National Geographic Declares Belize a “Must-Go” Destination for 2019

Every year, the esteemed travel publisher National Geographic unveils its recommendations for the top “must go” destinations in the upcoming year, and Belize was included for the first time ever on their 2019 list.

The editors of National Geographic declared Belize a “must go” eco-tourism destination as a way to reward the Belizean government’s proactive efforts to protect the environment. Just this year, the government turned down lucrative petroleum contracts and imposed a complete ban on all offshore drilling. And the Belize Cabinet pledged to phase out all single-use plastic by Earth Day 2019.

National Geographic also gave high marks for recent steps to protect mangrove forests and the creation of new wilderness corridors to help preserve the environment on the mainland as well. And all this hard work has paid off as the offshore reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, was removed from the “endangered” list. The reef is now divided into marine reserves and national parks where fishing and other activities are heavily regulated. National Geographic also mentioned other places to visit in Belize besides the reef, including the colossal city of Caracol built by the ancient Maya more than 3,000 years ago.

This highly coveted recommendation from National Geographic is just part of the flood of positive articles about visiting Belize from top publishers like Lonely Planet, Fodors, and the New York Times’ travel section. Indeed, Lonely Planet rated Belize as a top 10 destination in Belize, and the Discovery Channel will be hosting a live broadcast from the Belize Barrier Reef on December 2, 2018.

And Belize is ready to welcome new visitors. 2018 saw a flurry of new agreements with airlines like COPA, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Southwest, and Sun Country for non-stop flights to Belize from destinations such as Mexico City, Toronto, Ft. Lauderdale, Denver, and Minneapolis. All seven of the largest airlines in North America now have non-stop flights to Belize as well as flag carriers from several Central American nations.

“Belize is a wonderful place to visit thanks to its biodiversity and natural beauty,” said Larry France, marketing manager of Chabil Mar. “We are delighted to be included on National Geographic’s must-go destinations for 2019 as this will give more travelers the opportunity to discover Belize.”

Chabil Mar is an award-winning resort located on the Placencia Peninsula close to all of the top attractions on both the mainland and the reef.

For more 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.

Rice University Professor André Droxler to Lead Scientific Team to Map the Belize Blue Hole

Belize will become the focus of attention for millions of television viewers around the world this December 2 when the Discovery Channel will be broadcasting live direct from the Belize Blue Hole.

Rice University Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences Professor André Doxler will be part of an unprecedented scientific mission to create a three-dimensional map of the Belize Blue Hole located some 40 miles off the coast of mainland Belize. Joining Dr. Doxler will be an eclectic crew of entrepreneurs and celebrities, including Sir Richard Branson (CEO of the Virgin Group) and Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of legendary French filmmaker and marine biologist Jacques Cousteau who led the first and only previous attempt to map the depths of the Belize Blue Hole.

This historic scientific expedition will be using high-resolution sonar and advanced underwater vehicles built by Aquatica Submarines to create a detailed analysis of the Belize Blue Hole. The team will also be taking soil and water samples in order to better understand the marine environment in the Belize Blue Hole and help better understand climate change in the region.

The Discovery Channel will be broadcasting a live special from the Belize Hole Hole on December 2, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern (1:00 p.m. Pacific). However, the scientific expedition will also be live streaming their progress throughout their mission which is scheduled to wrap up on December 14, 2018.

The Belize Blue Hole measures approximately 1,000 feet (300 meters) across and some 400 feet (125 meters) deep. The Belize Blue Hole is a natural phenomenon, formerly a huge cave system on dry land that became submerged following the end of the last great Ice Age some 100,000 years ago. The mysteriously gothic depths and complex underwater cave passages have been attracting divers for years. The Belize Blue Hole is one of the country’s most iconic natural landmarks, easily visible from space.

If you’d like to visit the Belize Blue Hole yourself, it’s now very easy to get to Belize thanks to more airlines flying to the country from major cities across the United States including Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Newark.

And there’s no better place to stay once you’re in Belize than the award-winning Chabil Mar Resort. Located just steps from the beach on the beautiful Placencia Peninsula, Chabil Mar has a wide range of diving vacation packages for travelers interested in diving the Belize Blue Hole and other sites on the nearby reef.

For more information about 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.

Belize Jaguars Defeat Puerto Rico Blue Hurricane

In a thrilling match held before thousands of cheering fans at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the Belize national soccer team defeated the Puerto Rico national team by one goal in the Nations League qualification round of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The Belize team, nicknamed the Jaguars, initially struggled to find their footing against a tough Puerto Rico team, nicknamed the Blue Hurricane (El Huracán Azul). However, with 30 minutes left to go before the end of the match, Belizean midfielder Denmark Casey, Jr. landed a long shot from just outside the penalty box. Despite several close calls, Belize managed to hold on for the rest of the game and eke out a 1-0 victory.

