Where Is Belize?

Belize is located in Central America between Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and Guatemala. Belize is the only English-speaking country in the region and has a long coastline on the Caribbean Sea.

Although relatively small, Belize has an incredibly diverse landscape, including misty mountains, enormous waterfalls, pristine rivers, savannah, jungles teeming with wildlife, massive cave systems, and hundreds of offshore islands along the Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world.

Misconceptions About Belize

Is Belize an island?

No. Belize is on the mainland of Central America, although it does have hundreds of offshore islands.

Is Belize located in the Caribbean?

Belize has a Caribbean culture as well as a lengthy coastline along the Caribbean, but Belize is not technically “in” the Caribbean as it is located on the mainland of Central America.

Is Belize located in South America?

No. Belize is in Central America. For purists that only consider South and North America to be true continents, Belize would be located in North America.

Is Belize in Honduras?

No. Belize was called British Honduras back during the colonial days, but it got this name because the southern part of the country opens onto the Bay of Honduras. Today, Belize and Honduras are two separate nations separated by a narrow band of land belonging to Guatemala. It takes about two hours with a boat to travel from Punta Gorda in the south of Belize to Puerto Cortez in Honduras.

What’s the Right Way to Spell Belize?

Over the centuries, Belize has been spelled lots of different ways, including Belieze, Belise, Balize, and Beleez. The official name of the country in English is Belize, which you better “Belize” matters to the people who live there!

Facts About Belize

  • The official location of Belize is 17 degrees 15 minutes north and 88 degrees 45 west.
  • Belize has approximately 360,000 people.
  • English is the official language of Belize but other languages spoken in the country include Spanish, Mennonite German, Maya, and Garifuna.
  • Belize is about two hours flying time from Miami or Dallas/Houston.
  • Belize has 240 miles (386 km) of Caribbean coastline and hundreds of offshore islands.
  • Belize has a landmass of around 8,860 square miles (22,960 square km), just a bit bigger than the state of Massachusetts.
  • The highest point of land in Belize is Doyle’s Delight at 3,688 feet (1,124 meters).
  • Islands in Belize are known as “cayes” (pronounced “keys”).

Belize Maps

Map of Placencia Belize

Map of Placencia and Chabil Mar

Only about 2,000 year-round residents live in the village located on the southern tip of the Placencia Peninsula. The village is a fifteen-minute stroll along the beach or 5-minutes by bike, kayak or paddle board from Chabil Mar. (Click on the Map for Larger Image and to Zoom)

Belize Map in relation to Central America

Central America with Belize

Belize shares its northern border with Mexico and is bounded on the west and south by the nation of Guatemala.  (Click on the Map for Larger Image and to Zoom)

Placencia Reef and Dive Locations Map

placencia-dive-locations

Many of the best diving spots along the reef are just minutes from Chabil Mar. This map shows these, including Laughing Bird Caye and Gladden Spit. (Click on the Map for Larger Image and to Zoom)

Belize Diving Map

Belize Dive Map

Diving locations in and around the Belize Barrier Reef are numerous, and this map shows the best spots. (Click on the Map for Larger Image and to Zoom)

Belize Atolls Map

belize atolls map

Often described as a “coral atoll”, an atoll is a ring of coral that has a lagoon in its center. The circumference of the atoll is dry land, and Belize has hundreds of these atolls in the Caribbean up and down the Belize Barrier Reef. (Click on the Map for Larger Image and to Zoom)

Belize Geography Map

belize geographical map

Belize has a varied geography, with rolling hills and higher elevations in the southwest and west to lush agricultural flat lands in the north and southeast. Rainforest and jungle occupy much of Belize, and the country has a long coastline on the Caribbean with hundreds of offshore islands. (Click on the Map for Larger Image and to Zoom)

Map of Placencia, Belize

placencia-village-map

This 16-mile long finger of land is located on the coast of southeastern Belize in Stann Creek District. Chabil Mar is located just north of the village on the eastern side of the peninsula. (Click on the Map for Larger Image and to Zoom)

For more information about 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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25 Things You Need to Know Before You Travel to Placencia Belize

Placencia Belize
Placencia Beaches

One of the most popular destinations in Belize, Placencia is a charming, low-key fishing village located at the southern tip of the Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize. Bordered on one side by a lovely mangrove-lined lagoon and on the other by the Caribbean Sea, Placencia is renowned for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

The Placencia Peninsula measures approximately 19 miles from north to south but is just half a mile wide. With the look and feel of an island, it’s no surprise that Placencia is often described as the “caye (island) you can drive to.” But despite its popularity as a tourist destination, the main activities in Placencia are strolling the beach or motoring around on an electric golf cart.

