The Famous “Bamboo Chicken” of Belize

Belize iguanasBelizeans are known for having a colorful sense of humor which is why the local nickname for the green iguana is “bamboo chicken”. The largest species of lizard in the country, an adult bamboo chicken can measure nearly seven feet in length, although most of the length comes from its enormous tail. The flesh of the “bamboo chicken” is popular in Belize and used for many local recipes. Even more popular are the creamy eggs of the green iguana which are considered a true delicacy by local gourmands.

Once heavily hunted for its eggs and meat, today the green iguana is protected by law and the Belize Zoo now organizes several captive breeding programs throughout the country. The native habitat of the green iguana is on tree branches overlooking a river as the lizard will dive into the water when it is startled or threatened by predators.

Juvenile green iguanas spend a lot of time on the floor of the rainforests of Belize, hunting for insects, snails, worms and grubs. Once they’ve matured, adult green iguanas start climbing higher in the branches of trees to eat berries, fruits and leaves. On occasion, green iguanas will eat small mammals and birds.

For information about Belize’s flora and fauna , 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 Beers of Belize

Few people might think of beer as one of the most enjoyable parts of a vacation in Belize, but the small Central American nation has a proud history of brewing delicious local lagers.

Perhaps the most famous brewer in Belize is Belikin Beer. With their distinctive logo featuring the ancient Maya site of Altun Ha, Belikin is a multi-generational family-owned business based in Ladyville just outside of Belize City. The name Belikin comes from a Maya term for the Belize River, literally meaning “road to the east.” Founded in 1969, Belikin is the largest domestic producer of beer, producing 450 bottles per minute in their state-of-the-art breweries.

Belikin’s beer offerings include:

  • Belikin Beer – The flagship brew, Belikin Beer is a classic European-style lager with an alcohol content of 4.8%.
  • Belikin Stout – With a velvety, rich head, Belikin Stout has a delightful smoky taste. Made with German hops, Canadian malt, and cane sugar from Belize.
  • Lighthouse Lager – A refreshing, crisp beer, Lighthouse Lager is a Canadian Pilsner with a 4.2% alcohol content.
  • Belikin Premium – With a malty, hearty taste, Belikin Premium is made with two different hops and three different malts.
  • Guinness Stout – Belikin is a licensed brewer of this classic stout featuring a rich color and assertive bitter overtones.

Belikin also makes a number of seasonal brews, including:

  • Chocolate Stout – Inspired by a traditional Maya recipe, Chocolate Sout is a creamy beer with a velvety chocolate finish.
  • Sorrel Stout – Introduced for the first time a few years ago, Sorrel Stout features a careful blend of German hops, specialty malts, and local sorrel.

Other Beers Available in Belize

Beer lovers can enjoy a variety of other brews in Belize, including:

  • Red Stripe – The Jamaican classic in an iconic rounded bottle.
  • Heineken – One of the most popular beers in Europe, Heineken is a pale lager with a distinctly crisp finish.
  • Carib – This refreshing lager is brewed in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Dragon Stout – Brewed in Jamaica, Dragon Stout has a rich, velvety head with a lovely dark color obtained from barley.

Enjoy Belizean Beers at Chabil Mar

The bar and restaurant at the award-winning resort of Chabil Mar on the Placencia Peninsula has a full range of Belizean and international beers in stock.

Visitors to the resort can ask the bartender for a recommendation of the best beers to try. The experienced, professional bartenders at Chabil Mar can recommend food pairings and other details about the different beers available in Belize.

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.

 

10 Fascinating Facts About the Blue Hole in Belize

Easily recognizable from space, the Belize Blue Hole, sometimes known as the Great Blue Hole, is one of the most iconic dive spots in Belize.

Here are 10 fascinating facts about the Belize Blue Hole:

1 – Size and Dimensions

The Belize Blue Hole is almost perfectly circular in shape, measuring 300 meters (984 feet) across and 108 meters (354 feet) deep.

