Your guide to being an expatriate in Belize

Caffeinate Your Belize Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Belize is a country located in Central America, bordering Mexico and Guatemala. It has a population of approximately 426,000, mostly made up of Mestizo, Creole, Garifuna, Maya, and East Indian ethnic groups who speak English, Creole or Spanish. With a dense rainforest covering almost 70% of the land and over 400 species of birds, Belize is a haven for ecotourists. Its coastline, stretching over 400 kilometers, provides access to the second largest barrier reef in the world that is home to over 1,400 species of marine life.


Expat destinations in Belize

Demographics of Belize:

Ethnic groups

Maya: 10.6%

Other: 3.5%

Creole: 24.4%

Mestizo: 52.1%

Garifuna: 6.5%

East Indian: 4.9%


Creole: 2%

English: 96%

Spanish: 1.4%

Religion Overview

Religion plays a significant role in the culture of Belize, with a high proportion of the population being Christian. Catholicism, Protestantism, and Pentecostalism are the principal religions practiced in Belize.

Major Religions


Belize's location in between the Caribbean Sea and the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico means it lies within the tropical climate zone. The country is densely forested, and its terrain consists mostly of lowlands with myriad rivers emptying into the Caribbean. Rainy season months stretch from May to November, while the dry season runs from December through April. In general, temperatures in the country are fairly uniform year round, with highs averaging around 27 degrees Celsius and lows around 21 degrees Celsius.

Economy Overview

Belize's economy is small by international standards, but its exports of bananas, sugar, and citrus fruits continue to provide a substantial source of income for the country's population. The country's GDP totaled US$3 billion in 2021. Agriculture contributes 25% to the economy, while roughly 35% of total work hours are employed in service industries such as tourism, which accounts for approximately 26% of GDP. Belize is also home to a number of international banks and some outsourcing operations, contributing around 5% to the economy.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture
  • Tourism
  • Finance

Major Companies

  • Belize Bank Ltd.
  • Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica
  • Belize Sugars Industries Ltd.
  • Flowerdew Products Ltd.

Culture and Language Overview

Belize's motto, 'Sub Umbra Floreo,' meaning 'Under the protection I flourish' in Latin, highlights the country's close ties to its history and linguistic roots. English is the official language, but Creole and Spanish are also widely spoken, reflecting Belize's mix of British and Hispanic heritage. The various ethnic groups that make up Belize's population infuse vibrant cultural traditions into daily life, with festivals and celebrations such as Garifuna Settlement Day or Christmas Village Night parade providing opportunities for the local community to reflect on their rich cultural heritage while enjoying cultural events such as music, dancing, and food.

Cultural Highlights

  • Feast of the Drum: This is a significant celebration for the Garifuna people that takes place on November 19th, commemorating the arrival of the Garifuna people to Belize in 1832.
  • Maya Hello Festival (Nq’aab'): The Maya community of Belize annually hosts this festival in mid-January to celebrate New Year's Day, unique Mayan customs and traditions, and a reconciliation ceremony between men and women symbolically represents the end and start of a fresh beginning for the Mayan people.
  • Satyagraha Gandhi True Jayanti: This celebration honors Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary on October 2nd, with events such as religious processions, exhibitions, and other cultural ceremonies.
  • Belize Carnival: This festival offers an appealing mixture of local and international music and dance set as a 16-day commemoration that normally goes from June to July.
  • Belize Cacao Festival: The festival is held annually in May to promote cacao farming and industry, rooted primarily in Belize's largely Maya indigenous people.

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Belize's varied geography, from dense rainforests to tropical reefs, has contributed significantly to its distinctive cultural heritage. Belize's largest national park, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, encompasses almost 500 square kilometers with more than 130 species of mammals, birds, and reptiles, including the elusive jaguar and tapir.

Notable Landmarks

  • Hopkins: Located in southern Belize, this peaceful fishing village possesses some of the country's most entrancing white sand beaches.
  • Blue Hole: Located within the Lighthouse Reef atoll approximately 100 kilometers off Belize's coast, the inspiring 'Blue Hole' is a dramatic deep-water hole measuring 318 feet in diameter and almost 410 feet deep.
  • Xunantunich: This archeological site in western Belize boasts an impressive collection of restored pre-Columbian Maya structures, including the 40-meter tall El Castillo pyramid.
  • Mahogany Bay: Winding over to the Caribbean coast, Mahogany Bay offers a panorama of verdant greenery and turquoise blue water ideal for fishing and kayaking.
  • Caye Caulker: Situated off Belize's eastern coast, this tiny coral island offers visitors a fantastic underwater world teeming with vibrant marine species and stunningly colorful coral reefs.
  • Lighthouse Reef: This coral reef located up north off Belize's coast is a vast, natural marine reserve with lots of fantastic diving opportunities.
  • Altun Ha: This archeological site near Belize City showcases the largest Maya city discovered in Belize.

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day
  • Carnival Monday
  • Carnival Tuesday
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday
  • Labour Day
  • Emancipation Day
  • National Patriots' Day
  • Independence Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day
  • New Year's Eve

Political Stability

Belize has been an independent nation since September 1981, becoming fully sovereign under the terms of the British Empire Act 1949. The country's political organization involves a House of Representatives elected through popular vote every five years, with a Governor-General serving as Head of State. In recent years, ethnic politics, particularly the tension between the country's Garifuna population in the south and the Maya population in the north, have contributed to some social upheaval in Belize.

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