Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Review of Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Plenty of natural reserves and parks are recognized by organizations, clubs and travel authorities because they’re home to species of wildlife and plants that can’t be found elsewhere, but the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS) is that rare location where so much biodiversity exists within these environs, you might never have to visit another sanctuary to have your fill. Called a “magical place” of wonders and diversity by the World Wildlife Fund, Cockscomb is presently the world’s lone jaguar preserve, but if you visit, you’ll find wildcat, deer and taper tracks in addition to those left behind by these magnificent cats.
History: Concern for the viability of Belize’s jaguar population didn’t arise until the 1980s, when wildlife conservationists and government officials compared notes on the frequency of jaguar references found in hunting magazines. A graduate student was hired to estimate the jaguar population and he declared that the “highest density” of jaguars ever recorded were at the Cockscomb Basin. The government of Belize stepped in and declared the Basin a no-hunting forest reserve in 1984, but wildlife experts remained worried that this designation didn’t sufficiently protect jaguars and other wildlife, so that designation was upgraded to wildlife sanctuary in 1986.What you’ll see: If you expect to encounter nothing but four legged creatures while visiting this Belize hot spot, you’re in for a surprise. Majestic waterfalls, trails and mountain peaks are home to all sorts of creatures, including a splendid collection of neo-tropical birds. The reason this area is so hospitable has to do with the bounty of natural resources encouraging habitation. The South Stann Creek not only sustains wildlife but also protects the upper watersheds of river systems supplying water to the people of Belize. In fact, there’s just a sliver of land separating basins interconnected to the Swasey River and a Monkey River tributary, so the complex drainage system supports all manner of life in the region—including people!


Stick around: What’s the best way to experience Cockscomb? By staying on premises, of course. Cabins and campgrounds await, so whether you prefer a solid roof over your head or you never met a tent you didn’t like to sleep under, you can go to bed and awaken to the sounds of nature all around you. Be forewarned: this is a moist, tropical forest with high rainfall (around 100 inches annually), so if you can plan your visit in advance, cooler, dry air awaits between February and May. No matter when you come, you will be amazed when you witness this area’s ecological balance.

Getting there: It will take you time to hike area trails, identify exotic vegetation, and spot reptiles and amphibians residing in these wetlands because this area has expanded greatly since 1986. What was once 3,200 acres is now 128,000 acres and the surrounding corridor brings the protected area total to an impressive 250,000 acres. Take a bus, taxi or car to the sanctuary entrance where you will pay a modest entry fee. If you’re driving, travel the Southern Highway about 20 miles south of Dangriga. You must plunge deep into the forest to see the richest treasures and there’s a six-mile path to the epicenter of the sanctuary. Wear comfortable shoes if you plan to hike in, but expect the effort to pay off the moment you spot your first living creature!

For more information about visiting Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, 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.

Where the Whale Sharks Are: Placencia, Belize

For many divers and snorkelers, the Holy Grail is to encounter a whale shark in its natural environment. As big as a school bus, whale sharks are not whales but sharks. Unlike other sharks, however, whale sharks have no teeth, which is why they are simultaneously the largest creatures in the oceans as well as some of the gentlest.

In order to protect whale sharks, contact is strictly limited, but lucky divers can sometimes get the chance to touch and interact with the massive creatures. Whale sharks only exist in tropical waters and follow plankton blooms seasonally across the lower latitudes. The largest whale shark ever recorded was 41 feet (12.5 meters) long and weighed 47,000 pounds (21 tons).

One of the best places to see whale sharks is in the waters of the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve. Located on the outer reaches of the Belize Barrier Reef just a few miles from Placencia, the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve is one of the most diverse environments in the ocean. The shallow waters, mangrove forests, and tides bringing in a rich stream of nutrients make for a perfect breeding site for fish and other marine creatures.

Whale sharks consume several tons of plankton and fish spawn per day, which is why they are drawn to the food-rich waters of the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve. Arriving every spring from their annual circumnavigation of the globe, whale sharks can be seen around Gladden Spit for a few months. Normally feeding at depths unavailable to divers, whale sharks rise to the shallower waters during the 10 days following a full moon in order to feed.

