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Belize – A Piece of Heaven!
A natural beauty located in the middle of the Americas, Belize is surrounded on three sides by the borders of Mexico and Guatemala. However, Belize happily pours its heart into the crystal clear sea fronts on the eastern side, where the Caribbean treasure is part of its pride.
Belize is a total of 8867 square miles, offering a rich and diverse fertile land consisting of pine forests, tropical rainforests, savannah and mangrove forests, to sandy beaches, rivers, streams and lagoons.
Offshore there are hundreds of white sand islands called Cayes, and reefs that enchant divers. All these treasures are swallowed and caressed by the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. Belize’s fertile ecosystems abound with rare and exotic species of birds, mammals and fish, and where all thrive under the protection afforded by the Belizean government.
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 English-speaking democratic country in Central America. Belize’s economy is based on tourism and agriculture, with sugarcane, citrus, bananas and aquaculture as the main products. Even the manufacturing industry is rural and fills the gaps.
Cost of living and services are comparatively cheaper than other neighboring countries. You could comfortably live in Belize for less. US$1,500 to US$2,000 per month will easily get you by. Good healthcare, insurance and cleaning services are available at reasonable cost.
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 relief and exemptions from import duties.
Work permits are also provided to foreigners as directed by the Belize Ministry of Labor. These last from 3 months to a year and are renewable. Anyone who has been a permanent resident or legal resident for the past 5 years can apply for Belize citizenship under the Belize Nationality Act, 1981.
Tourism – A Wonderland
Travel and tourism in Belize is strongly promoted and brings in foreign exchange for Belize. The wildlife and waterfront, along with Belize’s serene natural beauty have contributed immensely to Belize’s tourism industry.
There is so much to Belize, it’s hard to list every point. However, we can talk about some famous places –
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary – The only Jaguar sanctuary in the world
A unique sanctuary started by the efforts of one man is located in the south of Belize covering 150 square miles of rainforest land. It was declared a Protected Forest in 1984 and finally declared a Jaguar Preserve in the year 1986. This is home not only to Jaguars but also to a variety of wildlife including birds, animals, fauna and flora. Rare bird species such as 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. You can easily become a member here by adopting a monkey, and this is encouraged by CBS authorities.
Ancient Mayan Sites
Ancient Mayan ruins can be found throughout Belize. Said to be the place where the ancient Mayan civilization flourished, today over 600 such sites have been identified. This ancient civilization existed between the periods of 300 BC. to 900 AD This culturally vibrant society was known during its time for its magnificent art, imposing architecture, and highly developed mathematical and astronomical systems.
The beach is unforgettable. Here are some places that will never leave our minds.
Almost 40 of them, pristine dive sites well manicured with coral reefs, 20 foot stalactites, mangroves and beautiful inland lagoons. Mother Nature here is at her best. You have black corals, orange sponges and more to choose from. If you love diving, you couldn’t ask for more.
The Great Blue Hole
Just imagine the Great Blue Hole, 1000 feet wide and over 400 feet deep. In addition to divers, many colorful varieties of fish regularly visit the Great Blue Hole. The Great Blue Hole is the world’s largest ocean sinkhole, large enough to be visible from space. This marine treasury stores red algae, hydroids and mermaids that cover most of the coral. This is also homes that share brush, mermaid fan algae, Elkhorn, stick finger, shallow water corals, giant green anemones and various sea urchins.
Half Moon Caye
Nature opens up in full glory at the southeast corner of the atoll. A densely populated bird sanctuary to the west and coconut palms to the east, home to 98 recorded bird species including frigatebirds, redbirds, pelicans, ospreys, egrets, gulls, storks, terns and more. And don’t forget to visit the Lighthouse on Half Moon Caye.
This is to the south of Half Moon Caye. Divers can experience a depth of 30 feet and visibility up to 100 feet. This natural aquarium on Half Moon Caye contains garden eels, conch, rays, stingray, star hermit crab, tilefish, manta rays, groupers, yellowtail snapper, razorbill, toad, eagle rays, turtles and black groupers.
Long Caye Ridge
A perfect diving spot for beginners. with minimal currents, depth 40 feet and visibility 80 feet. Soft corals, jar and tube sponges, yellow pencil corals, coral niches for spotted crabs, lobsters, file and crochet hooks hold your vision. See this for underwater photography.
Northwest of Long Caye is the Aquarium, home to an abundance of flora and fauna that enchants visitors with myriad colors and perfect visibility. The richness and variety of marine life is perfectly demonstrated here leaving all visitors simply mesmerized.
From its northern shores, a diving expedition begins in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. It is teardrop-shaped and is one of the few virgin and unspoiled atoll reefs in the world. Sandbore Caye and Northern Two Cayes greet you at the gate. These cayes have an internal lagoon that acts as a giant natural cooler. At the southern end of Lighthouse Reef Atoll, you will find Long Caye, which is known to be the closest island to the top dive sites and fishing spots in all of Belize.
There is so much in this small country. Belize is only 68 miles wide and 108 miles long. But then, the open and crystal clear seas have blessed this land, giving the vastness that the ocean sees.
You just have to be here to Belize yourself.
Once, twice – and you will realize, that it is never enough.
Be here to find out.
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