Where Is Belize Located? | THINGS TO DO, History & Maps

Where is Belize Located

Belize is a small yet gorgeous country, full of breathtaking attractions and exciting things to do. Whether you’re relaxing on a beach with white sands and turquoise waters, exploring Mayan ruins, or inspecting the world’s second-longest barrier reef, you’re guaranteed to have an excellent time in Belize.

However, despite this country being a prime vacation and adventure spot, many people don’t know much about it, including its location.

Belize is located in Central America and is bordered by Mexico on the north, Guatemala on the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea on the east. Central America connects South and North America.

In the rest of this article, I’ll answer all your questions about Belize’s location, history, the best places to go, and things to know before you visit.

If you’re curious about this Central American country, or if you’re planning a vacation in this hot spot and want to know more, keep reading!

Where Is Belize?

Belize is in Central America, which connects the continents of North and South America. Belize is bordered by Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea.

If you’re looking for Belize on a map, the best way to find it is to locate Mexico and look to the right. Belize is a relatively small country, around the same size as New Jersey, and is approximately 180 miles long (290 km) and 68 miles (109 km) wide. It’s divided into six districts:

  • Belize. The Belize district is home to Belize City, the country’s largest urban area. This district is the hub of politics and transport in the country.
  • Toledo. This is the southernmost district in Belize, and it shares many cultural similarities with Guatemala because of its proximity. This district is home to several rain forests, traditional villages, and Punta Gorda.
  • Orange Walk. Orange Walk is in Northern Belize and features the Mayan ruins of Lamanai. Additionally, Orange Walk Town boasts some of the best food in Belize, including salbutes and barbecued chicken.
  • Stann Creek. This district is located on Belize’s Caribbean coastline and features many ecotourism attractions such as caves, beaches, and hiking trails.
  • Cayo. This is the only landlocked district in Belize. This area features cave systems, ruins at Benque Viejo del Carmen, and many jungle lodges.
  • Corozal. This quiet district is just a few minutes from Mexico. Corozal Town features affordable dining, shopping, and boat tours.

Belize features mountains, swamps, and tropical jungle. Belize is part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, which means it features a large variety of flora and fauna, including the black orchid, the toucan, and tapirs.

Many of which are the National Symbols of Belize

Belize also boasts the largest cave system in Central America.

Belize’s national language is English, making it one of the only English-speaking countries in Central America.

Creole, a language closely related to Jamaican Patois, is also widely spoken in the country.

Is Belize an Island?

Belize isn’t an island. The country is located in the isthmus connecting South and North America, which makes it part of mainland Central America. However, Belize includes over 450 islands off the coastline.

Belize itself isn’t an island, as the mainland is part of Central America and is bordered by Mexico and Guatemala. However, over 450 islands, or Cayes as they’re known in Belize, are off the coastline.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular islands in Belize:

  • Ambergris Caye. This is Belize’s largest and most popular island. The economy of the island relies on fishery, coconuts, and tourism. The coastline features the world’s second-largest living coral reef, making it a popular spot for snorkeling. The only inhabited area on the island is San Pedro, which features many restaurants and entertainment venues.
  • Caye Caulker. This is Ambergris Caye’s sister island, but it is far less visited and more laid-back than Ambergris. This island attracts backpackers traveling on a budget but still want to relax on the beach and enjoy watersports such as snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. Fishing is the main source of income for this island.
  • Half Moon Caye. This island is a marine conservation area, a national park, and a must-see for any bird lover, as it homes more than ninety different species of birds. It also is home to fascinating reptiles, including the Island Leaf-toed Gecko, which is endemic to the country.
  • Tobacco Caye. Tobacco Caye is tiny and off-the-grid, which is perfect for those seeking an idyllic island paradise on a tight budget.
  • Glover’s Reef. Glover’s Reef is a great destination for marine explorers who want to see the biodiversity in Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve. Additionally, this island is home to South Water Caye Marine Reserve, the Glover’s Reef Research Station, and some of the best sea kayaking in the world.
  • South Water Caye. South Water Caye may be just the place for Belizean travelers seeking solace and relaxation. Visitors to this island can explore the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, snorkel, kayak, fish, sunbathe, relax in a hammock, or play volleyball. It’s also an excellent place for stargazing.
  • St. George’s Caye. This island is the site of the famous battle of St. George’s Caye, in which Baymen successfully fought off Spanish ships. This is another small island, and it only has a permanent population of approximately twenty people. If you’re looking for a little bit of luxury, this island is home to St. George’s Caye Resort, which features gorgeous cabanas and a relaxing spa.

While Belize itself isn’t an island, the islands on the coastline of the country feature must-see biodiversity and entertaining activities.

Surrounding Countries

Belize borders Mexico in the north and Guatemala in the west and south. Mexico is the third-largest country in Latin America, after Brazil and Argentina, and is one of Latin America’s chief economic and political forces.

The country boasts vast mineral resources and a wide-ranging service sector. Mexico is also home to the world’s largest population of Spanish speakers. Geographically, it’s an extremely diverse country, featuring high mountains and canyons, deserts, and rain forests.

Belize’s other border country, Guatemala, is a country approximately the size of Tennessee and is full of volcanoes, mountains, and beaches. The most active volcano is called Pacaya, located near Guatemala City. The deepest lake in Central America, Lake Atitlan, was formed when Pacaya exploded 84,000 years ago.

Nearly half of the population in Guatemala is descended from the Maya civilization, and approximately 20 different Mayan languages are still spoken in the country. Some of the most important Mayan cities, including Tikal and El Mirador, are found in Guatemala.