The southeastern coast of Belize is famous for its natural beauty. Although luxury resorts and condominium developments have sprung up, Placencia has successfully managed to retain its old-world charm. Locals still head out to sea every morning in small boats to bring in the daily catch, and visitors can meander along the village’s 4,000-foot long “main street” that is a pedestrian-only sidewalk adorned with colorful murals and artwork.

Placencia is just one of three villages located on the peninsula but has lovely shops, charming cafes, seafood restaurants, a small medical clinic, and an airfield.

Whether you coming for a family vacation, a destination wedding, or romantic honeymoon, Placencia is one of the most beautiful spots in the country. It also serves as the gateway to the southern reef, a mecca for maritime activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and sailing.

And on the mainland, nearby attractions include hiking through the vast Cockscomb Basin Nature Reserve (home to some of Central America’s last surviving jaguars), learning about native wildlife and plants on a boat trip up the aptly named Monkey River, and touring ancient Maya ruins such as Nim Li Punit and Lubantuum.

Placencia Belize Guide
Silk Cayes, a popular snorkeling destination off the coast of Placencia

Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world describes Placencia as follows:

“How you wind up feeling about Placencia really depends on what you’re looking for. If it’s laid-back ambience, varied accommodations and some of the best restaurants in Southern Belize,  this beachfront paradise may well prove to be your personal Margaritaville. If it’s off-the-beaten-path adventure and cheaper living you’re after,Placencia might serve better as a way-station. Come on down for a few days of sandy beaches, sunny skies and great seafood before heading off to less trodden paths.”

If you are traveling to Placencia very soon, here are 25 things you need to know:

Placencia Belize Guide - Where to Stay
Chabil Mar in Placencia Belize
  1. Placencia Village sits at the very tip of the narrow 16 mile Placencia Peninsula in Southern Belize.
  2. Chabil Mar is located in Placencia Village. While other resorts along the Peninsula regularly advertise their location as Placencia Village, they are on the Placencia Peninsula as much as 12 miles north of the Village, in the communities of Seine Bight and Maya Beach, for instance.
  3. To a lot of people, the Placencia Peninsula feels like an Island but it is not. Less than 2000 people live in Placencia Village.
  4. The Placencia Peninsula is also home to two other communities: Seine Bight and Maya Beach.
  5. The name “Placencia” is actually a distortion of Punta Placentia, the name the Spaniards gave to the peninsula in the 1800s.
  6. In English, it means Point Pleasant.
  7. The Main Street in Placencia Village is just a sidewalk! In fact, the “Guinness Book of World Records” recognizes it as the narrowest main street in the world.

    Placencia Belize Guide - Things to See and Do
    Whale Sharks off the coast of Placencia Belize
  8. Many people visit Placencia during the months of April, May and June to swim, dive or snorkel with giant whale sharks at the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve.
  9. Placencia’s Lobsterfest is the village’s most famous festival and is held in June of every year. In 2013, the Placencia Lobsterfest won an award from the Belize Tourism Board as the Festival of the Year!
  10. An Arts Festival is held in February each year, that brings artists from all over Belize to showcase their art along the 4071 foot (3/4 mile), 4 foot wide Placencia Sidewalk.
  11. Placencia was once a sleepy fishing village.
  12. The Placencia Peninsula boasts 16 miles of tranquil beaches.
  13. Many travelers who vacation in Placencia do the Monkey River and the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary Tours.

    Placencia Belize Attractions
    Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the top tours to do from Placencia
  14. Placencia has a range of Belize resorts and hotels that can fit almost any budget.
  15. Placencia is 35 minutes away from Belize City by air.
  16. The road into Placencia Village is bordered by the lagoon on one side and the turquoise Caribbean on the other, and ends at the end of the Peninsula.
  17. Placencia is world renowned for offshore fishing, diving and snorkeling.
  18. Placencia is also well known for its very laid-back, no-shoes ambience where locals go out of their way to make sure you enjoy your visit.

