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Belize is a country in Central America. It borders Mexico and Guatemala. It is bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
It is part of the Mesoamerican region. Its capital city is Belmopan. There are two main islands in Belize; Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.
There are three national parks in Belize: Corozal National Park, Lamanai Archaeological Reserve, and Xunantunich Archeological Reserve.
The largest cities in Belize are Belmopan, San Ignacio, Dangriga, Placencia, Punta Gorda, Benque Viejo del Carmen, Orange Walk Town, Chetumal, and Belize City.
Belize on the Map
Is Belize an island?
No. Because it is situated on the isthmus that divides North and South America, Belize is considered to be an integral part of the continent of Central America.
It is commonly held that the name Belize was obtained from the Spanish pronunciation of the surname of Peter Wallace, a Scottish buccaneer who may have founded a town at the mouth of the Belize River around the year 1638. This is the traditional explanation for the origin of the name. There is also the possibility that the name originated from the Mayan word "belix," which means "muddy water," or "belikin," which means "land facing the sea."
Belize's economy is humming along extremely nicely at the moment. In point of fact, the World Bank places Belize at the top of the list for economic development in both Central America and Latin America, ranking it third overall.
This achievement is partly attributable to the prosperous tourism business in the country, which generates annual revenue of more than $2 billion. The travel and tourism industry brings in the most revenue for the nation and accounts for approximately 30 percent of GDP.
Agriculture, manufacturing, and construction are some of Belize's other major economic sectors. These industries each contribute around 10%, 5%, and 15% to the overall GDP of the country, correspondingly.
The economy of Belize as a whole is expanding at a healthy rate, and the government is doing everything it can to ensure that this trend will continue.
Belize caters to visitors interested in a diverse range of vacation experiences, including ecotourism, adventure travel, and cultural tourism. Belize is a popular destination for people wanting to learn about conservation initiatives and get close to nature at the same time. Activities such as zip line, trekking, and rappelling are popular among travellers interested in adventure. Visitors who are interested in Belize's history and culture often spend their vacations touring the country's museums, historical monuments, and art galleries.
Both San Ignacio and Belmopan are considered to be Belize's principal urban centers. As the nation's administrative, educational, commercial, and financial hub, the nation's capital, San Ignacio, is also the city's name. Additionally, it is the location of the University of Belize. The Belizean government is headquartered in the nation's capital, Belmopan, which is also the largest city in Belize.
The ancient Maya pyramids of Lamanai and Xunantunich may be found in Belize, which is one of the reasons the country is so well-known for its Mayan ruins. The Blue Hole, the Belize Barrier Reef, and the Belize Zoo are three further destinations that are not to be missed. Scuba diving and snorkeling are other quite popular activities here, and you'll have no trouble finding places to do both.
Belize Barrier Reef
There are approximately one thousand different kinds of fish that call the Belize Barrier Reef their home, including reef sharks, barracuda, eagle rays, moray eels, and stingrays. Due to the fact that these organisms do well in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, the barrier reef is considered to be one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet.
According to some estimates, the Belize Barrier Reef extends across a total area of nearly 2,300 square miles, making it the most extensive coral reef ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere. Also, after the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, it is the second-longest living creature that has never stopped growing.
Even though it is protected by law, the Belize Barrier Reef is nevertheless susceptible to damage from factors such as pollution, climate change, and exotic species. Thankfully, there are groups like the World Wildlife Fund that are committed to preserving the reef for future generations.
Belize was established in 1832 and did not achieve its independence until 1981. Maya people were the original inhabitants, but they were driven out of their land by Spanish conquistadors. Over 300 distinct indigenous groups call Belize their home at the present time. The countries of Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras are its neighbors to the north, west, and south, respectively. Belize may be found in Central America.
The stunning beaches and many wildlife reserves in Belize have made it an extremely popular tourist destination. The country is home to a number of national parks, the most notable of which is Glover's Reef Marine Reserve, Lighthouse Reef Marine Reserve, and Corozal National Park. Visitors will have the option to discover tropical rainforests and coral reefs when they visit these protected sites.
