Where is Belize?

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The Belize Barrier Reef and Great Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef Atoll

If you’re wondering where is Belize located and whether it is worth visiting. You’ve come to the right place.

 Related: Best time to visit Belize & Top Places to Visit in Belize

Belize is a Caribbean paradise in Central America. It is known for having the world’s second-largest barrier reef and lush jungles with ancient Maya sites. With a unique and diverse population and most of its sea and mainland protected, it is a biodiversity-and-cultural hotspot.

Where exactly is Belize located?

Where is Belize Map

Located in Central America, Belize is bordered to the north by Mexico, to the west and south by Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea.

Central America connects North America to South America and it is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. Along with Belize, the Spanish-speaking countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama are a part of Central America.

Related: Why Visit Belize

Is Belize part of another country?

Carnival in Belize

No, Belize is an independent nation that gained independence on September 21, 1981. It is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster model.

Prior to this, Belize was a British colony named British Honduras; hence why it is the only English-speaking country in Central America, along with being a Commonwealth and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nation.

Related: Is Belize Safe to Visit

Quick facts about Belize

Official Name:Belize, changed from British Honduras in June 1973
Location:Central America
Neighboring Countries:Mexico & Guatemala
Form of Government:Parliamentary Democracy, part of the British Commonwealth
Head of Government:Prime Minister: Johnny Briceno
Head of State:British Monarch: King Charles III, represented by Governor-General: Froyla Tzalam
Independence:September 21, 1981
Capital:Belmopan, Cayo
Currency:Belize Dollar (BZD), with a fixed exchange rate of $2 BZD to $1 USD
Languages:English (official), Belizean Creole, Spanish, Maya, Garifuna
Cultures:Kriol, Mestizo, Maya, Garifuna, Mennonite, Lebanese, Chinese & East Indian
Population:430,191 (2021 est.)
Total Area:8,867 (sq mil) or 22,966 (sq km)
Climate:Subtropical, with year-round warm to hot temperatures
Time:CST (Daylight Savings Time is not observed)
Phone Code:International access code: 011
International Airport:Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE)
Top 5 Tourist Destinations:Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, San Ignacio, Placencia & Hopkins

Belize Districts and Regions Guide

Map of Belize with Districts and Towns

Divided into six districts, Belize is about 290 km (180 mi) long and 110 km (68 mi) wide. The country occupies an area of approximately 22,966 sq km (8,867 sq mi), making it almost the same size as the U.S. state of New Jersey.

Related: 10 Things to Do in Belize & Top Attractions in Belize

Yes, Belize is a small country but it’s diverse and its main regions have something for everyone to enjoy.

Northern Belize

You’ll find Corozal and Orange Walk in Northern Belize.
Cerros Mayan temple in Corozal, Belize


Bordering Mexico, Corozal is the northernmost district of Belize. Corozal is primarily populated by Mestizo–a cultural blend of Spanish and Maya, and it’s popular with U.S. expats. Expats like it there since they can enjoy a laid-back lifestyle in a small coastal village or town while having easy access to nearby Chetumal in Mexico which offers all the modern infrastructures of a North American city.

Orange Walk

Referred to as “Sugah City”, Orange Walk is home of Belize’s sugarcane industry. You’ll see sugarcane crops almost everywhere and smell the unmistakable sweet aroma in the air. Much like Corozal, Orange Walk is home to many Mestizo–descendants of Spanish and Yucatec Maya who fled Mexico during the Caste War. The main tourist attraction is Lamanai, which is one of the top ancient Maya sites in Belize.

Western Belize

You’ll find the Cayo District in Western Belize. Cayo borders Guatemala and it’s Belize’s largest district. It serves as the main destination for eco-tourism in Belize, with San Ignacio being the most popular stop for travelers.
The hand-cranked ferry used to get to Xunantunich

San Ignacio

San Ignacio is a popular hub because it provides easy access to many of Belize’s top jungle attractions — such as the Xunatunich Maya temple, the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, and even the Tikal Maya temple in nearby Guatemala — while having a restaurant and nightlife scene that is not seen elsewhere on the mainland. The area also hosts many of Belize’s best jungle resorts.

Eastern Belize

In Eastern Belize, you’ll find the Belize District, which has Belize City and the popular northern islands of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.
Front view of the Philip Goldson International Airport in Belize (BZE)

Belize City

Belize City is the largest city in Belize and was once the capital of the country. It isn’t a popular tourist destination, however, it serves as the main gateway to Belize since it’s home to the Philip Goldson International Airport, the country’s only international airport. Most people don’t stay there but if they do, it’s to check out the historical sites. Nearby attractions include the Belize Zoo and the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye is Belize’s largest island and the most visited location in Belize. Due to its closeness to the Belize Barrier Reef, the island is a popular beach destination for snorkeling, diving, and fishing. San Pedro town is its largest settlement and it’s known for beautiful beach resorts and the best nightlife scene in Belize.