    Placencia Belize Guide - Things to See and Do
    Laughing Bird Caye is another popular attraction that is located off the coast of Placencia
  19. The average temperature in sub-tropical Placencia is 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  20. Anytime of the year is  good to visit Placencia.
  21. Getting around Placencia is very easy.
  22. Francis Ford Coppola, the American Film Director, Producer and Screenwriter owns a resort in Placencia.
  23. Placencia is home to many world class luxury resorts like Chabil Mar.
  24. Laughing Bird Caye is a favorite camping site for reef kayakers who base their expeditions in Placencia.
  25. Placencia is also known for its great food and restaurants.
  26. The Placencia Lagoon is an imperative breeding area for saltwater crocodiles, marine turtles and the rare and endangered manatees.

Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Placencia 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 your Belize vacation.

September is a Celebration of Patriotism in Belize

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Belize celebrates two important events in September, St Georges Caye Day and Independence Day. St George’s Caye Day is celebrated on September 10 and commemorates the victory of the Baymen who won the battle that took place on September 10, 1798 between military forces from Mexico in an attempt to assert Spanish claims to present-day Belize.

On September 10th, the entire country dresses in patriotic colors of red, blue and white and in every corner of the country, you hear the lyrics of the patriotic song “The Tenth Day of September”.

st georges caye day photo by ambergris today

Photo by Ambergristoday.com

The song and lyrics are below:

The tenth day of September
words by B. F. Abeling

It was the 10th day of September In ninety-eight Anno Domini
when our fore-fathers won the
glorious fight at Old St. George’s Caye

Then hail them – cheer them.
Let our grateful loyal hearts not fail them,
as we march and sing and shout in merry glee
The Battle of St. George’s Caye.
Hip! Hip! Hurrah. Hip! Hip! Hurrah.

You can hear the song below courtesy of Lord Rhaburn Combo & Calypso Rose:

This year also marks the 221st anniversary of the Battle of Saint George’s Caye Day.

The second most important event for the month of September in Belize is Independence Day. This year, Belize will celebrate its 38th anniversary of Independence from Great Britain and traditional events around the country include the Queen of the Bay Pageant, Carnival Parade, St. George’s Caye Day Citizens Parade, Expo, Official Independence Day Celebrations and live musical concerts.

The September Celebration theme is “From Maya Grandeur to Modern Glory, Together Let’s Shape the Belizean Story.”

According to the September Celebration’s Commission, the theme evokes a spirit of nationalism and a call to work for Belize and thus, the  Commission encourages and  invites  all  Belizeans: individuals, organizations, schools and businesses –to incorporate  the  theme  and  its   significance  into  their  preparations  and celebrations for the National Celebrations this year.

Listen to some instrumental Belize National Songs here:

If you will be visiting Belize in September, don’t miss the chance to celebrate these two important events!

For more information about the traveling to Belize or Placencia for the month of September, 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.

A Tourist Guide to Belize

This Central American state sandwiched between Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea, is small in size but brimming with opportunities for tourists to explore. As a former colony in the British Empire, English speaking tourists will find it easy to get by. This is a fairly unique attribute for a country in this region, which is predominantly Spanish or Portuguese speaking.

Here are the top things to see and do in Belize:

Xunantunich

Xunantunich (pronounced shoo-nahh-too-neech) is a Mayan archaeological site located on top of a hill near the Mopan River. Whilst you’ll get spectacular views on site, the journey to the site is a significant part of the experience, since you’ll be transported across the river on a cable ferry, moved manually using a hand crank. Once across you’ll be able to admire the Mayan construction that dates back to the 7th century AD.

If you’re interested in the history of the site, take a look at the visitor center located near the ticket office. Here you will find artifacts found at the site, including jewelry and pottery as well as information about a Mayan burial site. 

Have a Flutter in the Princess Casino

Belize differs from some of its neighboring countries in that is has a very limited choice for those looking to head to a casino as part of their vacation. Of the small selection of casinos in the country, the biggest, and arguably the best option for tourists, is the Princess Hotel and Casino which is located in the capital, Belize City. The casino is modeled on the venues you’d find in casino destination cities like Las Vegas, with a grand faux marble interior. You won’t be spoilt for choice in terms of the games on offer, but there’s certainly enough variety to cater for most interests. The casino has three table games: Roulette, Blackjack and Caribbean Stud Poker, a game similar to other Stud games, with cards being dealt in rounds. Caribbean Stud Poker varies in that you complete against the house instead of other players.

