Belize: “Un-Belize-able” Family Travel!

Posted on Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Belize Family Vacations

The following is an excerpt from an article entitled “Belize: “Un-Belize-able” Family Travel” which was originally published on www.travelwithkids.tv, a website about traveling with kids. You can find the article in its entirety here.

Located on a long Peninsula about 2/3 of the way down the coast of Belize, Placencia is a small village filled with a fun vibe, lots of funky restaurants and shops and friendly people.  We stayed about 1/4 mile north of the village at Chabil Mar Villas, an elegant resort with a barefoot casualness about it.

The kids loved swimming in the pool and jumping off the dock into the ocean. We enjoyed the full-service…always with a friendly smile! We all enjoyed riding bikes and kayaks. Golf carts are the mode of transportation in Placencia (although there is a paved road and cars as well). For meals, we ate at the resort a couple of evenings – they do not have one restaurant, but instead will deliver your meal wherever you would like to enjoy it in the resort…a great concept for families!

Read also: Yahoo! Travel endorses Belize

We ate on our balcony and at dining tables on the beachfront, but you could also be served out on the pier or in the BBQ area. We also headed into town for some meals – highlights included stuffed jacks at De’Tatch, the fun atmosphere of the Pickled Parrot (uber-welcoming owners Eugene, Lynn and Tommy and a nearby playground made us all feel right at home), lobster cakes at The Secret Garden and burritos ($1.50) from a cart along the road.  After our time in the jungle hearing the grunting of the howler monkeys, the kids are keen to see some, so we head out with Monkey River Eco Tours, for a guided boat ride upriver.

After winding through the maze-like paths through the mangroves across the lagoon from Placencia, the guide tells us about his hometown, Monkey River, at the mouth of the river. Along the river, he points out iguanas, birds and a crocodile. Then he pulls over to a bank and off we hop for a short hike…and short it is! After about 10 feet of hiking, we find a troop of howler monkeys - including a couple of babies. They come down from the trees searching for food and get within 8 feet of us.

Watching the kids faces as they gaze in awe at the monkeys makes the trip! Their faces change – accompanied by “ewww” and laughing and shrieks – as the monkeys turn the tree we are standing under into a port-a-potty; an easy way to get the kids dashing back to the boat! While the kids have fun jumping off the pier and checking out the fish, we’re told the crystal clear waters the Caribbean is known for lie just off shore on the barrier reef (the second longest barrier reef in the world).

Read also: 7 Places You Need to Visit in Belize

So, we head out with Avadon Divers for a day of scuba diving on the reef. Out of the 13 people we are traveling with, only 3 of us (including Nathan, our 12 year-old boy) are certified. So, Avadon sends plenty of dive masters to support an enjoyable Discover Scuba Dive. They start out with a short class about diving – including essential skills you will have to perform in shallow water prior to diving. The first dive starts with each student performing skills like clearing their masks and retrieving a lost regulator. They we swim around checking out small coral heads. The second dive is off the boat where we spot huge coral formations, brain coral covered in Christmas tree worms, lots of fish, a shy lobster, an Eagle Ray and more. I’m busy counting kids (and adults) but enjoy watching them discover a whole new world!

For more information about traveling to Belize or Placencia with families, 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.

See also:

Family Vacations in Placencia Belize

Belize Vacation Packages & Specials

Placencia Belize

 

Photo of the day: Placencia Belize

Posted on Saturday, July 12th, 2014

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Today’s photo of the day is of Placencia which was recently described by GQ Magazine as “a quaint town that seems to have forgotten about mass tourism.”

Photo courtesy of Lonely Planet.

See also:

Belize Luxury Beach Resort

Belize Destinations Wedding

All Inclusive Belize Honeymoon

12 Reasons Belize Should Be The Next Country You Visit

Posted on Friday, July 11th, 2014

#1 Because Belize has roughly 386km of coastline and many coral reefs, cayes and islands on the turquoise Caribbean Sea.
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#2 Because Belize offers world class scuba diving. The Blue Hole for example, is one of the most popular destinations for scuba diving.

