The Adventure Coast .... dive the Azure Caribbean, explore Jungle-veiled
archeological sites, encounter exotic wild-life or just luxuriate in the warmth of the
sun. Belize is located on the Eastern or Caribbean coast of Central America, bounded on the
north and part of the west by Mexico and on the South and the remainder of the West by
Guatemala. The cayes (pronouced keys), the offshore atolls, and the barrier reef are the main attraction to Belize. The barrier reef, which is 185 miles long, is the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. The cayes are islands
and mangrove banks, located between the mainland and the barrier reef,
or on the barrier reef as offshore atolls.
The Belizean mainland
has a low coastal plain covered with mangrove wetlands, but the land rises gradually
towards the interior. The Maya Mountains and the Cockscomb Range form the backbone of the
Southern half of the country; the highest point is Victoria Peak, at 3,699 feet in the
Cockscomb Range. There are many rivers, waterfalls, creeks, and lagoons. A large part of
the mainland consists of tropical forest. Temperatures average 79 degrees F; and can vary
from 50-95 degrees F. Trade winds cool the coastal areas and cayes most of the year;
except for a couple of weeks a year, typically in August or September. The dry season is
typically November through May; and the rainy season June through November. However, even
in the dry season, brief rains are not uncommon; and occasionally northern storms bring
rain in December and January. The amount of rainfall varies widely form north to south. The north receives 40 - 60
inches and in the south averages 160-190 inches with an average humidity of 85%.
Numerous ruins of ancient cities and pyramid-style ceremonial centers show that for
hundreds of years, Belize was heavily populated by up to a million Maya Indians, who built
elaborate cities and temples, and created advanced mathematics, astronomy, engineering and
art. The Maya civilization is divided into the Pre-Classic (1000 B.C. to A.D. 300), the Classic (A.D. 300 to 900) when the civilization reached its height of development, and the Post-Classic (A.D. 1000 to 1500) when the civilization fell apart and disappeared.
The Mayan empire, centered in Belize, reached its height between AD 300 and 900, and
then rapidly declined. Historians and archeologists have several theories--war, drought,
rebellion, religious and cultural conflict are but a few--but whatever the reason, by the
time the Spanish arrived in the early sixteenth century, most of the Mayans had
disappeared and their once-huge cities were covered over by the jungle.
Belize is a country of various culture, language and ethnic groups. Approximately 200,000 people in Belize consist of Creole,
Garifuna, Mestizo, Spanish, Maya, English, Mennonite, Lebanese, Chinese, and Eastern Indian. Due to racial harmony and religious tolerance, all of these different elements have mixed and blended successfully, and Belize has gained a widespread reputation for its friendly peoples. One of the most prominent ethnic group is the Creoles, which formed 30% of the population in 1991. Creoles are descendants of the intermingling of the early British settlers with African slaves from Jamaica.
Belize is a well kept secret of friendly, English speaking people, English is the
national language with Spanish, Garifuna, Creole are widely spoken. The country is democratic,
stable and peaceful, a preserve of virgin forest and marine wonders! Belize is in a hurricane belt; there have been three serious
hurricanes in the past 60 years. NOTE: In
the tropics it's not unusual to have rain in the dry season, maybe just in shorter spurts.