Belize is the only English speaking country in Central America, one of the main reasons why my husband and I chose it when we decided to relocate from the U.S. to a foreign country.
In addition, most citizens also speak Spanish, Creole, and several different Caribe variations. Before we settled on living in San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye, we toured the mainland of Belize quite extensively. Here’s what we found to be true about the language depending on the village or town we were in. Please remember, these were just my “observations,” but I feel they are fairly accurate:
Placencia: - almost everyone speaks only English here. We heard a small smattering of Creole, and an even smaller amount of Spanish. American Expats would definitely fit in quite comfortably here.
Punta Gorda: While English is spoken here, there were a lot of Caribe’s and Mayan’s in this area, so some of the dialects were totally unrecognizable to us, but definitely fun and interesting to watch.
Cayo Area (San Ignacio/Bullet Tree): Being a mere 20 miles or less from the Guatemala border, as you can imagine the predominant language spoken here was Spanish. I personally liked that fact since one of my life goals is to speak Spanish. They also all speak English quite often as well since it is a big tourist area, but the “feel” in Cayo was very much like being in a Mexican city.
Hopkins Village: This is a huge Garifuna area, so again, a lot of the dialect was “foreign” to us. Having said that, there are a lot of nice resorts here and they speak English quite well. Also, many of their employees travel from Cayo to work here, so Spanish is spoken widely as well.
Belize City: Predominantly English is spoken by anyone involved in tourism here, however, amongst themselves, a lot of Creole or variations thereof are spoken.
San Pedro: This is the town we live in, both English and Spanish are widely spoken. It’s the best of both worlds for us because my husband is able to effectively communicate with everyone, but I get to “eavesdrop” and learn more Spanish.
These are the only areas we traveled to. We have heard from locals that the Corozal area has lots of Spanish since it’s so close to the Mexico border, which makes perfect sense.
I believe the wide variety of languages spoken in Belize is one of the most attractive features for Expats who are considering moving here in terms of assimilation and a wide variety of culture!