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#3 Because Belize is a wonderful destination for bird watchers. Belize for example is home to some 618 species of resident and migratory birds.

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#4 Because Belize is home to a number of ancient Maya cities like Caracol, Altun Ha, Xunantunich and Cahal Pech.

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#5 Because Belize has the largest Barrier Reef in the Western Hemisphere.

belize barrier reef vacations

#6 Because Belize has the largest and extensive cave system in Central America. The ATM Cave for example is one of the most spectacular caves in the world.

ATM cave in belize

#7 Because Belize is home to the only jaguar preserve in the world.

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

#8 Because Belize is home to an incredible variety of culinary delights.

lobsterfest in placencia 2014

#9 Because Belize is the ultimate pot of cultures including Creole, Maya, Garifuna, Spanish, British, Chinese and American.Belize musicians

#10 Because Belize has the most accessible jungle in the Western Hemisphere with several productive habitats that harbor a diversity of flora and wildlife.

Howler Monkey Chabil Mar Belize Resort

#11 Because Belize is a mecca for those interested in fishing.

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#12 Because Belize offers the finest luxury resorts and hotels in the world. Chabil Mar in Placencia for example is rated as one of the top resorts in Belize.

Chabil Mar Belize Resort Registration Building

For more information about traveling to Belize or Placencia , 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.

Yahoo! Travel Endorses Belize

Posted on Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
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Laughing Bird Caye is one of the beautiful islands in southern Belize that can be explored from Placencia.

Yahoo! Travel, the travel section of Yahoo! has just endorsed Belize as the country to visit for an incredible surf and turf vacation.

“The same turquoise waters that lure tourists to Caribbean destinations slosh around Belize’s island chain. But tiny Belize has a major advantage in reeling in the holidaymakers”, writes Alina Hartounian who contributed the article to Yahoo! Travel.

“Belize has all the ingredients for a surf and turf vacation — at least for those who don’t mind the odd giant cockroach or neon green frog that may invade their jungle dwellings”, she adds.

Below is an excerpt of her article which was published yesterday on Yahoo! Travel:

CAVES, SKELETONS AND A SWIM

Evidence of human sacrifice in Maya times litters the floors of the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves, where the skeletons are welded in place by limestone sediment. Mayan pottery is also frozen in time there, with archaeologists opting to leave most artifacts as they were centuries ago. To get to the caves, visitors are led down a gentle jungle trail that includes several river crossings. Next comes an invigorating swim across a frigid pool of water at the cave’s mouth (which is patrolled by a resident vine snake). Water winds throughout the cave, and visitors have to squeeze through impossible-looking openings before being rewarded with the archaeological trove. But don’t expect to plaster social media with photos documenting the adventure. Clumsy tourists — including one who left a camera-sized hole in the skull of a sacrificed child — led to a ban on cameras at the site.

See also: 12 Images that Prove that Chabil Mar is a beautiful Belize Resort

PYRAMID IN THE JUNGLE

Just a fraction of Caracol, a once-powerful Maya city state, has been unearthed by archaeologists. Once home to 150,000 inhabitants (nearly twice the population of Belize’s current industrial center, Belize City), the site was lost until a logger stumbled upon it in the 1930s while in search of mahogany. Nearly a century later, 90% of it still belongs to the jungle. Shards of ancient pottery are scattered around the complex, which includes astronomical buildings, ball courts, palaces, and a 141-foot-tall pyramid that remains the tallest man-made structure in Belize. The guttural intonations of howler monkeys and the eerie screech of the yellow-tailed bird provide the soundtrack for those wandering through the massive archaeological site.

STONE WOMAN AND EL CASTILLO

This complex of ruins got its Maya name, Xunantunich — meaning “Stone Woman” — from a sun-soaked apparition said to haunt the site. The city was built up over millennia and its history is sketched out neatly at the newly opened visitor’s center. At the site itself, the main attraction is the ruin known as “El Castillo,” which towers above the jungle. Four elaborate stucco friezes depicting Maya gods once hugged each side of the building. Now just two remain, and they’re both covered up by fiberglass copies to preserve the originals. Despite its lofty appearance and elaborate decorations, the Castillo likely served as an administrative hub, not a temple, according to the visitor’s center.

