Sunday, November 27, 2011

Belize culture


In Belize, multi-ethnic society is largely mixed. The Creoles, descendants of slaves, were long the dominant group, but they are more than 30%. They are now overtaken by mestizos, Hispanic origin Mayan-Spanish, representing 44% of the population. The first was the Yucatecan who fled the war of the Castes in the nineteenth century (located mostly in the North), followed more recently by many Central American refugees escaping to dictatorships and civil wars.

The Garinagu (singular Garifuna), Black Caribbean Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, are about 6% and live on the coast, around Dangriga (see in this city), Georgetown and also Belize City and Belmopan. They are Catholic.

To which we must add 7% Indian and mopane Kekchi that inhabit the deep South mountainous and wooded. This curious "Babel tropical" would be incomplete without the thousands of Chinese, Arabs and Indians (from India) who work in trade. The few whites are either descendants of English settlers, or Mennonites.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Belize Food and Drink


The basic meal consists of rice and beans, as well as support for the fish to meat. This hearty dish is often decorated with a potato salad mayonnaise or coleslaw (cabbage and carrots).

Fish and Seafood

There are a lot of fish (mostly of snapper, snapper in French, a reef fish) and seafood soup Try conch (large shell which must be cooked to avoid having to be chewed for hours) prepared with herbs and potatoes. Particularly tasty and nutritious. The lobster, however, that is caught mid-February to mid-June The cow's foot soup can also be an interesting dining experience! We often found in popular restaurants.

International Cuisine

Maps of restaurants to borrow much Mexican food (burritos, fajitas, ceviche, etc..) And American (burgers unavoidable). Besides all the Chinese restaurants, and to a lesser extent India, which set up everywhere.
 

Breakfast

Breakfast is a tendency with the famous British bacon and eggs or omelets. Do not miss the Johnny cakes, corruption of "Journey Cakes" (which could be translated as "the journey cakes") that outweighed the morning fishing with them. These delicious rolls, cousins
​​of English scone. As for the Mayan version of the breakfast, it consists of red beans.

Meal times

We eat early in Belize: Some restaurants open at 7 am-7:30 for breakfast, uninterrupted service follows lunch until about 14h. They reopened about 17-18h and 21h close around. The Chinese and Indian restaurants welcome guests much later. It helps out well.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Belize: Money, banking, foreign exchange

Currency

The currency is the Belize dollar (Bz $). The exchange rate is fixed: a USD $ 2 for Bz, while € 1 was trading at about $ 2.70 Bz (Bz is $ 1 for € 0.40). Beware of confusion, also maintained by some, between the USD and Belize. Because you always announces a price in dollars, without specifying which systematically. Make sure to avoid paying double. It is possible to travel to Belize just fitted USD, it is no problem, even in small shops. Simply divide the price announced by two Belizean dollar.

Exchange

The change takes place in the banks (some bureaux de change). They accept traveler's checks.
Avoid starting with euros, primarily because all banks did not change (eg the Scotia Bank), and when they do, prove prohibitive commissions (10-15%). Withdraw money from ATMs cost much less.
We are distributors for Visa and MasterCard about all over the country. What is the best way to get Belize dollars (not dollars). For operation at the counter of a bank (card withdrawals or changes), you must present your passport, even for cash! No exchange of pesos or quetzals (except the money changers in the black border).

Payment cards

Payment cards are accepted by most hotels (not guesthouses), restaurants and major tour operators. However, traveler's checks are not used as means of payment in general.

Final tips

- Remember to walk with small cuts in your pocket expenses. More convenient.
- Do not leave the country with dollars Belize. They will not be repeated (except the money changers in the black, but at a disadvantage). If you leave the country by plane, you can change them at the international airport in Belize City.

Budget

The cost of living is much higher in Guatemala, also more expensive in Mexico, especially in the most touristy places like Placencia or islands.

Accommodation

Prices for a double room:

- Budget: less than Bz $ 60 (€ 24)
- Moderate Price: 60 $ 120 Bz (24 to € 48).
- Chic 120 to $ 200 Bz (48 to € 80)
- More chic: beyond Bz $ 200 (€ 80).

Restoration

Based on a flat per person in the popular restaurants. Indeed, the cheap restaurants rarely offer input and dessert, but a dish filling enough (live on rice and beans!).

- Budget: less than $ 15 Bz (6 €).
- Moderate Price: 15 $ 30 Bz (6-12 €).
- More chic: more than $ 30 Bz (12 €).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Before departure Belize

In France

- Honorary Consulate of Belize: 7 bis, rue du Bouquet 92370 Chaville. Tel. : 01-41-15-55-34.

You can also call or write to London:

- Belize High Commission: 22, Harcourt House, 19 Cavendish Square, London W1 M9AD. Tel: 00-44-207-723-36-03.

For tourist information, go directly to:

- Belize City in Belize Tourist Board, tel. : 00-501-227-24-20.

In Belgium

- Embassy of Belize Tourist Board: Boulevard Brand-Witlock, 136, 1200 Brussels. Tel. (02) 732-62-04. Email: embelize@skynet.be. Open Monday to Friday from 10am to 12pm and from 14h to 16h.

Entry

- Passport valid 6 months after return. No visa required for citizens of European member countries of the European Union.

- Residence permits issued to customs, valid 1 month, with possibility to extend it every 30 days by contacting the immigration authorities in Belize City or Belmopan (after $ 50 Bz).

- No tax to enter Belize. But you have to pay an exit tax!

Exit formalities

- ATTENTION, just outside of Belize, we must pay an exit tax, which varies depending on the chosen path.

- It amounts to Bz $ 37.50, payable in Belize dollars or U.S., if you're on foot or by bus, or $ 30 Bz if you stayed less than 24 hours in Belize;

- To 36 USD if you are flying, payable only in U.S. dollars. However, it is in principle already included in the ticket price (except for American Airlines and TACA sometimes). Check with the airline at the airport or to avoid unpleasant surprises. Part of this tax is intended to fund preservation of national parks.

- By car: If you have rented in Belize, you can not cross the border. Check with your landlord.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

About Belize



- Population: 339 000 inhabitants.
- Area: 22,970 sq. km.
- Capital: Belmopan.
- Languages: English (official), Creole, Spanish, Mayan languages (Kekchi and Mopan), Garifuna.
- Currency: Belize dollar.
- State: constitutional monarchy, parliamentary government.
- Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II
- Prime Minister: Dean O. Barrow.
- UNESCO World Heritage Site: Ecosystem Reserve SystemBarrier Reef coral, Barrier Reef Reserve System (inscribed in1996). Moved the list of World Heritage in Danger in 2009.

Economy

The country lives mainly on agriculture (oranges, bananas, sugar cane), tourism and, more recently, oil (found in westerncountries). Large international firms for years have drawn their raw materials, such as Hershey, operator of cocoa, and Coca-Cola for citrus.

The industry is virtually nonexistent. The two largest plants are the country's sugar refinery near Orange Walk and citrus processingplant near Belmopan.

Apart from tourism, which brings most of the currencies with about 200,000 tourists a year (18% of GDP), the economysurvives thanks to the support of the European Union (the largest donor), the United States and Canada. And also thanks to money sent by emigrants Belizeans in the United States.

Belize


The Belize gives a real feeling of Caribbean port at the time of the buccaneers. This piece of tropical forest to the open Caribbean Sea was a haven for pirates before the English cameto ruin by transforming it into a Crown Colony: British Honduras.

In Belize, we are left in the ground so Anglo-Saxon, an English-speaking island lost in a sea of Latin American Hispanic. There is no way to play pirates, but you can believe in Africa because of a large black population, descendants of slaves imported from Jamaica and St. Vincent. In Belize City, the cocktail is striking: a strange mixture of traditions and customs british caribbean!

Belize is an immense rain forest, which, like Peten, has many Mayan sites, sometimes difficult to access. It is also and above all, on 250 km of coastline, hundreds of small islands, cays, stretching along a beautiful coral reef, exceptional site for diving and snorkelling.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lifestyle Barbados

Time difference

Barbados is at the same time zone that of Martinique and Guadeloupe, or 6 hours late on the continental Western Europe (GMT - 4) 5 hours in summer and winter.

Electricity

The standard is 110 V, 50 cycles, as the United States. The sockets are American-style two-pin flat vertical (sometimes with a third round pin). Remember to bring an adapter or transformer if necessary. Sometimes there are power cuts (water, for that matter).
Opening

- The stores usually open at 8:30 or 9 am to close around 16:30 or 17h from Monday to Thursday and 17.30 on Friday or 18h. Most marked reduced hours on Saturday (until 14:30 or 15:30) and are closed on Sundays. On that day, only some supermarkets are open.
- No surprise on the part of banks: they open every Monday to Thursday from 8h to 15h and 17h until Friday. Anyway, ATMs are generally accessible 24/24.
Languages

English course, but Bajans between them speak a Creole born Bajan ... English. Bajan is also a typical Creole word, from the last two syllables of Bar-ba-dian. Here, the "th" is quick to look like "d" or "t" ... easier for a francophone, right?

Go, some funny expressions for fun:
- Dead man cannot run from the coffin: Unable to escape his responsibilities.
- From sea you cannot go through the back door: The sea is dangerous (careful!).
- Do not rush to brush and throw 'way of paint: panic only creates problems.
- You do not buy cow to get free milk: Why get married when it has the disadvantages?
Post and Tele communication

A stamp for Europe costs $ 1.75 B (0.60 €).

Phone

- From abroad to Barbados: 1-246.
- From Barbados to foreign countries: dial 011 for international, and then the country code (Belgium 32, France: 33 Switzerland: 41) and the party's number omitting the initial 0.

Public phones operate with both coins and cards. It costs between $ 1 B and 1.50 B per minute for France, Belgium and Switzerland, between 0.44 and B $ B $ 0.89 per minute for Canada. The cheapest discount is available on weekends; otherwise it is week from 18h to 8h. You will save money by buying good a prepaid card in a shop or kiosk.
Internet

There are Internet cafes, but most guest houses and hotels have access, computer and / or Wi-Fi.