Travel to Belize

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PRESENTATIONBelize flag

Dabbling its toes in the Caribbean Sea, Belize has more in common with its island neighbors than with the fiery volatility of the rest of Central America. English-speaking, Creole-dominated and with a thoroughly coup-free history, most of this tiny country has an atmosphere so laid-back it's almost comatose.

Belize can be a difficult place to travel - only three of its major highways are fully paved, prices are high for this part of the world and, except in the touristed areas, hotels are few and far between. Belize compensates with some of the best diving in the world, dramatic Mayan ruins looming out of untouched jungle and secluded ecolodges catering to the most sedentary adventurers.


FACTS

Full country name: Belize
Area: 23,300 sq km (9087 sq mi)
Population: 249,183 (growth rate 2.8%)
Capital city: Belmopan (pop 5000)
People: 44% mestizo, 30% Creole, 11% Maya, 7% Garifuna
Language: English, English Creole, Spanish, Maya and Garífuna
Religion: 60% Catholic, 30% Protestant
Government: Parliamentary democracy

GDP: US$740 million
GDP per capita: US$3100
Inflation: -0.9%
Major industries: Sugar, bananas, fish products, garment production,
food processing, timber, tourism, construction
Major trading partners: USA, UK, Mexico, Canada


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Visas: Citizens of the US, European Union and Commonwealth countries do not require visas if they have a passport and return ticket. All other nationalities require a visa. British embassies frequently handle Belize's diplomatic affairs.
Health risks: Cholera, dengue fever, hepatitis, malaria, typhoid
Time: GMT/UTC minus 6 hours
Electricity: 110V, 60 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

When to Go
The best time to travel is the dry season from November to May, but this is also the busy winter tourist season, when prices rise and hotels fill up. It's cheaper to travel in summer (July to November), but keep in mind that this is hurricane season.


LAND & CLIMATE

Region: Central America

Neighbours: Belize borders the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala on the south and west and Mexico on the north and northwest.

Size Comparison: Slightly larger than El Salvador

Physical Features
Large areas of swampy lowlands cover the northern half of Belize, while low mountain ranges, most notably the Montañas Maya, dominate the southern half. Victoria Peak rises 1,120 metres (3,675 feet) to become the country’s highest point. Coral reefs and numerous cays, or islets, indent the Caribbean coastline to the east.

Major Rivers and Lakes
The major rivers of Belize flow eastward from Guatemala. The Belize River, with Belize City at its mouth, empties into the Gulf of Honduras. The Hondo River forms much of the boundary with Mexico, and the Río Sarstún forms the southwestern border with Guatemala.

Weather and Climate
Belize’s subtropical climate is moderated by coastal sea breezes; the average annual temperature is about 26°C (about 79°F). The long rainy season extends from May to February, with the total annual rainfall increasing from north to south and averaging about 1,800 millimetres (about 71 inches).

Environmental Issues
This small country, 86.1 percent of which is forestland, is rich in biological diversity. Less than 2 percent of its species are officially designated as endangered, and almost 20.9 percent (1997) of the total land area is protected. Belize is the site of the world’s second largest coral reef, which is home to many rich ecosystems. Disturbances have been noted, however, as a result of pollution, tourism, and fishing. Fresh water is plentiful and the majority of the population has access to safe supplies, but water quality is considered a problem, and the Belize government is engaged in capacity-building initiatives to improve it.


LINKS DIRECTORY

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SUGGESTED ITINERARIES

Discover the culture, history and architecture of a civilization comparable to the ones of Ancient Greece and Egypt. Explore Maya cities partially excavated by archaeologists, of which several remain a work in progress and under study. The Mayas invented a complex writing and they built vast and imposing cities but they were also among the greatest and most precise astronomers and mathematicians of their time. The Mayas of today preserve many features of characters of their ancestors; from the lowlands of Yucatan to the highlands of Guatemala and Chiapas you will discover a proud and creative people amazingly well adapted to the various environments and conditions of the modern world. From the Yucatan beaches to the colourful markets of Guatemala, exploring the greatest archaeological sites of the Mesoamerica, meet the Mayas of today and the treasures left behind by their predecessors...
Arrival in Cancun > Tulum > Coba > Tikal > Antigua > Copan (in option) > Atitlan lake > Chichicastenango > San Cristobal de Las Casas > Agua Azul > Palenque > Bonampak > Yaxchilan > Uxmal > Mérida > Chichen Itza > Valladolid / Cancun.
Central America conceals treasures of a great beauty that this unique documentary-tour (and unique departure) will enable you to discover through a moderately paced and captivating journey. Starting at the hearth of the Mexican captial, you will descend the Sierra Madre, cross the Chiapas, explore the Highlands of Guatemala, discover Honduras and Nicaragua and appreciate the beauties and serenity of Costa Rica.
Mexico City > guided exploration of historic sites > Oaxaca, a splendid colonial city > San Cristobal, markets and charming streets > Chiapas state exploration > Guatemala: Atitlan Lake > Chichicastenango Market > Colonial Antigua > Guatemala City > Honduras: Maya site of Copan > Tegucigalpa the capital > Nicaragua: Managua the capital > Masaya and Granada > Isla de Ometepe > Costa Rica: Volcano Rincon de la Vieja, excellent hikes and ecotourism > Monteverde reserves and Skytrek > Arenal Volcano horseback riding > Selva Verde in the Jungle > San José.
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