What is the terrain and geography like in Belize?
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.