The Ancient Maya of Belize


The Ancient Maya Of Belize
By: Jaime J. Awe Ph.D.
Copyright: First Edition December, 2005
(Following are excerpts taken from the above publication and do not constitute the book in its entirety)

What Mayan language was spoken in Belize before the arrival of the Spanish? Epigraphers and historical linguists believe that two major languages were spoken in Belize during the Classic period (A.D. 300-900) of Maya civilization. Yucatec was spoken in the northern two thirds of the country, and Cholan was the common language of the people who lived in the south. Cholan speakers are now only found in Guatemala and in the state of Chiapas in Mexico.

What Mayan languages are spoken in Belize today?

Today Yucatec is still spoken by the Maya who live in the villages of San Antonio and Succotz in the Cayo District, and by people in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts. Mopan, which is spoken in San Antonio Village in the Toledo District, is a dialect of Yucatec. Other Maya communities in the Toledo District are Kekchi speakers. Kekchi originated in the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala.

When was Maya civilization fully established?

In the past scholars believe that Maya civilization was not fully established until about A.D. 300, at the start of the Early Classic Period. Recent research, however, has provided conclusive evidence that ancient Maya civilization was actually in full bloom by at least 100 B.C. in the late Pre-classic period. By this early date the Maya were already carving stelae on altars, conducting long distance trade, utilizing mathematical and calendrical systems, and constructing monumental architecture.

How did the Maya perceive their universe?

They perceived their world as having three levels: the heavens, earth and underworld. The heavens were subdivided into thirteen levels and the underworld into nine levels. At the center of the universe was the sacred Ceiba tree whose limbs touched the heavens and roots descended into the underworld. Heaven was the adobe of sacred gods and deified ancestors. Earth was the home of humans, the forests, and all other creatures. The underworld was a place of death and diseases, and home of the Bolontiku (nine evil gods).

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Belize in August

August is a really great time to enjoy an unforgettable vacation in Belize. When heatwaves and record temperatures are found all across North America, Belize enjoys lovely weather in August with daytime highs of just 86F (30C) and nighttime lows at a perfect 78F (26C).

August falls during the “low season” when fewer tourists visit Belize, making it the perfect time to take advantages of discounts up to 40% on lodging, transportation, and tours of the top sites in the country. August is also the month when westerly winds begin to replace offshore breezes, a period known locally as the “Little Dry” with reduced precipitation and abundant sunshine.

August is also a month where families, honeymooners, and adventure travelers can enjoy great celebrations and festivities such as:

International Costa Maya Festival

The biggest festival of the year in the country, the Costa Maya International Festival is a three-day affair held in San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye. Originally designed to showcase Maya heritage, the festival is now known for its beauty pageant, street parades, games, and live music from some of the top names in the region.

Tres Pescados Fishing Tournament

Anglers from around the world compete to finish a Grand Slam – landing the three fish (“tres pescados” is Spanish for three fish) species of bonefish, tarpon, and permit fish.


The Placencia Peninsula is a 16-mile strip of golden beaches located on the Caribbean coast of southern Belize. Placencia is renowned for its laid back charm and “barefoot ready” motto, an eco-friendly part of the country where bicycles and golf carts are the preferred method of transportation.

Placencia is also the gateway to the southern Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site composed of hundreds of islands strung along the second-biggest barrier reef on the planet. The southern part of the reef is a top destination for visitors to enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and sailing.

Placencia is also strategically positioned close to the top visitor destinations on the mainland including the enormous Cockscomb Basin Nature Reserve (home to the world’s only jaguar reserve), boat safaris on the Monkey River, and ancient Maya ruins like Nim Li Punit and Lubantuum.

Chabil Mar

Chabil Mar is a luxury beachfront resort located on the Placencia Peninsula. With a lush tropical garden, 2 swimming pools, and elegantly appointed villas, Chabil Mar is the perfect place to enjoy a great vacation in Belize in August.




The Mennonites in Belize

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the first arrival of the Mennonite community in Belize. In 1958, a small band of Mennonites left Chihuahua State in Mexico and crossed into Belize to establish a farming community at the village of Spanish Lookout.

The first Mennonite settlers purchased land that was originally dense rainforest. With hard work and thriftiness, the Mennonites cleared the land in Spanish Lookout. Today, Mennonite farms growing beans, corn, and raising cattle have transformed their settlements into some of the most productive agricultural regions of Belize. Almost all of the eggs, chicken, and dairy products in Belize come from Mennonite farms.

Originally founded in the 16th century as a subsect of Anabaptist denominations in what is now Holland, Mennonites were forced to flee to Ukraine in order to escape persecution where they became known as “Russian” Mennonites (at the time, Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire). But following political instability, many Mennonites were forced to relocate in Mexico.

