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[ Countries ]  [ Belize ]

Continent : N_America
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Information about Belize

Belize lies on the Eastern or Caribbean coast of Central America, bordered on the North by Mexico, on the West and South by Guatemala and on the East by the Caribbean Sea. Belize has all the charm and feel of a remote Caribbean island, from the swaying palm trees, clear blue seas, pulsatile reggae rhythms and of course, rum punch. What Belize has that many Caribbean Islands don't,  is the added bonus of the inland jungles, bird and animal life, and ancient culture to discover. Belize is home to the world's only Jaguar reserve as well as boasting the world's longest unbroken barrier reef, sandswept by Caribbean waves forming an underwater paradise for divers and snorkellers alike.

For a thousand years, Belize formed the keystone of the Mayan Empire who amid the lush jungle developed the most advanced civilisation in the New World. As the dominance of the Mayan city states began to wane, the land was influenced first by the bearded conquistadores and later by the British buccaneers who sought safe haven behind the small coral islands which dot the Caribbean coastline. With time, the pirates left their plundering and turned inland to become loggers in the mahogany forests. The network of 'log trails' that they left has formed the basis for the development of 'green tourism' today. These trails give access not only to tropical forest wilderness but also to the limestone cities of the Mayas, engulfed in undergrowth centuries ago.

 The inner coastal waters are shallow and are sheltered by a line of coral reefs, dotted with over 200 'cayes' (islands, pronounced "keys"), extending the entire length of the country. The cayes range in size from a few hundred feet to 25 miles long and 4 miles wide. The spectacular Belize Barrier Reef offers scuba diving which cannot be rivalled anywhere else in the World. It runs for 187 miles parallel with the coastline. There are only 4 Atolls in the entire Atlantic region and 3 of them are off the coast of Belize. These immense Atolls (Lighthouse, Turneffe and Glovers) account for another 140 miles of reef making a total of some 337 miles of coral reef to explore in Belize.

The climate is sub-tropical, with a brisk prevailing wind from the Caribbean Sea. The annual temperature averages about 80 degrees. Winter storms may bring the temperature down to the low 60's and it can reach the mid-90's on the mainland in the hottest part of summer. Trade winds blow along the coast and on the cayes most of the year, keeping temperatures pleasant even in the hottest months, except for a few weeks, generally around mid-August. The dry season generally lasts from November through May; the rainy season is typically June-November. Hurricanes occasionally occur; they are most likely to hit in August and September. Rainfall is heaviest in the south and the jungle areas, lightest in the north and on the Cayes.

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