History of Belize

For thousands of years, Belize was populated by the Maya population, which is why the country is home to some of the most impressive Mayan ruins today. The Maya civilization peaked in the Classic Period, between A.D. 250 and 900.

In 1511, a sailor from Spain, Gonzalo Guerrero, was shipwrecked on the Yucatan Peninsula and captured by the Maya. He was the first European to live in Belize. After his capture, he married and settled in Chactemal, now known as Corozal Town.

Shortly after, English Puritans moved to Belize and began to set up trade posts along its coast. Afterward, shipwrecked sailors and pirates began establishing permanent bases in Belize.

In the 1840s, Great Britain declared Belize the colony of British Honduras. By the early 1900s, the population of British Honduras (Belize) rose to nearly 50,000. After a 1931 hurricane destroyed Belize City, the economy suffered greatly, and the residents of Belize began to strive for their independence.

In 1961, England agreed to begin the process of granting Belize its independence. In 1973, the name was changed from British Honduras to Belize.

On September 21, 1981, Belize achieved full independence.

Best Places To Visit in Belize

Belize is a beautiful country, and you’ll be able to find things to do and see nearly everywhere you go. With that being said, here are some of the most spectacular, must-see places in Belize:

  • St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. This National Park is in the Cayo District of Belize and contains two cave systems, nature trails, and a jungle pool. The park is home to over two hundred different bird species, including unusual species such as the piratic flycatcher and the northern nightingale-wren. The park is also home to other wildlife, such as jaguars and ocelots.
  • Altun Ha Ruins. Just an hour from Belize City are the ancient Mayan ruins of Altun Ha. These ruins feature pyramids, temples, and palaces, including the Temple of the Masonry Altars, which is the logo of Belize’s leading beer brand: Belikin.
  • Laughing Bird Caye National Park. Laughing Bird Caye became a national park in 1991 and is home to incredible wildlife, including brown pelicans, melodious blackbirds, and green herons. At this national park, you can snorkel, nap in a hammock on the beach, and observe the wildlife.
  • Xunantunich Mayan Ruins. The ruins of the Mayan city Xunantunich are just a few miles away from San Ignacio. They feature six plazas with massive temples and palaces, which provide an amazing view of the jungles of Belize and Guatemala.
  • Hol Chan Marine Reserve. On Ambergris Caye, you can visit Belize’s oldest marine reserve and experience some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. You’ll see all sorts of different marine life, including groupers, parrotfish, angelfish, barracuda, eels, lobster, nurse sharks, and manta rays.
  • Belize City. Surprisingly, Belize City is not the capital of Belize, but it’s the nation’s main port. The city features the oldest Anglican cathedral in Central America, a national heritage museum, art galleries, and a wide variety of restaurants.
  • Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve. The Turneffe Islands are home to many threatened marine species. The mangrove and seagrass provide a suitable habitat for crocodiles, lobster, conch, over five hundred species of fish, sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, and other wildlife.
  • Half Moon Caye. This small island features perfect sandy beaches, red-footed booby birds, and iguanas. In short, it’s the perfect getaway.

Things To Know Before Traveling to Belize

If you’re planning a visit to this fascinating and exciting country, there are some things you should know first:

  • Use cash as often as possible. Most places in Belize accept both United States and Belizean dollars. Many shops and restaurants also accept credit cards, but it’s not always available and there’s normally an extra charge, so it is best to use cash instead.
  • You’re on island time. The motto of Caye Caulker is “Go Slow,” which is important to keep in mind when you’re visiting Belize. Don’t expect prompt service or right-on-time transport, as the relaxed atmosphere causes most people to run a little late.
  • English is the official language. If you’ve been holding back on visiting Central America because you don’t speak Spanish, start your travel with Belize! The country kept English as its official spoken language after it achieved independence from England.
  • Plan on snorkeling or diving. Belize is home to a magnificent coral reef, and you’ll want to see the wildlife there. Make sure you plan some time for snorkeling and diving to enjoy the spectacular sights of the second-largest coral reef in the world.
  • Belize is a safe country; just be aware of your belongings in Belize City. Belize is an extremely safe country, but the highest crime rate in the country is in Belize City. This isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, but I recommend being more aware of your surroundings and belongings when wandering around the city.
  • Some Cayes are more expensive than others. If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to steer clear of Ambergris Caye, as it can be expensive to spend the night here. Smaller, more low-key islands, such as the nearby Caye Caulker, are better options for travelers on a budget.


Belize may be small, but it is certainly mighty! The country boasts a fascinating history and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches and fascinating ruins in the world.

If you’re looking for a tropical getaway or want to explore Mayan history, Belize has a rightful place on your travel bucket list!

Maps of Belize

Here are several maps of Belize showing different details of Belize. Click on the images to open them in a new tab and view them larger.

Below is a amazing detailed map of Belize that includes all the Cayes (Islands) and much more information.

Detailed Map of Belize

A detailed map showing the protected areas and forests of Belize.

Belize Map Protected AreasHere’s a next detailed Map of Belize that focuses more on Villages, Towns, and Districts.

Belize Map Districts and Towns

Belize Map showing the average rainfall in a year throughout Belize.

Belize Average Rainfall

Map of Belize showing the Mountain Ranges you will find there.

Belize Islands and mountain ranges

Finally, a simple Tourist Map of Belize of different points of interest.

Tourist Map of Belize


1. Are there travel requirements to enter Belize?

There are no travel requirements to travel to Belize. Most tourist can visit Belize with a automatic 30 day Visa that will need to be renewed if you decide to stay longer.

2. What’s the weather like in Belize?

Belize’s weather is normally hot and humid. During the tourist season from December to February; it tends to cool off. During there can be light showers from time to time.

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