GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT BELIZE
This Is Belize
“With its western border in the Central American jungles and its eastern seashore hugging the Caribbean Sea, Belize offers a unique mix of mainland and beach attractions one must see to appreciate.
Belize is the northernmost country in Central America, with Mexico to its north, Guatemala to the West, and a long shoreline on the Caribbean coast. Its small capital Belmopan is located inland almost in the center of the country – coordinates 17°15’N 88°46’W. Belize is twice the size of Jamaica with a territory of 8,860 square miles (22,960 square kilometers) on the Yucatan Peninsula. The mainland is 180 miles (290 kilometers) long and 68 miles (110 kilometers) wide.
The population is 312,971 (2010 census), and with its land area of 8,860 square miles, enjoys the most comfortable population density in Central America. But its population growth rate at 2.3% is also the highest in the western hemisphere. Its extensive marine resources on the Caribbean Sea crowned by the Barrier Reef, tourism, abundant agricultural land, petroleum, gold and other mineral deposits make for great prospects for this developing country. This is the only country in Central America where English is the official language, and also the only country in the area with government modeled on the Westminster system, and a judiciary based on English common law.
The country is divided into six districts, Corozal and Orange Walk in the north, Belize and El Cayo in the center, and Stann Creek and Toledo in the south. The north of the country is known for sugar cane cultivation, the central area for commerce, while the west and south are where agriculture and petroleum make up the main economic activities.
The country’s main export is petroleum, followed by tourism and agriculture. This is a poor country where one fourth of the labour force is unemployed and 40% of the population is considered poor. The area that is most economically deprived is the south.
The country enjoys magnificent natural resources for tourism with its vast Barrier Reef, the Great Blue Hole, numerous offshore islands, atolls, mountains, caves and extensive Maya ruins many still uncovered. It produces most of its own food and exports marine products, namely lobster for consumption in North America.
There is easy access to southern Mexico with its excellent highway system and well-developed cities such as Chetumal, Cancun and Merida in the Yucatan. The new highway to Guatemala makes for better access to the Peten and Guatemala City as well as Honduras and El Salvador. The southern U.S. border is a 72 hours away by road. Eastern Guatemala and Honduras are also accessible from the southern part of the country by water taxi. Cruise ships call here several times a week as part of their Western Caribbean itinerary.
GDP per person BZ$15, 600, Average Belizean age 22, Native orchid species 305, Resident & migratory bird species 560, Overnight and in transit tourists per year 261,650, Cruise-ship tourists per annum 624,630, Population density 35 people per square mile, Unemployment rate 23%, Inflation 2.8%, Species of hard & soft coral 110, HIV prevalence rate 2.4%, Literacy 77%.
We are known as a well-established offshore banking jurisdiction and many visitors combine a vacation with business seeking to explore their investment and finance options.
The visitor will find a breathtaking range of attractions. One of the more exotic is the ancient Maya civilization with numerous Maya pyramids and sites such as Xunantunich, Caracol, Altun Ha and Lamanai.
Here is the largest cave system in Central America and several underground rivers that have made cave tubing a national recreation and tourist attraction.
Dive, snorkel, fish, para sail or simply swim or cruise its magnificent azure waters along the coast and the Barrier Reef that runs the entire length of the country – 170 miles of spectacular fun – especially on Ambergris Caye. We have more than 500 islands, world-class fishing, three Atolls, and the Great Blue Hole.
Tourism is one of the country’s top sources of employment and investment and we welcome all visitors with open arms. Living here is now an attractive option for those seeking a frost-free area where they can retire in comfort. Many ex pats from the US, Canada and Europe now make our country their home.
INFORMATION COURTESY BELIZE.COM LTD….. (Retrieved from their website at www.belize.com)