Manatees are lovable and gentle water creatures that spend their entire lives in the water. According to researchers, manatees can have a life span of up to 60 years and are found habitually in warm shallow waters. They only eat plants making them herbivores.
Belize has the region’s largest concentration of manatees by the count of the United Nations Environment Programme due to the fact that our country has the largest coral reef in the western hemisphere and extensive mangrove swamps. In addition, Belize’s network of rivers and lagoons which is protected in part by the reef provides fertile feeding grounds and shelter for these amazing mammals.
Manatees can be spotted along Belize’s entire coast line and can weigh as much as 1000 pounds. According to a UNEP report, manatees in Belize number fewer than 1000 but the population’s birth rate and cub survival rate is moderately stable and analogous to the population of Florida’s Crystal River area.
There are three protected manatee areas in Belize: The Northern Lagoon/Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary near Belize’s border with Mexico, the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sactuary which is a few miles from Belize City and Gales Point Manatee Wildlife Sanctuary in the Southern Lagoon area.
Many of our guests have spotted manatees on their way to Monkey River Village for the Howler Monkey Tour which remains one of the top tours to do from Placencia. On this tour, you will not only see manatees but also a variety of exotic birds, crocodiles and howler monkeys in their natural tropical environment.
The La Ruta Maya River Challenge
. . . will be commemorating its 16th anniversary this Friday, March 7th 2014. The race which started in 1998 by Big H Enterprises for the purpose of launching their Vida Purified Water in the Belizean market has turned into an international event bringing teams from U.S.A, Mexico, Guatemala, Canada, the United Kingdom and even Japan.
“Over the years more than 100 teams have participated in the 4 day grueling race that starts in the Hawksworth Bridge in San Ignacio Town and ends in the old Capital of Belize City,” states the official site of La Ruta Maya Race.
The fundamental ethos of the race is to promote environmental, ecology, history and culture awareness.
The race is more than 170 miles long consisting of 4 stops along the Belize River:
San Ignacio Town to Banana Bank Lodge which is approximately 46 miles long; Banana Bank to Double Head Cabbage Village, the longest phase of the four days race, and consists of 60 grueling miles; Double Head Cabbage to Burrel Boom Village which is 36 miles long; and Burrel Boom to Belize City, which is the final and shortest stop, and is made up of 28 miles long and bring together more people than the beginning of the race.
La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge also coincides with the Baron Bliss Day Celebration in honor of Henry Victor Edward Bliss, a great benefactor who left an incredible will to the Belizean people.
Since its inception, the race was sponsored by BIG H Enterprises, but is now sponsored by Belikin Beer, the national beer of Belize, and for the past two consecutive years, the Belize Bank Bulldogs have won the competition.
On behalf of Chabil Mar and its Staff, we wish the best of luck to all the participating teams.
Last month while vacationing in Placencia, I was lucky to discover Brenda’s Food Shack, which is located at the tip of the Peninsula, in Placencia Village. Brenda, a talented Belizean Creole, uses local and authentic ingredients and fresh sea food to prepare succulent Belizean lunches.
I had the special of the day which was Belizean Rice and Beans with Jerk Chicken and Seafood Gumbo which was tasty and scrumptious.
If you will be vacationing in Placencia soon, you have to go try Brenda’s Belizean cooking. You will not be disappointed!
Apart from the perfect opportunity to enjoy Belizean culture first hand and mingle with the locals with white sandy beaches and laid back vibes, Placencia Village is also an ideal hub to explore Maya Temple Sites, eat amazing Belizean food, snorkel the turquoise Caribbean Sea and even swim with whale sharks. Chabil Mar is located just ¾ of a mile from the Village center and is the closest full service resort to the Village.
Here are 7 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.
Starting next month 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.
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.
Last year we had the pleasure of hosting James, the travel blogger behind the website www.escapingabroad.com. If you visit the about section of his site, you will find out that his favorite country in the world is Belize. We here at Chabil Mar do not blame him for that because we understand and appreciate the beautiful things that Belize offers to its 350,000 inhabitants as well as the thousands of travelers who visit the country each year.
One of those beautiful things in Belize that locals and visitors enjoy is the colorful and Great Barrier Reef. Even Charles Darwin, the world renowned Naturalist loved it that in 1842, he described it as the “most remarkable reef in the west indies.”The Belize Reef not only provides succulent sea food to our people but is also ideal for snorkeling and diving.
In this blog post, we share ten jaw dropping underwater photos from the Belize Barrier reef. All photos courtesy of www.escapingabroad.com.
Diving near the atolls and reefs in the Southern area of Belize are some of the most colorful I’ve seen yet.
See also: Belize Sailing Vacations
Attempting to blend in but I found him anyway
Moray eels look meaner than they actually are.
A Nassau grouper hanging out above a large sponge.
See also: Belize Fishing Vacations
The first batfish I’ve ever seen! Sure are pretty aren’t they?
Had to add in a profile photo.. hard to beat how weird these guys look!
See also: Belize Island Vacations
Hide and Seek
This small sharpnose puffer fish tried to hide in a brightly colored sponge to no avail!
See also: Belize Scuba Diving Vacations
The Little Guys
It’s always fun to watch the little fish hiding close to the coral for protection.
If you are interested in discovering and exploring the great Belize reef, check out these Belize Sea Adventures. And if you have any questions on Belize, feel free to drop us an email email@example.com