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About Belize

Geography

Belize is located in Central America and it is bordered to the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. Belize is a diverse country with various cultures and languages. It has the lowest population density in Central America with 35 people per square mile or 14 people per square kilometer.

Belize is also known for its extreme biodiversity and distinctive ecosystems. On the coast, there is a swampy coastal plain with mangrove swamps. In the south and interior there are hills and low mountains. Most of the land is undeveloped and is forested with hardwoods. It is a part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot and it has many jungles, wildlife reserves, a large variety of different species of flora and fauna and the largest cave system in Central America.

History

The first people to develop Belize were the Maya around 1500 B.C.E. As shown in archaeological records, they established a number of settlements here. The first European contact with Belize occurred in 1502 when Christopher Columbus reached the area's coast. In 1638, the first European settlement was established by England and for 150 years, many more English settlements were set up.

In 1840, Belize became a "Colony of British Honduras" and in 1862, it became a crown colony. A Hundred years later, Belize was a representative government of England but in January 1964, full self-government with a ministerial system was granted. In 1973, the name was changed from British Honduras to Belize and on September 21, 1981, full independence was achieved.


People

In Belize, traditions and customs are varied and represent more than eight diverse cultures. The Belizean people are made up of Maya, Mestizo, Kriol, Garifuna, East Indian, Mennonite, Arab and Chinese.

There also are a number of expatriates in Belize from Canada, Europe and the United States.

Language

English is the official language but Spanish is widely spoken as the major ethnic group of Belize is now Latino. Most everyone speaks and understands Creole which is an English derived dialect.


Weather

Belize has sub-tropical climate. Temperatures in Belize range from 50°F to 95°F with an annual mean of 79°F. November to January is traditionally the coolest time with a 75°F average and May to September the warmest at about a 81°F average. Location is a big factor for temperature as Cayo to the west can be several degrees colder then along the coast and during November at night, temperatures can fall to a beautiful 46°F in Cayo. In the mountains, the coldest days and nights might seem relatively very cold and blankets will definitely be needed at night.

Humidity is also fairly consistent at around 85 percent.
Belize’s dry season is between February and May and has significantly lower rainfall than the rest of the year. When it does rain, it is usually in mild, short bursts.

Currency

The Belize dollar is pegged at $2 Belize = $1 USD