The Mennonites in Belize

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the first arrival of the Mennonite community in Belize. In 1958, a small band of Mennonites left Chihuahua State in Mexico and crossed into Belize to establish a farming community at the village of Spanish Lookout.

The first Mennonite settlers purchased land that was originally dense rainforest. With hard work and thriftiness, the Mennonites cleared the land in Spanish Lookout. Today, Mennonite farms growing beans, corn, and raising cattle have transformed their settlements into some of the most productive agricultural regions of Belize. Almost all of the eggs, chicken, and dairy products in Belize come from Mennonite farms.

Originally founded in the 16th century as a subsect of Anabaptist denominations in what is now Holland, Mennonites were forced to flee to Ukraine in order to escape persecution where they became known as “Russian” Mennonites (at the time, Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire). But following political instability, many Mennonites were forced to relocate in Mexico.

Today, there are some two million Mennonites worldwide and around 12,000 Mennonites in Belize, including converts from the local Creole and Mestizo populations. Most Mennonites in Belize speak Plautdietsch, a variant of standard German for communication and standard German for church and school.

The Mennonite faith is expressed differently depending on the congregation, with some communities following a strictly conservative lifestyle that eschews all modern conveniences while others, including the Spanish Lookout community, use and operate modern machinery and electricity. In some Mennonite communities in Belize such as Lower Barton Creek, transportation is with horse-drawn buggies and no modern technology is permitted, including photographs. In Spanish Lookout, on the other hand, only the language and conservative dress styles separate Mennonites from other communities in Belize, and the congregation is permitted to drive cars and use electricity.

To outsiders, the Mennonites are often confused with the Amish, another conservative religious tradition that began in Europe. The Amish, however, are considered a subset of the larger Mennonite faith, and Mennonites, generally, are more open to using modern technology and interacting with the public.

“At Chabil Mar, we know that Belize’s cultural diversity is one of this country’s greatest strengths,” said Larry France, marketing manager at Chabil Mar. “On behalf of all of us at the resort, we congratulate the Mennonite community on the occasion of their 60th anniversary.”

Chabil Mar is an inclusive luxury resort located on the Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize.

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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Discover the Wonders of Southern Belize

placencia-belize

Discover Southern Belize

Southern Belize is the home of diverse cultures, societies, and ecologies. As travelers head south, they can witness the transition from citrus orchards and flat savannah land to the forested slopes that are home to modern Maya villages and ancient Mayan ruins. Lovely villages like Placencia and Hopkins offer a laid-back lifestyle, where local fishing and artesian traditions are still kept alive.

For visitors in search of adventure, there is plenty to explore in the jungles of Toledo District, replete with luxury resorts hidden in the remote corners of the rainforest. Offshore, the numerous cayes (islands) and atolls near the Belize barrier reef offer unparalleled fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking opportunities, a great chance to escape the crowds and higher prices found on the cayes in the northern part of Belize.

Top Places to Explore and Visit in Southern Belize

  • Garifuna culture – Southern Belize is the home to a unique people who still make a living fishing in small boats, working in small-scale agriculture, or handcrafting goods and art. Friendly and welcoming, Garifuna culture is also renowned for their love of dancing and music. The center of Garifuna culture is the town of Dangriga, with other iconic villages located in Hopkins, Placencia, and Sittee River.
  • Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Preserve – Home to the last surviving native jaguars of Central America, the Cockscomb Wildlife Preserve is also a great place to watch tropical birds in their native habitat.
  • Mayan Ruins – The Ancient Mayan Empire once ruled all of Belize, and today visitors can visit the ruins at Nim Li Punit or Lubantuum in Toledo District, or go on day trips from Placencia to see the mysterious Blue Creek Caves, also in Toledo District.
  • Placencia – Measuring 11 miles long, the Placencia Peninsula is a truly tropical oasis, with refreshing trade winds, and pristine beaches fronting the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
  • The Belize Barrier Reef – Just a short boat ride away lies the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest coral reef in the world. Kayaking, diving, fishing, and snorkeling opportunities are unparalleled in this uniquely rich and diverse marine habitat.

