In 1958 around 3,500 Mennonites arrived in Belize (at this time it was British Honduras).
They have now been settled in Belize for over fifty years and although many of the communities use horse drawn power to operate the ploughs and saw mills or water power from rivers to run light machinery the traditional groups will not use electricity or motor vehicles, choosing instead to travel on horse drawn covered wagons along dirt roads between their communities.
Two communities of these traditional Mennonites in Cayo are Barton Creek and Springfield. You can see them in everyday life on the roads or at the market and it's only a 45 minutes (Barton Creek) or 60 minutes (Springfield) drive from Vanilla Hills.
In contrast to the traditional Mennonites is a community of so called modern Mennonites in the small town of Spanish Lookout. It's located only a few miles to the east of San Ignacio.
Several roads take you to the settlement that resembles a 1950’s style small town in rural USA. One route to enter the town is via a hand operated ferry to cross the Belize River.
Spanish Lookout is one of Belize’s more modern centres with technology evident across the community. It specializes in providing auto parts, with a chain of auto stores across Belize all Mennonite owned and operated. It is the provider of most of the country’s chicken and the only commercial dairy within the country.
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