Belize is much more than a great destination to enjoy beautiful beaches, explore ancient Maya ruins, and scuba dive the rich waters around coral reefs; it is also a superb location to study arthropods. With a large and complex ecosystem of pristine rainforests and jungles, Belize has been attracting biologists and environmental scientists for decades who come to the country to study the varied forms of arthropods which include thousands of species of crustaceans at sea and insects on land.
More than 80% of all non-plant species on the planet are arthropods, including species like butterflies, crabs, lobsters and shrimp. Defined as animals with no interior bones and relying on an exterior hard shell or segmented body (called an exoskeleton), arthropods have over a million known species. Arthropods are sensitive to pollution so scientists from around the world come to Belize to study these important creatures in a setting where they thrive.
Recently, students enrolled at the New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences visited Belize for a 10-day expedition to study the Central American nation’s ecology. The students came to Belize because of the wide diversity of arthropods found in the local jungles and forests. Thanks to strong conservation efforts by the government of Belize, arthropods are able to flourish in their natural habitats.
If you are traveling to Belize to enjoy more traditional attractions like the Belize Barrier Reef, the miles of gorgeous beaches or the dozens of Mayan ruins, you might also enjoy learning more about the country’s diverse ecology and its abundance of arthropods.
For close access to both the Belize Barrier Reef offshore and pristine rainforests and jungles on the mainland, Chabil Mar features luxury accommodations in a charming and unique setting. A guest exclusive resort located on the Placencia Peninsula in Southern Belize, Chabil Mar offers excursions to see all of the best ancient Mayan cities, as well as snorkeling and diving tours to the reef. The resort can also arrange expeditions to witness nature in the Cockscomb Basin Preserve and along the banks of the Monkey River, two of the best places in the country where you can learn more about Belize’s unique flora and fauna.
For information about visiting Belize, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our Reservations Manager at:email@example.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.
The Maya Empire was among the most advanced civilizations in the world for more than 2,000 years, and the epicenter of the civilization was located in Belize. At the civilization’s peak, the area now known as Belize was home to more than two million Mayan people, making it one of the most densely populated areas of the Mayan civilization in Mesoamerica.
Many who visit Belize today will take time to explore some of the Mayan sites located across the country, and three of the most overlooked yet fascinating archaeological sites to visit are Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun and Uxbenka. With a closer look at what these Mayan ruins have to offer, you may decide to spend time exploring them on your upcoming trip to Belize.
Nim Li Punit
The Nim Li Punit ruins sit in a scenic location overlooking the Toledo plains and rain forest area. The site features a ball court, a pyramid and a main plaza as well as several other buildings that you can explore in greater detail. The area notably has 26 stellas and fascinating carvings that make it unique from other Mayan ruins. In fact, one of the carved columns is the largest of its kind in Belize.
Situated in the southern end of the Toledo District, the Lubaantun ruins are also worthy of spending time exploring while you are in southern Belize. Lubaantun was once a ceremonial center of the Mayan civilization, and it boasts several large pyramids and residential buildings that you can explore in greater detail during your visit. The ruins uniquely have no mortar binding them, and some of the buildings were made from perishable materials. Because of this, the area is known as the “Place of the Fallen Stones.”
Uxbenka is the smallest of these three Mayan ruins, but it is fascinating to explore. It is also a ceremonial site that offers stunning views of the Blue Creek Canyon and the Maya Mountains in the distance. Notably, the area has a main plaza and several smaller plazas, terraced grounds, seven stellas, a water supply tower and an open tomb.
If you are interested in exploring any of these 3 Mayan sites or other ancient Mayan cities while on your Belize vacation, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our Reservations Manager at:email@example.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.
Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize and is known for its beaches and a wide array of marine adventures like snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. However, lately many travelers are discovering the Placencia Peninsula, a superb destination in southern Belize that is not overcrowded and offers amazing snorkeling, scuba diving, land adventures and is known for having the best white sandy beaches in the country.
The gorgeous Placencia Peninsula is a beautiful 16-mile stretch of land that features sandy mangrove-lined lagoons on one side and the sparkling waters of the Caribbean on the other. At the southern tip of the peninsula is the village of Placencia. Once a small community of fishermen, the village has recently expanded to accommodate visitors with lovely cafes, restaurants featuring fresh seafood, and dive shops that have all the gear necessary to enjoy snorkeling, fishing, and diving at the nearby Belize Barrier Reef.
Placencia Peninsula is also ideally situated for mainland adventures. Located in the southeastern part of Belize, Placencia is close to Monkey River Village where tourists can ride a boat upstream to witness a spectacular variety of flora and fauna in its natural habitat, including the howler monkeys that gave the river its name. Also nearby is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, home to the last native jaguars in Central America as well as hundreds of species of birds and exotic plants.
Many visitors come to Placencia because they prefer the beaches to those found on Ambergris Caye. With miles of pristine sand and transparent waters, the peninsula is an ideal place to enjoy snorkeling, work on your tan, or simply drink in a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Just a few miles offshore is Gladden Spit, a marine reserve that allows divers to explore a wide variety of marine life, including migrating whale sharks that visit the area once a year.
Placencia is also near the region that is home to the Garifuna people who began emigrating to Belize over a century ago, bringing their special blend of music, dancing, and food with them. The towns of Dangriga, Hopkins and Seign Beight near Placencia are the de facto capitals of the Garifuna culture where visitors can immerse themselves in this unique laid back and warmly inviting lifestyle.
