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About Belize

Belize lies on the East coast of Central America in the heart of the Caribbean Basin. It borders Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west and south. It is 174 miles long and 68 miles wide (about the size of Massachusetts in the USA or Belgium in Europe).

Belize has a subtropical climate with an average temperature of 79 degrees F (26 C) and average humidity of 85%. Annual rainfall is 50 inches in the North and 170 inches in the South. There are two seasons: wet and dry. Wet Season is from June through November, the same as hurricane season. Dry season runs from November through May. The coolest months are November thru February. Saltwater temperatures vary between 75 and 84 degrees F.

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Physical features

To the east is the Barrier Reef which is the second longest in the world; over 450 cayes (islands) and three of the four atolls in the Western Hemisphere.

The northern half is a flat plain with expansive open areas, used for agriculture.

The central area contains large savannahs that give way to the subtropical forest.

To the south and west are Mayan Mountains with karst limestone formations, including the country's highest point, Victoria Peak, at 3,680 feet.

Settlements

Capital City - Belmopan since 1970

2 cities - Belize City and Belmopan City

7 towns - Corozal Town, Orange Walk Town, San Pedro Town, San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town, Benque Viejo Town, Dangriga Town and Punta Gorda Town.

All other settlements are villages.

Population

303,422 (May Census) density 31 persons per square mile.

Ethnic Groups

Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, Spanish, Maya (Ketchi, Mopan & Yucatec), Mennonite, Lebanese, Chinese, East Indian

Language

English is the official language although Spanish, Creole, Garifuna and Maya are spoken throughout the country.

Major industries

Sugar, citrus, bananas, tourism, and marine products.

Government

Belize is an independent country with a parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster system of Government. Belize is a member of the British Commonwealth.

Currency

Fixed at US$1 to BZ$2. All businesses accept US paper currency. Well-established businesses accept traveler's checks and most credit cards (with a service charge).

Time

Same as US Central time

Water

Most locations have potable water and bottled drinking water is available throughout the country.

Health Care

Government hospitals and clinics are located in all towns and cities. Private hospitals and clinics are present in most towns and cities. Emergency evacuation services are also available.

Electrical

Electricity is at 110 volts AC (same as USA).


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