Interesting facts about Belize

belize flag

Belize is a nation on the eastern coast of Central America, with Caribbean Sea shorelines to the east and dense jungle to the west.

The official name of the country is Belize.

Belize is bordered on the north by Mexico, on the south and west by Guatemala, and on the east by the Caribbean Sea.

It is the only country in Central America whose official language is English, though Belizean Creole (Kriol) and Spanish are also commonly spoken.

As of 1 January 2016, the population of Belize was estimated to be 363,368 people.

The total land area of Belize is 22,700 square kilometers (8,867 square miles).

Belmopan is the capital city of Belize. Founded as a planned community in 1970, Belmopan is one of the newest national capital cities in the world. Its population in 2015 was about 20,000 people.

belmopan

The largest city of Belize is located at the mouth of the river Belize River and is known as Belize City. It has an estimated population of 79,600 and is the main port and the industrial hub of the country.

Most of the country is heavily forested with various hardwoods. Mangrove swamps and cays along the coast give way to hills and mountains in the interior.

Although Victoria Peak [photo below] was for many years touted as the highest point in Belize, recent assessments determined that it is apparently slightly lower at 1,120 meters (3,670 feet). Doyle’s Delight is the highest peak in Belize at 1,124 meters (3,688 feet). It lies in the Cockscomb Range, a spur of the Maya Mountains in Western Belize.

victoria peak in belize

Belize has a coastline length of 386 kilometers (240 miles).

Thanks to a magnificent coastline that hugs the Caribbean Sea and more than 200 offshore islands, Belize has plenty of beautiful beaches.

belize beach

The country’s best mainland beaches can be found along the 29-kilometer (18 miles) Placencia Peninsula in southern Belize.

Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize, and the main destination for travellers to this western Caribbean nation. It has been named the leading destination in Central America by the World Travel Awards for two years running. Stunning turquoise seascapes surround this Caribbean island.

ambergris caye

The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize, roughly 300 meters (980 feet) offshore in the north and 40 kilometers (25 miles) in the south within the country limits. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300-kilometer (190 miles) long section of the 900-kilometer (560 miles) Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System; the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in the world, after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

belize barrier reef

The Great Blue Hole is a giant submarine sinkhole off the coast of Belize. It lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the mainland and Belize City. The hole is circular in shape, over 300 meters (984 feet) across and 108 meters (354 feet) deep.

great blue hole

The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is Belize’s most famous jaguar sanctuary; at 520 square kilometers (200 square miles), it’s also one of its biggest protected areas.

jaguar

Actun Tunichil Muknal (the Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre), also known locally as ATM was discovered in 1992. The cave is notable as a Maya archaeological site that includes skeletons, ceramics, and stoneware. It was subsequently featured on the National Geographic Explorer film, Journey Through the Underworld.

actun tunichil muknal cave

The Maya ruins of Belize include a number of well-known and historically important pre-Columbian Maya archaeological sites. Several major archeological sites, including Caracol, Xunantunich, Altun Ha, Lamanai, Cahal Pech and Lubaantun,

Caracol is the name given to a large ancient Maya archaeological site, located in what is now the Cayo District of Belize. Its greatest period of construction occurred between 484 AD and 889 AD when over 40 monuments were built. The largest pyramid in Caracol is Canaa (Sky Place), at 43 meters (143 feet) it is still the tallest man-made structure in all of Belize.

caracol belize

Xunantunich is an Ancient Maya archaeological site in western Belize. The highest ruin is 40 meters (130 feet) tall, the second tallest ruin in all of Belize. Well-preserved sun god masks decorate one side of the structure. There are six major plazas and more than 25 temples and palaces. Xunantunich served as a Maya civic ceremonial center in the Late and Terminal Classic periods to the Belize Valley region. At this time, when the region was at its peak, nearly 200,000 people lived in Belize.

xunantunich

The Mayan civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 B.C. and A.D. 300 and flourished until about 1200.

The first recorded European settlement was established by shipwrecked English seamen in 1638.

It became a colony of Great Britain in 1840, known as British Honduras, and a Crown colony in 1862.

The official name of the territory was changed from British Honduras to Belize in June 1973, and full independence was granted on September 21, 1981.

Belizean cuisine is an amalgamation of all ethnicity in the nation, and their respectively wide variety of foods. It might best be described as both similar to Mexican/Central American cuisine and Jamaican/Anglo-Caribbean cuisine.

belizean cuisine

The flag of Belize is the only country to have humans depicted as a major design element on its national flag.

Close to 1 million tourists’ visit Belize annually of which 70% of are Americans.

The former capital Belize City was nearly completely destroyed by Hurricane Hattie in 1961! After hurricane Hattie, the capital city was moved to Belmopan.

There is no McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, KFC or Pizza Hut in the entire country. American fast-food chains don’t exist in Belize.

The overgrown ruins of a 2,300-year-old Mayan Temple in Belize were partially destroyed by contractors who wanted to use the limestone bricks for gravel to build a village road, according to the National Institute of Culture and Heritage.

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