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Thursday 24th August
Belize Information - Page 1
Geography
Belize is in Central America. It is bordered by Guatemala, Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

Belmopan is the capital city. Other cities include Belize City and Orange Walk.

Belize has a flat coastal plain with low mountains in the south. The main river is the Belize River.

The climate of Belize is sub-tropical, with trade winds from the Caribbean Sea.

Environment
The coastal area of Belize has one of the longest barrier reefs in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1996. The Reserve includes offshore atolls, sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries.

Other protected areas in Belize include the Five Blues Lake National Park, Guanacaste National Park, St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area and the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

It is estimated that over five hundred species of birds inhabit Belize. Animals found in the country are howler monkeys, spider monkeys, baboons, jaguars, ocelots, pumas, tapirs, crocodiles and iguanas.

Architecture
There are a number of Maya sites in Belize. Caracol is the largest and most important Maya centre in the country. One of the pyramids is one hundred and forty feet high.

The oldest Colonial building in Belize is St John's Cathedral, an Anglican church, built by slaves at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Another example of early Colonial architecture is the House of Culture, built in 1814. Until independence [from the UK] the house was the residence of the Governor-General.

Population
The population of Belize was estimated at 321,115 in 2011.

Languages
English is the official language. Other languages spoken are Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib) and Creole.

Religion
Around three-quarters of the people in Belize are Christians; almost half are Roman Catholic.

Food
The cuisine of Belize has contributions from all its ethnic groups. Neighbouring Mexico and Caribbean countries have also influenced Belizean food.

Popular dishes are rice and beans and meat and fish stews. Hot sauces are used; tortillas are often served with meals. Meat pies, chicken filled tamales, and conch fritters are eaten for lunch.

Vegetables available include cabbage, cassava, onions, plantains, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.

Fruits grown are bananas, coconuts, mangoes, papayas and pineapples.

Fruit juice, beer (Belikin) and rum are produced locally.

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