Where is Belize Located?
Belize is a small country in Central America, south of Mexico and east of Guatemala. Belize has a long coastline on the Caribbean Sea, and is on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula. The latitude and longitude of Belize is 17° 15′ North and 88° 45′ West and is situated on the narrow isthmus of land that connects North America and South America. To the north of Belize is the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, sharing a border with the Mexican town of Chetumal City. To the west of Belize is the northernmost department (state) of El Peten in Guatemala.
The southern tip of Belize shares a border with the Guatemalan department (state) of Izabal. By air, travelers in the United States can reach Belize from Miami, Florida, Houston, Texas, or Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas in about two hours. Flights from Charlotte, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia average about three and a half hours. From a starting point in Central America, it takes a full day to drive from Guatemala City to reach most points in Belize. Passenger boats departing from the city of Puerto Barrios in the Izabal Department (state) in northern Guatemala can reach Belize in approximately 30 minutes. By air, Belize is connected to the cities of Merida and Cancun in Mexico, San Salvador in El Salvador, Flores Peten (near the famous Mayan ruins of Tikal) in Guatemala, and the city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras.
Belize has a long coastline stretching for 386 kilometers (240 miles) facing the Caribbean Sea. Just offshore of Belize is the Belize Barrier Reef, the second biggest coral reef in the world, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Belize has an area of 22,960 square kilometers (8,867 square miles), slightly bigger than either the nation of El Salvador or the state of Massachusetts, or twice as big as Jamaica. With numerous lagoons and lakes, the total land surface of Belize is actually 21,400 square kilometers (8,300 square miles).
Belize is shaped approximately like a rectangle, stretching 280 km (170 miles) north to south, but just 100 kilometers (62 miles) from east to west, with a combined frontier measuring 516 kilometers (321 miles). Inside Belize are two major rivers, the Sarstoon River and the Hondo River, which define the northern and southern boundaries. The western border of Belize with Guatemala is an artificial line drawn straight north and south, a legacy of the colonial era when the region was under British administration.
The western border with Guatemala is known as the “Adjacency Line”, and is officially administered by the Organization of American States (OAS). Inside Belize, the northern part of the country consists of a combination of flat wetlands merging towards coastal plains, with abundant forests found throughout. The south of Belize forms the lower slopes of the Maya Mountain range. The highest point in Belize is known as Doyle’s Delight, and has an altitude of 1,124 meters (3,688 feet). Abundant coral reefs form much of the coastline of Belize, along with approximately 450 small islands known locally known as “cayes”. Pronounced “keys”, the cayes total about 690 square kilometers (270 square miles) of surface, and about the Belize Barrier Reef, which measures 320 kilometers (200 miles) from north to south. Three out of four coral atolls located in the Western Hemisphere are found off the waters of Belize. One special unique feature, the Great Blue Hole, is also found off the coast of Belize.
Why Choose Belize?
Belize is a rewarding, authentic destination for travelers in search of unique, intimate experiences in a Caribbean/Central American getaway. A Belize vacation will stir your soul, expand your mind and change your life. Serenely situated in one of the last unspoiled places on earth, you can easily tour Belize’s rain forests, dive the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef or explore mystical Maya temple cities – all during the same adventure. The multitude of experiences offered by this compact paradise refreshes travelers of all kinds.
A single day can take you cross-country through temple tours to marina-side martinis overlooking turquoise water. Belize is renowned for both its preserved ancient treasures as well as its welcoming residents – often referred to as the country’s greatest natural resource. An enduring commitment to preservation of Belizean lands and waters inspires a genuine and intimate connection with Belize.
Wherever you come from, you are welcome to take part in extraordinary escapades without ever feeling like a stranger. Every journey promises opportunities to capture every moment and let the senses come alive. For generations, the English-speaking people of Belize have demonstrated a cultural commitment to preserve the country’s one-of-a-kind charms. Through a convergence of natural wonder, delightful people, savory food and rare adventures, you can truly be one with Belize. Learn about Belize, from beaches, food and one-of-a-kind destinations throughout our site. When you are ready to become one with Belize, visit the Belize Vacation Planner to start mapping out the most memorable vacation you will ever take.
The economy of Belize continues to revolve around a number of key sectors, and GDP growth in the country is affected significantly by output in these areas, most notably agriculture. This makes the country’s economic performance particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in world commodity markets. Tourism, crude oil exports and International Business are also major contributors to the Belize economy, with tourists coming to Belize being the country’s main foreign exchange earner. The immediate economic forecasts for Belize are relatively healthy, with growth for 2018 estimated at 2.1%. with agricultural output expected to rise alongside a growth in inbound tourism.
It is estimated that agriculture accounts for just under 10% of Belize’s GDP, and the country has a number of significant exports. Sugar and timber have always been staples, but the agriculture sector has undergone diversification and now bananas, citrus fruits and fish products are also important export products. Agricultural exports do, however, tend to be subject to fluctuations in global commodity markets, a problem that Belize has been subject to even before independence and as far back as the 18th century (when it was still known as British Honduras) when the mahogany trade was already one of Belize’s primary exports. Forestry continues to this day to be a strong economic performer, although predominantly in the realm of preserving the country’s many forest reserves as eco-tourism destinations.
Since 1990 and the enactment of the International Business Companies Act, Belize has become a center for international financial transactions and offshore investment and banking. A Belize International Business Company is able to be organised in a more flexible way than is permitted in most other jurisdictions, and provides more privacy for shareholders and directors, who cannot be identified from public records. In addition, offshore companies registered in Belize are exempt from paying income tax. Another way in which Belize has carved out a niche for itself in the global economy is in the e-gaming licensing industry (visit top5casinosites.co.uk to see major online casinos that are operating under a Belize e-gaming license). The Computer Wagering Licensing Act (1995), which was introduced in May 1996, enables gambling companies licensed in Belize to provide casino games and sports betting services for players who are based outside of the country. A number of major international gambling brands are therefore licensed to operate from Belize and this function continues to make an important contribution to the services economy.
Online gambling regulation has, however, become a much more competitive industry, particularly as a number of major countries, most notably the UK, have now introduced their own online gambling licensing and regulatory authorities. Nevertheless, the industry is still strong on Belize and there is potential for it to diversify and remain a key player by becoming a licensing authority for crypto-currency casino and sports betting based on blockchain technology.
Crude oils sales also play a role in the economy of Belize and, although prices are subject to great worldwide volatility, it has been an area in which there has been recent growth, with exports up $1.9 million in January 2018 compared with the same time in 2017, despite no change in production levels. However, the exploration and development of oil fields is not straightforward in Belize, and so there would need to be a significant uptick in the price of crude for it to be worthwhile for oil companies to make further major investments in the country in the immediate future.
Tourism currently makes a direct contribution of just under 20% to Belize’s GDP, while the total contribution is over 45%. Around 13% of the country’s population is directly employed in the tourism industry and so its importance cannot be overstated. It is also shown that tourism has a positive effect on a number of other key economic sectors, notably the agricultural, international business and construction industries. Ecotourism in particular is a growing sector, with the authorities increasing the number and range of protected natural and historical attractions in a bid to capture an ever-greater share of this burgeoning international market. Places like the Great Blue Hole, Thousand Foot Falls, Caye Caulker, the Belize Barrier Reef and countless other natural and archaeological sites attract visitors from around the world, and numbers are only likely to increase as the economy becomes more tourism driven and the government and authorities become more proactive in promoting this specific sector of the tourist industry.
The local currency is the Belize dollar (BZD) and is fixed to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 2 Belize Dollars per U.S. dollar (BZD $2.00 to US $1.00).