Belize

Belize FlagCompared with the rest of volatile Central America, Belize is more like the island nations of the eastern Caribbean than it's mainland neighbors. Its laid back way reminds visitors of the way the Caribbean was in the days before the big resorts. With only three major paved highways, traveling through Belize is truly an experience. But those same roads will take you to spectacular Mayan ruins in pristine jungles, secluded and peaceful ecotourist lodges, and some of the best scuba diving in the world. All this is not cheap: hotels are few and far between--and thus, more expensive than in other Central American nations. But this lack of sprawling accommodations makes traveling in Belize like stepping back into a simplier time. If you like an adventurous travel destination, Belize might be just the place for you. Traveling in Belize Belize MapWith few paved roads and no trains, traveling in Belize can be tough. Small airplanes travel from Belize City and other cities and towns throughout the country. Cars can be rented but after heavy rains, travel can be nearly impossible as the roads get washed out. If you are headed to the coast or islands, there are frequent launches to most of these places. Belize can be expensive compared to the rest of Central America. But it is still vastly cheaper than many of the islands of the Caribbean. Midlevel rooms will go for roughly $15-$25 a night; higher-end hotels, however, will not be unreasonably expensive. Meals are quite reasonably priced, and you could get away with staying in Belize for under $30 a day, not including transportation cost. American and Canadian dollars, as well as pounds stirling, are easily exchanged in Belize, and most major credit cards are widely accepted. One important thing to remember, though--ATM machines in Belize will not accept foreign bank cards. Health Risks in Belize Health risks include cholera, dengue fever, malaria, hepatitis, typhoid, and dysentery. It is advised that you consult a doctor about what shots you may need before traveling to Belize. Weather in Belize The best time to travel is from November to May. But if you want to avoid crowds and get cheaper rates you may try July to November; this is hurricane season, but when there are no storms the weather can still be very nice. Belize Information North / Central AmericaPopulation: 249,183 Government: Parliamentary democracy Square Miles: 9087 sq mi (23,300 sq km) Capitol: Belmopan (pop 5000) Official Languages: English, English Creole, Spanish, Maya and Garífuna People: 44% mestizo, 30% Creole, 11% Maya, 7% Garifuna Religion: 60% Catholic, 30% Protestant Major products/industries: Sugar, bananas, fish products, garment production, food processing, timber, tourism, construction