Luxury treatment along the Caribbean is second to none, no matter what species you might be. Just two nights ago, the Chabil Mar Resort staff stumbled upon an injured tern. Not equipped to truly see to the needs of such a unique guest, the staff called in the expertise of the Belize Bird Rescue (BBR). Founded in 2004, BBR works to provide sufficient care and rehabilitation for the country’s enormous bird population with a major focus on helping parrots that have been freed from the area’s illegal pet trade operations.
Terns are most well known for the spiked black feathers that sit atop their crowns, mimicking a popular human coif. These seabirds are extremely adaptable, commonly leading them into more dangerous situations than most other bird species.
According to Nikki Buxton of BBR, the skinny and weak tern was found to have internal parasites. While it won’t be feeding on fine cuisine any time soon, it will receive much needed fluids and tubed fish puree.
When asked if the little visitor will make it, Buxton is confident in a full recovery. “It’s 50-50 with these guys but this one seems stronger than most. Fingers crossed! Good save.”
Why are travelers opting for vacations in Belize rather than crossing oceans to tour Paris, London, Rome and Berlin? Because they save a bundle, have access to water sports and perpetual sun and they don’t have to learn another language. But the highlights of any visit to Belize will always be the nation’s rich cultural diversity, rivaling anything you see elsewhere, minus the jet lag. Seeing Belize through the eyes of so many heritages will open your eyes to a world where cultural diversity is celebrated.
Here are 4 ways to get your cultural fix in Belize:
1. Build a Belize City itinerary to experience the richness of the nation’s Creole culture. Start at the Government House of Culture on Regent Street to see a collection of artifacts symbolizing Belize’s past as a British Colony. Walls, shelves and display cases are filled with silver utensils, paintings, photos and more, but don’t linger too long because heaping plates of rice, beans and stew chicken await at a variety of nearby restaurants. Alternately, tour the stained glass and mahogany environs of St. John’s Cathedral across the street before you eat. Enjoy a road trip to a Creole village like Burrell Boom to sample fruit wines and spot howler monkeys. Want more? Take the water taxi to Caye Caulker where friendly islanders, cultural sites and more Creole foods await.
2. Nothing compares to visiting a Garifuna Village—especially after you learn how founders risked their lives to escape their homeland, arriving in Belize in 1802. Music is so important to Garifuna society, the culture’s unique, drum-driven beat has come to re-define Caribbean music. For full Garifuna immersion, go to Hopkins, a fishing village easily navigated by foot if you like to walk and find yourself eating too much delicious Garifuna cookery. What’s the most popular cultural experience of all? A stop at the Lebeha Drumming Center where you can quickly learn a few signature drum moves. Visit in November for Garifuna Settlement Day, a national holiday that pays tribute to the history and culture of this unique society.
3. Immerse yourself in Mayan culture by visiting Toledo, where the most number of Mayan settlements in close proximity are located. For the ultimate cultural experience, don’t just tour ruins filled with cultural reminders of Mayan culture; book a two-night stay in a thatched hut at any of six ancient villages eager to host guests via the Toledo Ecotourism Association. The Mayan ancestors of Belize’s original settlers will welcome you into their world, but be forewarned, this is a hands-on stay! You’ll not only see how members of this ancient culture lived but you may be asked to help make tortillas or undertake another ancient chore. Round out your cultural experience by reading the Toledo Howler, your authority on current cultural events in Toledo.
4. Close proximity to Hispanic neighbors is the reason Spanish is Belize’s second language. Learn more about the heritage of Mestizos (people of Spanish and Mayan descent) in Northern Belize where this society enjoys a lifestyle that’s distinct from Central American neighbors. Whether you tour Corozal or Orange Walk, expect to see beautiful Mestizo art, hear foot-tapping Latin music and eat mouth-watering foods. Living in close proximity to the Mestizo people of Corozal is a large community of East Indians who arrived in the 19th century as slaves and wound up staying in Belize after being freed. Sample the curry. It’s distinct. Visit the only East Indian Museum in Belize. You’ll enjoy the unique experience of exploring a culture within a culture, and what other Central American country can make that claim?
Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize cultural vacation.
If you’re eager for the chance to get into a celebratory mood–but Christmas and New Year’s Eve are just too far away in your opinion–you’ll be happy to know that Garifuna Settlement Day takes place on November 19th, giving you everything you crave in a festive, culturally-rich special occasion.
Every November, the Garifuna people hold a grand celebration on November 19th that commemorates the legacy of a people who were literally exiled from their homeland in the Caribbean Sea, only to set sail for the west, where Belize became their new home back in 1802. Do you detect a similarity between Thanksgiving in the U.S. and Garifuna Settlement Day? You should! Both tell a story of a people hungry for freedom and willing to undertake a risky sea voyage in search of a welcoming land willing to let the people put down roots.
Symbolically, the landing of the forefathers of the Garifuna people is literally re-enacted on the 19th every year, so if you choose accommodations near this exciting happening, you’ll have a front row seat for the pageantry, the party and the fun. Chabil Mar Villas makes an ideal lodging choice if you’re here for the holiday because it’s located in Placencia Village and in close proximity to Seign Beight, the Garifuna Village in south Belize known as the epicenter of Garifuna life. If you’ve already experienced the Seign Beight celebration, head for Barranco, Hopkins, Punta Gorda or the cultural capital of the Garifuna people, Dangriga.
