Looking for some good books about Belize to accompany you on your travels to the Jewel? Whether you’re interested in a good Belize-based novel for the beach or want to learn about the country’s history, culture, or natural beauty, you’re sure to find something here that you’ll love. This article contains links to Amazon, from which, as an Amazon Associate, this website will earn a small commission if you make any purchases. Visit our Affiliate Disclosure Page for more info.
The final installment in our series of “Best Books About ____” is here and we’re in Belize! I’ll be honest – it’s been hard to source these books, and I’m going more on recommendations here, rather than talking about what I’ve actually read myself. Belize is the only country in Central America I’ve never been to (something I need to rectify) and I just don’t have literary experience with this country. That’s something else I need to rectify.
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Also, independent since 1981, Belize doesn’t have the history or the political intrigue that you find elsewhere in the region
And I love chaos and intrigue in my chosen reading material. Belize is a politically stable, quiet little country that minds its own business. That’s all to the good, of course. But it doesn’t make for exciting reading. Or does it? A country doesn’t need to be in turmoil to be worth reading about, after all. And there is history in Belize, plenty of it, and it’s fascinating. So don’t listen to me.
Belize is a melting pot. From the indigenous Maya to Garifuna, Chinese, Caribbean islanders, descendants of pirates, and more, it feels like a true blend of humanity to anyone who visits. This is a major reason why so many visitors end up staying.
So with that all said, it’s easy to see why Belize is well worth reading about, just as much as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama are. There are some great literary companions for you out there to help you know the Jewel, and we think we’ve found some.
Below are some of our favorite books about Belize:
“Beka Lamb” by Zee Edgell
This coming-of-age novel follows the story of Beka, a young girl growing up in Belize City in the 1950s. A beautifully written and insightful portrait of Belizean culture and society.
“The Fallen Stones: Chasing Butterflies, Discovering Mayan Secrets, and Looking for Hope Along the Way” by Diana Marcum
A memoir of journalist Diana Marcum and her partner as they stumble upon a butterfly farm in Belize, owned by a British millionaire. They gain permission to live on-site, providing unique insights into butterfly farming and jungle life.
“British Honduras to Belize: Transformation of a Nation” by Godfrey Mwakikagile
An account of the evolution of Belize from its colonial past as British Honduras to its emergence as a modern nation. The book explores socio-political developments, struggles for independence, and the forging of a distinct national identity.
“Murder in Belize: A Gabriella Hunt Cozy Mystery Series” by Diane Harman and Andrew Thomas
A cozy murder mystery set in the stunning tropical landscape of Belize. Suspenseful, intriguing, and pack with local flavor, this is perfect beach reading fodder.
“Copal : The Significance of Copal to the Maya and Garifuna People of Belize” by Mary Ellen McKnee
Focusing on the cultural and historical significance of copal resin, this book explores its importance to the Maya and Garifuna communities in Belize. It delves into traditional uses, rituals, and the role of copal in religious and cultural practices.
“Belize: A Concise History” by P. A. B. Thomson
Providing an overview of Belize’s history from ancient times to the present, this book covers the country’s indigenous roots, colonial past, and path to independence. It offers insights into the social, political, and cultural developments that have shaped Belize.
“Becoming Belize: A History of an Outpost of Empire Searching for Identity, 1528-1823” by Mavis C. Campbell
This study delves into early Spanish colonization attempts, offering a unique perspective on Belize’s history. Campbell argues for an earlier Belizean timeline, highlighting the alliance between British logwood cutters and Miskito Indians. The book also examines social dynamics under forestry slavery, revealing differences from sugar/slave economies in resistance and violence.
“The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird” by Bruce Barcott
The story of Sharon Matola’s efforts to protect Belize’s scarlet macaw population and their natural habitat. It sheds light on the challenges of conservation and environmental activism in Belize.
“Guatemala’s Claim to Belize: The Definitive History” by Assad Shoman
Assad Shoman’s insightful book dissects the Guatemalan claim to Belize. Shoman traces the claim’s origins and its intricate negotiation challenges. A must-read for anyone intrigued by this dispute.
“Belize: A Novel” by Carlos Ledson Miller
This novel tells the story of four generations of a Belizean family, from the early 20th century to the present day. A sweeping tale that explores the complex history and culture of Belize.
“Our Man in Belize: A Memoir” by Richard Timothy Conroy
This memoir tells the story of the author’s time living in Belize (then British Honduras) in the 1970s. Funny and insightful, this book offers a glimpse into Belize’s past.
“The Possibility of Everything” by Hope Edelman
In 2000, Hope Edelman faced uncertainty about her life. “The Possibility of Everything” recounts her leap of faith, ignited by her daughter Maya’s puzzling behavior. Edelman and her husband opt for an unconventional choice: Belize.
We hope you find some of these books about Belize to your liking
From murder mysteries and romping thrillers to enjoy on the beach or poolside to heavier tomes discussing history and politics, these books should give you a much better idea, when traveling around Belize, about the country you find yourself in. Enjoy!
James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.