The following walking tour covers both the north and south sides of Belize City, which together comprise the entire historic downtown center. For most of its length, you'll be either right on the water or just a block or two away. As described, the walking tour should take you anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on how much time you take visiting the various attractions. The only major attraction not right on the route below is the Museum of Belize, although it's only a 4-block detour east from the Swing Bridge. The route laid out on this walking tour is pretty safe during daylight hours, but should not be attempted after dark.
Begin your stroll at the Fort George Lighthouse and Baron Bliss Memorial, out on the northeastern tip of the city. A small slate stone marks the grave of Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss. After soaking up the view of the Caribbean and some fresh sea air, head towards downtown on Fort Street. On your left, you'll find the Belize Tourism Village (tel. 223-2767), which was built to accommodate the rising tide of cruise-ship passengers. Stop in and shop, or just browse the variety of local and regional arts and crafts. Note: If you're not a cruise-ship passenger, you'll have to leave a photo ID at the gate in exchange for a temporary pass to visit the shops and restaurants here.
As you continue, Fort Street becomes North Front Street. Just north of the Belize Tourism Village you'll find Fine Arts and The Image Factory, by far the two best galleries and fine arts gift shops in the country. Just before reaching the Swing Bridge, you'll pass a busy section of street that includes the vacant lot that once housed the famous Paslow Building. Thomas Paslow was a 19th-century Bayman who was a feared and hated slave owner and figured prominently in the 1798 Battle of St. George's Caye. The old wooden Paslow Building was burned down in a 2002 fire. Across the street, you'll find the Maritime Terminal.
Now, cross the Swing Bridge and head south. On your left is the Commercial Center. Wander through the stalls of fresh vegetables, butcher shops, and fish stands. You'll also find some gift shops and souvenir stands here.
The Supreme Court building, off the small Battlefield Park (or Market Square) just a block south of the Swing Bridge, is a real prize of English colonial architecture with the city's only clock tower. Walk around the four sides and see if any are accurately telling the time.
Down at the southern end of Regent Street, you'll find the Government House and St. John's Cathedral, also known by its more officious-sounding moniker, the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Both of these buildings were constructed with slave labor in the early 19th century, and they remain the most prominent reminders of the 3 centuries of British colonial presence here. The Government House has been converted into a House of Culture (tel. 227-3050), with the mission of encouraging and sponsoring local participation in the arts, music, and dance.
For your return to downtown, head towards the water and come back on the Southern Foreshore Road, stopping in at the Bliss Institute to see if there's an interesting exhibit on display or a performance scheduled for later in the evening.
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.