The pace of life in Placencia is far more relaxed and moves at a slower pace than tourist hotspots like Ambergris Caye and is a premier location to enjoy both marine and land adventures. To get a truly authentic experience of what life in Belize is all about, you simply must visit the Placencia Peninsula.
For information about visiting Placencia, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our Reservations Manager at:email@example.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.
Belize’s Bird Watching Tradition Has Extremely Deep Roots
The sport/hobby of bird watching has roots in the British Isles where the tradition of observing and recording birds has been around for so many centuries, even Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” play includes this complaint: “She laments sir… her husband goes this morning a-birding.”
So was Belize’s history as the former UK colony known as British Honduras the sole reason this nation has become a mecca for those fascinated with all things avian? Hardly. Belize’s geographic proximity to jungles, rivers, rain forests, lagoons and shoreline—plus natural flyways that existed long before the hemisphere was inhabited–simply provide everything birds require to thrive…
…and thrive, they do! The ongoing debate about how many bird species have been identified in Belize has been known to launch some fascinating conversations. Some authorities say more than 683 species have been identified in Belize, but the nation’s Audubon Society claims the number is closer to 587. Stick around long enough and you can make your own estimate!
Bird species, it seems, are as fickle as are humans. Some stick around Belize year ‘round. Others emulate tourists that flock here: they come and go with the wind. But all species of the birds frequenting Belize are offered a wide variety of natural habitats that include coastal plains, tropical forests, wetlands, savannahs and cayes.
What birding objective are you seeking to achieve by coming to Belize? Are you looking to do research, update your journal or photograph birds? Most bird-loving travelers want to do all of these, though if you are interested in seeing specific Belize species, you can maximize your time by choosing areas they frequent.
Travel to Belize’s west regions and stay in San Ignacio or the Mountain Pine Ridge to spot rare Orange-breasted falcons, Stygian Owls and Keel-billed Motmot. Specify Toledo’s Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary, a 6,000-acre park that’s the site of three lagoons that serve as breeding grounds for Boat-Billed Herons, five types of kingfisher and Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks.
The Rio Bravo Conservation Area consists of 250,000 acres of land that nurtures flocks of keel billed toucans amid hundreds of other species, or spend the majority of your time at Stann Creek’s Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Preserve. The sheer variety of bird types flocking to this reserve is amazing and includes Scarlet Macaws. Photograph this colorful bird feeding on Annatto shrub and you’ll bring home calendar-worthy images.
Where to stay while enjoying your bliss-filled birding adventure? Frequent visitors to Chabil Mar highly recommend making this resort your hub. Staff is delighted to make recommendations to those who want to see certain birds, but if you’ve no preferences, peruse this Belize bird list, http://www.birdlist.org/belize.htm, to see what species interest you most.
On the other hand, if you seek relaxation and stimulation, Chabil Mar’s birding package takes the guess work out of your experience so you spend all of your time gazing into binoculars rather than worrying about logistics. It’s the best way we know to immerse yourself in Belize’s avian wildlife without lifting a finger.
Last year, the world’s attention focused on American actor and presenter Steve Harvey after he unintentionally announced the wrong winner at the Miss Universe pageant. Despite facing a withering storm of outrage on the internet, Steve Harvey maintained strong support from some quarters, including the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) which took the proactive step of inviting Mr. Harvey to come host the country’s 2016 edition of the Costa Maya beauty pageant held in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye.
This week, Harvey surprised his radio listeners by stating that he just might take up the BTB’s invitation and host this year’s Costa Maya pageant. Broadcasting from the Cayman Islands, Steve Harvey was in the midst of interviewing Monyque Brooks, currently Miss Cayman, when he stated, “I am hosting the [Costa Maya] pageant this year and it’s going to be in Belize”. Mr. Harvey further added that he looks forward to visiting the country.
The audio clip from Harvey’s show caused a lot of excitement in Belize. In an attempt to confirm that Mr. Harvey will indeed be hosting the 2016 Costa Maya pageant, journalists contacted BTB Director Karen Bevans who stated that she is currently in the United States and that her staff is currently in negotiations with Mr. Harvey’s people for the popular comedian and actor to host the event.
On December 21, 2015, after the world learned of Harvey’s misstep during the Miss Universe pageant, BTB tweeted to Harvey, “We all make mistakes. You handled yours with class. Would you host our next pageant?” and subsequently received a “like” from Mr. Harvey.
After the Pageant
To unwind from all the excitement of hosting the pageant, Steve Harvey is heartily encouraged to enjoy all of the wonderful sights in Belize. One of the most beautiful spots in the country is the Placencia Peninsula in southern Belize. With easy access to a wide variety of mainland adventures and just a few miles from the pristine Barrier Reef, Placencia is an ideal place to experience the best of Belize.
One of the finest resorts in Placencia is Chabil Mar. A luxury destination with its own private beach, Chabil Mar is an oasis of modern amenities with close access to both marine and mainland excursions in southern Belize. After Harvey’s faux pas at the end of 2015, Chabil Mar’s marketing manager Larry France heartily recommended that the celebrity host and presenter come visit Placencia and enjoy a delicious cocktail at the resort.