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Belize Information

Belize is one of the smallest, least populated countries in Central America and is located south of Mexico and east of Guatemala.

Belmopan - Capital of Belize

Belize City

Boats in the port town of Belize City.
Photo credit: abacusengine

Belmopan is the capital city, but nearly a third of the population lives in Belize City. Most international travelers fly into Belize City and from there take commuter flights to Ambergris Caye or other destinations.

Although its land mass totals just 8867 square miles, Belize has a remarkably varied geography. Within the country are some 185 miles of coastline, over 200 islands or cayes, (the largest and most populated of which is Ambergris Caye) thousands of acres of rainforest, mountains, mangroves, numerous rivers, waterfalls, and caves, and the world’s second largest barrier reef.

Diverse Population

The country’s population is remarkably diverse as well. The Amerindians and Maya were some of the earliest inhabitants, and ruins from the Maya civilization are still being discovered. Many Africans slaves or their descendants settled in Belize after escaping the brutal plantation conditions on nearby Caribbean islands. Refugees from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and even European Mennonites contribute to Belize’s melting pot.

British Colonial Rule

The British began settling in Belize and harvesting hardwoods, such as mahogany, in the early 1600’s. Belize was under Britain’s colonial rule and was known as British Honduras until 1973. In 1981, Belize became an independent nation, but English is still its official language.


The export of hardwoods, coconuts, and lobster were all once vital to the Belize economy. Today, Belize is one of the top eco-tourist and adventure travel destinations in the Americas and the government has made strong commitments to preserve and protect the abundant natural resources of this beautiful nation.

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