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It used to be said that the best way to see Belize's capital, which was moved here from Belize City in 1970, was through the rearview mirror as you head toward San Ignacio or south down the Hummingbird. It's still mostly a dreary cluster of concrete office buildings plunked in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by residential areas that may remind you of a central Florida town, proving that
cities can't be created overnight. However, with the opening of the main campus of the University of Belize in Belmopan in 2002, the relocation of several embassies (including the U.S. embassy) from Belize City to Belmopan, and new commercial activity around the capital, Belmopan—finally—is showing signs of life. The population has grown to more than 18,000. Commercial and retail activities are booming, and there's a minor real-estate gold rush going on. Despite all this, however, except for a brief ride around the city to see the government buildings and perhaps a stop for lunch or to shop the local market, we recommend that you spend your time at nearby sites rather than in the city itself.