Things I learned in Belize

27 June 2008
3:02 AM

Last week I was vacationing in Belize with the family and I came back with some neat facts. Here are some tidbits from my trip.

There is only one prison in Belize. It is filled with about 1300 inmates; Belize’s population is 300,000.

Mayan ruins at Caracol
I visited the Mayan ruins at Caracól.

Belize doesn’t have any highway patrol police officers, so instead their highways have speed bumps. I’m not sure if I believe this one completely, but that’s what our driver said. And we did stop every 10 minutes or so for a speed bump, so maybe it’s legit.

Leaf cutter ants are fascinating. They march along the jungle floor, 50 feet up a tree, and come back with nickel-sized swatches of leaves.

Leaf-cutter ants

Scorpions have to be one of the most sinister looking things out there. And I think you should double the sinister factor when you find one crawling on your bed. Anyway, I tried to capture it so that I could release it outside, but the trapping process lead to the accidental amputation of some important scorpion appendages.

Related to the previous point, it takes ants less than 6 hours to discover and complete devour a four-inch-long scorpion.

Underwater photography is much more difficult than I expected. It’s essentially like sports photography, except you’re holding your breath. I got a few good shots, but I found that movies were a better way to capture being underwater. It is fun to be able to submerge your camera in water, though.

Yellow fish

Sea turtles have amazing jaws. In general you don’t hear much underwater, but I could hear crunching as I watched a turtle devour lobsters. If you turn up your speakers, you can too.

Before we left I was a bit disappointed to learn that English is the official language of Belize (Belize was part of British Honduras before its independence in 1982) because I wanted some Spanish practice. I was pleased to run into many Spanish-speakers; about 50% of the population speaks Spanish as a first language.