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Belize

Among the main travel attractions in Belize are the cayes, the offshore atolls, Belize Barrier Reef, various jungle and wildlife reserves, as well as many Mayan ruins.

Belize, formerly British Honduras, gained its independence in 1981. It is the only country in Central America without a coastline on the Pacific Ocean, and with English as its official language, although Spanish is widely spoken. To the west and south Belize borders with Guatemala, to the north with Mexico and to the east is the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean coast is lined with a coral reef and some 450 islets and islands, called cayes, together they total an area of about 690 sq. km. The coral reef, Belize Barrier Reef, is about 322 kilometers long and thereby the longest in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The total area of Belize is 22,960 sq. km., an area slightly large than El Salvador. The population is around 301,000, making the population density the lowest in Central America.

The cayes, the offshore atolls and Belize Barrier Reef are some of the main travel attractions. The cays and atolls provide superior opportunities for scuba diving, snorkeling, excellent fishing and safe waters for boating and sailing. The island cayes have provided the foundation for the development of many fine resorts to serve water sports enthusiasts and marine naturalists. Various jungle and wildlife reserves of fauna and flora, as well as many Mayan ruins are also among the top tourist attractions in Belize. In 2007, tourist arrivals totaled over 250,000.

The most important city is Belize City, a major port and commercial center, but the capital is Belmopan located inside the country. Close to Belize City are attractive Mayan ruins such as Altun. Belize City is one of the most dangerous cities in Belize, although it is very easy to be safe there. It is highly recommended to remain in the tourist zone that runs just north of the marina to the southern extension to the east of the main canal. Other areas of Belize are generally safe.

The Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) is in Ladyville, to the northwest of Belize City. There are direct flights from several places in the USA as well as from some of the other Central American countries.

Belize has a tropical climate, so it can be very hot and humid. The rainy season is from May to November, the dry season from February to May. The hurricane season is from June to November. Average temperatures range from 24C in January to 27C in July, but temperatures vary according to elevation, proximity to the coast, and the moderating effects of the northeast trade winds. Temperatures are slightly higher inland, except for the southern highland plateaus.

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