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.

Escape the Winter Doldrums with a Belize Vacation

Right now, winter is wreaking its wrath all across the United States and Canada. But there is one place where the sun is shining and the weather is perfect for T-shirts and sandals. Best of all, it’s just a short flight away from major cities across North America. That magical destination is the country of Belize.

In Belize, it never snows. In fact, the “winter” months in Belize are when the weather is at its finest. Refreshing trade breezes combine with long, sunny days for perfect weather to enjoy outdoor activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, or hiking.

Belize may be a small country, but it has everything you need to enjoy an amazing vacation: beaches, offshore islands, lush rainforests, thick jungles teeming with wildlife, waterfalls, and lots of exotic animals, birds, and plants. No matter where you go, you’ll discover just why Belize is nicknamed “The Jewel.”

For many people, all that’s needed is a quick visit to Google Flights or their favorite travel website, plug in the Belize airport code (BZE), and find a great price on a flight to this lovely Caribbean paradise. Depending on where you live, round-trip tickets can be as low as $300.

Once you’ve got your ticket, all you’ll need is a valid passport, a pair of flip-flops, a few pairs of shorts and T-shirts, a beach towel, swimsuit, and your suntan lotion. And it’s all just 2-3 hours’ flying time away!

The Placencia Peninsula

The best place to escape the winter doldrums is the Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize. Located on the Caribbean coast, Placencia is called “The Island You Can Drive To” because of it’s laid-back charm, gorgeous beaches, and narrow isthmus connecting it to the mainland. In fact, Placencia stretches for more than 16 miles from north to south but is just half a mile wide.

One of the finest luxury resorts in Belize is located in Placencia, the fabulous Chabil Mar, which means “Beautiful Sea” in the local Maya dialect. Chabil Mar is a multiple award-winning resort and a perennial TripAdvisor favorite due to its lovely villas, freshwater infinity swimming pools, tropical garden, and a gourmet restaurant. Chabil Mar also has a lovely seafront pier that’s perfect for al fresco dining.

Chabil Mar specializes in creating all-inclusive Belize vacation packages that include all the best that the beach and jungle have to offer. If you’re ready to take a break from shoveling snow, book your vacation with Chabil Mar today.

Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information about 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.

Escape the Wrath of Winter in Sunny Belize

Instead of shivering through another long, gray winter, why not escape to the sunny climes of beautiful Belize? Just a short flight from the United States and Canada, Belize is a tropical oasis replete with golden sand beaches, swaying palm trees, offshore islands, and thick jungles where exotic animals and birds thrive.

And one of the finest places to visit in Belize is the Placencia Peninsula. Measuring 16 miles north to south but just half a mile wide, Placencia is widely believed to have the most beautiful beaches in a country with hundreds of miles of Caribbean coastline.

Here are just some of the fun things to do and see this winter in Placencia:

The End of the World Marathon 

End of the world marathon

Initially held as a comic response to the “end of the world” allegedly predicted by the ancient Maya to occur on December 21, 2012, the End of the World Marathon is now one of Placencia’s most popular sporting events. Every December, runners from around the world gather to run a full or half marathon along the beach as thousands of people cheer them on to victory.

The Placencia Sidewalk Festival 

Placencia owns a unique spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the smallest “main street” on the planet, actually a four-foot wide pedestrian-only sidewalk lined with colorful murals and boutique shops and cafes. Every February, the sidewalk is transformed into a lively arts festival where local artisans, musicians, cooks, and artists showcase their talents.

Adventure Tours 

Placencia is close to many of the top adventure attractions in the country, including hiking the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (home to hundreds of jaguars), taking boat tours on the aptly named Monkey River, and visiting the nearby Laughing Bird Caye national marine park.

Diving the Blue Hole 

Sir Richard Branson and an all-star team of luminaries and scientists participated in a historic live broadcast from the bottom of the Blue Hole on December 2, 2018, Belize’s most famous dive site. The Discovery Channel used advanced submarines and high-tech radar to create the first 3D map of the Blue Hole.

If you’d like to escape winter’s wrath by escaping to Belize, be sure to stay at the award-winning luxury resort Chabil Mar. Situated just steps from the beach on the beautiful Placencia Peninsula, Chabil Mar has a wide range of vacation packages ideal for weddings, honeymoons, family vacations, fishing enthusiasts, and scuba divers.

Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize and Placencia, 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.
 

Belize Points of Interest

Where to go in Belize

Just a few hours flying time from the United States, Belize is a lovely tropical destination with gorgeous beaches, exotic wildlife, a stunning coral reef, jungles, ancient Mayan cities, and a friendly Caribbean atmosphere.

Below are some of our favorite places and points of interest in Belize.

placencia peninsula belizePlacencia Peninsula – A sparkling 16-mile long expanse of beach along the Caribbean, the peninsula is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Belize. The mangrove-lined lagoon on the mainland side is an ideal spot to enjoy fishing.

placencia village Belize

Placencia Village – A laid-back fishing village, Placencia is a great place to get a drink in a cafe or bar, enjoy a delicious meal in a restaurant, or find an outfitter for a trip to the Belize Barrier Reef. The village is famous for holding the Guinness Book of World Records title for smallest main street in the world, a 4,000-foot long sidewalk too narrow to admit cars.

san ignacio belize

San Ignacio Town – The cultural and entertainment capital of the west, San Ignacio is close to many of the country’s finest Maya ruins. The resort of Chabil Mar offers comprehensive jungle and sea packages that combine the best of Placencia Peninsula with an expedition to San Ignacio and its environs.

hopkins belize

Hopkins – A small village in the southeast, Hopkins is the cultural heart of the unique Garifuna culture.

IMG_9488

Caye Caulker – A small, unspoiled island, Caye Caulker is the picture postcard definition of a tropical island, complete with sparkling blue water, white sands, and palm trees.

toledo belize

Toledo District – The heart of Belize’s cacao (chocolate) growing region, Toledo is the gateway to the unspoiled south of the country.

ambergris caye belize

Ambergris Caye – The largest island in Belize, Ambergris Caye is an easygoing mix of beaches, bars and some of the best food in the country.

belize barrier reef

Belize Barrier Reef – The second largest coral reef system in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef offers spectacular diving, swimming, snorkeling and sailing opportunities.

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary – Perfect for day trips or longer hiking expeditions, the sanctuary provides a protected habitat for tapirs, monkeys, jaguars and hundreds of species of birds.

great-blue-hole-belize

Great Blue Hole – Regularly voted as one of the top natural wonders in the world, the Blue Hole offers experienced divers a unique opportunity to explore a system of underwater caverns.

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.

 

Belize Whale Sharks – 8 Fascinating Facts You Need to Know

belize whale sharksDespite its massive size, Whale Sharks are the “Gentle Giants” of the ocean. Unlike their other shark relatives that are meat-eaters, these giants are filter feeders.

Every year, huge schools of migrating whale sharks arrive in the waters off of Belize in order to feed on fish spawn and plankton. These enormous creatures normally cruise a depth beyond the reach of most divers. It is only when they rise to the surface to feed that humans can get the rare and wonderful opportunity to interact with these friendly and inquisitive creatures.

Below are eight fascinating facts you need to know about whale sharks:

  1. The name “whale” shark refers to their size, not their biology. Whale sharks are fish, not mammals.
  2. Whale sharks have been swimming in the Earth’s oceans for approximately 60 million years.
  3. Whale sharks have teeth but never use them. They feed by filtering the water for microscopic bacteria and algae.
  4. Whale sharks travel approximately 30,000 miles around the globe every year.
  5. The largest whale shark ever caught weighed more than 47,000 pounds.
  6. Despite weighing several tons, whale sharks feed almost exclusively on tiny plankton virtually invisible to the naked eye.
  7. In Asia, whale sharks are called “tofu fish” because the meat is said to taste and look like tofu.
  8. Scientists have never observed whale sharks mating and know very little about their biology.

Although whale sharks circumnavigate the globe every year, it is only in the waters around Gladden Spit off the coast of Placencia in Belize that divers can get the rare chance to interact and photograph these magnificent animals. Drawn to the enormous concentration of fish spawn and plankton in the area, whale sharks arrive in the waters off of Belize between March and June.

Because whale sharks are carefully protected by Belizean conservation laws, divers who want to dive with whale sharks must use a licensed tour operator. If you’d like to partake in a truly special diving adventure to get close to and interact with the gentle giants of the deep, sign up for this complete Belize whale shark diving package. It includes three limited slots to dive with whale sharks and accommodations at the world-class Belize resort of Chabil Mar.


For 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.

 

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