You’ve probably already heard about all of the amazing things to do and see in Belize, learned that every major airline offers non-stop flights to the country, and that Belize is an unspoiled natural paradise.
Before you depart for a wonderful vacation, here are 10 things you need to know to make sure your trip goes smoothly:
1 – Money
One American dollar is always equivalent to 2 Belizean dollars (BZD). American dollars are accepted everywhere.
2 – Visas
Citizens of Canada, the United States, and the EU do not need a visa to enter the country as a tourist for up to 30 days. For longer stays, you’ll need an extension.
3 – Language
As a former British colony, Belize is the only country in the region where English is the official language. Many people also speak Creole (similar to English), Spanish, Maya, Garifuna, and German.
4 – Toiletries
Be sure to bring sunscreen if you have fair skin. It’s also a good idea to bring insect repellent as well. In order to protect the environment, choose natural products.
5 – Clothes to Pack
Definitely don’t forget to bring a swimsuit! It rarely gets cold in Belize, so a sweatshirt or jacket is the most you’ll need. Casual wear like shorts and sandals are practically the national uniform in Belize.
6 – Religious Customs
7 – Electricity
Belize uses the same outlets and voltages as the United States, so all of your gear will work just fine.
8 – Holidays and Festivals
Belize is a country that loves to celebrate, so be sure to check the calendar to find out which exciting festivals, holidays, and concerts will be taking place during your visit.
9 – Health Requirements
Belize has top-quality healthcare, and there are no major health risks associated with visiting the country. The weather is quite warm in Belize so be sure to drink plenty of water so as to not get hydrated.
10 – Get Excited!
Belize is a land of adventure, so be prepared to have a ton of fun. Whether you spend your time clambering around ancient Maya pyramids, zip lining through the jungle, spotting howler monkeys in the wild, or swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling on the reef, you’re guaranteed to have a wonderful time.
Visit our website www.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.
The resort of Chabil Mar on the Placencia Peninsula is proud to announce that they have added a new luxury suite to its collection. Located directly on the beach, the new Seafront Villa has two stories with 2000 square feet of interior space. The new villa is furnished with beautiful local furniture made from Belizean woods, and a custom-crafted spiral staircase connects the first floor living areas with the master bedroom and suite that overlook the area below.
The new villa features impressive verandas, including a fully-enclosed entertainment area and lounge. One veranda on the ground floor comes complete with a serving bar and dining area, while the second floor enclosed veranda has a stunningly gorgeous unobstructed view of the turquoise Caribbean Sea. The third veranda is an open-air area on the first floor that also overlooks the Caribbean. A table and chairs make this villa the ideal spot to enjoy a fine meal or relax with a cocktail.
The new villa now joins the 20 other upscale villas on the property, ideal accommodations for families, groups, or couples wanting additional space and comforts on their vacation. The new villa can be rented as either a one-bedroom en-suite or as a two-bedroom en-suite. The villa is a Chabil Mar exclusive, has its own private parking area, a full range of international television channels, high speed wireless internet, and a fully equipped modern kitchen compliment the finely crafted Belize style architecture and decor.
“We’re very pleased to announce the opening of our new villa,” said Larry France, the marketing manager of Chabil Mar. “At Chabil Mar, we’re constantly striving to create a beautiful oasis of modern comfort for our guests, and this new villa is the ideal place for families or couples to relax and enjoy a gorgeous view of the turquoise Caribbean Sea.”
The new villa was constructed just in time to meet increasing numbers of international visitors to Belize. With WestJet beginning non-stop service from Toronto (Canada) to Belize on October 29, 2016, and Southwest scheduled to begin a new non-stop flight from Denver to Belize next year, demand for luxury accommodations at Belize resorts has been steadily growing. With the competition heating up, top airlines like United, American, Delta, and Southwest have made flying to Belize easier and more affordable than ever.
