The Maya People of Belize

Many people think that the culture which built all of the pyramids, palaces, and colossal stone cities in Belize and other areas of Central America are long gone. But there are more than six million Maya people living in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras, and they have preserved much of their heritage.

Today, the largest concentration of Maya people are in Mexico’s southern Yucatan Peninsula and southern Belize. Indeed, there are three different distinct groups of Maya in Belize known by their dialect, called the Yucatec, Kekchi, and Mopan. The Yucatec Maya emigrated from Mexico in the 19th century while the Mopan and Kekchi are the original inhabitants of Belize. And while most Maya in the region speak Spanish, most of the Maya in Belize are fluent in Spanish and English as well as their native tongue.

It’s often presumed that the collapse of the Maya civilization occurred as the result of the Spanish invading and conquering Central America. In reality, something occurred around the year 900 AD, long before the arrival of any Europeans in the area, and the Maya civilization self-destructed, the majority of cities becoming abandoned and left to the jungle. No one is quite sure why this occurred, but the latest research speculates that a combination of climate change and civil war was to blame.

The ancient Maya civilization was never ruled by one king or emperor. Instead, it was a loose confederation of independent kingdoms that were often at war with one another. The Maya civilization was, however, quite tight-knit, bound by a vast trade network, common language, and common religious beliefs. Many legends still abound about the Maya because their ancient hieroglyphic writing was undecipherable until recently. Today, archeologists are slowly piecing together a much more comprehensive history of the ancient Maya including titanic battles between legendary rulers in places like Xunantunich, Caracol, and Tikal (the latter is located just across the border in Guatemala).

And while the early Europeans did their best to “civilize” the Maya and eradicate their ancient culture, many Maya were living in remote, rural areas and thus escaped the wrath of the Spanish. As such, the Maya have preserved ancient dances like the Dance of the Deer, traditional foods like chocolate and corn, and textile skills.

If you’re interested in visiting ancient Maya sites or learning more about Maya culture, one of the best places to stay is Chabil Mar. Located in southern Belize, Chabil Mar is an award-winning luxury resort that offers cultural tours to learn more about the people, music, food, and cultures in Belize.

Belizean women lead the way in sustainable seaweed farming

belize seaweed
Belize has long been a magnet for ecotourism due to its incredible diversity of wildlife and the commitment of the Belize government to preserving delicate ecosystems. One of the loveliest areas in Belize is the Placencia Peninsula, which has some of the country’s most scenic beaches. Now, this slice of paradise is also the home of the Belize Women’s Seaweed Farmers’ Association or BWSFA. The members of this group are passionate about maintaining the country’s diverse natural beauty.
Over the last five years, The Nature Conservancy has partnered with both the government and local groups such as the BWSFA to develop a sustainable seaweed industry. The goal is to provide not just economic benefits for coastal communities but also ecological benefits for marine ecosystems. The coalition is therefore focused on innovative techniques that will satisfy both these requirements.
Seaweed farms function as natural carbon sinks that fight global warming and reduce the acidification of the ocean. They can create additional habitats and nurseries for marine creatures. Belize’s collaborative seaweed farming programs focus on practices that benefit species such as the spiny lobster, conch, and many types of fish including parrotfish and snapper. Training sessions help interested potential farmers learn how to develop a sustainable livelihood for their families.
Seaweed itself is a superfood. It can be eaten as a snack or used as a supplement that is added to shakes, soups, etc. It can also be used in natural beauty products. The BWSFA sells its naturally and sustainably harvested seaweed in dried, powdered, and gel forms. To learn more about the BWSFA and its products, you can check out their website.
Visitors who would like to learn more about the unique ecology of Belize and experience a truly special vacation can come to Chabil Mar Villas .
As the full-service resort nearest to Placencia Village, it is the ideal location from which to learn more about the BWSFA, which is based in Placencia. Chabil Mar is also the ideal location from which to appreciate the diversity of Belize’s marine life via snorkeling, sailing, and diving tours.
You can also arrange for a tour of the Belize jungle. A stroll along the beach will lead you to Placencia Village, the cultural hub of the area. Here you’ll find artisans and fishermen, as well as restaurants, bars, cafes, and live music. Or, if you prefer a more private vacation, the resort has its own secluded beach, as well as two infinity pools and a private pier.
Visit our website for more information on Placencia and 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 your Belize vacation.

