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Belize – A Piece of Heaven!
A natural beauty located in the center of America, Belize is surrounded on three sides by the borders with Mexico and Guatemala. However, Belize happily pours its heart into the crystal sea fronts on the eastern side, where the treasure of the Caribbean sea is part of its pride.
Document of facts
Belize is a total of 8,867 square miles, offering a rich and diverse fertile land consisting of pine forests, tropical rain forests, savannah and mangrove forests, to sandy beaches, rivers, streams and lagoons.
Offshore there are hundreds of white-sand islands called cayes, and reefs that fascinate divers. All these treasures are encompassed and caressed by the crystal waters of the Caribbean. Belize’s fertile ecosystems are filled with rare and exotic species of birds, mammals and fish, all of which thrive under the protected status afforded by the Government of Belize.
People and Life
Life is peaceful here as are the surroundings. With only a small population of about 300,000 people, Belize is the only democratic English-speaking country in Central America. Belize’s economy is based on tourism and agriculture, with sugarcane, citrus, bananas and aquaculture as the main products. The manufacturing industry is also agro-based and fills the gaps.
Cost of living and services are relatively cheaper than other neighboring countries. You can live comfortably in Belize for less. US$1,500 to US$2,000 per month would easily blow you away. Good health care, insurance and housekeeping services are available at reasonable costs.
Foreign ownership is encouraged by the government here, especially if it creates employment opportunities for Belizeans. Incentives are also provided for export-oriented projects. These include income tax reductions and exemptions from import duties.
Work permits are also issued to non-citizens under the guidelines of the Belize Department of Labor. These last from 3 months to a year and are renewable. Anyone who has a permanent residence or who has been a legal resident for the past 5 years can apply for Belizean citizenship under the Belizean Nationality Act, 1981.
Tourism – A wonderland
Travel and Tourism in Belize is strongly promoted and brings in foreign exchange for Belize. The wildlife and coastline, along with Belize’s serene natural beauty, have contributed immensely to Belize’s tourism industry.
There is so much to Belize that it is difficult to list every place. However, we can talk about some famous places –
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary – The only Jaguar Reserve in the world
A unique sanctuary initiated by the efforts of one person is in the south of Belize covering 150 square miles of tropical forest land. It was declared a forest reserve in 1984, and finally a Jaguar reserve in 1986. It is home not only to Jaguars, but to a variety of wildlife, including birds, animals, fauna and flora. Rare bird species such as the Macaw, Great Curassow and Keel-billed Toucau are common sights.
Community Baboon Sanctuary
The Community Baboon Sanctuary is an innovative and grassroots project to protect a habitat for the endangered black howler monkeys. You can easily become a member here by adopting a monkey, and this is encouraged by CBS authorities.
Ancient Mayan sites
Ancient Mayan ruins are found throughout Belize. Said to be the site where the ancient Mayan civilization flourished, over 600 such sites have now been identified. This ancient civilization existed between the periods 300 BC to 900 AD. This culturally vibrant society was known during their time for magnificent art, imposing architecture, and highly developed mathematical and astronomical systems.
The seashore is unforgettable. Here are some places that will never leave our minds.
Almost 40 of them, pristine dive spots well adorned with coral reefs, 20-foot stalactites, mangroves and sublime inland lagoons. Mother Nature is at her best here. You have black corals, orange sponges and many more to choose from. If you love diving, you can’t ask for more.
The Great Blue Hole
Just imagine the Great Blue Hole, 1,000 feet wide and over 400 feet deep. In addition to divers, many species of colorful fish regularly visit the Great Blue Hole. The Great Blue Hole is the world’s largest ocean hole, large enough to be visible from outer space. This marine vault preserves the red algae, hydroids and gorgonians that cover most corals. This is also home to split brush, mermaid lovers algae, elkhorn, club finger, shallow water star corals, giant green anemones and various urchins.
Half Moon Caye
Nature opens up in full glory in the southeast corner of the atoll. A densely populated bird sanctuary in the west and coconut palms in the east, home to 98 recorded species of birds, including frigatebirds, red-legged pelicans, pelicans, egrets, gulls, storks, birds and many others. And don’t forget to visit the lighthouse on Half Moon Caye.
This is located south of Half Moon Caye. Divers can experience a depth of 30 feet and visibility of up to 100 feet. This natural aquarium on Half Moon Caye features garden eels, conger, rays, star-eyed crabs, tilefish, manta rays, groupers, yellowtail snappers, razorfish, toads, spotted eagle rays, turtles, and black groupers.
Long Caye Ridge
A perfect dive site for beginners; with minimal currents, a depth of 40 feet and visibility of 80 feet. Soft corals, pot and tube sponges, yellow pencil corals, coral niches for spotted crabs, lobsters, filefish and arrow sponges hold your gaze. Check this out for underwater photography.
Northwest of Long Caye is the Aquarium, home to an abundance of flora and fauna that dazzles visitors with a myriad of colors and perfect visibility. The richness and variety of marine life is perfectly demonstrated here leaving all visitors simply mesmerized.
A diving expedition to Lighthouse Reef Atoll starts from its northern shores. It is teardrop shaped and one of the few intact and pristine atoll rocks in the world. Sandbore Caye and Northern Two Cayes greet you at the gate. These cays have an internal lagoon which acts as a giant natural cooler. At the southern tip of Lighthouse Reef Atoll, you’ll find Long Caye, which is known as the closest island to the main dive sites and fishing grounds in all of Belize.
There are so many things packed into this little place. Belize is only 68 miles wide and 108 miles long. But then, the open and crystal clear seas have blessed this land, giving it the infinity that the ocean sees.
You just have to be here in Belize.
Once, twice – and you will understand that it is never enough.
Be here to find out.
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