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Belizean Fry Jacks Recipe for Foodies!

fry jacks

One of the quintessentially Belizean dishes out there would be fry jacks. While this dish is hardly healthy, it is certainly popular. Resembling mini puff pastries, fry jacks are wads of dough fried to a golden brown. While it remains unclear how they got their name, fry jacks are cherished by  Belizeans.

Why No Belizean Vacation is Complete Without Some Fry Jacks

Fry jacks are more common than sliced bread and a common breakfast combines them with scrambled eggs, refried beans and some sort of cheese. Fry jacks are also a common lunch staple, paired with dishes like rice and beans or stewed chicken.

Where Can You Get Some Fry Jacks? Cafe Mar, Chabil Mar!

At Chabil Mar, we pride ourselves on providing authentically unique flavors and presentations while using the freshest possible ingredients and from-scratch preparations on all dishes. Our Chef Daniel and Marsha, bake our breads every morning, fresh for you, and our Fry Jacks to order for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The ease of preparation of fry jacks means that you can find them in just about any restaurant in Placencia and throughout Belize. 

If you happen to stroll down the beach or hop on an easy 5 minute bike ride into Placencia Village from Chabil Mar for some eats, it’s easy to find a nice family-run and/or beach-front restaurant just minutes away as well.

What is the Best Time of Day for Fry Jacks?

While you can have them for lunch, breakfast is the best time for fry jacks. Remember that you should have them hot and fresh.

What is the Best Way to Eat Fry Jacks?

The fry jack serves the same role as bread on the Belizean plate, working as accompaniment rather than a main dish. A traditional Belizean lunch is fry jacks served with re-fried beans, some sort of meat and cheese. A traditional Belizean breakfast would combine the fry jacks with many of the same things you would put on a pancake, although honey is more easily acquired than maple syrup.

How to Make Belizean Fry Jacks at Home

Fry jacks are a traditional breakfast food paired with either a sweet (honey, jam or powdered sugar) or savory (cheese or refried beans) aspect. Fry jacks are also great for soaking up the sauces and gravies of other savory dishes.

Ingredients

  • Flour, all-purpose, 2 cups
  • Water, 1 cup
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Shortening, 1 tbsp
  • Powder, baking, 3 tsp
  • Oil

Directions

  1. Mix the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Cut the shortening into your flour.
  3. Slowly add the water, mixing as you go, until you have a soft, non-sticky dough.
  4. Halve the dough and give it 15-20 minutes rest.
  5. Add flour to your work surface and roll the dough into rounds between 10″ and 20″ in diameter.
  6. Cut the dough into 3″ strips twice, leaving you with the proper size. Fry jacks are commonly made into triangles.
  7. Make a small slit into each piece of dough and then fry each side in very hot oil until the fry jacks reach a golden brown coloring.
  8. Remove from the fryer, garnish as you like and serve.

So there you have it; everything you ever wanted to know about Belize’s version of quick bread and even a recipe to make it yourself. Eat up!

Barton Creek Cave, A Fascinating Cave in Belize

In a country with more than 100 navigable caves, Barton Creek Cave stands out for its unique history and impressive size. Unlike “dry” caves where spelunking is performed on foot, Barton Creek Cave has a large yet tranquil waterway running through it, meaning that visitors explore this impressive cave using canoes.

Belize is the heartland of the ancient Maya civilization, and Barton Creek Cave was used by Maya priests to conduct some of their most sacred rituals. The ancient Maya believed that caves were conduits to the underground world of the gods, known as Xibalba or “place of fear.” As such, Barton Creek Cave still contains many priceless artifacts, including ceremonial weapons, food offerings, pottery, and jewelry.

To explore Barton Creek Cave, modern-day visitors head east from the town of San Ignacio until they reach the village of Georgeville. From there, experienced guides will lead visitors along a narrow jungle path that includes a river crossing. After approximately one hour, the banks of Barton Creek are visible, and participants will board a canoe to begin their exploration of the cave.

Although the underground river running through Barton Creek Cave extends for at least five miles, only the first mile (1.6 kilometers) is safe for public exploration. Within a few minutes of boarding the canoe, participants will follow their tour guide into the stygian darkness of the cave. Using headlamps and flashlights, visitors will see a secret underworld that was once the exclusive domain of high-ranking Maya priests. The beams of light will reveal awe-inspiring cathedral-like chambers and beautiful stalactites that glitter and twinkle.