The Ultimate Belize Vacation: Ambergris Caye and Placencia

Enjoy Two of Belize’s Top Destinations in One Amazing Vacation Package

Two of Belize’s top destinations are Placencia and Ambergris Caye. Now, you can enjoy a luxurious Belizean vacation that highlights these two places in one package at Chabil Mar. Enjoy the best of Belize’s beaches, adventure, and incredible scenery while experiencing posh accommodations, transportation, and dining options.

Ambergris Caye is a favorite destination for travelers, expatriates, and retirees. It is the largest island of Belize, with miles of unspoiled, white sand beaches protected by the stunning Belize Barrier Reef. The clear blue water and rich biodiversity of the coral reef make it ideal for swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling.

Ambergris Caye was once a busy port used by the ancient Maya and later by pirates, whalers, and traders in exotic fruits and spices. Today, it is a classic beach community where you can stroll through quiet streets and take life at a slow, easy pace. San Pedro, the town on Ambergris Caye, has shops, nightclubs, beach bars, and fine dining.

Placencia Village is the largest and busiest community on the Placencia Peninsula. It was once a quiet fishing village and is now a bustling tourist destination. This friendly and colorful village is small enough to explore on foot. It caters to travelers, so you’ll find many shops, vendors, food carts, restaurants, beach bars and tour guides dotting the main streets.

Placencia Village is a favorite spot for tourists who want to explore Belize’s wilder side. This is where you’ll find deep-sea and fly-fishing charters, diving guides, hiking excursions, and sea kayaking trips. Popular land activities include hiking and climbing in the famous Maya ruins like Nim Li Punit and Lubantuum, exploring Belize’s many caves, zip-lining, and bird watching. Another favorite excursion is the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Sanctuary, where you can walk, swim and sunbathe among a plethora of exotic birds and mammals.

Your Belize vacation isn’t complete without seeing Placencia and Amerbris Caye. Make sure your vacation itinerary includes a visit to these favorite destinations by booking the Ambergris Caye and Placencia vacation package at Chabil Mar Resort.

Chabil Mar is one of the finest Belize resorts in the region. Our seven-day Placencia and Ambergris Caye package includes three nights at our luxurious sister resort on Ambergris Caye and four nights at our Placencia Village resort. It includes all local airfare from Belize City, ground transportation, excursions, expert guides, and most meals.

Contact Chabil Mar and ask about our “Sea to Shining Sea” package for more details!

10 Reasons to Dive and Snorkel the Southern Barrier Reef of Belize

10 reasons to scuba dive or snorkel the Southern Barrier Reef of Belize

10 Reasons to Dive and Snorkel Belize’s Southern Waters!

1. Everybody speaks English on dive boats hired to take you to southern Belize’s deepest, most challenging spots. Whether you need your guide to give you expert gear instruction or you simply seek advice, no translator required to make sure your dives are safe and memorable.

2. These are no ordinary dive waters, nor are the creatures you run into ordinary, either. Search south Belize waters for Whale Sharks migrating from Sapodilla cayes to the Gladden Split where they feast on spawning Snapper from March to June. Make arrangements to swim with these intriguing sharks if you dare!

3. Grab bragging rights by visiting the south end of the world’s second biggest barrier reef rather than the reef’s northern rim which tends to be more crowded with divers. Keep this secret: southernmost Belize waters offer unrivaled diving and you won’t have to compete with fleets of dive boats that have the potential scare fish away.

4. Choose a resort offering the best proximity to Belize’s southern waters so you spend all of your time diving instead of traveling from site to site. By booking a luxury, all-inclusive snorkeling and scuba diving package at Placencia’s Chabil Mar Resort, you get a luxurious suite plus your choice of six customized dive trips.

5. Visit paradise without traveling to the Pacific Rim! Great airline deals get you to southern Belize in a short amount of time and without busting your budget since current discounts average 20-percent. Roam islands, inspect coral cayes and venture onto atolls where you can pitch a tent, stay the night and dive your heart out.