Chabil Mar is an award-winning luxury resort located just a few minutes’ walk from Placencia Village on the Placencia Peninsula in Belize’s southeastern Stann Creek District. The resort features luxury accommodations, two swimming pools, a lush tropical garden, a gourmet restaurant, and a beach pier ideal for lounging or fresh air dining.
Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Chabil Mar and 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.
Placencia Village on the southeastern coast of Belize is a popular holiday destination for North American expats and tourists. The village is located on the southern tip of the 16-mile long narrow Placencia Peninsula, a relaxed “barefoot friendly” community that bills itself as the caye (island) that you can drive to as it is easily accessible by automobile via a paved 27-mile road that branches off from the Southern Highway.
Placencia is a popular destination for vacationers but each tourist brings their own expectations to the kind of experience that they have in the area. Many enjoy the laid-back barefoot atmosphere where you can wander up and down the public beaches or mosey into some of the best bars and restaurants in the area. Others visitors looking for a more pampered experience can stay at top-rated luxury resorts like Chabil Mar located just a few minutes’ walk from the village.
The high season in Placencia starts in mid-December and lasts until after Easter, although any time of the year is a good time to visit. There’s always a bump in the number of visitors during the full moons of the months of May and June as that’s when the whale sharks come to feed in the waters just offshore.
Here are 8 must do activities/tours in Placencia.
Explore Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in the Stann Creek District and not far from Placencia Village, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is globally recognized as the world’s first jaguar preserve and is home to cascading waterfalls to swim in, panoramic mountain views, nature trails, furry mammals, colorful insects, scaly reptiles and a variety of neotropical birds. In addition, river tubing is a favorite adventure for the many visitors to this unique tropical paradise. Tours leave daily from Chabil Mar.
Although the jaguar (the largest spotted cat in the world) is what the reserve is famous for, you are unlikely to see one as the cat is nocturnal. However you will see its tracks along with tracks of tapir, deer, and other wildlife that inhabit the nature reserve. Cockscomb Basin is also home to one of Belize’s highest points — Victoria Peak and many travelers who vacation in Placencia go on this tour.
Go on a Kayaking expedition at Laughing Bird Caye
Kayaking in Placencia is a joy! The crystal clear waters, tepid sunshine and balmy Caribbean breezes that Belize offers make for an ideal kayaking expedition. As you glide across the warm waters, you will observe untouched coral reefs, white sandy beaches and abundant marine wildlife like the amazing sea turtle.
Belize has numerous cayes that can be explored on a kayak. Laughing Bird Caye National Park for example, is a mini atoll and is a favorite stopover for reef kayakers.
Pay a Visit to the Resident Howler Monkeys
Take a boat to Monkey River Village and head up Monkey River and into the jungle to pay a visit with the resident howler monkeys. Complete your adventure along the ride to observe crocodiles sunning along the river banks, along with exotic birds, iquana hanging in the trees, a few bats and lizards and enjoy a lunch with the villagers in Monkey River. On the way back to Placencia you may even see a few manatees along with their pups.
Explore Maya Temple Sites
According to archeologists, over 1 million Maya people lived in present day Belize. Today there are a range of Maya temples scattered throughout Belize. If you are vacationing in Placencia, you might want to explore Maya Temples like Nim Li Punit and Lubantuun in the Toledo District or Xunantunich and Cahal Pech in western Belize. While visiting some of these sites, maybe even add on a swim up river and into a cave! That is a thrill of a lifetime.
Dive or Snorkel – even with Whale Sharks
Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, Belize is a diver and snorkeler’s dream come true. In addition, over 100 islands dot the coastline, just offshore from Placencia, providing endless opportunities for diverse diving and snorkeling opportunities.
During the months of March, April, May and June around the full moon, giant whale sharks will emerge in the turquoise clear waters of Gladden Spit and Silk Caye Marine Reserve near the Placencia Peninsula. This marine reserve is used by over 30 species of tropical fishes to release their eggs and it is the eggs of the cubera, mutton and dog snappers that the whale sharks munch on.
