World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Central America

Belize Travelling Guide
Belize Travelling Guide

General 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.

Area comparative:
Slightly smaller than Massachusetts

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

Population: 262,999 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Mestizo 48.7%, Creole 24.9%, Maya 10.6%, Garifuna 6.1%, other 9.7%

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

Language: English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole

Government type: Parliamentary democracy

Capital: Belmopan

Legal system: English law

Economic overview: The small, essentially private enterprise economy is based primarily on agriculture, agro-based industry, and merchandising, with tourism and construction assuming greater importance. Sugar, the chief crop, accounts for nearly half of exports, while the banana industry is the country's largest employer. The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to GDP growth of 6.4% in 1999 and 10.5% in 2000. Growth decelerated in 2001 to 3% due to the global slowdown and severe hurricane damage to agriculture, fishing, and tourism. Major concerns continue to be the rapidly expanding trade deficit and foreign debt. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.

Communication/Telephone system: Above-average system, trunk network depends primarily on microwave radio relay. Satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean).

Places of interest: Dramatic Mayan ruins looming out of untouched jungle and secluded ecolodges catering to the most sedentary adventurers.

Travel Tips: 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.