2 – The Largest Sea Hole in the World

The Belize Blue Hole is the largest sea hole in the world. Sea holes refer to caves that were submerged when rising waters covered them. Most sea holes, just like the Belize Blue Hole, were submerged at the end of the last great Ice Age some 10,000 years ago.

3 – Location

The Belize Blue Hole is located approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) offshore of Belize City. The perimeter of the Blue Hole is Lighthouse Reef, a natural coral atoll.

4 – Stalactites and Stalagmites

Divers can explore thousands of stalactites and stalagmites that were formed when the Blue Hole was an aboveground series of caverns.

5 – Jacques Cousteau

Legendary French documentarian and marine biologist Jacques Cousteau visited the Blue Hole in 1971. He later described the Blue Hole as one of his top favorite 10 dive sites in the world.

6 – The Name

The name “Great Blue Hole” comes from British diver Ned Middleton who wrote a book about his career as a diver in 1988 named “Ten Years Underwater”. Although the Blue Hole was charted by the Spanish, no one is sure what name they gave for the region.

7 – Discovery Channel

In 2012, the Discovery Channel ranked the Belize Blue Hole as the #1 most amazing place on Earth.

8 – UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Belize Blue Hole is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, part of a vast barrier reef that is the second-largest barrier reef in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

9 – Charles Darwin

In 1836, on his around the world voyage aboard the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin visited the Belize Barrier Reef and declared it the “most remarkable coral reefs” in the entire Caribbean.

10 – Experienced Divers Only

Due to the challenges of diving the Belize Blue Hole, only divers who have completed at least 24 divers are allowed to explore the Belize Blue Hole.

About The Belize Blue Hole

 
Long a secret known only to Belizean fisherman, the Belize Blue Hole became famous in 1971 when legendary marine biologist and undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau visited the site.
 
Cousteau and his crew aboard the Calypso explored the depths of the Blue Hole, confirming that it had been created thousands of years ago when rising tides flooded a network of caves. Declared by Cousteau as one of the top 10 best diving spots on the planet, the Belize Blue Hole is located approximately 60 miles (100 km) from the coast of Belize.
 
A nearly perfectly circular body of water, the Belize Blue Hole is surrounded by the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Divers can use the shallow waters of the atoll’s lagoon to begin their descent to the now-flooded cave that contains stalactites and stalagmites up to 40 feet (12 meters) in length.The coral atoll surrounding the Belize Blue Hole has an inner ring of shallow, lighter colored water that forms a natural ring around the deeper sapphire waters of the flooded cave.
 
Thousands of years ago when the cave flooded, the Belize Blue Hole was formed, a vertical entrance over 980 feet (300 meters) across with a bottom more than 400 feet (125 meters) below the sea’s surface today.As divers descend into the Great Blue Hole, the dark waters start to become more clear, allowing for an impressive view of the flooded cave network that is home to a variety of marine life, including a few elusive hammerhead sharks.

Due to the complexity and depth of the dive, only experienced divers are permitted to explore the majestic underwater formations that make the Belize Blue Hole such a unique dive site.

The Blue Hole is located along the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site part of the second-largest barrier reef system in the world.

An almost perfectly circular area of dark topaz water encircled by the Lighthouse Atoll on the Belize Barrier reef, the Great Blue Hole is one of the most intriguing and popular places to dive anywhere on Planet Earth.

Facts About The Belize Blue Hole

1.) The Blue Hole measures about 1,000 feet in circumference and is more than 400 feet deep. It is the largest natural formation of this type found anywhere in the world.

2.) The Blue Hole was formed at the end of the last Ice Age when rising seawaters flooded a series of enormous caverns. Geologists have determined that the caves first formed about 153,000 years ago and were completely submerged approximately 15,000 years ago.