Today, there are some two million Mennonites worldwide and around 12,000 Mennonites in Belize, including converts from the local Creole and Mestizo populations. Most Mennonites in Belize speak Plautdietsch, a variant of standard German for communication and standard German for church and school.

The Mennonite faith is expressed differently depending on the congregation, with some communities following a strictly conservative lifestyle that eschews all modern conveniences while others, including the Spanish Lookout community, use and operate modern machinery and electricity. In some Mennonite communities in Belize such as Lower Barton Creek, transportation is with horse-drawn buggies and no modern technology is permitted, including photographs. In Spanish Lookout, on the other hand, only the language and conservative dress styles separate Mennonites from other communities in Belize, and the congregation is permitted to drive cars and use electricity.

To outsiders, the Mennonites are often confused with the Amish, another conservative religious tradition that began in Europe. The Amish, however, are considered a subset of the larger Mennonite faith, and Mennonites, generally, are more open to using modern technology and interacting with the public.

“At Chabil Mar, we know that Belize’s cultural diversity is one of this country’s greatest strengths,” said Larry France, marketing manager at Chabil Mar. “On behalf of all of us at the resort, we congratulate the Mennonite community on the occasion of their 60th anniversary.”

Chabil Mar is an inclusive luxury resort located on the Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize.

Belize Powers Ahead in Beach Volleyball Tournament

belize volleyball team

Belize has had two historic victories at the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tournament. During the fifth leg of the tournament currently taking place in La Paz, Mexico, the Belizean team of Bryton Codd and Francis Hauze came out of the gate with two impressive victories. They first beat the team from the Bahamas 2-0. They then took on two tough contenders from El Salvador and won 2-1 in overtime.

These victories put Belize at the top of Group C. This is the best showing Belize has ever had at this tournament. It’s an impressive debut for this new Belize team.

The tournament continues at Playa del Malecon in La Paz. After winning Group C, the boys from Belize will take part in the semifinals next week. If they continue to dominate the way they did on their first outing, their chances of winning a championship are looking bright.

NORCECA stands for North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation. It’s a federation that represents more than 35 countries including Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Costa Rica, the U.S., and Canada. The current champion is Mexico.

Volleyball Is Big in Belize

Last year, the Belize women’s team was the first Belizean team in history to qualify for the Central American and Caribbean Games in Female Beach Volleyball. What’s even more impressive is that the team won silver at that competition.

Chabil Mar Congratulates Bryton Codd and Francis Hauze 

The Chabil Mar Resort speaks for all Belizeans when we say that we’re proud of this team’s hard work, dedication and fearless playing. Every day, Belizeans are putting our small, beautiful country on the map.

We invite everyone who’s visiting us here to stay at our luxurious, beachside resort. At the Chabil Mar, we do everything we can to make your Belize holiday special

Summer Dreams Really Do Come True in Belize

If you’re looking for the perfect place to enjoy an amazing summer vacation, look no further than Belize. A small, English-speaking country with amazingly beautiful beaches, islands, jungles, and waterfalls, Belize is just a two-hour flight from cities like Houston and Miami.

One of the biggest summer attractions in Belize is scuba diving with whale sharks. The largest fish in the world’s oceans, whale sharks can weigh up to 47,000 pounds (21 tonnes) and measure up to 41 feet (12 meters) long. Despite their immense size, whale sharks pose little danger to humans because their main source of food is tiny plankton that they strain out of the water.

Whale sharks are migratory animals, traversing the entire globe every year. As such, whale sharks are only in Belize for a limited time. Furthermore, whale sharks normally spend their time at great depths, only rising to the surface during key phases of the moon.

In 2018, the schedule for scuba diving with whale sharks is:

  • April 30 to May 10
  • May 29 to June 10
  • June 28 to July 12

Other exciting things to enjoy in Belize during the summer include the Placencia Lobsterfest. Following the opening of the lobster fishing season in early June, the beachfront community of Placencia hosts a lively three-day festival dedicated to all things lobster. Chefs from all over the country compete to create innovative lobster dishes while hungry diners enjoy plenty of games, competitions, live music, and refreshing drinks.

Summer is truly a great time to visit Belize, especially if you love the beach. Water temperatures are in the low 80s (26-28° Celsius) while air temperatures are in the mid to high 80s (26-30° Celsius).

The best place to stay in Belize on your summer vacation is Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia. Located just steps from the beach, Chabil Mar has luxuriously appointed villas, a beautiful tropical garden, two freshwater swimming pools, and a gourmet restaurant.

Chabil Mar is a perennial TripAdvisor favorite and the winner of multiple tourism and hospitality awards. Whether you’re coming to Belize on your honeymoon, a family vacation, to get married, or as an adventure traveler, Chabil Mar has everything you need. Chabil Mar is also conveniently located close to all of the major attractions in Belize, including scuba diving sites, ancient Maya cities, and wildlife sanctuaries.

This summer, make your dreams come true at the Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia, Belize.

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