Discover Scuba Diving in Belize

Every year, thousands of professional divers from around the world come to Belize to plum the biodiverse waters of the Caribbean. Belize is blessed to have more than 200 miles of offshore reef, part of the second-largest barrier reef system in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although coral reefs form just 1% of the ocean, they are home to a staggering 25% of all marine life, and Belize is home to a wide variety of fish, shark, ray, sea turtle, and dolphin species who use the reef as a nursery and feeding ground.

Some of the top dive spots in Belize include:

The Great Blue Hole

Sometimes known as the Belize Blue Hole, this natural phenomenon is a perfectly circular stretch of deep azure water measuring over 300 meters (984 feet) across and 108 meters (350 feet) deep.

Nestled on the inner side of Lighthouse Reef, the Great Blue Hole was known only to local fisherman until famed French marine biologist and documentarian Jacques Cousteau visited the area in 1971 and declared that the Great Blue Hole was one of his top 10 dive sits in the entire world.

Turneffe Atoll

Located approximately 32 kilometers (20 miles) offshore of Belize City, Turneffe Atoll is just one of three coral atolls in the Western Hemisphere. Using the coral and thick vegetation for cover, thousands of aquatic species spawn here, making it a natural feeding ground for predators. The shallow waters, bright white seafloor, and thick density of marine life make this one of the best places to enjoy a “color” dive in Belize.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Located just offshore from the tourist island of Ambergris Caye, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve contains a natural cut in the reef that many different species use to transit between the outer and inner portion of the reef. As a result of all this “traffic,” the area is a diver’s paradise where it is easy to find large schools of nurse sharks and rays on the hunt for prey.

Gladden Spit

One of the furthest points of the reef from the mainland of Belize, Gladden Spit is part of a larger marine reserve that also contains the three Silk Islands. The islands plus the spit itself contain a gentle underwater slope that gives divers a chance to explore every layer of the active biosphere that contains more than 25 different species of fish.

Chabil Mar has a complete set of scuba diving vacations that include expeditions to all of the locations listed above.

For more information about diving 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.

 

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The Best Birding in Southern Belize

bird watching vacations belize

Belize has long been a birder’s best-kept secret. In fact, some people say that if you’re not a birder when you arrive in Belize, you’ll be one by the time you leave. 

Almost half of the land in Belize is managed as reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and protected habitats. Many are managed by the Belize Audubon Society and these protected areas provide a rich diversity of natural ecosystems where birds thrive. 

Southern Belize is the primary location for bird lovers looking for keel-billed toucans, ringed and pygmy kingfishers, pale-billed woodpeckers, squirrel cuckoos, pygmy owls, hummingbirds, keel-billed motmots, scarlet macaws and every species of parrot and parakeet imaginable. And don’t forget our local chachalaca birds, purple gallinules, spotted sandpipers, black catbirds and the list goes on and on. 

What’s more, you’ll see all of these marvelous birds in settings that are breathtakingly beautiful. The following are some prime birding spots in southern Belize. 

birding in southern belize

Red Bank Village

Red Bank is a Maya village located near Placencia. The community is a favorite hangout of vivid, fast-flying scarlet macaws that flock here to find food. For the past 10 years, the village has cooperated with conservation groups to monitor and protect the macaws. Sadly, scarlet macaws are endangered, so this is a rare opportunity to spot these beautiful birds in their natural habitat. 

Aguacaliente

Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary protects more than 6000 acres of wetlands ecosystems. Getting there requires a two-hour hike from the village of Laguna in Toledo District. In the lagoons, you’ll see egrets, herons, wood storks, flycatchers, ibis and kingfishers. You might see jabiru storks, another rare and endangered species. It’s a good idea to visit Aguacaliente with a guide. 

belize birds

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is the world’s first jaguar preserve and an important watershed conservation area. You’ll see a huge variety of animals, plants, and birds here, including white-collared manikins, crimson-collared and masked tanagers, bat falcons and more. 

Sir Thomas at Toucan Sittee

Sir Thomas at Toucan Sittee is located in southern Belize. It is s privately-owned bird sanctuary where one birder reported seeing 100 different species in an hour. The top birds you will encounter at this location include kingfishers, hummingbirds, toucans, and parakeets. 