Both Belmopan and San Ignacio are considered to be Belize's principal urban centers. These are two cities that share a coastal location along the Caribbean Sea. Belmopan is the administrative capital of Belize, although San Ignacio is the official capital of the country.
Government and politics
Belize is a relatively small nation that may be found in Central America. Belmopan is the name of the country's capital city. The Prime Minister acts as both the head of state and the head of the government, which is comprised of a cabinet of ministers who serve under the Prime Minister. The citizens of Belize are represented in parliament by individuals who have been appointed by the Prime Minister.
Every four years, citizens of Belize go to the polls to choose their next president. The individual in this role serves as the presiding officer of the Senate, which is made up of senators that have been nominated by the governor-general. Each of the two houses of Parliament is made up of MPs chosen at random by the people who live in the country.
In Belize, the federal level is the highest, followed by the province level, and then the local level. The federal laws apply to the entirety of the country, whereas the provincial laws apply only inside their respective provinces and the municipal laws apply only within individual cities.
The field of the Belizean flag is blue, and in the center of the flag is a golden sun that is rising above a branch of a green tree. The sea, the sky, and the land are all represented by these colors. The sun is meant to represent the illumination that comes through knowledge, while the branches of the tree stand for the solidarity of the people.
The shield on the coat of arms depicts a golden lion with the hilt of a sword in his paw. The lion is a symbol of bravery and strength, and the sword is a representation of justice. Oak leaves form a wreath around the shield, which is meant to reflect the forests that are found in Belize.
Belize was a territory that belonged to British Honduras in the past. Belize attained its independence in 1962, the same year that the United Kingdom handed freedom to a number of its other colonies. In 1981, it became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Belize Districts and Regions
There are three districts in Belize, and each zone is divided into four regions. Each area is divided into multiple districts, and within each district are a number of towns. The current number of districts in Belize is five, and they are named as follows: Corozal, Orange Walk, Stann Creek, Toledo, and Cayo.
Every municipality has a mayor who is accountable to the Prime Minister for the district's administration. The Honorable Dean Barrow is serving as Mayor of Belmopan at the present time. He won the election in November of 2015 and was sworn into office on January 1 of the following year.
There are six regions in Belize: the Central Region, the North Region, the South Region, the Western Region, and the Atlantic Region. Municipalities are the further levels of subdivision for these regions.
The Honorable Daniel Guerrero is serving as Mayor of Belmopan at the present time. He won the election in October 2017, and he was sworn into office on December 31 of the same year.
The settlement of Corozal may be found in Belize. It was established in 1881, and today there are roughly 10,000 people calling it home. Because of its well-known stunning beaches and diverse coral reefs, the town of Corozal is a favorite vacation spot for many people.
Getting to Corozal is not difficult if you fly there; but, traveling there by boat is far more convenient. Trips to Corozal can be booked on a variety of cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Carnival Cruises, to name just a few of the available options.
San Pedro Town and Ambergris Caye are the two most important ports in the municipality of Corozal. Both are accessible by road and share a coastal location along the same stretch of land. The port of San Pedro Town is the larger one, while the port on Ambergris Caye is more underdeveloped due to its smaller size.
In addition to being the most populous city in Corozal, San Pedro Town is also the location of the city's airport. In addition to that, it serves as the commercial epicenter of the region. Even though there are direct flights from New York City and Miami to this destination, the majority of guests reach here via air travel.
In the municipality of Corozal, Ambergris Caye is the second largest town. In spite of its lesser size in comparison to San Pedro Town, it offers visitors a greater variety of accommodations and food establishments. The proximity of a great number of hotels and restaurants to the water makes it quite convenient to take in the scenery.
Both of these communities can be reached quickly and simply by motor vehicle, public transportation, taxi, or bicycle. Please go to our article on Corozal for directions that are more specific in nature.
