Guinea Grass

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For the grass "Guinea grass" see Panicum maximum
Guinea Grass
Guinea Grass is located in Belize
Guinea Grass
Guinea Grass
Coordinates: 17°58′5″N 88°35′44″W / 17.96806°N 88.59556°W / 17.96806; -88.59556
Country  Belize
District Orange Walk District
Elevation 39 m (128 ft)
Population (2010 Census)
 • Total 3,218
Time zone UTC-6 (Central)
Climate Am

Guinea Grass is a village in the Orange Walk District of the nation of Belize. It is 38 metres (127 feet) above sea level. According to the 2000 census, Guinea Grass had a population of 2,510 people; by 2010 the census figures showed a population of 3,500. The population is made up of mostly Mestizos, Creoles, and East Indians. There are a number of Mennonites,Taiwanese and other Central American immigrants living near or immediately in the village.

Origin of Name[edit]

There are two stories which explain the origin of the village's name. The first is that, after the emancipation of slavery in the British Caribbean, indentured laborers from India, known as "East Indians," settled in the area and began to plant and cultivate bananas for a British estate. The locals knew banana as "Guineo," and from there it morphed into "Guineal" and the then settlement became known as "Guinea Grass." The other version is that there was an Englishman known as "Chichiri" Price who lived on a farm on the northern outskirts of the village. He was an agent for the Belize Estate Company and raised livestock. In order to feed the livestock he had grass imported. The grass that he imported was Guinea Grass, (Megathyrsus maximus). The locals then began to call the community Guinea Grass after the imported grass. The grass can still be seen on the outskirts of the main road to the Northern Highway.


The village is predominantly a Mestizo community. More than 89% of the population are Belizeans by birth, hence English and Spanish are the predominant languages of the community with Spanish and 'Spanglish' spoken mostly at home and English taught at the primary schools.


The people of Guinea Grass once survived by practicing subsistence farming and working in the chicle industry as chicleros and cutting mahogany and logwood. Since the early 1970s, most of the people in the north, including Guinea Grass, turned to the sugar industry as a factory was opened in Libertad Village and then at Tower Hill. In the late 1980s after independence, with a wave of infrastructural development carrying across Belize, many laborers from the village learnt trades in masonry, carpentry, electricity and plumbing and most of the male labour force aged 30–50 are still in those trades. Many younger people now have office jobs, work with government and even have their own businesses. Many young adults who can not afford a higher education work in the tourism and hospitality industry.


Guinea Grass has a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen: Am).

Climate data for Guinea Grass
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) 22.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 97


ethnicity est. population
Mestizo 2200
Latinos (Central Americans) ~500
creole ~400
asian and other 25
Mixed 900
total 3925


70% have a Primary School education; of the other 30% that did not finish primary school, 20% can read and write in both English and Spanish. The other 10% are illiterate. 45% have a secondary education, which has tripled in one decade as only ~12% of the population had a secondary education in 1990s. 30% have a tertiary education and a hand full have graduate degrees.

The village has two primary schools, namely Guinea Grass Pentecostal Primary School and Guinea Grass Roman Catholic Primary School.

Guinea Grass Pentecostal school Guinea Grass R.C School
397 students enrolled 425 students enrolled
Guinea Grass Pentecostal Pre-School Guinea Grass R.C Preschool
35 students enrolled 38 students enrolled


  1. ^ "Climate: Guinea Grass". Retrieved 12 April 2014.

Coordinates: 17°58′5″N 88°35′44″W / 17.96806°N 88.59556°W / 17.96806; -88.59556