6. Learn the primitive and exciting art of spearfishing, just as the earliest people on earth did before rods, reels and hooks were invented. By spearing predatory Lionfish, you save endangered fish indigenous to south Belize waters while you have a great time, learn a new skill and help rid the area of unwanted aquatic interlopers.

7. Pair your diving adventure in southern Belize with land excursions that include exploring Mayan ruins, jungles, caves and spectacular waterfalls. If you’re interested in Belize’s burgeoning commercial scene, visit cacao farms to see how chocolate is grown and used in Belizean products that range from candy to beer!

8. Introduce yourself to Belize’s cultures when you’re not diving. Learn to play the drums courtesy of Garifuna teachers, explore the Placencia peninsula from your Chabil Mar hub and meet fascinating people. From music and food to arts and crafts, this nation’s Creole, Mayan, East Indian, Garifuna and European populations are great examples of how to live in harmony.

9. Investigate the ecological efforts being undertaken by this nation’s government to make the Placencia Peninsula and adjacent waters the Mecca divers seek when they pick destinations in the Caribbean. This effort is so successful, there are already 60 dive sites on tiny Turneffe atoll near Chabil Mar.

10. Make southern Belize your forever destination. You won’t be the first diver to come for the thrills and fall in love, so if you decide to explore real estate with an eye toward retiring here, Chabil Mar makes a great base camp! As the only full-service resort in Placencia Village, it’s the destination travelers who value privacy and seek personalized service choose. Settle here and you’re always welcome to come “home” to the resort for diving and socializing!

Visit our website 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 scuba diving vacation.

Discover Belize’s Reef, Rainforest and Ruins

Reef, Rainforest and Ruins in Belize --- Belize vacations

Reefs and Rainforests and Ruins, Oh My! See them all on your Belize vacation

Many people believe that R&R stands for rest and relaxation and we won’t argue with them, but in Belize, we take our Rs one step further by boasting about the lushest, most impressive Reef, Rainforests and Ruins in the Caribbean–many of which are located along Belize’s 180 miles of coastline. If Belize presents you with too many delicious activity choices for your vacation, using the Three Rs to plan your time in Belize makes good sense. Make things even easier by staying at Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia, where staff is so helpful setting up guest itineraries, you won’t miss a thing.

southwest airlines to start flying to belize

Runways, first
To reach Belize, patronize any of the airlines servicing Belize, including Southwest, American, United, Delta, Westjet, and Air Canada. Flights originate in so many North American cities, it can take just hours to get you to Belize. If you’re coming from outside the U.S., book on Avianca or Copa Airlines.


Belize Reef adventures
Are you eager to get some exercise while exploring areas around the Belize Barrier Reef? Rent a kayak on Laughing Bird Caye to explore everything from mangrove swamps to white beaches. If aquatics are more your style, snorkel the turquoise waters of the Caribbean to see an astonishing mix of marine life around the reef where you’ll as likely run into scientists studying indigenous marine life as sports enthusiasts.

Howler Monkeys in Belize
Belize Rainforests extraordinaire
If you only have time to visit one rainforest, make it to Monkey River where you will find howler monkeys and gain access to the many sites and wonders found in Belize that allows you to pair two Rs on one excursion. Not every rainforest in Belize has such a variety of things to see and do, which is why putting yourself into the hands of tour specialists at Chabil Mar resort is such a great idea. Ask about our signature excursion packages like an exciting jungle trek.
tikal mayan ruins from belize
Belize Mayan Ruins galore
If your Monkey River excursion whetted your appetite to explore ancient Maya ruins, then request information from Chabil Mar reservationists about Maya ceremonial centers, villages, temples and ball courts in Belize; our staff can even get you to nearby Guatemala to see Tikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Extend your adventure by visiting two destinations: Guatemala and Belize. This exciting seven night Belize & Guatemala vacation package is all inclusive, so all of the planning is done for you.
placencia belize

Need we mention Relaxation and Rest?
Your Chabil Mar hosts are experts at arranging all sorts of jungle, sea and combination excursions. Consider a customized pairing of scuba diving with fishing, a visit to Monkey River and Cockscomb Basin or mix and match land-based attractions with adventures at sea. Of course, you can do nothing at all if you wish!

For more information about visiting Belize or Placencia in 2019/2020 , 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.

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