The Truck Stop in San Pedro, Belize
Caye Caulker's The Split

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is Ambergris Caye’s smaller less-visted sister island, famous for having a relaxed and “go slow” Caribbean vibe. Due to its proximity to Ambergris Caye, guests to Caye Caulker can enjoy similar things to do, however, the small island caters more to laid-back travelers that are seeking a cheaper vacation in Belize.

Southern Belize

Southern Belize consists of Stann Creek and Toledo. Stann Creek offers a blend of culture and adventure, where the villages of Hopkins and Placencia are the most popular destinations. Toledo is the southernmost district of Belize and due to its rural and remote location, this district is not heavily visited by people.
Aerial view of Hopkins


Hopkins is a seaside village that is a hotspot for outdoor adventures such as hiking, snorkeling and diving, and learning about the Garifuna culture of Belize. Arriving in Belize in 1802, Garifuna are a mixed African and indigenous people who are descended of Black Caribs.


Placencia is a charming seaside village located on an 18-mile peninsula. With a beautiful coast and some of the best beachfront resorts, the peninsula primarily attracts beachlovers. Another draw is the village’s background as a primarily Creole village. Belizean Creole are descendants of British settlers and African slaves that were brought to Belize in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Beach area in front of Tipsy Tuna Bar in Placencia
The Living Maya Experience at Big Falls in Toledo, Belize


Toledo’s main settlement is Punta Gorda. It has a large East Indian population and serves as a base for adventure and cultural activities such as off-shore fishing, river trips, caving, bird watching and visiting ancient Maya sites and present-day Maya villages. The Maya live scattered across the region, with the Ketchi Maya inhabiting about eight villages while the Mopan Maya live in San Antonio, the second largest settlement in Toledo.

Language and People

English is Belize’s national language, however, Creole (an English-based dialect closely related to Jamaican Patois) is what is widely spoken. Other common languages in Belize include Spanish, Maya, Garifuna, Mandarin, and Mennonite Low German.

With a current population of approximately 430,000 people, Belize is made up of various ethnic groups that harmoniously co-exist together. Primarily, this includes people of Maya, Mestizo, Garinagu, Creole, Mennonites, East Indians, and Chinese descent.

Maya woman in Belize


The ancient Maya once thrived in southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize (A.D. 250 to 900), with at least 400,000 living in Belize. Today, their descendants make up about 11% of Belize’s population, living in small villages across the country.

Read more…

Mestizo woman in Belize


Mestizos are the most common culture in Belize, representing approximately half of the country’s population. They are people of mixed Spanish and Maya descent. Many also may have some African heritage.

Read more…

Creole man in Belize


Creoles are descendants of African slaves that were brought to Belize in the 18th and early 19th century. They are the result of slaves — and their offspring — mixing with British settlers. Most Creoles live in urban centers, primarily Belize City.

Read more…

Garinagu/ Garifuna
Belize's the Garifuna Collective


The Garinagu of Belize are primarily based in Southern Belize–in Hopkins and Dangriga. They are a proud and prominent culture, who have greatly influenced Belizean music. Garinagu is used to describe them as a group and Garifuna is used to describe their language.

Read more…

How to get to Belize?

entry requirements for belize

Fortunately, getting to Belize is easy. Flying is the most popular way, with all international flights landing at the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) near Belize City.

Direct flights to Belize from the USA, Canada, and various countries across North and South America are easily available. However, there are no direct flights from Europe to Belize–instead, you must connect via the U.S. or Mexico. You can also enter Belize through its Guatemalan and Mexican land borders.

How to get around Belize?

Belize bus with travelers

Transportation options in Belize include taxis, buses, private shuttles, car rentals, and domestic flights.

The fastest way to get around Belize is through local flights that fly to domestic airports across Belize, this includes flying between islands. But you can also catch a water taxi to most islands, which is a cheaper option. Using taxis, buses, shuttles, and car rentals is recommended when on the mainland. The least expensive option is the bus but it’s often crowded and takes a very long time.

Top Places to Stay in Belize Hotel Guides

  1. Top Luxury Hotels in Belize
  2. The Best Jungle Resorts & Eco Lodges in Belize
  3. Top 5 All-inclusive Resorts in Belize
  4. 10 Best Beach Resorts in Belize
  5. Top Jungle and Beach Hotels in Belize
  6. The 5 Best Adult Only Belize Resorts
  7. The Best Family Resorts in Belize
  8. Top 5 Over-water Bungalows & Villas in Belize
  9. The Best Cheap Hotels in Belize
  10. Top Treehouses in Belize

Belize Map with major Points of Interest

Belize Map