Cruising to Belize


Territorial disputes between the UK and Guatemala delayed the independence of Belize (formerly British Honduras) until 1981. Guatemala refused to recognize the new nation until 1992. Tourism has become the mainstay of the economy. Current concerns include high unemployment, growing involvement in the South American drug trade, and increasing urban crime.


Location: Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico
Geographic coordinates: 17 15 N, 88 45 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 22,966 sq km
Land: 22,806 sq km
Water: 160 sq km


386 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm in the north, 3 nm in the south; note - from the mouth of the Sarstoon River to Ranguana Cay, Belize's territorial sea is 3 nm; according to Belize's Maritime Areas Act, 1992, the purpose of this limitation is to provide a framework for negotiating a definitive agreement on territorial differences with Guatemala
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


Tropical; very hot and humid; rainy season (May to November); dry season (February to May)


Flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Victoria Peak 1,160 m


In this small, essentially private-enterprise economy the tourism industry is the number one foreign exchange earner followed by marine products, citrus, cane sugar, bananas, and garments. The government's expansionary monetary and fiscal policies, initiated in September 1998, led to sturdy GDP growth averaging nearly 5% in 1999-2005. Major concerns continue to be the sizable trade deficit and foreign debt. A key short-term objective remains the reduction of poverty with the help of international donors.


Airports: 43 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 5
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 38
Roadways: total: 2,872 km
Waterways: 825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2005)

Merchant marine

Total: 302 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,040,813 GRT/1,398,275 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 29, cargo 218, chemical tanker 8, container 6, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 13, roll on/roll off 5, specialized tanker 1
Foreign-owned: 173 (Belgium 1, China 71, Cyprus 2, Estonia 5, Germany 3, Hong Kong 8, Iceland 1, Indonesia 2, Italy 4, Japan 5, South Korea 5, Latvia 4, Malaysia 1, Mexico 1, Pakistan 1, Poland 2, Russia 33, Singapore 4, Spain 2, Switzerland 2, Turkey 8, Ukraine 3, UAE 3, US 2) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Belize City

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Argentina - Belize - Brazil - Chile - Colombia - Costa Rica - Ecuador - El Salvador - French Guiana - Guatemala - Guyana - Honduras - Mexico - Nicaragua - Panama - Peru - St. Pierre and Miquelon - Suriname - Uruguay - Venezuela

Further Reading

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