3.) The Blue Hole is approximately 60 miles offshore from Belize City and is part of the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4.) In 1971, famed French marine biologist Jacques Cousteau visited the Blue Hole with his boat Calypso, declaring it one of the top 10 diving spots on the planet.

5.) The underwater caves of the Blue Hole are filled with giant stalactites, proof that it once existed above water.

6.) The Blue Hole is home to several species of sharks, including bull sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, and the elusive hammerhead shark.

7.) In 2012, the Discovery Channel ranked the Blue Hole as #1 on its list of 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth.

8.) The Blue Hole is visible from space, easily identifiable by its unique circular formation and location within the midst of the greater Belize Barrier Reef.

9.) The name “Blue Hole” was coined by the British diver Ned Middleton in his book “10 Years Underwater” published in 1988.

10.) Due to the complexity of diving required, the Blue Hole is restricted to experienced divers only with a minimum of 24 completed dives.

What It’s Really Like To Dive The Great Blue Hole

The Mysterious Belize Great Blue Hole is a large underwater hole off the coast of Belize. It lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 100 kilometers (62 mi) from the mainland and Belize City. The hole is perfectly circular in shape, over 300 meters (1000 ft) across, 3140 feet circumference and 125 meters (410 ft) deep.

Read also: Dive the Great Blue Hole of Belize with this Vacation Package

It was formed as a limestone cave system during the last glacial period when the sea level was 400 to 500 feet below present time and was dry land. Last glacial period began about 120,000 years ago and end about 15,000 years ago. Reaching the maximum extension 26,500 years ago. At the end the ocean began to rise, the caves flooded, and the roof collapsed.

Believed to be the world’s largest feature of its kind, the Great Blue Hole is part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a World Heritage site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The hole itself is the opening to a system of caves and passageway that penetrate this undersea mountain. In various places, massive limestone stalactites hang down from what was once the ceiling of air-filled caves thousand of years before the end of the last Ice Age 15,000 years ago. When the ice melted the sea level rose, flooding the caves. This process occurred in stages. Evidence for this are the shelves and ledges, carved into the limestone by the sea, which run the complete interior circumference of the Blue Hole at various depths.

great_blue hole of belize

The Blue Hole is a “karst- eroded sinkhole.” It was once a cave at the center of an underground tunnel complex whose ceiling collapsed. Some of the tunnels are thought to be linked right through to the mainland, though this has never been conclusively proved. Notable are the large population of sharks such as lemon, black tip, reef, hammerhead, and bull sharks.
Mysterious and legends always have been around the Belize Blue Hole.

Read also: Scuba Dive the Great Belize Barrier Reef with this Vacation Package

This was the entrance to Xibalba?. It’s the kind of underwater geology that inspires speculation about aliens creating geometrically perfect anomalies, mermaids and monsters living in darkness.

I explored the bottom of the Blue Hole perimeter (3,140 feet circumference). To do this I dove down twice, reaching the depth of 375′ feet which took 4 to 5 hours of diving each day.
Video Music:
Start to 2:18 min. “Dawn From Four Sea Interludes” by Benjamin Britten
2:18 to 4:37 min. “300 Violin Orchestra” by Jorge Quintero
4:37 to End “Groove Armada” from Tomb Raider Soundtrack

Video and Blog courtesy of Ramon Llaneza

If you would like to explore the wonders of the Belize Blue Hole, the resort of Chabil Mar has a comprehensive scuba diving vacation package that includes a guided trip to the Blue Hole.

For more information about the Blue Hole or 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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Where the Whale Sharks Are: Placencia, Belize

For many divers and snorkelers, the Holy Grail is to encounter a whale shark in its natural environment. As big as a school bus, whale sharks are not whales but sharks. Unlike other sharks, however, whale sharks have no teeth, which is why they are simultaneously the largest creatures in the oceans as well as some of the gentlest.

