Belize is the only country in Central and South America where English is the official language, with a parliamentary democracy and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The British monarch is head of state and is represented in the country by a governor general who must be a Belizean. The primary executive organ of government is the cabinet, led by a prime minister who is head of government. All Belize’s laws pertaining to property, land and business are based on the British common law system. .
Traditionally the Belize economy has been based around Agriculture and fishing, but has experienced a large shift toward tourism related business. This has caused a healthy rate of growth and started an upward trend in land values around Belize that should continue for many years to come, with even the traditional sectors of industry receiving many benefits from the influx in tourism income.
The Belize dollar is set at a fixed 2 to 1 against the US dollar, though most transactions in real estate are just processed in USD.
Foreign residents may own property and Business within Belize, with free and clear title. The Belize government offers various investment incentive programs to foreign investors.
Belize is bordered by Mexico in the north and Guatemala in the west, while the eastern coast flows into the Caribbean seas and the second largest barrier reef in the world. There are 6 districts within Belize:
- Belize District
• Cayo District
• Corozal District
• Orange Walk District
• Stann Creek District
• Toledo DistrictThe inner coastal waters are shallow and are sheltered by a line of coral reefs, dotted with islets called ‘cayes’ but pronounced ‘Keys’, extending almost the entire length of the country.
There is a low coastal plain, much of it covered with mangroves very much like large parts of the Florida coastline, but the land rises gradually towards the interior. The Maya Mountains and the Cockscomb Range form the backbone of the southern half of the country, the highest point being Doyle’s Delight (1124 meters above sea level) in the Cockscomb Range. The Cayo District in the west includes the Mountain Pine Ridge, ranging from 305 to around 914 metres above sea level, and has some wonderful forested river valleys. The northern districts contain considerable areas of tableland. There are many rivers, some of them navigable for short distances by shallow-draught vessels. A large part of the mainland is still pristine forest.
The Cayes themselves are generally limestone bedrock with sand and soil on the surface and covered by mangroves, palm trees and many local varieties. The main islands that are inhabited are Caye Caulker where we are based and Ambergris Caye about 15 miles to the north.
The figures shown to the right for temperature and precipitation were recorded in Belize City which is around 22 miles from Caye Caulker. From our own experience we have found that the temperatures will generally feel at least 5°f warmer than those shown due to humidity, and the precipitation levels will generally be around 3 inches lower than those shown due to the islands being a smaller land mass and so not attracting as much cloud as the mainland.