Belize's Orange Walk is one of the country's most well-known tourist destinations. Several hotels, restaurants, bars, and stores can be found in this area, which is located close to the town of San Ignacio. Snorkeling, hiking, horseback riding, and zip line are just a few of the many activities that can be enjoyed here in abundance.
Guests staying in Orange Walk have their pick of a diverse choice of interesting destinations. The Maya ruins of Lamanai, Xunantunich, and Cahal Pech are among the attractions that visitors should not miss. These locations provide tourists with an understanding of the culture of the Mayans as well as a glimpse into the history of the surrounding region.
Other exciting places to visit in Belize include the Monkey Jungle, the Butterfly Farm, and the Belize Zoo. Visitors are welcome to experience the natural habitats of Belizean animals at any one of these three locations.
Francisco de Montejo, a Spanish explorer, established the settlement of San Ignacio in 1538. Saint Ignatius was his patron saint, thus he decided to name the city after him. There are currently more than 20,000 people calling San Ignacio their home.
There are primarily two categories of tourism that may be experienced in San Ignacio: ecotourism and adventure tourism. Visitors who are looking for an exciting vacation often come to this town to participate in activities such as rafting, hiking, and zip lining. People who want to get up close and personal with nature often make the trip to San Ignacio. In addition to hotels and bed & breakfasts, hostels, and even private residences, San Ignacio offers a variety of other options for overnight stays.
The tourism industry of San Ignacio thrives on the adventuring industry. People travel to this location to take in the stunning views and fascinating fauna. During their time in Belize, many tourists decide to make San Ignatio their base of operations and reside there.
The practice of ecotourism is not as prevalent in San Ignacio. However, it does take place, particularly among residents of the area who are eager to show visitors their beautiful natural surroundings. While on their trip to the area, some people who are interested in ecotourism prefer to stay in San Antonio.
Belize City was established in 1824 and assumed its role as the nation's capital in 1862. Over one hundred thousand people currently call this place their home.
The tourism industry, agriculture, fishing, and the exploitation of petroleum are the most important contributors to Belize's economy. Belize's second major industry, tourism is responsible for around 70 percent of the country's GDP. Even while air travel is quickly expanding, the majority of tourists still arrive on cruise ships.
Ambergris Caye and San Pedro are the two most important islands in the country of Belize. Both of these places are very well known among travelers. While San Pedro is closer to the mainland and has a more relaxed atmosphere, Ambergris Caye is larger and has a wider variety of activities available to its visitors.
The international airport for Belize is found in San Pedro. The San Pedro Sun Hotel and Marina, the Maya Beach Resort, and the Belize Marriott Reef Point Resort are just a few of the hotels that can be found in San Pedro. These hotels provide comfortable lodging at reasonable rates in addition to easy access to the beach and other popular tourist destinations.
Ambergris Cayes is a group of islands that may be found in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Belize. These islands are home to a wide variety of marine species, including stingrays, dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. In addition to being well-known for its beaches, the region of Ambergris Cayes is widely regarded as one of the best places in the world to go scuba diving.
Visitors who are interested in exploring the surrounding area have a number of choices at their disposal. The San Pedro Town Tour is by far the most well-liked excursion among vacationers. This tour takes guests to some of the most popular destinations on the island, such as the Maya ruins at Xunantunich and Lamanai. In addition, visits can be taken to the Mayflower Wreck, which is located nearby and served as a medical ship during World War II.
Snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, swimming, and sailing are some other activities that may be done here. In addition, visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding along gorgeous paths.
Caye Caulker can be found immediately south of Ambergris Caye in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Belize. It's a gorgeous island with beaches of white sand, waves that are turquoise, and thick jungle all around. Snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, hiking, kayaking, swimming, and many other outdoor pursuits are just some of the activities that may be enjoyed at this location.
