I’ve mentioned before how Belize should not only be about beaches and snorkelling. Having enjoyed the thrills of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, I headed to the capital city Belmopan. And then we ended up touring an area known as Spanish Lookout. Yes that is the real name of this settlement but it’s not really Spanish…more like a community of Germans living in Belize!!
Getting to Spanish Lookout
Spanish Lookout is in the middle of nowhere and without regular bus runs, your main options will be:
1. Hire a car
2. Hitch hike
3. Hire a driver
We were out on an all day tour visiting other parts of inland Belize so we had a driver organised thanks to Nick at the El Rey Hotel in Belmopan. Our driver was local lad Shenley (he’s in some of my videos below). Hitch hiking isn’t a great option as cars in this remote part are few and far between as we found out when we had to hitch a ride back from Actun Tunichil Muknal.
Things to See and Do at Spanish Lookout
Despite the funky sounding name, you won’t be stood with a pair of binoculars looking for Spaniards, or even in the company of Spaniards. It’s a community of Mennonites here who speak Plautdietsch as their mother tongue (something similar to German or Dutch).
It’s a dispersed settlement in the Cayo District of Eastern Belize, with farms and scattered villages, and according to the 2010 census, Spanish Lookout has a population of 2,253 people in 482 households. It is largely an agricultural community with some light industry.
These are the three main things to do:
1. Ice Cream
The best ice cream in Belize is made here and they also have a public ice cream cafe open to the public which we headed to. WD’s ice cream shop. I had independence ice cream which is red, white and blue (an irony in those colours given that the independence was from the UK!) and Panny had a cheesecake flavour ice cream. The ice cream was excellent.
2. Reimer’s Natural Organic Shop
Panny was looking for some oils and beauty products and the organic shop here in Spanish Lookout is one of the best in Belize, if not Central America. It’s name is Reimer’s Health Food shop – it is well signposted and known within the community here.
In fact it was this idea of Panny’s that took us out to this bizarre and unusual place. I have to say it was a cool trip and Panny got all the things she needed in Reimer’s.
You’re in Belizean countryside here so farms are everywhere. There’s a chicken farm and factory called Dis Da Fi Wi Chicken which we only drove past but you can stop at.
And so after touring Spanish Lookout we headed to the ruins at Xunantunich. We still never found out why the place is called Spanish Lookout and on all of my travels, this ranks as one of the most odd yet interesting places we were at.
Here are some videos from our trip to Spanish Lookout, Belize:
4 thoughts on “Backpacking in Belize: Mennonite Community at Spanish Lookout”
What a bizarre place – Sadly I did not manage to escape the bliss of Caye Caulker to explore the interior further but now I wish I had – If only to see a completely different lifestyle …And to get ice-cream (always a plus!). Thanks for sharing !
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Hi Jordan, thanks for the comment. Yes an odd place for sure but glad I could get there and write about it. Safe travels. Jonny
I am actually a resident in Spanish Lookout and I am glad you enjoyed your time here. The reason it is called Spanish Lookout is because there was a Spanish Lookout located near the area during the 17th century. It was created during the war between the Spaniards and Indigenous people living in the area. Western Dairies has changed a lot since you have been here. It has tripled in size and there are now new cafe’s, restaurants and we even have a small strip mall.
Hi Kaylany, wow what a nice message and comment, thanks!! I get a lot of nasty and horrible comments on here so it is so refreshing to hear a good one. Spanish Lookout was a cool adventure – we liked it, thanks for the information too! Best wishes. Jonny