Belize Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Belize?

Overview:

Belize is located along Central America’s eastern coast, bordered to the north by Mexico, to the west and south by Guatemala and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. It measures 175 miles north to south and 69 miles across at its widest point.

The savannas of northern Belize are flat and dry compared to the rest of the country (receiving only 50 inches of rain a year). The primary source of income for the predominantly Mestizo population there is sugarcane. South and westward, the hilly inland terrain is more forested, including some remaining stands of mahogany. Next is the Mountain Pine Ridge range, with pine-covered peaks of over 3,000 feet that enjoy cool nights year-round. To the south are citrus plantations, fishing, and rainforests where the annual rainfall increases to 120 inches. The Mayan Indian and Garifuna inhabitants subsist primarily upon small-scale farming and fishing.

Much of the coastline consists of either dense growths of mangrove habitats, or broken, low-lying and narrow sandy shoreline. Belize City itself rests upon filled mangrove forest, with an elevation that is actually a foot below sea level.

The central Belize District is the most populated of six and is predominantly Creole. Economic activity centers around commerce and some light manufacturing.

Belize’s barrier reef is the second largest in the world, running some 150 miles, nearly the entire length of the coast, featuring three of the Caribbean’s four atolls. Small islands or cayes (pronounced keys) abound in the crystal-clear waters of the reefs.

Geography - note:

only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean

Climate:

Belize's subtropical climate is hot and humid most of the year. In Belize City, the average daily temperature is 85°F, but the daytime high is often in the 90s between May and October, with uncomfortably high humidity. Dry season runs from January through April. Heavy rains begin in June and can continue through December. Mosquito outbreaks are a perennial result. From March to November, a fairly steady breeze makes the heat in Belize City less intolerable. The coolest period is December to February, when the average daily temperature is only 75°F. During this period, night temperatures can drop into the upper 50s. Tropical storms and hurricanes can occur from June through November. In 1931 and 1961, hurricanes devastated Belize City.

Belize Use of Natural Resources

Belize Environment

Climate:

Belize's subtropical climate is hot and humid most of the year. In Belize City, the average daily temperature is 85°F, but the daytime high is often in the 90s between May and October, with uncomfortably high humidity. Dry season runs from January through April. Heavy rains begin in June and can continue through December. Mosquito outbreaks are a perennial result. From March to November, a fairly steady breeze makes the heat in Belize City less intolerable. The coolest period is December to February, when the average daily temperature is only 75°F. During this period, night temperatures can drop into the upper 50s. Tropical storms and hurricanes can occur from June through November. In 1931 and 1961, hurricanes devastated Belize City.

Terrain:

flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south

Natural Resources:

arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower

Natural Hazards:

frequent, devastating hurricanes (June to November) and coastal flooding (especially in south)

Irrigated Land:

12 Square Miles
30 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

deforestation; water pollution from sewage, industrial effluents, agricultural runoff; solid and sewage waste disposal

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Belize Geography

Geographic Location Central America
Total Area 8,867 Square Miles
22,966 Square Kilometers
Land Area 8,805 Square Miles
22,806 Square Kilometers
Water Area 62 Square Miles
160 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 321 Miles
516 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 12 Square Miles
30 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Guatemala 266 km, Mexico 250 km
Coastline 240 Miles
386 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 17 15 N, 88 45 W
Terrain flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
Highest Point 1,160 Meters
Highest Point Location Victoria Peak 1,160 m
Lowest Point Location Caribbean Sea 0 m
Natural Resources arable land potential, timber, fish, hydropower
Time Zone UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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