Belize Whale Shark Diving

whale sharks in belize
Photo by: www.smithsonianmag.com

Make 2020 the Year You Dive with Belize Whale Sharks

If you’ve heard enough jokes referring to bottom-feeding lawyers nicknamed sharks, it’s time to give these magnificent ocean creatures the respect they deserve by preparing yourself to undertake the challenge of a lifetime in 2020. How? By going whale shark diving in Belize.

Scared? A little bit of fear is a healthy reaction, but keep this in mind: Belize is home to a thriving aqua-tourism industry offering snorkeling and diving experiences to visitors from around the globe. Would these ventures be as popular, heavily booked and safe if divers didn’t return home with all body parts intact?

How can you be part of the great whale shark swim adventure? By grabbing your calendar right now and checking to see when you can get away during Belize’s shark season: during full moon spans of spring and early summer that, in 2020, run from March 23rd to April 3rd; April 22nd to May 3rd; May 21st to June 1st and from June 20th to July 1st.

What can you expect if you travel to Belize to indulge your inner Cousteau by participating in an exciting shark dive? Frankly, it could come down to where you decide to stay because these seasonal excursions can book up early, and you might need an “in,” courtesy of your host resort. That’s why we recommend Chabil Mar Villas where all of your arrangements can be made at the time you book your rooms.

Chabil Mar will delight you, even if your primary purpose for staying there is to cavort with those whale sharks: Villas are beautifully appointed, private verandas lush and romantic and you don’t have to leave the resort for anything other than your shark diving excursions because Chabil Mar’s onsite restaurant, pool, spa services and beaches are guaranteed to delight all of your senses.

If you want to see more of Belize while you’re here, your Chabil Mar host is happy to send you off on hiking trails, to nature preserves, Mayan ruins treks and cave exploring and you won’t have to lift a finger to make arrangements if you choose the resort’s Whale Shark Dive Package.

This adventure package consists of three whale shark dives, two Belize Barrier Reef dives and accommodations for seven nights. On the days you don’t dive, soak up sun and breezes on the beach or partake of the vast menu of land-based tours available throughout Belize.

If this all sounds heavenly, we urge you to act now. Given short windows of time when these gentle giants are in the waters off Belize—and the likelihood that more and more repeat visitors will return in 2021 to relive their previous shark diving experiences—you risk disappointment if you don’t secure your place.

Once that’s done, be prepared to immerse yourself in the rarified environs of the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve where the whale sharks gather. Your visit is likely to change the way you view the natural order of things beneath the sea and the excitement you feel when you meet these creatures can’t be compared to any other experience you have in your lifetime.

For more information about diving with whale sharks in Belize, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: concierge{@}chabilmarvillas.com or contact our Reservations Manager at:reservations{@}chabilmarvillas.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.

The Creole Culture of Belize

Photo by Matadornetwork.com

Belize is an outstanding example of a true melting pot society where different cultures, religions, and traditions have formed a harmonious whole. By the numbers, the Creole people, sometimes spelled Kriol, are the largest segment of society. Originally of African origin and brought to the Caribbean as slaves to assist in the valuable logging industry, the Creole people constitute approximately 25% of modern Belize’s population.

In the early 18th century, English loggers came to Belize in order to harvest valuable timber species such as logwood and mahogany. Some of these loggers made huge fortunes and began importing slaves from other British colonies such as Jamaica. Being on the periphery of British society, many English loggers intermingled with the slaves. Today, the term Creole refers to a culture rather than physical appearance as some Creole have light skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes as a result of centuries of cohabitation.

And while the atrocities of slavery can never be forgotten, Belize was always a place where the lines between different segments of society were blurred. In 1798, when English loggers banded together to fend off a Spanish maritime invasion, they would’ve been unsuccessful had not they received vital assistance from Creoles.

The British Empire formally outlawed slavery in 1807, and the Creole population of Belize soon began thirsting for more autonomy and equal rights. After a series of protests in the early 20th century, the British government placed Belize on a fast-track towards independence, and the Creoles formed the dominant political force in the then-colony. In 1981, when Belize gained full independence from Britain, approximately 70% of the population was Creole.

