Belize falls into two main geographical regions. The coastal part of the country is low and swampy, shielded by a number of coral islands and America’s largest coral reefs. The coral reef is also the largest in the northern hemisphere, and is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The coastal plain in the north is drained by several navigable rivers, the largest being the Belize River.
The southeastern region is dominated by the Mayan mountains, which rise steeply from the coastal plain. The highest point is Victoria Peak (1120 meters above sea level) in the Cockscomb chain. Within the coral reef there are a number of small islands (cayes), several of which are developed for tourist purposes.
The climate is tropical, with a dry season from February to May and a rainy season from June to November. The average temperature in Belize City is 24 °C in December, 28 °C in August – September. The rainfall varies from 1300 millimeters in the north to 4600 millimeters in the south. Belize City has 1750 millimeters of precipitation a year.
Plant and wildlife in Belize
Nearly half of the country’s area is wooded. In the north, the forest is deciduous with species such as mahogany and sapote. In the south, oak, pine and West Indian cedar, Cedrelaodorata, grows, while the coast has mangrove vegetation.
Plant and animal geographies belong to Belize in the Neotropical region, and the rich fauna consists largely of the same species as in Guatemala and eastern Mexico. Of mammals, mention should be made of poppy rats (opossums), harnesses, ant swallows, broodlings, half bears and marsh animals. The cat animals include both small species such as tiger cat and ocelot and larger but less frequent species such as cougar and jaguar. Baird tapir occurs in the swamp forests. Characteristic bird families include: parrots, toucans, trogons, hummingbirds, mannequins and tyrants.