If you’re already packing your bags and binoculars, make sure you book your stay at Chabil Mar. Our resort offers luxury accommodations in Placencia Village and our “Treasures of the Sky” Belize birding package provides guided tours led by local experts to top birding spots in the country.

Placencia Belize Named a Top 10 Family-Friendly Beach Destination

placencia belize beaches

If you’re looking for a beach destination that everyone in the family will love, put Placencia, Belize, at the top of your list.

Finding the Perfect Beach Destination

Finding a destination everyone will enjoy isn’t easy. If you’re racking your brains to come up with a beach resort that adults, teens and kids will all enjoy, relax. You’ll find everything you’re looking for in Placencia.

Placencia’s Beaches are the Best in Belize

Most Belizeans will tell you the country’s best beaches are on the Placencia Peninsula. Get ready for 16 miles of clean, sandy beachfront, a huge lagoon, sparkling Caribbean waters and breathtaking scenery.

If you’re staying at a beachfront resort like Chabil Mar Villas, you can enjoy many guest-exclusive amenities like a private villa, private beach area, kayaks, bicycles and dining options. You won’t have to worry about finding places to eat or how to get around. At this award winning Belize resort, your family will feel warmly welcomed.

Placencia Was Named a Top 10 Beach for Families With Children

The News America Now Network named Placencia one of the top 10 family-friendly beaches in Central and Latin America.

Swim Among the Sea Life

The news report included Belize for its wonderful snorkeling. You children will get a thrill out of swimming among vividly colored tropical fish, manatees, sea turtles, friendly sharks and dolphins. Snorkeling is an activity the whole family will enjoy.

Get Wild With Us

If your children want to see more wildlife, there are many opportunities in Belize. Belize has many wildlife sanctuaries and nature preserves where they can get close to tropical fish, reptiles and mammals of all kinds.

Learn about Belize’s national mammal, the mountain tapir, and national bird, the keel-billed toucan. Visit howler monkeys at the Community Baboon Sanctuary. Meet and greet the orphaned birds, monkeys and jaguars at the Belize Zoo. Head to Shark Ray Alley to snorkel or swim with whale sharks, barracudas and rays.

Inspire Your Little Explorers

Let your kids live their Indiana Jones and Dora the Explorer fantasies with a cave tubing expedition. In this adventure, you ride a professional inner tube down a sparkling, scenic river and through a network of ancient Maya caves. Cave tubing is a thrilling adventure that all ages can enjoy.

You can get to all these activities from your conveniently located Placencia resort. If you’re staying at Chabil Mar, we’ll be happy to arrange all your family’s excursions.

The Best Resort On the Peninsula

Chabil Mar welcomes families. Our full-service, all-villa resort offers wonderful accommodations just steps from the best beaches in Belize.

For more information about 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.

7 Not-to-Miss Wonders of Belize

Wonders of Belize

If you keep encountering “7 Wonders of the World” lists and feel confused, you’re not the only one. Many of the ancient wonders referenced over centuries are no longer on this “A List,” say The Guardian editors. The London paper held a contest asking readers to name the 7 Wonders and millions of online votes were cast. Once tallied, a majority of the wonders that made the cut were new!

While the world is reaching its own conclusions, we recommend satisfying your appetite for wonders by vacationing in Belize where 7 Wonders are less than 3 hours away by plane. Since English is Belize’s first language, no language lessons required to understand everything about these 7 amazing destinations.

Stay at a Wonder-filled resort

Belize is a small country measuring less than 9,000 square miles, so staying at one of the top Belize resorts gets you to all 7 Wonders on this list, minus the stress and fatigue of having to travel long distances to reach each one. At Chabil Mar Resort, located on Belize’s trendiest peninsula (Placencia), you relax in luxury accommodations when you’re not out discovering magnificent, one-of-a-kind wonders.

Leave the planning to your Chabil Mar hosts. They are prepared to make sure you enjoy every minute of the best holiday ever by providing gorgeous accommodations, fabulous meals, select tours and you’ll even be met at Belize’s international airport and driven to the resort where your adventure begins the moment you arrive.

Belize’s natural wonders never disappoint

Once you read our list of Belize wonders, book your reservations and get your plane tickets, it’s time to prioritize the following 7 wonders so you don’t miss a thing. Depending upon the length of your stay, you can see all 7, so bring your imagination and curiosity. You’ll satisfy both during your stay!

