Located on the eastern coast of Central America, Belize is bordered north and west by Mexico, west and south by Guatemala and east by the picturesque Caribbean Sea. Covering approximately 8,866 square miles including over 200 islands locally known as cayes, Belize is one of the smallest countries in Central America. A former British Colony, we are a young democratic, developing country with unparalleled natural beauty.
While English is the official language, Spanish, Yucatech, Mopan and Ketchi mayan, Garifuna, German, Taiwanese and Hindi are also spoken. However it is with the Belizean Creole that we all identify with, it is the universal language of Belize!!
With a population of approximately 370,000, Belize is a true melting pot. Home to Creole, Mestizo, three different Maya groups, East Indians, Mennonite and other ethnic groups, Belize has representation of over 55 different countries.
- YUCATECH.- This natives that migrated from Mexico during the caste war settled in the most northern districts of Corozal and Orange Walk. Some of their ancestral traditions are still practised today such as language, religious ceremonies and rituals, natural medicine, subsistence farming, art and craftmanship, cooking methods, construction style and a simple lifestyle.
- MOPAN.- The second largest of the three remaining Maya groups, migrated from Guatemala and settled mostly in western, central and southern Belize. And like the fellow Yucatechs still practise some of their ancestral traditions such as language, religious ceremonies and rituals, natural medicine, subsistence farming, art & craftmanship, cooking methods, construction style and a simple lifestyle.
- KEKCHI.- Last and largest of the Maya groups in Belize, may be also the most active, practising some of their ancestral traditions such as language, religious ceremonies and rituals, natural medicine, subsistence farming, arts & craftmanship, cooking methods, construction style and a simple lifestyle.
- MESTIZO.- Descendants of native Mayan and Spaniards, migrated from neighbouring Central American countries like Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and even Nicaragua. You can find them mostly in the northern districts of Corozal, Orange Walk and Cayo in the West. With Spanish being their first language this ethnic group is one of the largest in the country.
- CREOLE.- Sons of British and African slaves, they are the predominant ethnicity in Belize city and Belize river valley area with the highest concentration in Crooked Tree, Burrel Boom and Gales point Manatee. Of great significance is that the Creole are of lighter complexion, sharp facial features and even light coloured eyes.
- GARIFUNA.- This descendants of Arawaks and Caribs, originated in St Vincent making their way to Belize through Honduras and Guatemala. Settled in southern Belize, this colourful and vibrant culture thrives mostly in the town of Dangriga, Hopkins and Varanco. Dangriga is known throughout the country as the ‘culture Capital’. With its happy music, dancing and beating of drums, it is the most defined ethnic group. The Garinagu as they are also referred to are also the biggest exponents of cultural music with locally and internationally renowned musicians such as Supa G, Lova Bway, Eaziatic, Jessie Flores, Chico Ramos amongs many others and the biggest of all, the deceased Andy Palacio.
- EAST INDIANS.- Found mostly in the most southern town of Punta Gorda, this smaller ethnic group are the descendants of a labour force brought to work on the failed sugar industry in southern Belize. They still practise some of their traditions and of course the savoury curry flavoured cuisine.
- MENNONITES.- Settled mostly in Western and Northern Belize, this ethnic group migrated in the 1950’s from Mexico. Most popular for their industrialised and large scale farming of poultry, diary and whole grains. This is one of the most organised ethnic groups.
- AMISH.- With quite a number of small villages spread through the northern and western districts this ethnic group also settled in Belize after migrating from Mexico. Like their fellow Mennonite German’s they are farmers but not in a large scale nor industrialised. They live a simple lifestyles without the commodities of motorised vehicles, electricity and modern technology. Religious as they are they still preserve most of their traditions such as their dresses, hats and head dresses and uncut bears.
- CHINESE.- Also brought as a labour force, this Belizean Chinese have shifted from their farming skills that brought them to Belize for merchandising and fast food restaurants. They also play a key role in the socio structure of Belize
- TAIWANESE.- This quiet but very active ethnic group is rapidly growing in popularity in our country. They are one of the highest influencer in our sustainable, agricultural and technological advancements and on-going projects.
Belize’s climate is categorised as subtropical/tropical with an average of 82 degrees, highest of 105 and never lower than 60 with a high humidity of about 85% with an annual average of 150 inches of rain. However Belizean weather varies with location and time of year. The drier season runs from December through May or June, coinciding with the main tourist season and the rainy season lasts from June through November. The amount of rainfall, surprisingly within such a small country, varies strongly with latitude. In the Northern district of Corozal, the average annual rainfall is only about 51 inches, Belize city gets an average of 79 inches, about 16 rainy days in September or October but only 4 or 5 rainy days in March or April. In the southern-most part of the country, Punta Gorda, averages 177 inches or about half inch daily. Temperatures, except at higher elevations in the Mountain pine ridge region, are mostly warm and moist. The average temperatures in Belize City ranges from 73F (23C) December through June to 88F (31C) from May through September while the average maximum temperatures are higher, ranging from mid 90F (mid 30C). High in the Mountain Pine Ridge average daily lows are 63F (17C) in December, 71F (22C) in May and average highs are 78F (26C) in December and 90F (32C) in May.
As diverse as its people is the culinary experience in Belize. One may enjoy a traditional national treat as is the Rice and Beans with Stew chicken served with coleslaw and fried plantain to a more cultural dish like the Hudut.