Both divers and snorkelers can swim with these giant whale sharks in the pristine and warm waters of southern Belize without any risk from these magnificent creatures as they do not pose any significant threat to humans.
Fishing is Extraordinary
As a traditional fishing Village, Placencia is the residency of some of the finest fishing captains in Belize. And, due to its location on a peninsula, the lagoons to the west, the Caribbean to the east and the barrier reef 18 miles offshore, while being dotted with multiple islands (cayes, pronounced “keys”), fishing is inherent in the population and history of this beautiful Village of 1500 residents. A grand slam is a definitely a possibility while visiting Placencia.
Enjoy delicious Belizean Cuisines
Placencia Village is a traditional fishing Village with a tourist element. It is this small tourist exposure that has encouraged its residents to populate it with amazing restaurants like Tipsy Tuna, Rum Fish, Barefoot, La Dolce Vita, Secret Garden, Yoli’s, Pickled Parrot, Purple Space Monkey and Wendy’s (no not the fast food restaurant) and these well known restaurants offer a variety of fresh sea food at a reasonable price. Dotted along the streets are many vendors serving some of the best Belizean dishes in the country, passed down from generations and prepared with local ingredients. Rum Fish for example, sells the best fish tacos and if you are into gourmet burgers you’ll have to try Barefoot Restaurant & Bar which is located right on the beach.
You can also check out the Italian Gelato Shop that offers incredible and authentic fruit gelatos. Gelato in Placencia? Yes, and we dare say among the best you will ever have the pleasure to put to your palate.
In a country with more than 180 miles of beaches, the Placencia Peninsula truly stands out. Lovely white sand, refreshing tropical breezes, and the sight and scent of the sparkling waters of the Caribbean combine for a truly unforgettable tropical beach experience.
While many people partake in organized adventures on both the mainland and nearby Belize Barrier Reef, one of the truly special joys of a Belize vacation is relaxing and exploring the beaches of the Placencia peninsula.
Below are a few ways to make the most of Placencia’s golden beaches:
- Take a long walk – In some parts, it’s considered a cliche to say that you enjoy a long walk on the beach, but in Placencia the words won’t matter. Whether you’re strolling hand in hand with a loved one or simply admiring the view on your own, walking along the beach in Placencia is undeniably good for the soul.
- Enjoy a fine meal – Whether you’ve packed a picnic basket filled to the brim with tasty local goodies or you’ve decided to enjoy a seafront view at one of the peninsula’s amazing restaurants, few experiences can compare to dining on delicious food and drinks on the beach.
- Main Street – New York has Fifth Avenue and Paris has the Champs-Élysées, but the village of Placencia has its own unique claim to fame. Officially declared the smallest main street in the world, the central “boulevard” running through the middle of the village is actually a sidewalk just four feet across. No cars are allowed which makes it the perfect place to visit cute little shops, grab a coffee, or sit down for a delicious snack.
- Relax! – Many people get so wound up trying to cram in as many activities and tours during their vacation that they forget the reason why they decided to visit Belize in the first place. The lovely golden dunes of Placencia are a great place to work on your tan, swing in a hammock, or dip your toes in the Caribbean while unwinding and relaxing.
- Seine Bight – Heading north from Placencia Village, visitors walking along the beach have the opportunity to go see the village of Seine Bight. Home to Belize’s unique Garifuna culture, Seine Bight is a great chance to experience Garifuna music, dancing, and food.
- Take unforgettable photos – Whether you want to impress your friends on social media with your amazing selfies or simply want to capture the happy memories of vacation, the beaches of Placencia are ideal for taking photographs.
Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information on Belize and 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 Belize vacation.
Thanksgiving has become one of the most important American holidays. First officially commemorated as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln, Thanksgiving is a time for expressing gratitude. More than 400 years ago when starving European colonists in Massachusetts shared a life-saving meal thanks to the generosity of natives, an event that formed the nucleus of what would become the Thanksgiving holiday. Today, Thanksgiving is a special time for family and friends who come together to give thanks to the blessings bestowed upon them and also to share a bounteous meal.
