About Belize

Belize-

The second longest barrier reef in the world is only a few yards away from out private beach!

Villa Ragazza is bordered on the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea.  Its mainland is about 290 km (180 mi) long and 110 km (68 mi) wide. It is the only country in the area that has English as its official language; Creole (Kriol) and Spanish are also commonly spoken.  Belize has a diverse society, with many cultures and languages. 

The country's population growth rate of 1.97% per year (2013), the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

 

Early History-

The Mayan Civilization emerged at least three millennia ago in the lowland area of the Yucatán Peninsula and the highlands to the south, in what is now southeastern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and western Honduras. Many aspects of this culture persist in the area despite nearly 500 years of European domination.

 

Mayan Civilization-

The Mayan Civilization spread itself over what is now Belize beginning in around 1500 BCE, and flourished there until about 900 CE. The recorded history of the middle and southern regions are dominated by Caracol, an urban political center that may have supported over 140,000 people. North of the Maya Mountains, the most important political center was Lamanai. In the late Classic Era of Maya civilization (before 1000 CE), as many as 1 million people may have lived in the area that is now Belize.

Part of the British Empire-

In the early 19th century, the British sought greater control over the settlers.  They threated to suspend the Public Meeting unless it observed the government's instructions to completely eliminate slavery.  Slavery was abolished in the British Empire in 1838, but this did little to change working conditions for laborers in the Belize settlement.

Slaves of the colony were valued for their potentially superior abilities in the work of mahogany extraction. As a result, former slave owners in British Honduras earned £53.69 on average per slave, the highest amount paid in any British territory.

In 1836, after the emancipation of Central America from Spanish rule, the British claimed the right to administer the region.  In 1862, Great Britain formally declared it a British Crown Colony, subordinate to Jamaica, and named it British Honduras.  As a colony, Belize began to attract British investors. Among the British firms that dominated the colony in the late 19th century, was the Belize Estate and Produce Company.  They eventually acquired half of all the privately held land in the colony.  Belize Estate's influenced accounts in part for the colony's reliance on the mahogany trade throughout the rest of the 19th century, and the first half of the 20th century.

 

Foreign Relations-

Belize is a full participating member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Organization of American States (OAS), Central American Integration System (SICA), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), Association of Caribbean States (ACS), and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which currently pertains only to Barbados, Belize and Guyana.  In 2001, the Caribbean Community heads of government voted on a measure declaring that the region should work towards replacing the UK's Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice. It is still in the process of acceding to CARICOM and SICA treaties, including trade and single market treaties.  Belize is an original member (1995) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and participates actively in its work. The pact involves the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM), subgroup of the Group of African, Caribbean, and Pacific states (ACP).  CARIFORUM presently the only part of the wider ACP-bloc that has concluded the full regional trade-pact with the European Union.

 
Currency-

The Belize Dollar (BZ$) has a fixed rate of exchange of BZ$2 to US$1.  Most hotels, resorts, restaurants, and tour operators will accept U.S. currency, traveler's checks, or credit cards.

 
Time-

Time observed year-round is GMT-6, which is the same as United States Central Standard Time.  Daylight Savings Time is not observed in Belize.

 

Rainfall-

Normally, the rainy season is usually between June and November and the dry season is between February and May. Usually, the weather becomes cooler at the end of October and this lasts up until February. Average humidity is 85 percent. Annual rainfall ranges from 50 inches in the North to 170 inches in the South.

 

Climate-

The climate is subtropical, with a brisk prevailing wind from the Caribbean Sea. The country has an annual mean temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity is nicely tempered by the sea breezes. The variation in weather further emphasizes the interesting difference in elevation, geology, plant, and animal life.  Summer high temperatures are normally around 98 degrees Fahrenheit, and winter lows have rarely gone below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, even at night.

Dress code in Ambergris Caye: Flip flops, shorts & t-shirts.

La Isla Bonita

3 1/2 Miles South San Pedro

 

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