US News and World Report Declares Belize a Top Travel Destination in 2017

2017 has only just begun and yet already the small Central American nation of Belize has been raking in accolades and travel recommendations from prestigious publications. Best known for its rankings of colleges, hospitals, and travel destinations, U.S. News & World Report has included Belize at or near the top of several of its “best of” lists for travel in 2017.

U.S. News & World Report ranked Belize as the top destination for “Best Affordable Winter Vacations,” mentioning that year-round balmy temperatures and the calm, warm waters of the Caribbean are a top draw for visitors. The report also mentioned the Great Blue Hole (also known as the Belize Blue Hole), ranked by celebrated French marine biologist and documentarian Jacques Cousteau as a top spot for scuba diving.

U.S. News & World Report listed Belize in the number eight position for “Best Places to Visit in Central and South America,” highlighting the number of adventure options in the country, including exploring ancient Maya ruins, the archeological sites of the country’s western Cayo District, and the world-class snorkeling and diving opportunities located at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.

Belize also made the list that U.S. News & World Report published on “Best Affordable Vacations in Central and South America,” ranking the country as number eight. The article spotlighted the charming thatched-roof huts, gorgeous coral reefs, and endless expanses of sugar white beaches as some of the top draws in the country. The report also encouraged travelers to explore Maya ruins and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean as two budget-friendly options.

The favorable mentions by U.S. News & World Report in their latest rankings follow similar praise from recent articles published by the New York Times and Lonely Planet. These travel articles mirror statistics recently published by the Belize government which show overnight visitor numbers were up 13% in 2016. In recognition of Belize’s growing popularity, Southwest Airlines recently announced two new flights to Belize, one from Denver, Colorado, and one from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, both to begin operation in 2017.

“We are really enthused to see Belize getting the attention it deserves from these prestigious publications,” said Larry France, marketing manager at the Chabil Mar resort in Placencia, Belize. “We look forward to welcoming new visitors drawn to Belize by these articles. It is our greatest honor to share the beauty and excitement of Belize with travelers from around the world.”

Chabil Mar is a multiple award-winning resort located on the Caribbean coast of the Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize. Chabil Mar features luxurious villas, a lush tropical garden, gourmet restaurant, spa, bar, and a long sea pier ideal for enjoying el fresco dining. Chabil Mar offers its guests a plethora of beach and rainforest packages that include guided tours of the top attractions of the mainland and the nearby Belize Barrier Reef.

The Placencia Peninsula is one of the top destinations to visit in Belize. Located conveniently near all of the top snorkeling, sailing, swimming, and fishing destinations on the nearby Belize Barrier Reef as well as major attractions on the mainland, Placencia is the perfect base of operations for an unforgettable Belize vacation.

Begun as a weekly news magazine in 1933, U.S. News & World Report is one of the most popular news magazines in the United States. The company is best known for its highly influential publications that rank universities in the United States. Other regular reports that rank hospitals, health care, careers, cars, and travel are also popular. U.S. News & World Report is a digital pioneer, first providing online content in 1995.

For information about visiting Belize , feel free to chat with our Concierge at: or contact our Reservations Manager at: Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.



Meet the Belize Experts at BETEX and Network with Belize’s Best!

BETEX 2017 Kicks Off May 3, 2017

BETEX, the biannual Belize Tourism Expo, is scheduled to take place between May 3-5, 2017 in Belize City. The two-day event brings together local and international tourism professionals with the objective of promoting Belize as a world-class visitor destination. The theme of the 2017 BETEX will be “Savor Your BELIZE Experience.”

The first BETEX was held in 1996 and has been held every two years since. BETEX is jointly organized by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA), the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), and private stakeholders in the Belize tourism industry. More than 350 tour operators, hotel owners, and tourism service providers are expected to participate in the 2017 BETEX event. The BETEX event will be open to the public, offering travelers and locals alike a great opportunity to learn more about Belize and the top attractions, lodgings, and visitor services on offer in the country. BETEX is the only travel show held in Belize that brings together travel professionals to get to know Belize to help better sell the country as a travel destination.

Added benefits of attending BETEX include:

  1. a) One on one appointments with your desired local Belize tourism partners.
  2. b) “Post Expo Tours” (FAM trips) to your Jungle, Oceanfront and Combination Jungle and Sea tourism partners.