Where to Stay in Southern Belize

In the ancient Mayan language, “Chabil Mar” meant “beautiful sea”. Today, the Villas as Chabil Mar live up to that name, with beautifully appointed villas on the gorgeous Placencia Peninsula, all facing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Located just steps away from the picturesque Placencia Village, Chabil Mar has an on-site restaurant, free Wi-Fi, and a private beach with plenty of room to soak in the rays of sun in this special corner of paradise.


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 Powers Ahead in Beach Volleyball Tournament

belize volleyball team

Belize has had two historic victories at the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tournament. During the fifth leg of the tournament currently taking place in La Paz, Mexico, the Belizean team of Bryton Codd and Francis Hauze came out of the gate with two impressive victories. They first beat the team from the Bahamas 2-0. They then took on two tough contenders from El Salvador and won 2-1 in overtime.

These victories put Belize at the top of Group C. This is the best showing Belize has ever had at this tournament. It’s an impressive debut for this new Belize team.

The tournament continues at Playa del Malecon in La Paz. After winning Group C, the boys from Belize will take part in the semifinals next week. If they continue to dominate the way they did on their first outing, their chances of winning a championship are looking bright.

NORCECA stands for North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation. It’s a federation that represents more than 35 countries including Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Costa Rica, the U.S., and Canada. The current champion is Mexico.

Volleyball Is Big in Belize

Last year, the Belize women’s team was the first Belizean team in history to qualify for the Central American and Caribbean Games in Female Beach Volleyball. What’s even more impressive is that the team won silver at that competition.

Chabil Mar Congratulates Bryton Codd and Francis Hauze 

The Chabil Mar Resort speaks for all Belizeans when we say that we’re proud of this team’s hard work, dedication and fearless playing. Every day, Belizeans are putting our small, beautiful country on the map.

We invite everyone who’s visiting us here to stay at our luxurious, beachside resort. At the Chabil Mar, we do everything we can to make your Belize holiday special

Summer Dreams Really Do Come True in Belize

If you’re looking for the perfect place to enjoy an amazing summer vacation, look no further than Belize. A small, English-speaking country with amazingly beautiful beaches, islands, jungles, and waterfalls, Belize is just a two-hour flight from cities like Houston and Miami.

One of the biggest summer attractions in Belize is scuba diving with whale sharks. The largest fish in the world’s oceans, whale sharks can weigh up to 47,000 pounds (21 tonnes) and measure up to 41 feet (12 meters) long. Despite their immense size, whale sharks pose little danger to humans because their main source of food is tiny plankton that they strain out of the water.

Whale sharks are migratory animals, traversing the entire globe every year. As such, whale sharks are only in Belize for a limited time. Furthermore, whale sharks normally spend their time at great depths, only rising to the surface during key phases of the moon.

In 2018, the schedule for scuba diving with whale sharks is:

  • April 30 to May 10
  • May 29 to June 10
  • June 28 to July 12

Other exciting things to enjoy in Belize during the summer include the Placencia Lobsterfest. Following the opening of the lobster fishing season in early June, the beachfront community of Placencia hosts a lively three-day festival dedicated to all things lobster. Chefs from all over the country compete to create innovative lobster dishes while hungry diners enjoy plenty of games, competitions, live music, and refreshing drinks.


Summer is truly a great time to visit Belize, especially if you love the beach. Water temperatures are in the low 80s (26-28° Celsius) while air temperatures are in the mid to high 80s (26-30° Celsius).

The best place to stay in Belize on your summer vacation is Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia. Located just steps from the beach, Chabil Mar has luxuriously appointed villas, a beautiful tropical garden, two freshwater swimming pools, and a gourmet restaurant.

Chabil Mar is a perennial TripAdvisor favorite and the winner of multiple tourism and hospitality awards. Whether you’re coming to Belize on your honeymoon, a family vacation, to get married, or as an adventure traveler, Chabil Mar has everything you need. Chabil Mar is also conveniently located close to all of the major attractions in Belize, including scuba diving sites, ancient Maya cities, and wildlife sanctuaries.

This summer, make your dreams come true at the Chabil Mar Resort in Placencia, Belize.

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