Belize Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Belize Map Economy History

Half Moon Caye Natural Monument The total protected area is 9700 acres in the coral atolls beyond the Belize Barrier Reef.
Programme for Belize Promotes conservation of Belize's natural heritage and the wise use of its natural resources.

Facts About Belize

Background: Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize (formerly British Honduras) until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. The country remains plagued by high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, and increased urban crime.
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: Belmopan
Currency: 1 Belizean dollar (Bz$) = 100 cents

Geography of Belize

Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
Geographic coordinates: 17 15 N, 88 45 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area:
total: 22,960 sq km
land: 22,800 sq km
water: 160 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 516 km
border countries: Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km
Coastline: 386 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm in the north, 3 nm in the south; note - from the mouth of the Sarstoon River to Ranguana Cay, Belize's territorial sea is 3 nm; according to Belize's Maritime Areas Act, 1992, the purpose of this limitation is to provide a framework for the negotiation of a definitive agreement on territorial differences with Guatemala
Climate: tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to February)
Terrain: flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Victoria Peak 1,160 m
Natural resources: arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower
Land use:
arable land:  10%
permanent crops:  1%
permanent pastures:  2%
forests and woodland:  84%
other:  3% (2000 est.)
Irrigated land: 20 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: frequent, devastating hurricanes (September to December) and coastal flooding (especially in south)
Environment - current issues: deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid waste disposal
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean

More about the Geography

People of Belize

Belize is the most sparsely populated nation in Central America; it is larger than El Salvador and compares in size to the state of Massachusetts. Slightly more than half of the people live in rural areas. About one-fourth live in Belize City, the principal port, commercial center, and former capital.

Most Belizeans are of multiracial descent. About 46.4% of the population is of mixed Mayan and European descent (Mestizo); 27.7% are of African and Afro-European (Creole) ancestry; about 10% are Mayan; and about 6.4% are Afro-Amerindian (Garifuna). The remainder, about 9.5%, includes European, East Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern and North American groups.

English, the official language, is spoken by virtually all except the refugees who arrived during the past decade. Spanish is the native tongue of about 50% of the people and is spoken as a second language by another 20%. The various Mayan groups still speak their original languages, and an English Creole dialect (or "Kriol" in the new orthography), similar to the Creole dialects of the English-speaking Caribbean Islands, is spoken by most. The rate of functional literacy is 76%. About 60% of the population is Roman Catholic; the Anglican Church and Protestant Christian groups account for most of the remaining 40%. Mennonite settlers number about 7,160.

Population: 279,457 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  42.04%
15-64 years:  54.43%
65 years and over:  3.53% (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.7% 
Birth rate: 31.69 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 4.7 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 25.14 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  71.19 years
male:  68.91 years
female:  73.57 years 
Total fertility rate: 4.05 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Belizean(s)
adjective: Belizean
Ethnic groups: mestizo 43.7%, Creole 29.8%, Maya 10%, Garifuna 6.2%, other 10.3%
Religions: Roman Catholic 62%, Protestant 30% (Anglican 12%, Methodist 6%, Mennonite 4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3%, Pentecostal 2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1%, other 2%), none 2%, other 6% (1980)
Languages: English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 70.3%
male: 70.3%
female: 70.3% (1991 est.)
note: other sources list the literacy rate as high as 75% 

More about the Population

Weather in Belize City

 

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High N/A 89°F 92°F 91°F 93°F 92°F 90°F 91°F 90°F 90°F 89°F 86°F
Avg. Low 58°F N/A 59°F 65°F 69°F 71°F 72°F 72°F 71°F 67°F 64°F 59°F
Mean N/A N/A 78°F 80°F 83°F 83°F 82°F 82°F 82°F 80°F 78°F 76°F
Avg. Precip. 5.50 in 2.90 in 2.30 in 2.00 in 4.20 in N/A 9.60 in 7.40 in N/A N/A 7.20 in 6.90 in


SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Belize Map Economy History