What is the terrain and geography like in Belize?
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 a 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
The only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean
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. The 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.