“We look forward to participating in the 2017 BETEX,” said Larry France, Marketing Manager at the Chabil Mar resort in Placencia, Belize.

“Chabil Mar representatives will be attending the BETEX tradeshow in Belize City to meet travel agents and wholesalers that offer tourism services and products specializing in Belize, particularly the Placencia Peninsula. Then there is the additional benefit to all of us when the agents/wholesalers are being given the opportunity through the ‘Post Expo Tours” to meet and greet all of our staff, on site, at Chabil Mar during the Placencia FAM. There’s nothing quite like having that first-hand experience and knowledge of the resorts you represent.”

BETEX will bring together travel and tourism professionals who have helped make Belize one of the hottest vacation destinations in the region. Lonely Planet, the world’s leading publisher of travel guides and books, recently released their top 10 destinations for budget-conscious travelers in 2017 that featured Belize as the top destination to visit in Central and South America. The Lonely Planet list focused on the growing trend of eco-tourism in the Placencia Peninsula, highlighting how electric-powered golf carts are the leading form of transportation in the area.

Another important driver of increasing tourism to Belize is the New York Times, one of the most widely read and respected newspapers in the United States. In their 2017 report of the 52 top destinations to visit, Belize was highlighted for its many tourism attractions, including swimming and snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef, visiting ancient Maya ruins such as Xunantunich, and sampling the wide variety of affordable street food found in every town and city in the country.



Three killer whales spotted in southern Belize

Although the offshore waters of Belize are home to an incredible diversity of marine flora and fauna, the presence of orcas spotted near Ranguana Caye was a rare occurrence. A large killer whale, sometimes known as an orca, was spotted on December 29, 2016, heading north with another male adult and a juvenile.

Jason Westby, a freelance tour guide who operates fishing tours in conjunction with a number of local resorts, including Chabil Mar, spotted the three orcas between 9:30 and 10:30 AM on December 29, 2016, in the vicinity of Ranguana Caye and Palm Owens Caye on the Belize Barrier Reef. Westby told local media that a school of tuna was in the area, which may account for the presence of the three orcas, apex predators who regularly consume tuna as part of their diet.

Westby was alerted to the presence of the three killer whales when he heard a large splash. Westby then signaled to his clients that a “massive” animal was present near their location, but he told local media that he originally believed the animal was a marlin. Westby became alarmed as one of the male orcas “jumped straight at him like a freight train,” causing Westby to reverse his boat’s engine. Westby estimates that the two adult males were between 30-32 feet long, far bigger than the 23-foot skiff he was operating at the time of the sighting.

Chabil Mar guests were on board the boat with Jason Westby and were lucky to see the killer whales


When the pod of orcas turned and headed north, Westby angled his boat to follow them for approximately half a mile. Two other tour group operators in the area, Blue Reef Adventures and an unnamed company helmed by Rowland Alford, managed to capture the encounter on video.

Another giant of the ocean deeps is a more frequent visitor to the waters off of Belize. Whale sharks, the largest fish species on the planet, migrate to the Belize Barrier Reef every year between March and June to feed on enormous quantities of spawn and juvenile fish. Orcas are rarely seen in the waters off of Belize, and the last known sighting occurred in 2014 near Maugre Caye in the Turneffe Atoll region prior to the December 29, 2016, encounter.

One of the premier diving experiences in Belize is interacting with the whale sharks during their time in Belizean water. In order to protect the whale sharks, only licensed tour operators are allowed to bring divers into the area in carefully limited groups. Chabil Mar, the award-winning resort on the Placencia Peninsula, offers visitors a chance to see whale sharks up close and personal with their Belize whale shark diving package.

For information about visiting Belize , feel free to chat with our Concierge at: or contact our Reservations Manager at: Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.



New York Times says to visit Placencia Belize in 2017

America’s most prestigious newspaper, the New York Times, has just published a new article entitled “52 Places to Go in 2017.” Although a small country in Central America with far less publicity and prestige than more popular nearby attractions, Belize made the New York Times’s list as a place that travelers should visit in 2017.