Along the way, the tour guide will explain about the natural history of the cave as well as the importance of the cave in Maya history, giving visitors a better understanding of the long-lost culture that built dozens of impressive cities across Belize.

After exiting the cave and emerging back into the bright tropical daylight, participants can enjoy a refreshing swim in the waters of the creek. Organized tours to Barton Creek Cave may also include a delicious picnic lunch.

Due to the nature of this tour, visitors who suffer from claustrophobia or anxiety about the dark are not recommended to participate. In some places, the ceiling of Barton Creek Cave is quite low. Although no swimming is required to explore Barton Creek Cave, swimwear, a change of clothes, and a towel are recommended. Other recommended items include insect repellant and rain gear during wet weather.

Chabil Mar offers Belize vacation packages that include all the best attractions of the jungle and sea, including an organized cave tubing tour of Barton Creek Cave.

For more information about Barton Creek Cave, 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.

Cayo – The Eco-Tourism and Adventure Region of Belize

Belize doesn’t have states, provinces, or departments. Instead, the country is divided into six different districts. Cayo District is the largest district in the country, located in the west of Belize along the border with Guatemala.

While you won’t find many cowboys in Cayo, the area is often referred to as the “Wild West” thanks to its abundance of lush rainforests, mountains, pristine rivers, and enormous national parks. The biggest urban area in Cayo is San Ignacio Town and its twin Santa Elena across the river, the second-largest municipal area in the country. San Ignacio is a popular jumping off point to experience the beauty of nature in Cayo, but the town is worth a visit if only for its thriving open-air market where farmers, artisans, and villagers meet to exchange gossip and sell fresh produce, dairy products, handicrafts, and traditional medicinal compounds.

Cayo is home to several small villages dispersed throughout the territory, including the Mennonite settlement of Spanish Lookout where hardworking people of faith produce some of the country’s best cheeses and furniture.

Most people, however, come to Cayo to explore the rich abundance of wild nature in the area. There are several Important Birding Areas located in the district, as identified by the Belize Audobon Society. And massive national parks like the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve (some 106,000 acres/430 square kilometers), home to the tallest waterfalls in Central America and exotic wildlife like jaguars, monkeys, crocodiles, and endangered ocellated turkeys.

Adventure options in Cayo include horseback riding, hiking, bird watching, zip lining, and the uniquely Belizean sport of cave tubing at sites like Caves Brach. Cave tubing involves participants aboard an inflatable inner tube exploring vast underground river systems. Cayo District is also home to the Rio Frio Cave, once used by the ancient Maya for religious ceremonies, and Rio on Pools, a collection of swimming holes located at the base of a waterfall.

Other popular destinations in Cayo include ancient Maya sites, including Caracol and Xunantunich, two vast cities that once competed against Tikal (just across the border in modern-day Guatemala) for dominance of the region. And just across from San Ignacio lies the ruins of Cahal Pech, a cliffside community built exclusively for Maya nobles and members of the elite.

Chabil Mar is an award-winning luxury resort located on the Caribbean coastline in Placencia, Belize. Chabil Mar offers visitors Belize all-inclusive jungle and sea vacation packages that include guided tours to the best spots in Cayo.

For more information about Cayo, 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 Mayflower Bocawina National Park

Mayflower-Bocawina-National-Park

Are you looking for a tropical vacation that includes amazing adventures, cascading waterfalls, warm people and lots of local history? Look no further than the Mayflower Bocawina National Park in east-central Belize, Central America.

Established in 2001, the Mayflower Bocawina National Park is situated on over 7,000 acres of lowlands and highlands. The park’s ecosystems serve as the bridge between the Mayan Mountains to the east and the coastal regions in the west. It is easily accessed from Belize City or Dangriga to the north or from Placencia in the south. The mission of the park is to conserve the integrity of Belize’s diverse ecosystems while educating the public. Your visit to the Mayflower Bocawina National Park helps fund research opportunities and helps ensure that its existence is sustainable for future generations.