On the island, you can choose to stay at one of several different hotels, such as the Sandals Royal Beach Resort, the Blue Water Inn, or the Sea Side Inn. Each one has a unique set of services, amenities, and prices to offer.
For instance, the Sandals Royal Beach Hotel is a sizable resort hotel that features a range of eating establishments, drinking establishments, swimming pools, tennis courts, and other types of recreational facilities. It is an excellent option for families who like to spend quality time together while taking pleasure in seaside activities.
The Blue Water Inn, on the other hand, is a more intimate boutique hotel that features a section of private beach as well as a restaurant that serves regional specialties. The guests are able to stay in their own rooms and enjoy the seclusion that comes with it while yet having easy access to the rest of the island.
You are going to have a wonderful time on Caye Caulker no matter whatever choice you select to visit the island.
The city of Hopkins in Belize is situated on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. It was established in 1697 by Spanish colonists, and they named it after St. Ignatius of Loyola, the man credited with establishing the Jesuit Order. Today, the city of Hopkins is the seat of government for the nation of Belize.
A number of prestigious educational institutions, such as the University of Central Florida, the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and the Belize College of Arts and Sciences, can be found in Hopkins. In addition, there are two hospitals located inside the city limits: the Belize Medical Center and the Hopkins Hospital.
Additionally, Hopkins is the location of the National Museum of Belize, which is where artifacts from the Maya civilisation can be found. The Belmopan Zoo, the Belize Botanic Gardens, and the San Pedro River are some of the other well-known attractions that can be found in the neighborhood.
Placencia is a small island off the coast of Belize that is home to a number of stunning beaches, verdant rainforests, and coral reefs. After spending the day seeing the island nation, this is the ideal location to wind down and unwind in.
During your time in Placencia, you will have the opportunity to participate in a diverse range of activities. Taking a boat excursion is among the most enjoyable methods to get to know the surrounding area. These tours provide guests the opportunity to learn about the culture of the area while also exploring the seas in the surrounding area.
Scuba diving is yet another well-liked recreational pursuit. Cayo Largo National Park and the Blue Hole are two of the scuba diving destinations that are located in close proximity to Placencia. Snorkeling is another activity that visitors can partake in, but diving presents them with the ability to get much closer to the marine creatures.
Other interesting things to do include going on hikes, going fishing, and relaxing on the beach. You may even visit ancient Mayan ruins.
Language and People
Over 300 different languages are spoken in Belize, including English, Spanish, Mayan, Creole, Kriolu, Garifuna, and Miskito. English and Spanish are the most widely spoken languages. Although English is the predominant language, Spanish is also very common.
It is estimated that there are roughly 330,000 people living in Belize. The Maya and the Mestizo are the country's two most prominent racial and cultural groupings. The vast majority of people call rural areas their permanent home, while the remaining population is concentrated in metropolitan areas.
An ancient civilization that once flourished in Central America was known as the Maya. Agriculture and commerce were the two pillars that supported their culture. Because of this, many of their cities were constructed along rivers and lakes, which made transit much simpler.
They fashioned goods such as jewelry, pottery, and other items with tools made of stone. There are a few of their pieces of art that have survived to the present day.
Belize is home to the majority of Mayan people today. Mestizos and Garifunas are the two most prominent subgroups of Mayans who live in Belize today. These two groups communicate primarily in English and Spanish, respectively.
After the Spanish conquest of Belize, many Spaniards decided to stay in the country and raise their families there. These people are the ancestors of Belize's Mestizo community. Slaves from Africa were brought to the Caribbean island nation of Garifuna by slave dealers from the United Kingdom.
In Belmopan City alone, there are close to one million Mayans currently residing in the country. The majority of them make their homes in the suburban and rural areas that surround the city.
People who were born into two different cultures are known as mestizos. Some mestizos are descended from indigenous Mayans as well as Spanish conquistadors, while others are descended from African slaves who were brought to the Americas during the time of colonial control. There are currently Mestizos living in every country that makes up Central America.