In particular, the New York Times article focused on Placencia on the southeastern coast of Belize, home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. With a reference to how ecotourism is expanding in Placencia, the article describes how golf carts are the most popular form of transportation on the 16-mile peninsula and that the area is home to a variety of yoga studios, spas, and luxury resorts. The New York Times highlighted the fact that the “laid-back beach town” of Placencia (the village that serves as the capital of the peninsula) is close to many of the prime locations on the Belize Barrier Reef, including where scuba divers can swim with migrating whale sharks.

See also:10 Amazing Day Trips to Take in Placencia

One of the premier resorts on the Placencia Peninsula is Chabil Mar. Named for a Maya term meaning “beautiful sea,” Chabil Mar features luxuriously appointed villas just minutes from the village. Chabil Mar offers its guests a chance to relax in an oasis of tranquility and beauty, including a lush tropical garden, infinity pool, professional spa, and seafront pier that is a popular dining spot for enjoying gourmet meals made to order at the resort’s restaurant.

The Placencia Peninsula is rapidly becoming one of the top attractions in the country, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy the best of the mainland as well as close access to the nearby Belize Barrier Reef. Chabil Mar offers guests organized Belize vacation packages that include tours to nearby ancient Maya cities, excursions through ceremonial caves once used by Maya priests to perform human sacrifices, and hiking tours through the Cockscomb Basin Nature Preserve, the world’s only full-time reserve dedicated to protecting and studying jaguars.

Some of the more popular annual events in and around Placencia include Lobsterfest. Held every June, the Placencia Lobsterfest celebrates the opening of the lobster fishing season, giving visitors and locals alike a chance to sample dozens of innovative dishes featuring the world’s most popular crustacean. Travelers who cannot make it to Placencia to escape winter should definitely consider visiting the peninsula in June to enjoy all the food, fun, and music of Lobsterfest.

For more information about visiting Belize or Placencia in 2017 , feel free to chat with our Concierge at: or contact our Reservations Manager at: Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.



Miss Belize departs to Phililippines for Miss Universe Competition

On January 3, 2017, Rebecca Rath, the reigning Miss Belize, left the country en route to the Philippines where she will compete for the title of Miss Universe on January 30, 2017 in Manila. Prior to leaving Belize, Rath has been touring the country to attend events and help raise money for several charities.

Local channel 7 News Belize interviewed Rath before she departed for the Philippines. Rath spoke about the difficulty in conditioning her body and mind ahead of the prestigious competition. She spoke at length about how excited she is to represent her country.

One of the key segments of the Miss Universe contest is wearing formal evening wear. Rath revealed that two local designers, Roberto Pasos and David Matus, helped prepare all of her costumes and that Julie Mango, another Belizean, was instrumental in assembling her entire wardrobe. Rath also credited her two trainers, Enrique and Victor, in the town of San Pedro for ensuring that she is in top condition ahead of the competition.

Although Rath has departed Belize, she has many important engagements before the competition begins in Manila. Rath will spend approximately 10 days in the United States where she will complete the final touches on her make-up and wardrobe. Once in the Philippines, Rath is already scheduled to participate in a swimsuit fashion show, attend cocktail events, and enjoy a formal dinner with the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte.

With hundreds of contestants, being crowned Miss Universe would be a tremendous accomplishment for Rath. Displaying her trademark optimism and exuberance for representing her country, Rath stated that she will consider her involvement in the Miss Universe pageant a success as long as the people of Belize are proud of what she has accomplished. Already, Rath’s optimism about her chances for winning the crown have been boosted by her being selected as a top 20 candidate by a pre-eminent pageant website.

Asked about any advice that she might have for future Miss Belize winners, Rath recommended that contestants be cognizant of the tremendous amount of work and time the position entails. Rath warned that the glare of the spotlight can be nerve-wracking, including attention from critics. Rath’s advice was to do one’s best and always keep focused on the fact that the number one priority of the job is to represent Belize.

“We’re very proud of everything that Rebecca Rath has accomplished so far,” said Larry France, Marketing Manager of Chabil Mar. “On behalf of the entire staff at Chabil Mar, we wish her the best of luck at the Miss Universe competition.”

The Miss Universe pageant will be broadcast live on Channel 7 in Belize beginning on January 29, 2017.