Belize is comparable in size to Wales or the State of Massachusetts in the USA. It has a land area of 8,867 square miles or 22,923 square kilometers.
The terrain can be described as follows: swampy coastal areas, flat savannah in the north, and rainforest foothills and mountains in the south.
The mainland is approximately 174 miles long and 68 miles wide, while the coastline is dotted with over 400 cayes or islands.
The climate is sub-tropical, with an average temperature of 79° F/ 26° C.
One of Belize’s main tourist attractions is its 185 miles long Coral barrier reef – the longest reef in the western hemisphere, second only to Australia’s.
The mystery of the Maya civilization has enchanted archaeologists and tourists alike. To date, over 1,000 Maya ruins have been discovered in Belize.
Belmopan is the administrative capital, while Belize City is the main commercial center.
Time Zone: GMT – 6. US Central Standard Time with no Daylight Savings Time.
Belize’s population is ethnically and culturally diverse, comprising of a highly trained English speaking professional work force with Spanish also spoken by the vast majority. The population is approximately 321,660 with a labor force of 124,367 men and women (2008).
Ethnic groups include: Mestizo, Creoles, Garifuna, Maya, Chinese, Syrians/Lebanese, East Indians, and Caucasians.
Several other ethnic languages are also spoken, including: Creole, Garifuna, Maya, Ketchi and Chinese.
Infrastructure and support services include a reputable and modern international banking system, a state-of-the-art telecommunications system, reliable postal and courier services, and first class hotel and conference facilities. Belize is linked to its immediate neighbors and to the rest of the world by air, land, and sea.
The major banks are: The Belize Bank Ltd., CIBC First Caribbean International Bank Ltd., The Bank of Nova Scotia, Atlantic Bank Ltd., and Heritage Bank of Belize Ltd.
Belize boasts a recently constructed terminal at the Philip Goldson International Airport, located 9 miles from Belize City.
Main international carriers include: American Airlines, United Airlines, USAIRWAYS, and Taca International Airlines with regular flights to and from Miami, Houston, Dallas and Charlotte in the USA, and Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador in Central America.
Main domestic carriers include: Maya Island Air and Tropic Air.
Regular bus services are available to most towns and villages throughout the country, as well as to both Mexico and Guatemala. Highways: Total of 2,547 km (1,583 miles) of roads, with 526 km (327 miles) being major highways.
Main deep-water berths and facilities for general and bulk cargoes are located in Belize City, Dangriga and Toledo.
International courier services for express delivery include: DHL, Federal Express and UPS.
A satellite earth station in the capital provides high quality telecommunications with the rest of the world. Regular and mobile phone, telex and fax, pager services, e-mail and Internet access are available through the local phone company, Belize Telecommunications Limited. Belize has direct dialing capabilities with most countries worldwide.
Belize has experienced sustained growth over recent years. Principal exports include sugar, citrus, bananas, fish products, garments and timber, while principal imports include machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food and beverages, construction materials, fuels and lubricants.
Although agriculture accounts for a significant amount of GDP, both offshore and tourism industries are assuming increasing importance.
The local currency is the Belize dollar, which trades at a fixed exchange rate of US $1.00 to BZ $2.00. The Central Bank of Belize regulates the country’s financial industry.