Friday, November 19, 2010


Belize is the only Central American country that English is the first language, but it is surrounded by lots of Spanish speaking countries.  Our trip to Chetumal, Mexico made us definitely realize that we need to be able to speak some Spanish, if we plan on traveling much outside of Belize.   I took a semester of Spanish in college, but I remember very little of it. 

When we got to Chetumal we wanted to take a cab to a mall I had heard about…the Plaza las Americas.  We were able to make the cab driver understand that we wanted “mall” and “America”.  He took us right to the mall with no problems.  While in the mall, I tried to ask a store clerk a question, that was impossible.  I had 4 store clerks there trying to help me..none of which spoke any English or had a clue about what I was talking about.

I did make a purchase at the mall…at a store called Bizzarro, I bought a swatch watch.  When you show them American money, they will calculate the conversion of American dollars to pesos..but be careful.  I thought I was paying approximately $12.00US for a watch that I later realized that I paid $120.00US for, but I LOVE the watch..good thing. 

Bill has been taking Level I Spanish lessons on line for free with Rocket Spanish.  He really likes it and said he has been able to learn a lot with this course so far and was able to at least have a simple conversation with a Spanish speaking customer at work last week.  We decided to go ahead an order the course so we could have all the disk and information.  We just got it in yesterday, so Bill wants me to start taking it so he can practice having conversations with someone. 

According to an article on the the Belize Board of Tourism site, it says English is the official language of Belize but Kriol is the language that all Belizeans speak. 

This Caribbean lilt encompassing shortened English words, emphasized phrases and manual gestures will likely be your first introduction to communicating in Belize.  It will also start you on a bit of a linguistic adventure. Spanish, African-based Garifuna, Maya, Kekchi, Mandarin, German – these are just a few of the tongues you will encounter on your Belize vacation.

Our Kriol is recognized by linguists as having all the distinctive rules and lexicon of the contact languages found in many parts of the world which were colonized by European powers. It borrows words from English, African languages, Moskito Indian and a smattering of Spanish and Maya. No doubt it will also pick up terms from Chinese and other newly arrived immigrant groups as it evolves.

If at first you don’t understand, listen carefully and ask them to speak slowly, in no time you will be getting the gist of it and even trying a phrase or two,

“Good morning” might sound:
  •    'Gud Mawnin’ -  Creole
  •    'Buiti Binafi' -   Garifuna
  •    'Buenos dias' -  Spanish

Here is a copy of my receipt for my watch, $1,530.00 pesos and from McDonalds.  Yes, I had McDonalds in Mexico at the food court.  6 piece chicken nuggets, fries and a diet coke for $58.00 pesos.  Check out the prices at Sam's Club on the computers.



  1. We are new here to Belize and hoping to visit some of the surrounding countries too. I know I need to brush up on my Spanish...thanks for this post.

  2., Russia, now Belize. Sounds fun. Where in Belize are you? It was very difficult finding someone that spoke Engish.

  3. Hi! Your blog was recently tagged during Blog-A-Licious Wednesdays. Keep your great posts coming!
    Cheers - Dora

  4. Thanks for stopping by Dora, your comments are always appreciated.


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