1. The Belize Barrier Reef always tops lists of not-to-miss attractions because it’s the second largest on the planet. Thanks to Belize environmentalists, this ancient reef, formed of lava from the Earth’s core, is healthy, protected and if you scuba dive the area, you’ll be treated to an undersea wonderland that has no equal.

2. Belize atolls consist of more than 300 small islands that are especially appealing to more than 500 species of birds who claim these oases when humans are scarce. You can borrow a Chabil Mar kayak and paddle around as many as you have time to see or sail to these isolated havens so you don’t strain your arm muscles.

3. Belize’s network of limestone caves are a feast for the eyes and the senses. Some were once headquarters for secret Maya rituals, which is how a select number of these underworlds came to be littered with the artifacts, skeletal remains and pottery tourists can still see today.

Maya King Waterfall in Southern Belize

4. Get significantly wet at a couple of Belize’s most delightful spots. Niagara Falls pales in comparison to Belize’s Maya King Falls and Rio on Pools, situated within the Maya Mountain Range, makes a fabulous alternative for those who aren’t impressed by grandiose waterfalls.

5. There are 900 Maya ruins scattered across the nation. Some of them represent entire cities while others are small enclaves tucked into jungles where they have remained hidden for centuries. Belize’s Maya population may have disappeared mysteriously, but the legacy they left behind is breathtaking.

6. Prepare to revise the way you think about the humble sink hole when you visit The Great Blue Hole, a 1,000-year-old limestone formation that remains one of the world’s most popular diving challenges. If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge, cut your aquatic teeth at St. Herman’s Blue Hole before daring yourself to try Big Blue.

7. Belize’s Wonders list wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Cockscomb Basin where the diversity of plants, streams, wildlife and Victoria Peak make this stop essential. Home to world’s only jaguar reserve, Cockscomb is one of Belize’s most treasured natural wonders, and if you happen to spot one of these majestic animals during your visit, who needs the Giza pyramids?

belize

Reserve a stay at Chabil Mar now to take advantage of your choice of packages before this small, luxurious resort is completely booked. Your hosts will be happy to customize your visit so you don’t miss any of Belize’s 7 wonders!

For more information about 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.

 

Difference Between Belize Atolls And Belize Coral Reefs

Belize is blessed by the presence of the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the second-largest barrier reef in the world. A complex marine ecosystem that is home to nearly one-quarter of all the marine species in the world’s oceans, understanding the difference between the atolls and the reefs is quite subtle.

Reefs are made from a living animal, the coral, which regularly produces a hard exoskeleton of calcium carbonate, the same substance that composes the shells of mollusks and other kinds of shellfish. Over time, the exuded exoskeleton begins to build up until it appears like an underwater hedgerow or stony “bush” that serves as the home for a multitude of aquatic creatures, including fish, juvenile mammals, sharks, and a wide variety of flora that use the coral for shelter, as a nursery, or as a feeding ground.

It is the entirety of this coral exoskeleton and its attendant marine life that makes up the coral reef. An atoll, however, is a specific kind of coral reef. All atolls are reefs that form around the mouth of an underwater volcano, growing in a circular pattern. Due to the temperature changes and other ejecta from the volcano, atolls are generally lifeless, sometimes referred to as “underwater deserts.” Generally, coral reefs, on the other hand, are the complete opposite – home to some of the densest and most biodiverse collections of marine lifeforms.

Turneffe Atoll in the Rain

Coral reefs can grow anywhere there is a hard foundation like limestone sea floors or sunken ships that are close enough to the surface of the water to allow access to sunlight. Coral reefs grow slowly, taking hundreds, if not thousands of years, to achieve their immense size. Indeed, the Belize Barrier Reef is easily visible from outer space. And marine biologists estimate that some coral reefs are up to a million years old.

Atolls, predominately found in the Pacific Ocean, are circular in shape, growing as they do around a lagoon created by submarine volcanos. When a volcano erupts, much of the ejected material settles on the sea floor. As these deposits continue, they can create enough material that the solid material rises above the surface of the water to create islands. After the material has cooled, coral reefs can begin growing on this material, eventually covering it completely and forming true atolls.

Chabil Mar offers organized tours and vacation packages to the most beautiful Belize atolls and the Belize coral reef.

For more information about Belize atolls and coral reefs, 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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