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Belize Country Guide

Explore Belize in North America

Belize with the capital city Belmopan is located in North America (Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea). It covers some 22,966 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Massachusetts) with 301,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Belize

The landscape offers flat, swampy coastal plain with low mountains in south. The average density of population is approximately 13 per km². The notable climate conditions in Belize can be described as tropical with very hot and humid, rainy season (May to November) and dry season (February to May). Potential threats by nature are frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south).

To reach someone in Belize dial +501 prior to a number. There are 31,200 installed telephones. And there are 161,800 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 1900 MHz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".bz". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 110/220V - 60Hz.

About the flag and history of Belize

Belize Flag Icon

Blue with a narrow red stripe along the top and the bottom edges; centered is a large white disk bearing the coat of arms; the coat of arms features a shield flanked by two workers in front of a mahogany tree with the related motto SUB UMBRA FLOREO (I Flourish in the Shade) on a scroll at the bottom, all encircled by a green garland of 50 mahogany leaves; the colors are those of the two main political parties: blue for the PUP and red for the UDP; various elements of the coat of arms - the figures, the tools, the mahogany tree, and the garland of leaves - recall the logging industry that led to British settlement of Belize note: Belize's flag is the only national flag that depicts human beings; two British overseas territories, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands, also depict humans.

Belize was the site of several Mayan city states until their decline at the end of the first millennium A.D. The British and Spanish disputed the region in the 17th and 18th centuries; it formally became the colony of British Honduras in 1854. Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992 and the two countries are involved in an ongoing border dispute. Guatemala and Belize plan to hold a simultaneous referendum, set for 6 October 2013, to determine if this dispute will go before the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include the country's heavy foreign debt burden, high unemployment, growing involvement in the Mexican and South American drug trade, high crime rates, and one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Central America.

National administrative regions of Belize

Geography Quick-Facts

SummaryContinent: North America
Neighbours: Guatemala, Mexico
Capital: Belmopan
Size22,966 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 8,867 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than Massachusetts
CurrencyName Dollar, Currency Code:BZD
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD).bz
Telephone Country Prefix+501
Mobile Phone Connections161,800
Landline Phone Connections31,200

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Area22,966 (sq km)152

People and Society

Value nameValueWorld Rank
Population334,297 177
Population growth rate1.97 (%)53
Birth rate25.58 (births/1,000 population)54
Death rate5.93 (deaths/1,000 population)168
Maternal mortality rate53.00 (deaths/100,000 live births)105
Infant mortality rate20.82 (deaths/1,000 live births)90
Life expectancy at birth68.40 (years)160
Total fertility rate3.08 (children born/woman)55
Health expenditures5.20 (% of GDP)131
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate2.30 (%)28
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS4,800 119
HIV/AIDS - deaths500 96
Obesity - adult prevalence rate33.70 (%)15
Children under the age of 5 years underweight4.90 (%)88
Education expenditures6.60 (% of GDP)27
Unemployment, youth ages 15-2419.50 (%)60


Value nameValueWorld Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity)3,048,000,000 182
GDP - real growth rate5.30 (%)55
GDP - per capita (PPP)8,900 127
Labor force120,500 180
Unemployment rate11.30 (%)122
Investment (gross fixed)26.40 (% of GDP)40
Taxes and other revenues29.00 (% of GDP)98
Public debt90.80 (% of GDP)16
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.80 (%)71
Central bank discount rate12.00 (%)16
Commercial bank prime lending rate13.36 (%)61
Stock of narrow money426,400,000 162
Stock of broad money1,263,000,000 162
Stock of domestic credit1,100,000,000 155
Industrial production growth rate1.40 (%)129
Current account balance-59,500,000 64
Exports555,800,000 168
Imports770,100,000 186
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold238,900,000 157
Debt - external1,457,000,000 146


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Electricity - production52,030,000 (kWh)205
Electricity - consumption630,000,000 (kWh)165
Electricity - installed generating capacity102,100 (kW)168
Electricity - from fossil fuels33.30 (% of total installed capacity)176
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants37.20 (% of total installed capacity)59
Electricity - from other renewable sources29.50 (% of total installed capacity)2
Crude oil - production4,000 (bbl/day)91
Crude oil - proved reserves6,700,000 (bbl)96
Refined petroleum products - consumption7,044 (bbl/day)162
Refined petroleum products - imports3,553 (bbl/day)165
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy980,500 (Mt)166


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Telephones - main lines in use28,800 178
Telephones - mobile cellular222,000 178
Internet hosts3,392 152
Internet users36,000 179


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Airports43 99
Roadways3,007 (km)167
Waterways825 (km)71
Merchant marine247 33


Value nameValueWorld Rank
Military expenditures1.20 (% of GDP)117

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System
The coastal area of Belize is an outstanding natural system consisting of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, offshore atolls, several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries. The system’s seven sites illus ...