Belize, formerly the colony of British Honduras, is the only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean. It only has a Caribbean Sea coastline. The country is located between Guatemala to the west and Mexico to the north.
Along the Caribbean Sea it is culturally similar to much of the formerly British Caribbean colonies; inland are native Maya people, and especially in the north and northwest of the country Spanish is often spoken; many refugees from the Caste War of Toledo
- Belmopan - Capital
- Ambergris Caye
- Caye Caulker
Tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May). Frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south).
Flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south.
- Highest point
- Victoria Peak 1,160 m
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.
The international airport is in Ladyville, to the north east of Belize City
From Mexico via Chetumal, in the north, or on a much rougher road from Guatemala via Tikal.
Buslines from Guatemala City and Belmopan operate to Flores in Guatemala.
Several cruise lines call on Belize City, which is the largest city in Belize. Unfortunately they usually only stay one day which doesn't really give one the opportunity to really see Belize. You can visit one of the Maya ruins, ride an airboat in the salt marshes just outside the city, shop go to the museum, go to the zoo or take either a short cave rafting trip or snorkeling but that's about it. That means about 70% of the things most tourist would like aren't available not mention the eco tourism points of interest.
Also it should be noted that for most North Americans, Belize City will definitely bring on a case of culture shock.
To Puerto Cort�s Honduras, the Gulf Cruza, a large speed boat (50 people)leaves Placencia each Friday at around 9:30am (4h US$50), going first to Big Creek. The Gulf Cruza returns to Placencia on Monday. Tickets are sold in the tourist office next to the gas station.
Small speedboats operate on a daily basis between Puerto Barrios and Livingston in Guatemala to Punta Gorda. The ride takes around two hours.
Several competing buslines operate on the main road in the north-south direction from Punta Gorda to Belmopan and Belize city. Two airlines, Tropic Air and Maya Island Air, serve most towns on a daily basis.
- English (official), Spanish, Maya, Garifuna (Carib), Creole. Most of the locals, especially in Belize City, speak Creole, but English to tourists.
Bottled or boiled water recommended
Best to stay out of Belize city, if you can. If landing at the airport there, go promptly to your final out-of-town destination. Crime is a real problem. Single women are not safe. The city is not pretty, it's poverty-stricken and a somewhat desperate place.
In the outlying areas, there is a lot of prejudice against North Americans by the Rastafarian types. Mostly, though, you will get a warm reception from the non-radicalized locals, who are happy and friendly.
Watch out for money conversion, it's a constant game to try and confuse and shortchange you.