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Belize - Overview

Belize is a country situated in Central America but is distinctly different from its neighbours. The population is of mixed heritage, with English, Creole, Spanish, Chinese and East Indian being among the ethnic groups residing there. The country has borders with Mexico and Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea lies off the eastern coast. The country is home to the Maya mountain range as well as several others and over 65% of the land is forested. There are also areas of swamp lands close to the coast line.

The capital city is Belmopan, in the centre of the country close to the Maya mountains. It has a population of just 12,500 people, a low figure compared with most other capital cities. Belize City has a history dating back several hundred years and is the main commercial area in the country, as well as being the biggest city. The country has a total population of around 270,000 people.

Belize is a former part of the British Empire, but gained independence in 1981. The official language is English, but much of the population also speaks Spanish. The time zone is GMT -6 and Belize has a subtropical climate, which attracts those who enjoy water sports. Belize is also attractive to those who are interested in history and nature.

The country has an elected government and the British monarchy is still represented by the Governor-General. The House of Representatives are elected by the people and there are 29 seats. The Governor General appoints 9 people to the Senate. The Governor General has overall control, although there is also an elected Prime Minister.

The country's economy is based mainly on agriculture, in particular, cane sugar and bananas. Other food industries on the rise include tropical fruit and seafood. The tourism industry is also growing and is becoming an important employer. The currency in use is the Belize Dollar (BZD) which is the equivalent of 50 US cents.

Social conventions are similar to those of the UK, a legacy of British rule. There are an increasing number of expats choosing Belize for their new home. This is due mainly to the climate and the British and European heritage of the country. Most choose to stay within the cities although a few have settled in more rural areas. The multi-cultural nature of the country means that all are made to feel welcome; there is almost no religious or racial intolerance in evidence in the country.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.