Checking in the night before for which tours are available the next day is often the best option.
- St. Herman’s cave – Exploring a remote cave once used by the ancient Mayas for ceremonial purposes. Hundreds of pieces of Mayan pottery chard's can be seen inside the cave. The cave is approximately a mile long and is adorned with beautiful stalactite and stalagmite making this a beautiful place for photographs.
- Cave Tubing - Enjoy floating past side windows that filters the jungle light trough the mist as you swirl around stalactites and stalagmites looming from above and below through the underworld mystic cave caverns. Cave tubing can be done at either Jaguar Paw or St. Herman's Blue Hole National park, just minutes away from Belmopan.
- 'Zip lining - is as close as you can get to flying over the jungle. As you soar from tree to tree, experience a bird's-eye view of the Belize jungle, and scenery that cannot be seen from the ground. You will be securely fastened to a harness that is attached to a cable. You push off from a platform up in a tree and zip along the cable to another platform
- Actun Tunichil Muknal (usually abbreviated to "ATM") is a Mayan sacrificial burial site near Belmopan. The site is contained entirely within a cave system, and access to the relics is gained via some 500 metres of climbing over rocks, wading and swimming through water that is at times over 1.5 metres deep. The cave was a sacred site for the Mayans and it contains many examples of pottery, ceramics and stoneware, as well as several sets of human sacrificial remains, one of which (known as the "Crystal Maiden") has been almost entirely covered in limestone crystals by the water in the cave. The site is about 45 minutes drive from San Ignacio, and, due to the caving aspect, it may only be visited when accompanied by an official guide (who will provide appropriate safety equipment). Most tour companies in San Ignacio are able to offer officially guided tours.
- Barton Creek Cave Barton Creek Outpost: Take the road in Georgeville to Mountain Pine Ridge, drive 50-60 minutes and turn at the large brown sign on the left to Barton Creek Archaeological Reserve. It's about 4 miles from there.
- Caracol Biggest ruin in Belize, yet mostly unexcavated, so you really feel like you are in a national park on a ruin. Ca'ana, place of the sky, is one of the biggest and most massive temples in the Mayan world. Definitely a must-see ruin, and it comes with stops at Rio On Pools and Rio Frio Cave too.
- Xunantunich (Maya Ruins)
- The Artbox, an art gallery which is great for tourists.
Belmopan is a good place to walk around the neighborhoods and market plazas. It is a great place to discover, as it has a low crime rate and is very laid back and relaxing.
Things to buy in Belmopan include Belizean groceries and gifts from the gift shops. Angelus Press is a great place to shop for gifts where you can buy flags, maps, books, and Belizean trinkets.
Every Tuesday and Friday there is a market held in the center of the city. Many locals set up booths selling inexpensive clothes, DVDs, trinkets, food, and produce. Many Belizians from surrounding towns and villages ride the bus to get to Belmopan's market day so it is a great way to experience the culture. If you want to experience it at its busiest point, plan to come early, because many booths close down during the hottest part of the day.
There are a lot of clean, Chinese-owned restaurants in Belmopan that make great Belizean food. The Yim Saan restaurant has great food and is a 4-star restaurant/hotel.
Drink only the bottled water.
- Banana Bank Lodge, ☎ +501 820-2020. A very nice accommodation a few miles outside of Belmopan next to the Belize River. They own a huge section of the jungle and provide horseback riding. Have awesome cabanas and a great pool.
- Belize Jungle Dome, Banana Bank (4 miles outside of town), ☎ +501 822-2124. Owned by a former UK soccer player and MTV Presenter. Facilities include 5 lodge rooms, 3-bedroom garden cottage, 4-bedroom villa, Wi-Fi, swimming pool, on-site travel company, and tour operator.
- Bullfrog Inn. A long standby in Belmopan, a standard hotel and average restaurant.
- Yim Saan. A 12-storey hotel with a restaurant, a bar, and beautiful suites.
Embassies and High Commissions
- Mexico, 3 North Ring Rd, Embassy Square, ☎ +501 822-4011, fax: +501 822-2487, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.