Getting Oriented

If you're prepared to go beyond a cursory excursion, Belize City will repay your curiosity. There’s an infectious sociability on streets like Albert and Queen, the main shopping strips. The finest British colonial houses—graceful white buildings with wraparound verandas, painted shutters, and fussy Victorian woodwork—are in the Fort George area, near the Radisson Fort George, the most pleasant part of the city for a stroll.

Fort George. The "colonial" section of Belize City is notable for its grand, if sometimes dilapidated, old 19th- and early-20th-century homes and buildings.

Marine Parade Harbor Front. Along the water near the Ramada Princess Hotel & Casino and BTL Park, there is more open, public space than there are buildings, making this a pleasant escape from the bustle of the city center.

The Commercial District. On the South Side, mainly on Albert and Regent streets, this is the commercial center of the city. Be advised, however, that it is also near some of the worst slums in Belize.

King's Park. Upscale residences line the streets near Princess Margaret Drive, about 2 miles (3 km) north of the city center.

The Northern Suburbs. Along the Philip Goldson Highway (formerly the Northern Highway) between the city center and the international airport, this is the fastest-growing part of the metropolitan area, with middle-class residential sections such as Buttonwood Bay and Belama, some of the city's stores and supermarkets, and several hotels and B&Bs.

The Western Suburbs. A few tourist attractions have popped up here, such as the Old Belize complex. This multiuse commercial and residential area along the George Price Highway (until late 2012 called the Western Highway), beginning at a potentially confusing series of new roundabouts, is also on the way to the Belize Zoo, Belmopan, and Cayo.

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Fodor's Belize: with a Side Trip to Guatemala

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