We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.
— Hilaire Belloc, 1870 - 1953
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Belize

Background

Belize

Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1854. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992 and the two countries are involved in an ongoing border dispute. Guatemala and Belize plan to hold a simultaneous referendum to determine if this dispute will go before the International Court of Justice at The Hague, though they have not yet set a date. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include the country's heavy foreign debt burden, high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, high crime rates, and increasing incidences of HIV/AIDS.

About

Belize, formerly the colony of British Honduras, is the only country in Central America without a coastline on the Pacific Ocean (only the Caribbean Sea to its east), and the only one in the region with English as its official language. The country is located between Guatemala to the west and south and Mexico to the north.

Read more about Belize in our Belize travel guide »

Featured journals from

Belize

Honeymoon

by erezmazor

Mexico and Belize, October 2011

Oct 2011  »  Mexico | Belize

Featured hotels in

Belize

BelizeLas Terrazas Resort and Residences 

Barrier Reef Drive
Ambergris Caye
San Pedro 77057
Belize

Price (US$): $399 - $954 / night

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Location. Las Terrazas Resort and Residences is located on the beach in San Pedro's San Pedro Ambergris Caye neighborhood, close to Ambergris Caye Beach and GoFish Belize. Other points of interest are Reef Runner Glass Bottom Boat and TMM Yacht Charters. Resort Features. Las Terrazas Resort and Residences features a poolside bar and a bar/lounge. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. The property's full service health spa has body treatments, massage/treatment rooms, facials, and… more »

BelizeKa Ana Boutique Resort And Spa 

Mile 69 1/4 Benque Viego Road
San Ignacio
Belize

Price (US$): $400 - $401 / night

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Location. Located in San Ignacio, Ka Ana Boutique Resort And Spa is in the historical district and close to Cahal Pech. Regional points of interest also include Xunantunich and El Pilar. Resort Features. Ka Ana Boutique Resort And Spa features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available during limited hours. The resort serves a complimentary continental breakfast. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. The property's full service health spa has body treatments,… more »

BelizeMaruba Resort Jungle Spa 

40 1/2 Old Northern Highway
Maskall
Belize

Price (US$): $266 - $320 / night

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Location. Located in Maskall, Maruba Resort Jungle Spa is in a rural location and attractions in the region include Altun Ha. Resort Features. Maruba Resort Jungle Spa's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. Recreational amenities include 2 outdoor swimming pools. Also located on site are a spa tub and a 24 hour fitness facility. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available… more »

BelizeBella Maya Resort 

Maya Beach
Placencia
Belize

Price (US$): $317 - $317 / night

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Location. Bella Maya Resort is located on the beach in Placencia, close to Maya Beach. Regional points of interest also include Placencia Beach. Resort Features. Dining options at Bella Maya Resort include 2 restaurants. A swim up bar, a poolside bar, and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The resort serves a complimentary breakfast. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool and a children's pool. Spa amenities include massage/treatment… more »

BelizeLa Perla del Caribe 

6 miles north of San Pedro Town
Ambergris Caye, Belize District
San Pedro
Belize

Price (US$): $500 - $950 / night

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Location. La Perla del Caribe is located on the beach in San Pedro's San Pedro Ambergris Caye neighborhood, close to Ambergris Caye Beach. Another point of interest is GoFish Belize. Property Features. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available in public areas. Wedding services, concierge services, tour/ticket assistance, and tour assistance are available. Additional property amenities include barbecue grills, multilingual staff, and… more »

Browse more hotels in Belize »

Belize

Capital
Belmopan
Location

Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico

Geographic coordinates

17 15 N, 88 45 W

Area comparative

slightly smaller than Massachusetts

Border countries

Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km

Coastline

386 km

Climate

tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)

Terrain

flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south

Lowest point

Caribbean Sea 0 m

Highest point

Doyle's Delight 1,160 m

Natural resources

arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower

Population

314,522 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6%, Garifuna 6.1%, other 9.7% (2000 census)

Religions

Roman Catholic 49.6%, Protestant 27% (Pentecostal 7.4%, Anglican 5.3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 5.2%, Mennonite 4.1%, Methodist 3.5%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.5%), other 14%, none 9.4% (2000)

Languages

Spanish 46%, Creole 32.9%, Mayan dialects 8.9%, English 3.9% (official), Garifuna 3.4% (Carib), German 3.3%, other 1.4%, unknown 0.2% (2000 census)

Government type

parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm

Independence

21 September 1981 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 21 September (1981)

Chief of state

Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Colville YOUNG, Sr. (since 17 November 1993)

Head of government

Prime Minister Dean Oliver BARROW (since 8 February 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar VEGA (since 12 February 2008)

Internet country code

.bz

Internet users

36,000 (2009)

Airports

45 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Belize City, Big Creek

Other countries in the region