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TOPOGRAPHY: Belize is located on the east coast of Central America. The country measures 8,867 square miles. It is bordered by Mexico on the North, Guatemala on the West and South, and the Caribbean Sea on the East. Belize's highest points, Doyle's Delight and Victoria Peak, reach heights of 3,687 feet and 3,675 feet respectively. Offshore, the Belize Barrier Reef, the second longest in the world, is 185 miles long.

GOVERNMENT: Belize is an independent nation with a democratically elected parliament. A member of the British Commonwealth, Belize's head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. She is represented by the Governor General of Belize. The Prime Minister is the head of Government.

POPULATION: Belize boasts one of the lowest population densities in Central America. In 2010, the population was estimated to be just over 300,000 people.

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CLIMATE: The climate of Belize is tropical to subtropical with both wet and dry seasons. The average temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit although the humidity sometimes makes it feel hotter, especially in inland areas. Cold fronts or "northers" generally occur in December and January and usually bring rain and cooler temperatures.

MONEY: The official currency is the Belize dollar. Two Belize dollars are equivalent to one U.S. dollar.

TAXES: A general sales tax of 12.5% is charged on all goods and services. Hotel tax is 9%.

AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAX: Non-Belizeans pay a US $39.25 departure tax.

TIME ZONE: GMT-6, same as U.S. Central Standard Time. Belize does not observe daylight savings time.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Belize's area code is 501. Cell phones can be rented or bought from local providers to make national and international calls. Wi-Fi is available at most hotels. Internet cafes are located across the country.

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WATER: Purified bottled water is widely available but tap water is potable.

ELECTRICAL SYSTEM: 110 volts AC; same as North America.

RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS: A variety of religions are practiced in Belize. Christian denominations include Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah Witnesses, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

POSTAL RATES: Post cards to the U.S. and Canada are BZ $0.30 and letters cost BZ $0.60. To Europe, postcards are BZ $0.40, and letters start at BZ $0.75. Express mail services are available via DHL, FEDEX, and EMS.