Recently, Afar Magazine profiled whale sharks and encouraged its readers to avail themselves of this truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at Gladden Spit Marine Reserve. One of Afar Magazine’s top recommended resorts to stay in Placencia Belize is the luxurious Chabil Mar Resort. With elegantly appointed villas and its own gourmet restaurant and two infinity swimming pools, Chabil Mar is an award winning resort renowned for providing world-class service.

Located in southeastern Belize, Placencia is the gateway to the Belize Barrier Reef, including the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve where whale sharks visit every spring. Chabil Mar operates diving and snorkeling tours to Gladden Spit as well as other top destinations on the reef.

If you’d like to snorkel or dive with whale sharks, be sure to book your vacation with Chabil Mar Resort.

Forget Disney: Belize Family Vacations Can Make Your Kids Smarter

“Parent’s” magazine has been dispensing advice for decades, so when writers like Hollee Actman Becker are given opportunities to see how family members benefit from taking vacations together, she put her own kids on a plane to test the theory. They flew south. On their return flight, her kids’ eyes sparkled as they asked, “When are we going again?”.

The glow in their eyes was no accident. It’s the look kids get when they’ve been pried away from electronics devices and delivered to a beautiful place where television pales in comparison to marine life of a great barrier reef. Staff at Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia, Belize are familiar with that look. That’s why they have carefully crafted family vacation packages designed to suit people of all ages and interests.

Family vacations up a family’s HQ (Happiness Quotient)

British child psychologist Oliver James states, “Family holidays are valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterward in their memory.” He says that traveling boosts a child’s brain development thanks to sensory experiences (like sailing, diving, experiencing wildlife in their own habitats) and cultural ones (meeting people with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, practices, and even foods).

Dr. Margot Sunderland agrees. She says family vacations are “associated with higher IQ in children,” so a trip to Belize could make your kids smarter while you and your spouse get the respite you need. How smart? Find out for yourself by coming to Chabil Mar where recreational opportunities are everywhere you turn.

Oh, the places you’ll see!

-Stroll Placencia Village so the kids learn about Belizean culture—no geography class substitutes.
-Visit ancient Mayan Ruins, some of which contain the skeletal remains of sacrificial victims.
-No kid takes a Belize chocolate tour pass where parents say yes to sampling.
-Cockscomb Basin, the only jaguar preserve on the planet, teaches kids that not all Jaguars are cars!
-Invite the kids to chat up the noisy Howler Monkeys on a Monkey River visit.
-Introduce them to kayaking and scuba diving on visits to Laughing Bird or Silk Cayes.

Belize vacation packages are amazing

At Chabil Mar, vacation packages for families are so popular, parents have taken their children out of school for visits because they know that classroom lessons don’t hold a candle to what they can learn on a visit to a country like Belize. The entire family can spend quality time together within the large, luxurious accommodations at Chabil Mar that are guaranteed to bring all family members closer.

Expect to be impressed by the number of extras you and your family enjoy at single package pricing when you browse this web page with your children. If that doesn’t convince you to start planning right now, we are pretty sure your children will make a convincing argument for a family vacation!

10 Activities Guaranteed to Heat Up Your 2019 Belize Honeymoon

According to folks in the know at, couples following editor’s advice start out on better footing than couples who don’t take their honeymoon advice, so launch your marriage in style by following their recommendations:

-Get a couples massage
-Read a sexy book
-Go on adventures
-Order room service
-Take erotic photos
-Light candles
-Share fantasies
-Go dancing
-Have private dinners

Do all of this and more at Chabil Mar Villas

At Chabil Mar Villas, every item on that list is included at our luxurious honeymoon mecca, and we add another perk to that list: When honeymooners book our Honeymoon or Jungle and Sea Belize all-inclusive packages, they save money, making honeymooning even sweeter.

Perhaps the most exciting item on that list takes place outside the bedroom: Chabil Mar’s activity options. They can shape the tone, photos, and memories built on shared experiences during your honeymoon. Browse this menu to see what we mean.

10 opportunities to make memories

1. Sail the Belize Barrier Reef, a geological wonder that has fascinated visitors since Darwin’s visit in 1842. See how many of the 500 species of fish and invertebrates plus 100+ coral species you can find.

