Belize

Driving Directions Belize

BELIZE is a small Central American country on the southeast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Caribbean Sea. Its coastline on the Gulf of Honduras approached through some 550 kilometers or 342 miles of coral reefs and keys (cayo). The coastal area and north of the country are low-lying and swampy with dense forests inland. In the south, the Maya Mountains rise to 1,100 meters or 3,609 feet.

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The subtropical climate is warm and humid, and the trade winds bring cooling sea breezes. Rainfall is heavy, particularly in the south, and hurricanes may occur in summer. The dense forests which cover most of the country provide valuable hardwoods such as mahogany.

Most of the population make a living from forestry, fishing, or agriculture, although only 5 percent of the land cultivated. The main crops grown for export are sugar cane, citrus fruits (mainly grapefruit), bananas, and coconuts. The industry is very underdeveloped, causing many people to emigrate to find work. Belize is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist resort and has a rich archaeological heritage of Maya sites. The official language is English, although many others spoke, including Mayan, Carib, and Spanish.

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The country is divided into two main topographic regions. The Maya and Cockscomb Mountains and their associated basins and plateaus dominate the southern half of the country. The northern lowlands, drained by numerous rivers and streams, make up the second region. Belize is located on the Caribbean Tectonic Plate. In the far south lies the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, where jaguars, pumas, ocelots, margays, agoutis, anteaters, armadillos, boa constrictors, and dozens of bird species thrive.

Belize’s eastern border lies on the Caribbean Sea. The central coast is on the open sea, but the northern shoreline forms one side of Chetumal Bay, while the southern coast borders the Gulf of Honduras and Amatique Bay.

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