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Belize: beaches, destinations, products and cost of living of the curious country in the Caribbean

Belize is a young country, having only just achieved its independence from the United Kingdom in 1981.

It was once known as British Honduras.

Despite having a small territory (22,966 square kilometers), it has important natural advantages and a high economic potential based, above all, on tourism and agriculture.

Belize is one of the smallest economies in Central America and is based on tourism (Photo internet reproduction)


It borders with Guatemala and Mexico, while its banks face the Caribbean Sea.

It has around 420,000 inhabitants, who speak Spanish, English and an original language called Creole.

Its currency is the Belizean dollar, which is equivalent to 50 US cents.

Due to the influence of the United Kingdom, Belizean dollars bear the face of Elizabeth II, who served as her head of state until the day she died.

In addition, in its small territory, the second largest coral reef in the world is located; it is also replete with virgin forests, ancient ruins and caves, and has significant agricultural advantages and areas to attract foreign direct investment.

According to the World Bank, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Belize would close 2022 with 4%, and growth projections for 2023 are located at 1.8%.

Tourism is one of the main economic activities, equals 17% of GDP and contributes 25% of jobs.

This territory has the largest reef system in the Western Hemisphere, with seven marine reserves, and more than one hundred cays (Photo internet reproduction)


Agriculture is important, especially because it provides inputs to Belize’s agribusiness, which makes up the bulk of the country’s manufacturing base, and accounts for the majority of its exports, says a document published by the Foreign Trade Information System of the Organization of American States (OAS).

According to the OAS publication, the main agricultural export products are sugar and bananas to the European Union within the framework of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement; and citrus and papaya juice to the United States under the Caribbean Basin Initiative.

In addition, it pointed out that the main importer and customer of Belizean products is the United States, a country that has also helped him diversify his activities so as not to depend so much on a single agricultural branch.

It mainly imports machinery and transportation equipment, food, manufacturing, diesel, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, which come mainly from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Mexico.

Being a destination that lives from trade, its ports are important to survive, among them are: Belize City, Big Creek, Corozol and Punta Gorda.


Belizeans are characterized by being fluent in English and Spanish, as well as Creole, a language that comes from the African slaves that arrived with the pirates and the first English settlers, even for most it is their second language.

“For generations, the English-speaking people of Belize have been committed to preserving their environment, while receiving thousands of visitors each year,” the Embassy of Belize in Guatemala explains on its website.

The people of Belize have a great variety of traditions and customs that represent more than 10 different cultures where Mayans, mestizos, Creoles, Garífunas, East Indians, Mennonites, Arabs and Chinese coexist, as well as a significant number of Europeans, Americans and other expatriates.

“A combination that has given rise to one of the happiest and safest countries in the region and with a wide reputation as one of the friendliest tourist destinations in the world,” adds the consulate.


Recently, rapper Kanye West was in San Pedro, Belize, on vacation.

In this country, billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates has a private island, called Grand Bogue Caye.

In addition, the renowned actor Leonardo Di Caprio bought, a few years ago, the Blackadore Key, with an area of 42 hectares.

There he built an ecological hotel and undertook a process of recovery of the environment of the islet. The idea is to recover some of the marine species at risk due to overfishing.


The tourism industry has grown considerably recently, and has become the second most important in the nation, contributing 17% of GDP and generates 25% of all jobs, indicated the Embassy of Belize in Guatemala.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow recently announced his intention to combat poverty through tourism development, as this sector has already had a positive impact in the agricultural, commercial, financial and construction areas.

Cayo Agua Island for sale in Belize, 2.29 square kilometers (Photo internet reproduction)

Development costs are high, but according to the Government tourism has been designated as the second national priority after agriculture.

Belize’s major tourist attractions include natural marine and land attractions, as well as historical ones, especially the ruins of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization.

Cruise ships alone attract an average of 850,000 tourists annually, some of whom take tours in the colonial city and to surrounding districts.


These are some of the options that the Embassy of Belize in Guatemala recommends for tourists to visit and explore:

  • Blue Hole: Almost 140 meters deep and 330 meters wide, some have said that the Blue Hole is like swimming in a mining tunnel, but it is full of marine life.
  • Emerald Forest Reef: Emerald Forest is a novice scuba diver’s paradise, well known for its shallow attractions like the massive green Elkhorn coral.
  • Glover’s Reef: One of four atolls found in the Western Hemisphere (Belize has 3 atolls) and is a protected national reserve.
  • Half Moon Caye: It is a free fall, full of corals and marine life, this cay can be explored over and over again and you will never see the same thing twice. However, you will always be able to see eagle rays and sea turtles.
  • Long Caye Wall: With its deep descent it is ideal for novice divers and to see sea turtles, manta rays and barracudas.
  • Sapodilla Cays: They are located along the southern end of the Belize Barrier Reef, approximately 65 kilometers east of Punta Gorda. Among its crystal clear waters are a variety of fish, as well as other species of underwater life.
  • Southwater Caye Marine Reserve: A little known place in Belize, with 15 acres off the beaten path for diving and snorkeling.
  • Southwest Caye Wall Barrier: The cliff drops 45 meters and after a narrow platform continues its vertical descent to a depth of 115 meters.
  • Turneffe Atoll: It is a base to explore the atolls. Plus, with its steep drops, it’s one of the best snorkeling spots in the area no matter your experience level.
  • The Elbow: On the leeward side the reef is a little steeper, ideal for snorkeling and for beginner divers.


Geographically it is part of Central America, and has borders with Guatemala and Mexico; but that does not necessarily make it part of Latin America, although it does form part of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), which has 15 members.

In addition, it is part of the Commonwealth, the commonwealth of nations that were part of the British Empire and retain ties with that country.


Guatemala claims some 12,272 square kilometers of Belizean territory. This dispute is currently at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

In December of last year, Guatemala presented its reply to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Territorial, Insular and Maritime Claim of Guatemala and Belize litigation.

The dispute dates back to a treaty signed in 1859, whereby Guatemala ceded the area between the Sibún and Sarstún rivers to the United Kingdom, in exchange for compensation that was not paid.

Guatemala and Belize maintain an “adjacency zone” to separate their territories. In the end, the ICJ must establish a real border between the two countries, which now does not exist (Photo internet reproduction)

Therefore, Guatemala only recognized the State of Belize in 1991, 10 years after it had achieved its independence from the British.

However, Guatemala seeks to maintain good relations, therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published, on January 24, in the Diario de Centro América an agreement between Guatemala and Belize for the homologation of the schedules of the legally enabled entry land crossings.

With information from Bloomberg

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