- Category: Belize
- Published on Thursday, 08 September 2011 01:56
- Written by Trys
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Shopping in Belize
Shopping in Belize is one of the highlights of travelling in the country. Many visitors come from nearby Mexico to cities such as San Pedro because of the competitive prices. On the whole wood products can be up to 40% cheaper than those found in the US and Europe.
Particularly good products to buy whilst travelling in Belize are woodcarvings, spices, foodstuffs and jewellery.
This Belize Shopping Guide gives a brief background on what you may wish to buy whilst on your Belize holiday. Don't forget to finish off a shopping trip with a visit to one of the Belize Restaurants, where you're sure to leave feeling satisfied. For more specific details, including details of recommended shops, visit our shopping guides for:
Belize Shopping Guide
Logging was one of the original reasons for the British colonialisation of what was formerly British Honduras. Legend has it that the British ventured up the Belize River after being shipwrecked and discovered mahogany trees. Further inspection led to the discovery of logwood, a smaller tougher tree that grew in the lower water plains. It was the potential of logging that led the British to settle. Couple to this the significance of ancient carving to the Mayan civilization and then the importance of wood based products to Belize is put into perspective.
There are hundreds of types of wood products that can be bought whilst shopping in Belize. Many of these products can be bought at local markets as well as larger more established Belize shops in the larger cities. Popular wood products include bowls which have become collectables. These bowls vary in size but many have been polished and are designed with logos, messages and art forms. The sap formed from the wood is important to the atheistics of the bowls and wooden products combined with the intricate lathe designed art. Popular bowls for export include zericote and rosewood bowls but also ashtrays, statues and other carvings. There are many specialist market stalls and shops in Belize that sell wood based products.
Foodstuffs and Natural Products
Belize as a unique blend of ethnicities as well as geographical location is famous for its foodstuffs and spices. Perhaps one of the most distinctive elements of Belizean cuisine and is certainly worth purchasing is Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce. Marie Sharps is a spicy sauce made from a base of habanero peppers, carrots and onions. The company has a wide range of different hot sauces including jams and chutneys and it is a national icon of Belize. Lizette's hot sauce is also a good alternative of Marie Sharps. The general basis of Belizean food like its Caribbean neighbours is spicy and these sauces are merely a reflection of this.
Belize is blessed with an abundance of natural products including tropical fruits which can be bought including papayas, pineapples, melons and bananas. A particularly interesting purchase is star fruit carambola and fruit of the cashew tree which has orange or yellow glossy skin. Tobacco is also widely available with Independence brand the most popular. US brands which are imported are very expensive. There are a wide range of Cuban cigars which are popular.
Located centrally in proximity to the Caribbean it is little wonder that rum is one of the most popular products purchased in Belize. The finest Belizean rum is 5 year aged Prestige. A barrel of rum can be purchased for around US $15 and there are a number of distilleries that can be visited in the country.
Along the coastline in the coastal cities such as San Pedro black coral necklaces are popular. Belize has the second largest coral reef in the world at nearly 200miles and as a local material coral is used in necklaces, small ornaments, earrings and other jewellery. Obviously the destruction of the coral reef is continuing as through diving, commercial use such as fishing and of course through the producing of domestic products such as necklaces. Emeralds from Colombia are a popular import as are sapphires and rubies. Generally the price of gold is cheaper than found in the US or Europe. Jewellery makes a great purchase in Belize.
Within local markets and specialist art stores you may be able to purchase some beautiful ethnic art. One of the most famous names in Belize is Orlando Garrido who specialises in paintings of the Garifuna in Belize. Amy Brown and other famous names like her have devoted their time to paint and develop ceramic sculptures of the sea. This seems appropriate due to Belize's historical and present connection with the sea.