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Belize Travel & Vacations
Belize Vacations, Vacations in Belize, Belize Honeymoon, Belize travel, Belize Trips, Belize Packages, Belize Vacations cheap, etc.

Vacation in Belize and you can scuba dive and snorkel Belize's Great Barrier Reef and Belize's three atolls. Climb Mayan pyramids, hike through rainforests in search of hidden caves, discover elusive birds and wildlife. Belize can be an adventure of a lifetime. You could easily spend all your time in Belize under water. But there is much to do on shore, too! Mayan Ruins, virgin rainforests, caves with ancient artefacts, exotic plants and animals - there's plenty to explore on mainland Belize!

Belize is a developing country. Tourism facilities vary in quality, from a limited number of business class hotels in Belize City and resorts on the cayes to a range of ecotourism lodges and very basic accommodations in the countryside.  Crime is a growing concern. 

Boats serving the public, especially water taxis, often do not carry sufficient safety equipment, may carry an excess number of passengers and may sail in inclement weather. 

Rental diving equipment may not always be properly maintained or inspected, and some local dive masters fail to consider the skill levels of individual tourists when organizing dives to some of Belize's more challenging sites.  Deaths and serious mishaps have occurred as a result of negligent diving tour operators and the lack of strict enforcement of tour regulations.  The Embassy strongly recommends that anyone interested in scuba diving and snorkeling while in Belize check the references, licenses and equipment of tour operators before agreeing to or paying for a tour.  Safety precautions and emergency response capabilities are generally not up to U.S. standards.

The border between Belize and Guatemala is in dispute, but the dispute thus far has not affected travel between the two countries.

Belize is the most sparsely populated nation in Central America. It is larger than El Salvador and compares in size to the State of Massachusetts. Slightly more than half of the population lives in rural areas. About one-fourth live in Belize City, the principal port, commercial center, and former capital. Most Belizeans are of multiracial descent. About 48.7% of the population is of mixed Mayan and European descent (Mestizo); 24.9% are of African and Afro-European (Creole) ancestry; about 10.6% are Mayan; and about 6.1% are Afro-Amerindian (Garifuna). The remainder, about 9.7%, includes European, East Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and North American groups.

English, the official language, is spoken by virtually all except the refugees who arrived during the past decade. Spanish is the native tongue of about 50% of the people and is spoken as a second language by another 20%. The various Mayan groups still speak their indigenous languages, and an English Creole dialect similar to the Creole dialects of the English-speaking Caribbean Islands is spoken by most. The rate of functional literacy is 76%. About 50% of the population is Roman Catholic; the Anglican Church and other Protestant Christian groups account for most of the remaining 50%. Mennonite settlers number about 8,500.

The Mayan civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 BC and AD 300 and flourished until about AD 1200. Several major archeological sites--notably Caracol, Lamanai, Lubaantun, Altun Ha, and Xunantunich -reflect the advanced civilization and much denser population of that period. European contact began in 1502 when Christopher Columbus sailed along the coast. The first recorded European settlement was established by shipwrecked English seamen in 1638. Over the next 150 years, more English settlements were established. This period also was marked by piracy, indiscriminate logging, and sporadic attacks by Indians and neighboring Spanish settlements.

Great Britain first sent an official representative to the area in the late 18th century, but Belize was not formally termed the "Colony of British Honduras" until 1840. It became a crown colony in 1862. Subsequently, several constitutional changes were enacted to expand representative government. Full internal self-government under a ministerial system was granted in January 1964. The official name of the territory was changed from British Honduras to Belize in June 1973, and full independence was granted on September 21, 1981.

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