Wondering exactly where Belize is located? This article will answer that and question and so much more, with: fun facts, interesting history, and appealing activities. From backpacking to luxurious vacations at secluded jungle resorts and fun-filled beach adventures that will appeal to travel budgets of all sizes.
Enjoy daydreaming of this fascinating country, rich with natural wonders, filled with rainforests, mysterious mountains that house Maya ruins. Explore hidden river gorges, travel through mysterious caves to see artifacts and ancient Mayan remains. Stroll on sunny beaches, paralleled by the barrier reef, and enjoy the brilliant blue Caribbean Sea. It’s a perfect vacation spot, so do yourself a favor and start planning your holidays in Belize. You will be glad you did.
I went one step further, I barely planned my 2004 vacation (beyond booking flights) and before my trip was over, I had decided to move. For me, it was love at first sight and I was sure I needed to work out moving abroad.
Being one of 20 CARICOM countries made it easy for this Canadian girl, (downtown Toronto), to fly the coop in 2006 and in favor of ex-pat life in Belize. (Learn about Caricom – Canada relations on CARICOM today). Language also helped my choice to move. Belize is unique among its Spanish-speaking neighbors, with English being its official language. This is because it is still part of the British Commonwealth. Geography did not hurt my decision-making process either. It was actually friends that used to live in Cancun, Mexico, and decided to move south to Belize that put this incredible Central American country on my GPS.
Where is Belize Located on the Map?
Before I answer the question above, there are people out there who ask ‘Is Belize an island?’ – the answer is no. It is true though, that the country has a good-sized archipelago, (group of islands) in the range of 200 Cayes, and uninhabited islets, (very small islands). I have also seen a few travelers on Belize Tripadvisor Forum, who wanted to drive to one of the country’s more popular vacation islands. They quickly learned from helpful answers that water taxis or local airlines are the main choices for getting to Ambergris Caye.
Back to Geography….
Belize is one of the smaller countries in this big world at roughly 174 miles long by 68 miles wide or 8,867 square miles. To the north, it is bordered by Mexico, and south & west by Guatemala. The Country’s eastern shores and islands border the Caribbean Sea.
From nearby Miami and Texas, via plane, US or Canadian travelers can easily reach the Belize International Airport (Phillip Goldson) in a matter of hours. Driving from Guatemala, Honduras, or Mexico with land border entry are also options, along with sea entry from Chetumal, Mexico.
If you are thinking beyond a holiday, refer to ‘Living on Ambergris Caye Island ‘ to learn more about living abroad through one of my crazy hardware store shopping experiences not long after moving to Belize from Canada. Regardless if you are planning a trip or a move annual Belize weather forecast information will appeal to you.
4 Belize Facts
- Pirates used to frequent the canals of Belize City which has long been a major port city.
- Maya civilization, the Mayan culture dates back to 1500 BC and still makes this country a unique place to visit today.
- The country used to be called British Honduras and gained full independence from the United Kingdom in 1981.
- The country goes by Central Standard Time, (GMT or UTC-6), and does not observe daylight savings time change.
The Barrier Reef
A big draw for many is that Belize’s coastline is home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef, which was recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1996. The reef spans over 180mi or 300km and runs all the way north to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. It’s real-life diving and snorkeling on Discovery Channel, offering endless aquatic entertainment, with a large variety of marine life, and vibrant coral reefs that have formed naturally over many years.
On a global level, during the Classic period, between A.D. 250 and 900, the Mayas of Belize and Central America were one of the more populated and culturally advanced societies. There are hundreds of ruins and ceremonial centers which were built by the Mayan civilization. Many remain covered, however, there are many excavated, leaving no shortage of ruins to tour.
Two of the larger Maya sites are Lamanai in Orange Walk District and Caracol Maya ruins located in the Cayo District. Once upon a time, these ruins were among the most powerful, thriving cities in Maya history. Closer to Belize City are the ruins of Altun Ha, currently the country’s most restored Mayan city, which was once home to about 10,000 inhabitants.
Half of Belize’s landscape is made up of the dense jungle, with about seventy-five percent of its rain forest being protected by the government. Most of these tropical jungle forests are unexplored and are home to a wide range of animals: jaguars, ocelots, armadillos, tapirs, and crocodiles to name a few. They also house more than 4,000 species of tropical flowers, as well as 500 species of birds. The toucan (national bird of Belize), jabiru stork, roseate spoonbill, agami heron, hummingbirds, colored parrots, and macaws, to name a few. With its diverse wildlife, interesting history, natural wonders, and welcoming culture, Belize is a must-see for all travelers.