In order to protect whale sharks, contact is strictly limited, but lucky divers can sometimes get the chance to touch and interact with the massive creatures. Whale sharks only exist in tropical waters and follow plankton blooms seasonally across the lower latitudes. The largest whale shark ever recorded was 41 feet (12.5 meters) long and weighed 47,000 pounds (21 tons).

One of the best places to see whale sharks is in the waters of the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve. Located on the outer reaches of the Belize Barrier Reef just a few miles from Placencia, the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve is one of the most diverse environments in the ocean. The shallow waters, mangrove forests, and tides bringing in a rich stream of nutrients make for a perfect breeding site for fish and other marine creatures.

Whale sharks consume several tons of plankton and fish spawn per day, which is why they are drawn to the food-rich waters of the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve. Arriving every spring from their annual circumnavigation of the globe, whale sharks can be seen around Gladden Spit for a few months. Normally feeding at depths unavailable to divers, whale sharks rise to the shallower waters during the 10 days following a full moon in order to feed.

Recently, Afar Magazine profiled whale sharks and encouraged its readers to avail themselves of this truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at Gladden Spit Marine Reserve. One of Afar Magazine’s top recommended resorts to stay in Placencia Belize is the luxurious Chabil Mar Resort. With elegantly appointed villas and its own gourmet restaurant and two infinity swimming pools, Chabil Mar is an award winning resort renowned for providing world-class service.

Located in southeastern Belize, Placencia is the gateway to the Belize Barrier Reef, including the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve where whale sharks visit every spring. Chabil Mar operates diving and snorkeling tours to Gladden Spit as well as other top destinations on the reef.

If you’d like to snorkel or dive with whale sharks, be sure to book your vacation with Chabil Mar Resort.

Belize in January 2021

Visit Belize in January

There are few spots more beautiful to ring in the New Year than Belize, a small country located in Central America bursting with lush rainforests, misty mountains, and golden sands fronting the Caribbean Sea. Belize is blessed with warm temperatures, an abundance of sunshine, and colorful wildlife like toucans, parrots, monkeys, jaguars, manatees, sharks, and sea turtles. All of the top airlines in North America, including Delta, United, Southwest, WestJet, Air Canada, and American Airlines now feature non-stop service from major cities, making it easy and affordable to enjoy a January vacation in Belize.

Events and Festivals in January



New Year’s Day

Beyond the fireworks, food, parades, and parties, there’s plenty to do in Belize on the first day of the new year. One of the most popular activities is the Krem Cycling Classic. Beginning in Corozal Town in the north and ending in Belize City, large crowds line the road to cheer on the racers. (Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the event will not happen in 2021).

Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior Day

While not an official holiday in Belize, large sections of the local population observe January 18 as a day to honor and celebrate the heritage of one of the 20th century’s most influential civic leaders.

Things to Do and See in Belize in January


There’s always something exciting going on in January, including:

  • Snorkel and scuba dive the Belize Barrier Reef.
  • Ride a zip line through the jungle canopy.
  • Bird and wildlife spot in the Cockscomb Basin Nature Reserve.
  • Relax in a hammock at Chabil Mar in Placencia village.
  • Dive the Great Blue Hole, rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of his top 10 dive locations on the planet.
  • Explore ancient Maya ruins or ceremonial caves.
  • Dine on some of the tastiest food found anywhere, including fresh-caught seafood and organic local produce.

January Weather in Belize

With plenty of fresh breezes, abundant sunshine, and mild temperatures, it’s no surprise that January is one of the most popular months to visit Belize. Occasional storms from the north bring a dose of rain and refreshing winds.

Where to Stay in Belize in January

One of the best places to stay in Belize in January is the multiple award-winning resort of Chabil Mar. Located on the golden sands of the Placencia Peninsula, Chabil Mar has luxuriously-appointed villas, a lush tropical garden, and a beachfront pier ideal for enjoying gourmet meals prepared by the onsite restaurant while drinking in the view of the Caribbean.

Visit 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 winter vacation.

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