Spanish Lookout- The Mennonites in Belize & Belmopan, the Belize Capital
Visit the modern Mennonite settlement of Spanish Lookout, a picturesque and immaculate community with rolling hills and open farmland, that offers the widest range of modern shopping opportunities in the region for building and mechanical supplies. En route, your guide will tell you the history of the Mennonites, their self-government, and their huge contribution to Belize. As farmers, they provide most of the produce, including milk and meat, for the country.
Spanish Lookout is the home to approximately 3000 “modern” Mennonites, who have departed from their “traditional” brethren in that they use electricity, motorized vehicles and automated equipment. In fact, they are great entrepreneurs who offer a wide range of retail outlets to provide equipment and related materials to the entire country.
Stop at Farmers Trading Post and see where many area residents shop for groceries and other household goods. Enjoy Mennonite-made ice cream at Western Dairies. See the flames of operating oil wells dancing in the farmland where oil was recently discovered for the first time in Belize. You will see yards of prefabricated “Mennonite homes” constructed with local wood materials, yet another useful industry introduced to Belize by this enterprising group.
Birders have the option of a side trip to nearby Aguacate Lagoon, where several different habitats make the area a favorable birding destination.
In the open land and pastures, find Vermillion Flycatchers, Fork-Tailed Flycatchers, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, White-Tailed Kites, Laughing Falcons, Eastern Medowlarks and Northern Rough-Wings Swallows. In the forest around the lake, common sighting may include Jacamars, Trogons, Puff-birds, Guans, Great Curassows and a variety of hawks and falcons. The Lagoon itself attracts water birds such as the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Night Herons, Anhingas and Neotropic Cormmorants.
After lunch, your guide will take you on a narrated tour of Belmopan, the capital of Belize, where you’ll see the Belize government buildings, and the new U.S. Embassy, the largest building in Belize. Learn why the capital was moved from Belize City. Drive through Mopan Maya, where you can observe the lifestyle in a traditional Mayan village.
If time and energy permit, visit Guanacaste National Park, where you will hike to the shore of the Belize River in search of howler monkeys, iguanas, gibnuts, and other “tourist friendly” residents. Learn about the “Royal Rat.”
Departure: 7:45 – 8:00 am (varies)
Duration: Full day
Fitness Requirement: Any
Food Provided: Lunch at local Mennonite restaurant
What To Bring
Sunscreen, insect repellent, camera, binoculars, raingear if needed. We provide water.