There are many ways to explore the park on your own, as part of a tour, or with a guide. A hike is a good way to explore the forest and its vast array of mammal wildlife, such as howler monkeys, ocelots, deer, and foxes. The forest is also home to several species of bats, several endangered animals, and the near-threatened jaguar. If you’re an avid bird-watcher or new to the hobby, you will appreciate birding with an experienced guide. Bird enthusiasts have identified over 200 different bird species in the park, including toucans, oreoles, woodpeckers, and the rarely-seen spectacled owl. Many tour operators offer day and night tours.

The park has three waterfalls known collectively as the Three Sisters Waterfalls. You can access the lower and upper Bocawina falls by a short hike on a well-maintained trail. Your trek to the upper falls is rewarded by a dip in the cool pool at the base of the 50-foot falls. The more intrepid hikers can continue to the 100-foot Antelope Falls, the top of which allows for stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. You can find a tour guide that will provide safe and professional rappelling activities at each of the three waterfalls for every skill level. For a more exciting experience, you and your family can try exploring the forest with the longest zipline course in Belize.

During your hikes through the lush rainforest, you will see Maya ruins, unexcavated Maya temples, and other Maya sites that have yet to be explored. Once excavations are completed, scientists believe that the ruins will represent one of the largest Mayan ruins sites in the country. The park includes a teaching center displaying numerous artifacts found within the park’s boundaries, exhibits about the history of the Maya people in the region, and interactive activities for young visitors.

Although the park does not have overnight accommodations other than camping, there are several hotels nearby. Located approximately eight miles south of the park in the laid-back village of Placencia, Chabil Mar is a full-service luxury beach resort. Access to on-site concierge and beach captain services are included in your stay. Enjoy activities such as swimming in the infinity pools, biking along the beach, and dining at the resort’s restaurant. You are minutes away from shopping, listening to music, or sightseeing in the nearby village.

Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information on southern 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 Snorkeling – What It’s Like And Where To Snorkel

With hundreds of offshore islands and a long stretch of the world’s second-biggest barrier reef, Belize is a paradise for snorkeling. Although coral reefs compose less than 4% of the ocean’s surface, they provide shelter and feeding grounds for an astonishing 25% of all marine life species. The crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and white sandy seafloor make the islands and reefs in Belize the ideal place to spot fish, anemones, whale sharks, sea grasses, dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, sharks, and stingrays in their natural habitat.

If you are traveling to Placencia and the southern Belize area, here are some of the top spots to enjoy snorkeling:

Laughing Bird Caye

Named for the so-called laughing gull flocks that once were the island’s only residents, Laughing Bird Caye is partly a protected nature reserve and part adventure destination. Just a short distance (13 miles/21 km) from Placencia, Laughing Bird Caye looks like a tropical island paradise from a book or film. The palm trees and sugar white sand beaches are the perfect accompaniment to snorkeling expeditions to the shallow reef around the island where you can marvel at the rich diversity of underwater life.

The Silk Cayes

Sometimes known as the Queen Cayes, the Silk Cayes are part of a much larger protected marine reserve. These islands are uninhabited by humans but are home to an astonishing number of avian and marine species. Just a short boat ride from Placencia, the Silk Cayes have nearly transparent water that has to be seen to believed. The shallow, gentle waters are ideal for snorkeling, and sunset barbecues underneath the coconut palms are rapidly becoming a popular tradition.

Gladden Spit

One of just three coral atolls found outside of the Atlantic Ocean, Gladden Spit is part of a vast 26,000-acre marine reserve and contains three different islands. No one lives on these islands, but the atoll plays an important role in sheltering more than two dozen species of local fish. Every spring, migrating schools of whale sharks come to the waters off of Gladden Spit to feed on spawn, giving divers and snorkelers a unique opportunity to interact with the largest non-whale species in the world’s oceans.

Chabil Mar

If you would like to explore the beautiful snorkeling areas described in this article, Chabil Mar in Placencia has several packages that include lodging and organized trips out to the Belize Barrier Reef.

While it’s true that top snorkeling spots can be found even in northern Belize such as the Hol Chan Marine Reserve near Ambergris Caye, southern Belize and the islands near Placencia are less crowded and are perfect for travelers who want to see some of the most beautiful areas of the southern reef where a rich diversity of colorful marine flora and fauna thrives.https://chabilmarvillas.com

Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information about snorkeling in 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.

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