Mestizo culture is doing exceptionally well in today's Belize. A significant number of mestizos feel honored to have contributed to the nation's history and legacy. Some people are proud of their mixed origin, while others attempt to conceal their ethnic background. In Belize, you are able to celebrate your one-of-a-kind identity as well as your heritage whether you are a descendant of just one side of the family or both sides of the family.
Creole Belizean is largely used in the cities of Belize City and San Pedro Town, both of which are situated on Ambergris Caye Island, which is located in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of southern Belize. Southern Belize Creole and Northern Belize Creole are the two most common varieties of the Creole language spoken in Belize. Both forms have characteristics in common with one another, such as vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and syntax.
The Creole spoken in Southern Belize is largely impacted by English, while the Creole spoken in Northern Belize is heavily influenced by Spanish. Some linguists are of the opinion that the differences between the two kinds can be traced back to the distinct influences that were exerted by Spanish settlers and British colonists.
Although Belize Creole and other creoles share some commonalities, it also has several qualities that are distinctively its own. One illustration of this would be the substitution of the word "you" with the word "yuh," which is not acceptable in standard English. One more distinction is that there are no articles (like "the") used in front of nouns.
Creole is frequently taught in schools, and students typically focus on developing their ability to have basic conversations in the language. Students will ordinarily start studying the language while they are in primary school and will normally continue their studies of it until they are in secondary school. Although the Belize Creole language is frequently used in conversation, it is rarely recorded in writing form. The vast majority of native speakers write the language phonetically, rather than according to the guidelines for correct spelling.
Creole speakers from Belize are known to take great pride in their ancestry, and many of them consider themselves to be bilingual. However, Belize Creole is still thought of as a language that is in the process of development, and only a small number of people live in other countries comprehend it.
Belize is home to the Garinagu tribe. Their native tongue is a member of the Mayan language family, and in addition to that, they also speak Spanish. The Garinagu people are believed to be a part of the Maya culture, and to this day, they continue to carry out traditional ceremonies and rites.
It is estimated that there are less than one thousand members of the Garinagu tribe living in the world today, and both deforestation and climate change pose risks to their survival. The majority of Garinagu people are poor, and their lack of resources makes it difficult for them to maintain their standard of living.
The Garinagu language is spoken primarily in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Marshall Islands, Federated States Of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Niue, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Pitcairn, Easter Island, Falkland Islands, Macquarie Island, Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia, Gough Island, Crozet Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, South Sandwich Islands, Peter I Island, Queen Maud Land, Ross Dependency, Kerguelen Islands, Juan de Nova Island, Amsterdam Island, King George Island, Prince Edward Is., Marion Island, Rodway Island, Bouvet Island, Biscoe Islands, Trindade and Martin Vaz Islands, Desroches Island, Macquarie Island and Antarctica.
How to get to Belize?
Getting to Belize is easy. There are multiple flights daily from Miami International Airport (MIA), Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport (ATL), New York JFK International Airport (JFK), Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Edmonton International Airport (YEG).
There are also direct flights from Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and the Caribbean.
How to get around Belize?
It is not difficult to navigate one's way about Belize City. There are buses that travel here and there rather frequently. There are bus stops located close to the cruise ship terminal, which is where passengers can board ferries to Caye Caulker. You could also take a bus to Placencia if you like. After arriving there, you will be able to take a taxi to Caye Caulkin.
Moving about in Belize City is a lot less difficult. There are cabs available in every location. Taxis charge $1.50 USD per kilometer. Therefore, the cost is $15 USD for every 10 kilometers driven. However, it is strongly recommended that you should not drive in Belize City. The roads are quite confined and crowded. In addition, drivers aren't used to seeing people from other countries.
You can take a bus or a taxi from Belize City to Caye Caulker if you want to get there. Both of these choices will cost you close to ten dollars US. If you want to hire a taxi, it is imperative that you negotiate the fare before the ride begins. Taxi drivers will occasionally attempt to overcharge their customers.