The Creole then began opening Belize to other groups which had been persecuted elsewhere, including indigenous Maya people from Guatemala and Mexico, the Garifuna (an Afro-Caribbean people), East Indian entrepreneurs, and German-speaking Mennonites. Over time, the Creole developed their own unique version of English that is now the lingua franca for most people in Belize even if standard English remains the official language.

Creole food and its long heritage form the backbone of modern Belizean cuisine, including standards like rice and beans with spicy chicken, potato salad, wild game meats like peccary and gibnut, and a variety of seafood dishes. But the most popular Creole food is fry jacks, soft strips of puffy, fried dough that are a breakfast mainstay.

The current prime minister of Belize, Dean Barrow, is Creole.

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

The Baird’s Tapir, the National Animal of Belize

With so many interesting and exotic animals living in Belize, choosing to see the Baird’s Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) may seem a little unusual. Baird’s tapirs are the national animals of the country and are rarely seen in the rainforests and jungles of Belize primarily because they are only active at nighttime and spend most of their lives completely alone.

But there’s a lot to appreciate about these creatures, the largest indigenous land mammal in Belize. Baird’s tapirs are named for Spencer Fullerton Baird, an American naturalist who first observed the animals in Mexico in 1843 but are known as “mountain cows” by Belizeans.

These mammals can grow up to six feet long (two meters) and weigh up to 500 pounds (225 kilograms). Baird’s tapirs are entirely vegetarian, usually feeding on fruits, leaves, grasses, and aquatic vegetation but they are happy to snack on corn and other crops when they get a chance. But don’t let their size fool you. Despite their big size and ungainly appearance, they are fantastic swimmers. In Belize, Baird’s tapirs range across vast territories, often having to cross rivers, creeks, and wetlands. These land mammals are also excellent at climbing steep terrain even in the thickest jungle.

It takes approximately 13 months for a Baird’s tapir to gestate and three years to grow to full maturity. During those three years, young tapirs will stay close to their mothers, the only time in their lives when they will live in proximity to their parents. It is estimated that they can live 30 or more years in the wild.

Baird’s tapirs don’t actually look like a cow. Their appearance is more of a big, gray anteater or elephant due to their long, prehensile nose. These mammals are actually most closely related to horses and rhinoceroses. Although it’s hard to spot a tapir in the wild, the tracks they leave behind are easily identifiable, a deep, splayed hoofmark with four toes in front and three in the rear.

Baird’s tapirs were once found all throughout Central and South America, but their numbers have dwindled due to poaching and the encroachment of human developments. Today, Belize is home to some of the biggest populations of these mammals. Baird’s tapirs don’t pose any risk to humans. When surprised, they usually like to flee to the nearest body of water, but on occasion, they will emit a loud whistle and stamp their feet.

If you’re interested in seeing a Baird’s tapir up close and personal, be sure to book your visit to the Belize Zoo with Chabil Mar.

The Best Rums in Belize

Perhaps one of the most popular and iconic locally-made drinks in Belize is rum. Made from the abundant sugar cane crop that still plays an important role in the domestic economy, rum is a distilled spirit that pairs excellently with fresh, locally-grown fruits to create unforgettable cocktails or can be consumed neat. Famed throughout the region for its high quality and smooth taste, Belizean rum is something that every visitor is encouraged to try.

Currently, two different domestic manufacturers offer an excellent selection of fine rum in Belize.

Cuello’s Distillery

Founded more than 70 years ago, Cuello is a family-owned and operated business. Based in the town of Orange Walk in the heart of Belize’s sugar cane farming region, Cuello was founded by Ignacio Cuello, a master blender and distiller who later trained his sons the secrets of how to produce high-quality rum and other spirits. Cuello has their own festive theme song that was composed by celebrated local artist Lord Rhaburn, and the labels on all of their rum varieties celebrate Belizean culture.

Cuello’s signature rum products include:

  • Caribbean White Rum
  • Caribbean Rum (Dark)
  • Caribbean Gold Rum
  • Extra Strong Rum
  • Caribbean Coconut Rum

Travellers Liquor

Founded in 1953 by master blender Omario Perdomo, Travellers is the manufacturer of what is perhaps the most famous rum in Belize: One Barrel. A simple gold rum with a smooth finish, One Barrel is a popular choice with both visitors and locals alike. With a fresh, tropical scent, One Barrel rum has natural hints of passion fruit, hibiscus, and papaya.

