Map showing where Belize is
On a world map, Belize is to be found in Central America between the countries of Mexico and Guatemala. Belize is on the eastern side of the isthmus and most of the country is within a short distance of the Caribbean Sea. The Mexican state of Quintana Roo lies along the northern border of Belize while Guatemala lies along the western border of Belize.
There are a number of non-stop flights from the United States to Belize City. Flying time from Miami, Houston, and Dallas-Fort Worth is about two hours and there are other non-stop flights connecting Atlanta, Charlotte, New York City, Washington D.C. and Toronto (Canada).
The People of Belize
The current population of Belize is about 355,000, and the biggest urban area is Belize City with a population of about 70,000 people. There are a number of indigenous ethnic groups in Belize including the Mestizo (about 43% of the population), Creole (30%), Maya (11%), and Garifuna (7%). Smaller indigenous groups include East Indians, German and Dutch Mennonites, and expats from the United States and Canada.
Belize is unique in Central America because its official language is English. However, Spanish is widely spoken throughout the country, particularly in the districts bordering Guatemala and Mexico. The Garifuna language is commonly found in the southeastern District of Stann Creek. Toledo District in the south is where you can still find speakers of a variety of Maya dialects.
A Brief History of Belize
During the heyday of the Mayan Empire as many as two million people inhabited the territory of modern Belize. After the decline of the empire in the year 900 A.D., the population rapidly dwindled but today their descendants can still be found in the Toledo District of Belize.
The first European colonizers arrived in the year 1638. Drawn to the abundance of special tree known as logwood, which was processed into colorful dyes, British settlers known as Baymen and their slaves were the first permanent non-indigenous residents in the area. For the next 150 years, Spain and Britain fought several small-scale skirmishes and battles until Spain’s influence was permanently neutralized in 1798.
In 1871 the area was formally declared a colony of the British Empire. In 1981, the country was granted its independence and in 1973 it officially changed its name from British Honduras to Belize.
Banyan Bay Suites
Located on Ambergris Caye, one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country, the award-winning Banyan Bay Suites offers luxury accommodations and a full range of modern amenities.