Even to the most hardened cosmopolite Belize City – the country’s largest city, though not the capital – can be a daunting place. Dilapidated wooden buildings stand right on the edge of the road, offering pedestrians little refuge from the incessant traffic, and local attention ranges from simple curiosity and good-natured joking to outright heckling. Still, travellers who approach the city with an open mind – and those who are willing to spend more than a few hours here – may actually enjoy themselves. The streets, which certainly are chaotic, buzz with energy, the result of the diversity of the city’s 76,000 citizens. And the city is, without a doubt, an experience; those who manage to feel comfortable here should have no problems anywhere else in the country.

Belize City is divided into northern and southern halves by Haulover Creek, a branch of the Belize River. The pivotal (literally) point of the city centre is the Liverpool-made Swing Bridge, the only manually operated swing bridge left in the Americas. Formerly opened twice a day, it is now only operated on special request due to the decrease in river traffic. North of the bridge is the slightly more upmarket part of town, home to the most expensive hotels. South of the Swing Bridge is the commercial zone, home to the city’s banks and a couple of supermarkets. It’s all compact enough that walking is the easiest way to get around.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Belize features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
19 places for a digital detox

19 places for a digital detox

Find peace at Buddhist monastery, Nepal Trim out the religious and/or mystical connotations and Buddhism boils down to something quite simple – brain trai…

14 Nov 2014 • Neil McQuillian camera_alt Gallery
The best of the world's smallest countries

The best of the world's smallest countries

Qatar Jutting northwards into the Persian Gulf, Qatar is one of the world’s smaller nations (about the size of Yorkshire, England), but it is also the world…

29 Oct 2014 • Greg Dickinson camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook