The Ancient Maya Of Belize
By: Jaime J. Awe Ph.D.
Copyright: First Edition December, 2005
(Following are excerpts taken from the above publication and do not constitute the book in its entirety)
What Mayan language was spoken in Belize before the arrival of the Spanish? Epigraphers and historical linguists believe that two major languages were spoken in Belize during the Classic period (A.D. 300-900) of Maya civilization. Yucatec was spoken in the northern two thirds of the country, and Cholan was the common language of the people who lived in the south. Cholan speakers are now only found in Guatemala and in the state of Chiapas in Mexico.
What Mayan languages are spoken in Belize today?
Today Yucatec is still spoken by the Maya who live in the villages of San Antonio and Succotz in the Cayo District, and by people in the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts. Mopan, which is spoken in San Antonio Village in the Toledo District, is a dialect of Yucatec. Other Maya communities in the Toledo District are Kekchi speakers. Kekchi originated in the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala.
When was Maya civilization fully established?
In the past scholars believe that Maya civilization was not fully established until about A.D. 300, at the start of the Early Classic Period. Recent research, however, has provided conclusive evidence that ancient Maya civilization was actually in full bloom by at least 100 B.C. in the late Pre-classic period. By this early date the Maya were already carving stelae on altars, conducting long distance trade, utilizing mathematical and calendrical systems, and constructing monumental architecture.
How did the Maya perceive their universe?
They perceived their world as having three levels: the heavens, earth and underworld. The heavens were subdivided into thirteen levels and the underworld into nine levels. At the center of the universe was the sacred Ceiba tree whose limbs touched the heavens and roots descended into the underworld. Heaven was the adobe of sacred gods and deified ancestors. Earth was the home of humans, the forests, and all other creatures. The underworld was a place of death and diseases, and home of the Bolontiku (nine evil gods).
Placencia is a small peninsula measuring about 1 mile across and 16 miles north and south attached to the southeastern corner of Stann Creek District in southeastern Belize. Placencia is approximately 160 miles (by land) south of Belize City and 33 miles south of Dangriga, the capital of Stann Creek District.
Due to its unique geography, the Placencia Peninsula offers visitors two very different terrains. On the landward side, the peninsula is bordered by several mangrove-lined lagoons, known for their rich abundance of fishing opportunities. The seaward side fronts the Caribbean and offers spectacular vistas and easy access to the nearby Belize Barrier Reef. The beaches of Placencia Peninsula are renowned for their pristine beauty.
Located at the southern part of the peninsula where it joins the mainland, the small village of Placencia is still primarily a fishing-oriented community. With the advent of tourism into the area, the village is now home to ATMs, restaurants, cafes, luxury resorts, and dive shops.
Placencia Belize Weather
Like the rest of Belize, the Placencia Peninsula enjoys warm temperatures all year-round. The green season runs approximately from May to November, with heavier rains usually found in September and October. Daytime temps average between about 70F (21C) to 83F (28C) and nights range from about 70F (20C) to 77F (25C).
Placencia on the Belize Map (see photo above)
If you look at southeastern Belize and can find the Stann Creek District, it is very easy to spot the Placencia Peninsula. Shaped roughly like a boot with the toe pointing towards the mainland, the peninsula is at the very bottom of Stann Creek District right where it meets Toledo District.
Where to stay in Placencia Belize
Due to its beautiful beaches and fantastic views of the Caribbean, the peninsula has become a growing tourist hotspot. One of the finest resorts on the peninsula is Chabil Mar, which offers guests modern luxury in fully-equipped villas just a few minutes’ beach stroll from Placencia Village.
With close access to some of the finest attractions on the mainland like the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and just minutes away from some of the most beautiful parts of the Belize Barrier Reef, the Placencia Peninsula has become a popular destination in recent years. When not exploring the mainland or the offshore reefs, visitors can relax on one of the many fine beaches, learn more about the Garifuna culture, or pass the time away in one of the bars and restaurants on the peninsula.
Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information on 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 Placencia Belize vacation.
Placencia: Where Belize’s Most Beautiful Beaches Await
It’s a topic that continues to be debated by vacationers obsessed with beaches: Which is the best beach in the Caribbean? Insert yourself into this conversation and listen to what seasoned beachgoers have to say—-especially if the debate compares the beaches of Belize.
This small country has more coastline per mile than most nations of comparable size and hundreds of cayes with their own beaches. According to TripSavvy.com, “Approximately 450 Belize islands and islets stud the Belize Barrier Reef” alone. Sound a bit overwhelming? We can help.
From formal surveys to anecdotal research, you would be hard pressed to find beaches that receive more compliments and reviews than those lining Belize’s 16-mile-long Placencia peninsula.
For frequent visitors weary of the pace found at the Belize hot spots frequented by folks seeking the trendiest locations, Placencia offers a perfect compromise of beauty, tranquility and just enough nightlife to make things interesting.
For a resort like Chabil Mar, this combination of excitement and relaxation attracts couples seeking a unique wedding, honeymoon or couples experience and families are equally taken with this gorgeous oasis of luxury.
But it’s the beaches that are the focal point of tourists who, when offered myriad choices, choose Placencia over all other locations, and their reasons for doing so could convince you to join them!
Reasons to put Placencia beaches atop your preference list
-Placencia is known as “the caye you can walk to,” so if island vacations don’t float your boat because you’re not a fan of isolation, this peninsula checks off both boxes.
-Placencia separates the Caribbean Sea from a protected lagoon so guests can explore both sides for a more diverse landscape.
-Access to Belize’s popular natural wonders are in such close proximity, Chabil Mar guests can book excursions like diving, seeing whale sharks in season, fishing, cave tubing, and barrier reef exploration without having to be driven miles to get to a launch point.
-That lagoon is amazing. Endangered manatees, dolphin, turtles, stingrays and other marine life find safe harbor there, so your chances of seeing these marvelous creatures increase.
-Placencia’s beaches offer secluded spots where nobody is around to ruin your privacy.
-If you’re a student of cultural diversity, Placencia could remind you of the United Nations: Residents and visitors include Latinos, Creoles, Maya, Mennonite, Chinese, East Indian, European and North Americans.
Stay at Chabil Mar for all the right reasons
Access to the resort’s spectacular beachfront is a big tourist motivator, so you couldn’t choose a property that offers such close proximity to the white sand and soothing waves lapping along the coastline.
Every luxury you desire is included in a Chabil Mar experience: posh accommodations, delicious meals, the spa, and that beach!
Summer awaits at Chabil Mar, and in addition to those spectacular beaches, summer rates are in effect, so if you can think of a reason why you shouldn’t join the Placencia beach fan club before summer fades, we’d like to hear it!
If it’s your habit to throw a dozen separates into a duffel bag and arrive at your airport departure gate just as the gangway is being removed, we salute you. You’re probably a spontaneous person who finds the process of packing tedious and bothersome. But let’s say you pack thoughtfully and you wouldn’t dream of choosing which articles of clothing to bring to Belize without first learning what temperatures to expect. We’ve got your year-round forecast, so packing for your tropical holiday will be a breeze.
Belize Weather in January
In case an infrequent shower at the end of the rainy season interrupts your Belize outings, relax. It won’t last long. Getting a little wet is part of the Belize experience as you think of friends battling snow and ice back home! Tote a light poncho and you’re good to go. January temperatures run about 70-degrees F at night and max out at around 80-degrees F by day.
Belize Weather in February
If you crave the same weather January visitors enjoyed—from 70- to 80-degrees F—you’ll love visiting in February. This month officially launches “the dry season,” so you can leave that rain gear home if you like and use the space in your luggage for more sunscreen, an extra pair of flip-flops, and a Valentine’s.
Belize Weather in March
If it rains in March, Belize weathercasters are quick to apologize because it’s not typical. Days and nights are usually crystal clear and slightly warmer, so bring clothing appropriate for between 74- and 83-degrees F temperatures. Nights are so delightful, you won’t need a sweater, but if you find a charming wrap at a local market, snap it up!
Belize Weather in April
Because Belize is a chill-out destination, it may come as no surprise that this time of year has several nicknames. Call it the “Green Season” or refer to infrequent showers as “Iguana Rains”—your call. Love puddle jumping? Do it fast, ’cause the sun will be back out in minutes. Temperatures in April, by the way, range from 76- to 85-degrees F.
Belize Weather in May
As spring settles in, you’ll notice a gradual temperature increase to between 79-degrees at night to 87-degrees by day in Belize. The rain gods are kind in May: The occasional nighttime thunderstorm or early morning shower will likely find you abed at Chabil Mar, where soft sheets, gorgeous suite appointments and a tropical breakfast get all five of your senses off to a relaxing day.
Belize Weather in June
There’s a smaller range of temperature fluctuations throughout Belize in June—between 82- and 86-degrees—so you can dress for the entire day in the morning. Enjoy easterly breezes on your Chabil Mar veranda. Afternoon showers could interrupt a plan or two, but if you’ve settled into a Belize state of mind, you’ll shrug them off—especially if you nab early season rate reductions.
Belize Weather in July
When your nearest and dearest complain about heatwaves back home, you may find it irresistible to let them know that Belize nighttime temperatures are around 79-degrees F. Morning rains are so cooling, they will help you transition into your plans for an outdoor adventure like diving the Belize reef. Wear as little as you like (within reason) during the month of July. You’ll find it liberating!
Belize Weather in August
Mother Nature is very predictable: she shifts those easterly sea breezes away from Belize in August, replacing them with drier winds, which is how the nickname “Little Dry” was picked to describe the month. If temperatures dip to 78-degrees F after an 86-degree F day, that lightweight wrap will come in handy.
Belize Weather in September
As the Green Season moves into September, temperatures dip to 77-degrees F at night, so dodging early morning showers is no big deal. Anticipate sunny days filled with fun and festivals as Belize celebrates its independence throughout September. Wear an outrageous costume at Carnival in Belize City to be an official part of the fun!
Belize Weather in October
Northerly winds bring bountiful rainfall and temperatures drop to 75-degrees F by night. Daytime highs of 84-degrees F are ideal for taking tours and outings. Should an unexpected storm blanket the Maya Mountains, repair to Chabil Mar’s Kaleidoscope Bar where a tightly-woven thatch roof, new friends, and the perfect Mojito will keep you dry and happy until the rain passes.
Belize Weather in November
This is the month dreams come true in Belize: Summer visitors are gone, there’s room to stretch out, and if you seek solitude on a budget, you won’t find more generous price breaks. Chabil Mar offers discounts in November and since the resort dresses up for Thanksgiving, come late in the month, reserve a large suite for your family and expect to find turkey on the restaurant’s menu!
Belize Weather in December
Temperatures? Heavenly. Crowds? Not if you come early in December. Swim or snorkel the day away in 80-degree F weather. Cuddle at night when temps drop to around 71-degrees F. Whether your goal is an unforgettable Christmas, you’re auditioning retirement locations or you want to see for yourself why Belize has become so popular, visiting in December will be the gift you give yourself.
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.
Within the Belize melting pot lives a vibrant community of East Indians who continue to practice traditions brought from their India homeland so very long ago.
Tracking migration patterns can be a fascinating if not complicated business, but there was a clear path to Belize residency for the group of Hindu East Indians who first arrived on the nation’s soil around 1858. About 1000 came in the first wave that year, and by the 1880s, an indentureship program mandated by India’s British colonists added to the community of hard-working people eager to put down roots.
While other East Indians sought work on neighboring Guatemala coffee plantations, new members of the Belize society coalesced in two geographic areas: Belize’s Toledo and Corozal Districts. There they found work on the estates of ex-soldiers who had fought for the Confederate army in the Civil War. Indentureship ended after five years, at which time East Indians began to invest in their own land, growing produce and selling it on the open market.
Sadly, race discrimination dogged East Indians for generations. Stereotypes like “East Indians are better for light agricultural work” than darker-skinned Africans and Garifuna pervaded society, but East Indians– particularly those practicing the Hindu faith–remained undaunted and continued to arrive on Belize shores in the 1920s. At this point, Belize City was home to the largest concentration of East Indian ex-pats.
While people of East Indian descent do not make up a huge portion of Belize society, their presence contributes mightily to the nation’s cultural heritage, economic success and entrepreneurial spirit. And while East Indians have adopted many Belize traditions, beliefs and tenets, they proudly retain their unique identities by dressing in clothing from India, eating Indian foods and practicing social and religious customs.
In fact, if one were to identify one area that is the most commercially successful for East Indians, it would have to be food-related. The importation of spices and operation of eateries serving East Indian foods lend a distinct flavor to this community’s personality, and when new immigrants arrive these days, they bring with them new merchandising talents and skills that contribute to the nation’s economic success.
Generations have passed. Intermarriage has served to further merge ethnicities into the whole fabric that is Belize, and if you’re fascinated to know more about Belize’s East Indian citizenry, you will want to book an authentic Belize vacation at Chabil Mar so you are headquartered in an area with the best proximity to these neighborhoods, markets and cultural sites.
While you’re learning more about these people and their traditions, take advantage of one of Chabil Mar’s money-saving, all inclusive jungle and sea vacation packages. There’s a lot from which to choose as evidenced by the bounty of choices you’ll be offered when you plan your trip. See a tour you like? Follow the sage advice of Benjamin Franklin who said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today”!
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.