2. Visit a world that has long ago disappeared: the ruins of majestic Maya civilization. People roamed this land thousands of years ago, leaving remnants of their society that are chilling, beautiful and sacred.

3. Follow that couples massage advice as soon after your honeymoon begins as possible. This sensuous, relaxing, shared experience is the epitome of bliss. You may not be able to resist scheduling more than one during your stay.

4. If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying a private candlelight dinner staffed by discreet servers, you’re in for a treat. You only have eyes for each other, and you won’t be the first couple to ask for dessert-to-go.

5. Stroll around Placencia village to take in the crafts, meet the people, sample food delights and learn about this area’s history, folklore and mix of religions.

6. Schedule a Monkey River trip. Howler Monkeys congratulate honeymooners in their own language. Gibbons Monkeys mate for life, but Howlers haven’t shared their feelings about monogamy. Maybe you can find out!

7. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS) is the world’s first jaguar preserve, nestled amid waterfalls, mountains, trails, and exotic birds. Get your fill of Mother Nature while exploring this exotic jungle.

8. Get shot. Having a private photo shoot is the ideal way to explore your sexual side, so whether you do the job yourself or desire a professional, Chabil Mar staff can help since this resort is all about discretion.

9. Visit Laughing Bird Caye, if only to tell friends that you failed to meet any laughing birds during your honeymoon. This World Heritage Site is dominated by coconut palms. Sneak behind one if you two want to share a laugh or two.

10. Some honeymooners never leave their Chabil Mar digs. That could describe you. Sea-facing villas with verandas give couples plenty of room to explore each other’s dreams within their 950- to 2000-square foot hideaways.

You probably won’t need 2,000 feet—-unless you bring company, a prohibition included in the guide. We suggest reading the entire guide before packing. There’s a lingerie tip you won’t want to miss.

Celebrate Valentine’s in Belize

Belize seems almost custom-made for romance. Although it is just a short flight (five hours or less) away from major cities across the United States and Canada, Belize is truly a world away.

With no fast food outlets, shopping malls, or even traffic jams, Belize is a beautiful, unspoiled country where the air is perfumed from hundreds of flowering plants. Over half the country is a protected park, sanctuary, or animal refuge, and Belize has hundreds of offshore islands along the western hemisphere’s largest coral reef system.

One of the most idyllic places to enjoy Valentine’s Day in Belize is the Placencia Peninsula. Often called the caye (island) you can walk to, the peninsula is just half a mile wide but stretches 16 miles from north to south. The Caribbean coast of the peninsula has gorgeous, white sandy beaches, making it easy to enjoy a romantic stroll in privacy.

Chabil Mar is an award-winning luxury resort located on the southern tip of the peninsula just a short stroll from Placencia Village, a small fishing enclave with colorful street murals and a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the smallest main “street” in the world, a four-foot wide sidewalk that is packed with eclectic cafes, bars, and restaurants, all completely off-limits to cars and trucks.

Chabil Mar Resort has luxuriously appointed villas with a full range of modern conveniences and comforts, including high-speed internet, gorgeous furnishings made from local woods, and powerful air conditioning. The resort also has a lovely tropical garden, freshwater infinity swimming pools, and a gourmet restaurant serving up a mouthwatering array of local and international cuisine.

One especially romantic option to enjoy at Chabil Mar is a private dinner that you can enjoy on the resort’s seafront pier, gazing up at the natural wonder of another starry, Belizean night.

Other romantic options to enjoy include free use of bicycles, paddle boards, and sea kayaks to explore the coastline and nearby Garifuna village of Seine Bight. February is also when the Placencia Sidewalk Arts Festival takes place, a multi-day affair that sees the central “main street” transformed into booths selling local art, handicrafts, delicious foods, games, and plenty of live music.

Nearby attractions include hiking through the vast wilderness of the Cockscomb Basin Nature Reserve (home to all five of Belize’s big cat species, including jaguars), bird watching, and enjoying snorkeling and scuba diving on the nearby islands like Silk Cayes and Laughing Bird Caye.

If you’d like to experience an unforgettably romantic Valentine’s Day this year, book your vacation at the Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia, Belize.


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