Belize – A Piece of Heaven!
A natural beauty located at the centre of the Americas, Belize is surrounded on three sides by the Mexican and Guatemala borders. However, Belize gladly pours out her heart onto the crystal clear sea-fronts on the eastern side, where the Caribbean seas treasure is part of its pride.
Belize is a total of 8867 square miles, offering a rich and diverse fertile land comprising of Pine Forests, Tropical Rain Forests, Savannah and Mangrove Forests, to Sandy Beaches, Rivers, Streams and Lagoons.
Offshore there are hundreds of white-sand islands called Cayes, and Reefs enchanting divers. All these treasures are engulfed and caressed by the crystal clear Caribbean waters. Belize’s fertile eco-systems are abounded by the rare and exotic species of birds, mammals and fish, and where all thrive under the protected status provided by the Belizean Government.
People and Life
Life is serene here as are the environs. With only a small population of about 300,000 people, Belize is the only English speaking democratic country in Central America. The Belizean economy is based on tourism and agriculture, with sugarcane, citrus, bananas and aqua-culture as the main products. Even the manufacturing industry is agro-based and fulfills the gaps.
Living expenses and services are comparatively cheaper than the other neighboring countries. You could comfortably live in Belize with spending less. US $1,500 to US $2,000 per month would easily see you through. Good Healthcare, Insurance and housekeeping services are available at reasonable costs.
Foreign ownership is encouraged by the government here, especially if it creates employment opportunities for Belizeans. Incentives are also offered for projects that are export oriented. These include income tax breaks and import duty exemptions.
Work permits are also provided to non-nationals under the guidelines of the Belize Labor Department. These last from 3 months to a year, and are renewable. Anyone having a permanent residency or who has been a legal resident for the last 5 years can apply for Belizean citizenship under the Belizean Nationality Act, 1981.
Tourism – A Wonderland
Travel and Tourism in Belize is being vigorously promoted and brings in Foreign Exchange for Belize. Wildlife and the seafront, along with the serene natural beauty of Belize has immensely contributed to the tourism industry of Belize.
There is so much in Belize, that it is hard to list each and every spot. A few famous places can however be talked about –
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary – The world’s only Jaguar Preserve
A unique sanctuary initiated by the efforts of one person is in the south of Belize covering 150 square miles of tropical forest land. It was declared a Forest Preserve in 1984, and finally declared a Jaguar Preserve in the year 1986. This is house to not only the Jaguars but a variety of wildlife, including birds, animals, fauna and flora. Rare species of birds like the Macaw, Great Curassow, and Keel-billed Toucau are common sights.
Community Baboon Sanctuary
The Community Baboon Sanctuary is an innovative and grass-roots project to protect a habitat for the endangered Black Howler Monkeys. You can easily become a member here by adopting a monkey, and it is encouraged by the CBS authorities.
Ancient Maya Sites
The Ancient Mayan Ruins are found all over Belize. Said to be the place where the ancient Mayan civilization thrived, there are now over 600 such sites identified. This ancient civilization existed between the periods 300 BC to 900 AD. This culturally vibrant society was well known during their time for magnificent art, imposing architecture, and highly developed mathematical and astronomical systems.
The Seafront is unforgettable. Here are a few places that will never leave our minds.
Almost 40 of them, untouched diving spots well manicured with coral reefs, 20 foot stalactites, mangroves, and sublime internal lagoons. Mother Nature here is at her best. You have Black Corals, Orange Sponges and many 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. Apart from the divers, many colorful varieties of fish regularly visit the Great Blue Hole. The Great Blue Hole is the largest ocean sink-hole in the world, large enough to be visible from outer space. This marine vault stores red algae, hydroids, and gorgonians covering most of the corals. This is also houses sharing brush, mermaid’s fan algae, Elkhorn, club finger, shallow water starlet corals, giant green anemones and various urchins.
Half Moon Caye
Nature opens 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 species of birds including frigate, red footed booby birds, pelicans, ospreys, egrets, gulls, storks, terns and many more. And do not forget to visit the Lighthouse on Half Moon Caye.
This is located to the south of the Half Moon Caye. Divers can experience a depth of 30 feet and visibility up to 100 feet. This natural aquarium at Half Moon Caye contains garden eels, conch, rays, flounder, star-eye hermit crab, tile fish, manta rays, groupers, yellowtail snappers, razorfish, toadfish, spotted eagle rays, turtles and black groupers.
Long Caye Ridge
A perfect dive spot for beginners; with minimal currents, a 40 feet depth and 80 feet visibility. Soft coral, vase and tube sponges, yellow pencil corals, coral niches for spotted crabs, lobsters, file fish and arrow blennies hold your sight. Check this out for underwater photography.
To the northwest of Long Caye is the Aquarium, house to the abundance of flora and fauna enchanting the visitors with myriad colors and perfect visibility. The richness and variety of the marine life is perfectly demonstrated here leaving all visitors simply mesmerized.
A diving expedition to the Lighthouse Reef Atoll begins from its northern shores. It is tear-drop shaped and one of the few unspoiled and pristine atoll reefs in the world. The Sandbore Caye and The Northern Two Cayes greet you at the gateway. These cayes have an internal lagoon which act as a giant natural cooler. At the southern end of the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, you will find Long Caye, which is known to be the closest island to the top dive sites and fishing grounds in all of Belize.
There is so much packed into 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, imparting the vastness the ocean beholds.
You just have to be here to Belize yourself.
Once, twice – and you’ll realize, that it’s never enough.
Be here, to find out.
Source by Dustin Hart