Belize’s record in the 2019 CONCACAF Nations League qualification round is two wins, one loss, and zero draws for a total of six points, leaving them well positioned to qualify for next year’s Gold Cup championship. After defeating Puerto Rico, Belize has moved up to seventh place from 18th place in the Nations League qualifying table. Belize will next face off against Guyana with an away game on March 23, 2019.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup is held every two years, the next one being in 2019. To qualify, teams play off in what’s called a National League round with the top 10 teams (after playing four games) advancing to the final round that also includes the six teams which qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Gold Cup championship will be held in the United States between June 15 and July 7, 2019.

Belize’s national team has never qualified for a FIFA World Cup, but the team did make it to the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2013. Unfortunately, they were eliminated early in the group stage after losing three straight matches.

Chabil Mar congratulates the Belize national football team and wishes them all the best in their upcoming games.

BBC Travel Highlights the Garifuna Culture

BBC’s Travel section recently published a fascinating, in-depth look at the Garifuna people who live in Belize and several other nearby countries in Central America. Uniquely among people of color brought to the New World during the colonial era, the Garifuna are the only culture which never suffered under the yoke of slavery, allowing them to successfully preserve ancient traditions of language, music, food, and dance.

The exact origins of the Garifuna people are a little unclear, but one thing is certain: at some point in the mid-17th century, a population of Africans made their way to the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean and intermarried with local islanders. But by 1796, growing pressure to develop the slave trade led to armed clashes with the British. Outgunned, the Garifuna were forced to flee westward, originally to the Spanish-controlled island of Roatán off the coast of what is now Honduras.

But in 1821, a revolution in Honduras displaced the Garifuna once more. Using dugout canoes loaded with cassava, now a staple Garifuna food, they arrived on the beaches of Belize where they have remained ever since. Initially, however, the Garifuna struggled to find a place in colonial-era Belize (then known as British Honduras) between the formerly enslaved African population (known as the Creole today) and the administrators of European descent. But by 1941, the Garifuna’s presence had been established well enough that they were able to celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day, a holiday which re-enacts their dramatic beach landing.

Today, November 19 – Garifuna Settlement Day – is a national holiday celebrated by all segments of Belizean society. People wave white, yellow, and black Garifuna flags and celebrate Garifuna culture with traditional foods (including cassava bread and cow foot soup), dancing, and lots and lots of drumming. Towns and villages with a majority Garifuna population are transformed into a big street party complete with crafts, drinks, games, and oral recitations from Garifuna elders about the long history of their people.

If you’re coming to Belize, one of the best places to stay is the award-winning Chabil Mar Resort located on the Placencia Peninsula. Chabil Mar is close to Garifuna centers such as Seine Bight, Hopkins, and Dangriga and regularly organizes trips to these locations for visitors who want to learn more about the fascinating Garifuna culture. Chabil Mar also organizes adventure tours to all of the top destinations in the country.

Richard Branson to Lead VIP Team to Explore Belize Blue Hole

A team of celebrities, including Sir Richard Branson, the iconic British CEO of the Virgin Group, will be converging on Belize this December to participate in a historic underwater research project.

The Belize Blue Hole is the largest sinkhole in the world. Located a few miles off the coast, the Belize Hole Hole is large enough to comfortably contain two fully equipped Boeing 747 airliners with plenty of space left over. The Belize Blue Hole is easily visible from low earth orbit, a body of perfectly circular dark blue water neatly framed by Lighthouse Reef.

Today, the Belize Blue Hole is one of the most popular dive sites in the world due to what is underwater – a vast system of mysterious caverns. A million years ago, the caverns were on dry land where stalactites and stalagmites were formed. After the end of the last great Ice Age, water levels rose and covered the caverns to form the Belize Blue Hole (sometimes called the Great Blue Hole).

Despite its fame today, only local fishermen knew about the Belize Blue Hole 40 years ago when Jacques Cousteau, the legendary French explorer, visited the site in 1971 with his ship the Calypso. Afterwards, Cousteau declared that the site was one of his top 10 favorite dive sites on the planet. In 2018, his grandson Fabien Cousteau will be leading a team of scientists and explorers to once again map and explore the Belize Blue Hole. Along with scientists from the Roatan Institute of Deep Sea Exploration (RIDE), the team will use military-grade sonar and underwater cameras to create a 3D map of the entire site. Scientists will also be taking water and sediment samples to help better understand the natural history of Belize.

The 2018 expedition will be using next-generation submarines built by Aquatica, a Canadian company. The CEO of Aquatica Submarines has announced he will personally pilot one of the subs. And not to be outdone, his friend Sir Richard Branson has also declared he will pilot one of the submarines, too.

If you’re interested in diving the Belize Blue Hole yourself or want to explore the rest of the reef, one of the best places to stay is Chabil Mar. Located just steps from the beach on the beautiful Placencia Peninsula, Chabil Mar is an award-winning luxury resort that offers diving and snorkeling vacation packages ideal for adventure junkies.