is home to the main port, and is the largest financial and economic center of Belize. Belize is located South-East of the Yucatan Peninsula. For almost two centuries Belize had been the possession of Great Britain, known as British Honduras from 1840 until 1973. The country gained independence in 1981, yet remains a member of the Commonwealth headed by Great Britain.
In the North it borders with Mexico, on the West with Guatemala and the East coast shares part of the Caribbean Sea. Belize is the least populated country in Central America and the city is vulnerable to hurricanes and flooding.
The Belize river, Haulover Creek, divides the city into two parts - North and South.
has a municipal and international airport, as well as a seaport. Liners are not allowed to dock at the pier or they were run over the reefs.
One of the main attractions of Belize is the Barrier Reef, which stretches along the coast for 185 miles (298 km); the longest barrier reef in the Western hemisphere. The best place for diving is considered to be the coastal waters of the island of Ambergris, where the reef wall is close to the surface. Outside the reef, there are three large chains of islands formed from reefs. It is said that thousands of years ago the Great Blue Hole was an ordinary cave, the vault of which had flooded from advancing water heading towards the mainland. Thus a hole was formed with a depth of 406 feet (124 meters) and a width of 984 feet (300 meters). Divers have noted the presence of stalactites and stalagmites within the hole:
Belize is one of the five States of Central America, where the legendary Realm of the Maya used to be; many temples, statues, and caves from those days still remain. In the
Archeological Park, archeologists discovered the largest scultprure symbolizing the God of the Sun.
The Mayan ruins consist of two main attraction sites, Xunantunich and Altun Ha mayan ruins.
Altun Ha is one of the largest archeological centers in the country. In translation Altun Ha means the 'Stone Reservoir'. The ruins are located 35 miles (55 km) North of Belize City. In 250 BC construction of a large settlements began leading to the 'Mayan classical period' we know today. Among the ruins of Altun Ha are two squares from 'classical period' that include four temples; the famous 'Temple of the Green Tomb', the Temple of Stone Altar (the largest structure within the ancient town), the 'Eastern Temple' (where objects from Teotihuacan have been found), as well as a large swimming pool and numerous smaller constructions, most of still have not been classified. The largest structure in Altun Ha is the 'Temple of Stone Altars' with a height of 52 feet (16 meters). Stylized images of the temple have been trademarked by 'Belikin', Belize's national beer.
Spoils from the native cashew trees:
Mahogany tree. Locals say that if you touch the tree or its foliage, you will be blessed with riches and good fortune:
On the territory, behind the ruins, local boys offer to take pictures with small alligators, for $1.
And on this tiny island, crowds of tourists come here to snorkel: