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Covering more than 8,000 square miles, rectangle-shaped Belize is slightly larger than Massachusetts. About 60 percent of its land surface is forested (with roughly 36 percent under some form of protection), and the country has the lowest population density in Central America. Belize’s marshy coastline — dotted with some 450 islands, or cayes — harbors the second-longest barrier reef and three of only four coral atolls in the Western Hemisphere.

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