Travellers Liquor is named for its early success in supplying travelers to and from Belize City with a fine assortment of distilled spirits. Travellers is renowned in Belize for using only high-test molasses, carefully fermented according to traditional practices. Travellers is also the only beverage producer in the country to make liqueurs and wines made from local fruits.

Located in Belmopan, the capital of Belize, Travellers uses only local molasses to ferment and then distill their rum using a triple column still. The rum is then carefully aged and bottled in Belize City.

A few of Travellers most popular rum varieties include:

  • Don Omario Vintage Rum
  • Aged Dark Rum
  • Classic Gold Rum
  • Cristal Parrot Lite Rum
  • Classic White Rum
  • Kuknat Rum (made with coconuts)

Savor a Rum Cocktail at Chabil Mar

If you’re interested in sampling one of Belize’s classic rum formulations, the bar at the Chabil Mar resort in Placencia offers a full complement of delicious cocktails made from 100% Belizean rum. Travelers and guests interested in trying Belizean rum or other locally-made spirits should inquire at the bar in Chabil Mar.

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 vacation.

8 Days of Bliss Found Only at This Belize Yoga Retreat!

8 Days of Bliss Found Only at This Belize Yoga Retreat

If you already know that Belize–and especially Chabil Mar Villas located in picturesque Placencia–is the ideal place to go for an adventure vacation, you’ll be overjoyed to hear news about an innovative new package just added to the resort’s menu: A one-of-a-kind yoga, wellness and lifestyle retreat. 

Conceived by staff in response to requests from guests more interested in relaxing in the lap of luxury than ziplining over trees and interacting with Howler Monkeys, this is your opportunity to rediscover inner peace during a magical week conceived by wellness experts at Chabil Mar in concert with Eucalypto Yoga Studio master Stephanie. 

The itinerary of your dreams:

Day 1: Arrive at Chabil Mar and settle into your lush villa. Stroll botanical gardens and take a dip in one of the infinity swimming pools. Meet staff at a welcome circle that prepares your mind and body for the days ahead.

Day 2: Start the morning with a Vinyasa-style Ashtanga Yoga class. Hike Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve and take an optional river tubing excursion that completes a high-energy activity day out in Mother Nature’s backyard. 

Day 3: Welcome the day with a Hatha Sivananda yoga class followed by a full day of exploring Placencia Village by foot or by bike. Visit shops, eateries and learn about life in this welcoming corner of the world. 

Day 4: You’ll be introduced to Vinyasa yoga today to improve mind and body balance before going snorkeling off Placencia’s coastline where small cayes invite guests to explore colorful marine life beneath the surface. 

Day 5: Master dynamic, flowing moves associated with Ashtanga yoga that promote body and breath synergy. It’s your day to do what you like, so relax, explore or ask staff about extra tours available to retreat participants. 

Day 6: Return to Hata Sivananda with deep roots in Hatha yoga as you get centered and find yourself in a blissful state of mind. Explore an ancient Mayan excavation site and tour a spice farm. Add cave swimming and tubing if you like. 

Day 7: This morning’s Vinyasa Yoga session helps the body avoid repetitive motion injuries. Focus on everything you learn so you can use these moves after you return. Spend the rest of the day relaxing or enjoy a spa service.

Day 8: The perfect ending to a perfect week: A final gathering of new friends, chanting, inspiring music, drinks, flowers and shared memories. Leave for the Placencia Airport (reluctantly) as your idyllic week concludes.

yoga in belize

What’s included?

-All in-country transport, transfers and program tours
-Luxury accommodations at this high-end beachfront resort
-All breakfasts
-Scheduled resort dinners and opportunities to dine outside the resort
-All instruction listed on the aforementioned itinerary 
-Taxes and service charges
-So much more you must read the details

Only you can give yourself the gift of renewal, so what do you say? Grab your favorite yoga togs, call the cat sitter and tell your boss that you plan to come home a new person. Even she will notice the difference once you return!

For more information about this vacation package, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: concierge@chabilmarvillas.com or contact our Reservations Manager at:reservations@chabilmarvillas.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.

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