Although Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Belize, more and more people from North America have discovered the benefits of enjoying a Thanksgiving in Belize. Expats from North America who have relocated to Belize brought their holiday traditions with them, and now Thanksgiving is an important, albeit unofficial, time of celebration throughout the country.
Probably the most iconic centerpiece of a traditional Thanksgiving meal is turkey. Many people are unaware that turkeys are native birds from Central America that were once farmed by the ancient Maya that lived in the region thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. Other native dishes to the area include corn (sometimes called maize), still a staple crop in Belize today. Many expats and visitors enjoy mixing classic Thanksgiving foods like turkey and corn with Belizean favorites like gibnut meat, hudut (a fish stew cooked in a coconut broth), and seaweed shakes.
What To Do in Belize on Thanksgiving
Once you’ve polished off your delicious Thanksgiving feast, you can take advantage of the balmy weather to work off a few calories by trying out fun activities like strolling through Placencia village, hiking through the jungle to spot birds, explore an ancient Maya ruin, touring the Belize Zoo and Educational Center, or heading off to the beach to work on your tan, scuba dive, or snorkel.
Thanksgiving and November usually herald the onset of colder weather in North America, but Belize is blessed with plenty of sun and warm temperatures during this time of year. Whether you want to enjoy a refreshing swim or plumb the depths of the sacred ATM cave, you’ll never have to worry about hats, gloves, and scarves in Belize.
Chabil Mar is a multiple award-winning resort located on the lovely Placencia Peninsula. The resort offers guests comprehensive jungle and sea packages to see the best spots offshore and on the mainland during your stay.
Chabil Mar is conveniently located just a few miles from the best spots along the Belize Barrier Reef as well as top mainland attractions like Maya ruins and the Cockscomb Basin Nature Reserve, the world’s only jaguar preserve.
On August 4, 2016, lashing rains and high winds announced the arrival of Hurricane Earl in Belize. With steady gusts measuring more than 80 miles per hour, and 12 inches of rain falling in less than 24 hours, Belize felt the wrath of Hurricane Earl.
After the winds died down and the sun came out, biologists and nature conservationists were faced with the difficult task of checking on the welfare of Belize’s small group of native big cats. Field scientists set up camera traps throughout the wooded terrain where jaguars make their home in sites like the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Within days, scientists were rewarded with footage showing a mother jaguar and two young cubs seemingly alive and well.
A team helmed by Dr. Bart Harmsen and Dr. Rebecca Foster began relocating cat cameras in higher areas not affected by flooding as well as sites outside of the boundary of the Cockscomb Basic Wildlife Sanctuary in an effort to ascertain the fate of Belize’s big cats. The team were concerned that jaguars such as Ben, an alpha male, pumas, and family groups with young cubs might have drowned or become injured in the storm. Rarely approached in face to face encounters, the scientists nervously watched their camera traps for evidence that Belize’s special felines had emerged unscathed from Hurricane Earl.
The local conservation agency, known as Panthera, have successfully tracked and identified 131 jaguars primarily via the use of camera traps. The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is the world’s only jaguar reserve. Panthera tracks both young cubs as well as senior citizens in the jaguar world, individuals ranging between 10 and 14 years old.
On his blog, Dr Harmsen wrote about how he, Dr. Foster, and their team were among the first humans to enter the park once it had been cleared by the authorities. Dr. Harmsen wrote about his immense feeling of relief once the team was able to establish that famous residents like Ben the jaguar and Flash the puma were seen alive and apparently doing well on the camera traps.
The scientists are now confident that most of the big cats in the reserve are alive and well. Aside from a missing cub, it seems that the small but vital population of these endangered animals successfully rode out the storm that claimed the lives of 67 people in the region.
The multiple award-winning luxury resort of Chabil Mar on the Placencia Peninsula offers guided tours of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Chabil Mar is also ideally situated close to some of the top parks and nature reserves in the country where jaguars and other endangered species are allowed to thrive in protected habitats.