Traveling to any of these destinations is a breeze thanks to your Chabil Mar Villas host. Ground transport can be arranged through the concierge so your only responsibility is to relax during a short ride and experience all of the celebratory events, food, dance, music and history you crave. If you want to cap off your Garifuna Settlement Day in style, learn how to drum, since this instrument is an important part of Garifuna history.
Chabil Mar can arrange transport to get you back to the villas early, if you like, but if you decide to join the crowd that loves to celebrate all night long, you’ll be right in step. Besides, if your constitution is up for the challenge, you can always sleep the day away in your luxury villa on the 20th once you’ve had your Settlement Day fill.
This year’s Garifuna Settlement Day festivities will give Belizeans another chance to memorialize the legendary musician Paul Nabor, so expect the music you hear throughout the day to be bold, colorful and vibrant. The iconic master of Garifuna music passed away last year around this time, leaving a huge void in the Belize music scene that won’t soon be filled, but plenty of up-and-coming young musicians eager to emulate Nabor’s success will perform at this year’s festivities, so don’t miss a minute of it.
While your soul and your ears are being nourished by Garifuna music, feed your tummy by dining on traditional Garifuna cookery, like serre, hudut, cassava bread, puddings, traditional drinks and some of the most potent wine on the planet. Everything about this holiday will reverberate to the signature drums of the Garifuna people, so catch up on your sleep before the 19th so you don’t miss a minute of the excitement.
Travelers insist that one of the best reasons to visit Belize year-round is because everyone speaks English, so it’s easy to shop, dine and get around without a translator or guide book. But on one day every year, English takes a backseat to the language of Gobble, Gobble, Gobble: everyone talks turkey on Thanksgiving Day!
At Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia, this holiday has become a more splendid affair with each passing year, and 2015 is guaranteed to surpass your expectations. From luxury rooms and affordable rates to a holiday atmosphere that’s as festive as any celebratory Thanksgiving you’ve attended in the U.S., expect a place at the Chabil Mar table that’s part gourmet banquet and part tropical splendor, all at an affordable fixed price.
According to Chabil Mar Marketing Manager Larry France, Chabil Mar chefs have been working for months to perfect the ultimate menu worthy of culinary awards for both imagination and preparation: Start your meal with sweet potato bisque lavished with chives. Indulge in an assortment of three salads that run the gamut from pasta and almonds and a green tropical mélange to a traditional Caprese salad.
Return to the buffet table to load your plate with a sampling of colorful fall vegetable casseroles—one more delicious than the next—and help yourself to the apple raisin stuffing. At last, the course you’ve been waiting for: the Chabil Mar carving station offers two succulent meats: perfectly-roasted turkey and ham on the bone, both served with tropical sauces.
Save room for at least a taste of pumpkin cheesecake, southern pecan pie and tiramisu or you won’t end this spectacular meal properly. As for giving thanks, you may wish to include the chefs when you count your good fortune once you’ve had a taste of this year’s Chabil Mar holiday extravaganza.
Wondering what to pack for your stay at Placencia’s world-famous Chabil Mar Resort in Belize? Shorts. Sunscreen. A hat to protect your head from the sun…and how about tossing some flash cards, pencils, rulers, cat snacks and perhaps a dog leash into your suitcase?
You’ve got room, right? Everyone speaks English so no need to drag a translation guide or install an app on your smartphone. And since Chabil Mar is all about breezy living, relaxed dress and a no-frills experience, by tossing a couple of educational or pet-related items into your bag, you turn your vacation into an opportunity to show your kindness and concern for others.
What’s this request all about? Charitable giving. Chabil Mar Resort just joined the Pack for a Purpose family, a worldwide nonprofit organization devoted to helping kids, supplying basic medical needs and even assisting homeless pets. By bringing a book, pet shampoo or Band-Aids when you travel south for your vacation, you use a little bit of room in your luggage to do so some big giving!
As a Pack for a Purpose partner, the Chabil Mar team is thrilled to get in on this program. Launched in 2010, the initiative has been a stunning success, amassing more than 103,642 pounds of school, medical and pet supplies since it began spreading the word throughout the international travel community.
“Our targets are St. John’s Memorial School in Placencia Village and the Belize Humane Society,” explains Chabil Mar’s Marketing Director Larry France. “Every time we inform our guests about this collaboration to help St. John’s stockpile school supplies that kids can’t afford to buy—as well as contributing much-needed provisions for the Belize Humane Society—they become as enthusiastic as is our staff!”
If you can’t figure out exactly what to bring as a donation for this terrific cause, there’s a list of most-needed items posted on the Chabil Mar website or simply figure out what your kids needed for school and slip it into your bag when you prepare to leave. Even small donations of goods and materials help, says France.
Becoming involved with the Pack for a Purpose movement is just the most recent way resort staff and management found a way to show their concern for the earth and its people. Chabil Mar was recently awarded Green Globe certification—an honor bestowed upon travel industry entities only after it has fulfilled 380 sustainability compliance indicators that prove a serious commitment to conservation and green operations.
The Pack for a Purpose movement has done amazing things for worldwide populations thanks to the efforts of the international travel industry and you get bragging rights if you join in! Ask yourself this question: when was the last time you contributed to a worthy cause simply by tucking a few rulers into your bag when you go on vacation?
For more information about the Chabil Mar or its Pack for a Purpose initative, please contact Larry France at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://chabilmarvillas.com/.