Koko King

Located on the island of Caye Corker, Koko King is a white sandy beach location for a permanent beach party, with a restaurant serving great Caribbean food, and the opportunity to partake in beach games.To get there you’ll need to take a ferry or a kayak or paddleboard if you’re adventurous. The island is a great place to go swimming, take a walk along the beach and watch the sunset.

Museum of Belize

Located in the Fort George District of Belize City, the Museum of Belize provides an insight into the history of the country through several exhibits. The museum is housed inside Belize’s former main jail that was built back in 1857. In addition to the history of Belize and some Mayan artefacts, the museum also has a number of pieces of contemporary art in its gallery.

Dangriga and Hopkins

For those looking to experience what Belize is like beyond the tourist hotspots, Dangriga and Hopkins Villages are the places you’ll want to visit. Dangriga, an urban area in the Stann Creek district, is regarded as Belize’s capital of culture, and is brimming with musicians playing Punta Rock and other types of music indigenous to the region. Hopkins is a smaller, quieter village a couple of miles south of Dangriga.

Canoeing on the River

The Mopan River, Macal River, and Belize River form the main river system in Belize and all feed into the Caribbean Sea. Like in many places in the world, they were used as the main method of transport before roads were constructed.

There are a number of companies that will hire you a canoe or kayak for the Mopan and Macal Rivers, allowing you to explore Belize in a way that has been used for hundreds of years. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of nature to admire with many species of birds and large iguanas common sights along the rivers.

Belize is a unique and beautiful country, with a lot of cultures to absorb and experience. Its pristine beaches, picturesque nature and unique history make it a great place for tourists looking for something beyond the typical tourist destinations. Tourists from English speaking countries, particularly those in North America will find Belize easy to travel to, and easy to get by in. With a diverse set of attractions, activities, and destinations, there’s plenty to do in Belize.

What You Need to Know About Belize’s September Celebrations

With so many fun festivals and national holidays packed into just one short month, September is one of the best times to visit Belize.

Below is the complete guide to all of the best September celebrations in Belize:

Battle of St. George’s Caye Day Festivities

 
st georges caye day photo by ambergris today
In 1798, Spain and Britain contested rule over the area with a tremendous maritime battles in the waters offshore of St. George’s Caye. After a week of close-quarter fighting, the British ultimately prevailed, sealing the fate of Belize as a British colony for the next 200 years. Belize has been an independent country since 1981 but continues to celebrate the momentous battle every September 10 that led to Belize being the only nation in Central America where English is the official language.

Independence Day

 
Portrait of a boy with the flag of Belize on his face.
Portrait of a boy with the flag of Belize on his face.

September 21 marks the official commemoration of Belize’s independence from Great Britain with parades, street parties, and throngs of people proudly waving the red, white and blue colors of Belize’s flag. September 21 is the national holiday but Independence Day festivities begin up to two weeks earlier with the period between Battle of St. George’s Caye Day (September 10) and Independence Day being a virtually non-stop explosion of musical celebrations, parades, dancing, eating, and imbibing.

Expo Belize Market Place

 
belize market place expo
More than 17,000 people are expected to attend this popular event that showcases the products and goods of Belize. Activities include dancing, singing, sampling a wide variety of local food, and plenty of shopping from booths set up by local vendors. Expo Belize Market Place will be held around mid-September in 2019.

Carnival

 
belize carnival
Similar to events in New Orleans and throughout Latin America, Carnival is a colorful display of parades, music, dancing, and partying spectators that line the streets of Belize City. Elaborately-costumed individuals will march and dance in their efforts to be crowned the king and queen of Carnival.

J’ouvert

 
Belize J'ouvert
This unusual festival takes place in the streets of downtown Belize City, with thousands of exuberant party-goers celebrating the opening morning of Carnival Day with a riotous mix of chocolate and paint.

Chabil Mar

Scenes 2nd Floor Seaview Chabil Mar Belize Resort
The multiple award-winning resort of Chabil Mar on the Placencia Peninsula is one of the best resorts to stay in Belize. Guests can partake in all of the popular September festivals by booking now.

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