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Speaking of Tongues

English is the official language of Belize, but a traveler will most likely run across a wide range of languages. Three centuries of colonization have given the Queen's English some foothold here; however, a large percentage of the local population, particularly black Creoles, speak a Creole English that is downright unintelligible to most English-speaking visitors. In recent years there have been attempts to standardize and record the Creole dialect, and you may see it written out on billboards and in newspapers. How Fi Rite Bileez Kriol (How To Write Belize Creole). is a helpful pamphlet that can sometimes be found at local bookstores and gift shops, and an excellent and entertaining reference if you want to take a stab at Creole.

Moreover, this is still Central America, and Spanish is widely spoken in Belize, especially in the northern and western regions near the borders with Mexico and Guatemala. If that's not enough, Belize has three relatively homogenous ethnic groups, the Garífunas and the Kekchi and Mopan Mayas, each of whom has a distinct language. Finally, rounding out this polyglot pastiche, you may also hear some Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, or even the archaic German used by the country's small Mennonite community.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.