PALACE, BALL COURT AND PLACE OF THE TICKS

Even from its perch high up on a hill, Cahal Pech lives in the shadow of its more impressive neighbors, Caracol, Xunantunich and Tikal. Cahal Pech — which unflatteringly means “Place of the Ticks” in Yucatec and Mopan Mayan — sits on the outskirts of San Ignacio, a popular base for those exploring Maya ruins. Under the cover of an encroaching jungle, visitors can get a glimpse of how the upper crust lived in Maya times through the site’s palace structures. The site is also home to a nice example of a Maya ball court.

See also: 5 Must-Watch Web Videos on Belize

BARRIER REEF AND BLUE HOLE

Caye Caulker is a sandy strip of land surrounded by a bounty of sea life. The more laid-back alternative to San Pedro (immortalized by the 1987 Madonna hit “La Isla Bonita”), it provides a base for the thriftier tourist looking to explore Belize’s nearby barrier reef. The island is crowded with tour companies that ferry visitors to reef hot spots, such as the intimidating Shark Ray Alley. Nurse sharks and sting rays were originally drawn to the area by fishermen cleaning their catch, but now it’s tour boats that chum the waters. The fish expectantly clamor around any boat that arrives. Other underwater highlights include an enormous logger turtle that is blind in one eye that hovers around a conch fishermen’s boat, and a rainbow of tropical fish. Eerie night snorkeling affords an opportunity to watch the fish scurry to find a home among the reef before darkness falls. When things do turn truly nocturnal, snorkelers armed with underwater LEDs have the opportunity to spot squid, octopus, lobster, and crabs. Scuba divers can also catch a ride to Belize’s iconic Blue Hole, an underwater sinkhole that’s 1,000 feet wide and 412 feet deep.

You can read the article in its entirety here: https://www.yahoo.com/travel/jungle-ruins-and-sea-life-await-in-tiny-belize-90777195982.html

It is interesting to note that Placencia was not mention or recommended in the article even though it is one of the top places to visit in Belize. In fact, Placencia is one of the best destinations where you go go snorkeling or diving with whale sharks as well as exploring the natural beauty of Southern Belize.

Explore our Belize surf and turf packages below:

Belize Rainforest and Reef Vacation Package

Belize Swim Suit & Hiking Boots Vacation Package

Belize Jungle & Sea Vacation. Note: 25% discount off the entire package price for bookings during the months of August and September, 2014

For more information about traveling to Belize or Placencia , 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 Dive Guide on Belize

Posted on Monday, July 7th, 2014

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Before I even arrived in Belize I was in love with the place. Why? On sale at the airport was Goss chocolate (‘Taste the Tropics! 100% natural organically grown on the shores of the Caribbean Sea’). Oh yeah! I’m not just here for the diving, you know.

Wiping the delicious brown evidence from my upper lip, I phoned Mark from Splash, a well-run dive centre at my first Belizean destination, Placencia. Nitrox? Check. Wetsuit? ‘Oh, I dive in nothing,’ he solemnly informed me. ‘That sounds very exciting!’ I marveled. ‘No! No, I mean…!’ The man would have to get used to my sense of humour.

See also: Belize Scuba Diving Packages

Placencia lies at the bottom of a long, narrow peninsular in southern Belize. I would have been happy to camp on the beach, but my digs turned out to be opulent – the upmarket Chabil Mar Villas is a beachside property set in lush, tropical gardens. And my fridge was stocked with local chocolate, so breakfast was taken care of. At 8.30am I reported to Splash where I met the warm and accommodating owner Patty Ramirez, and an associate called Marco whom she described as ‘a troublemaker’. Hah! I was going to get on with these people.

This was confirmed when boat captain Lennox told me he enjoyed a local dance called the punta. ‘What does that involve?’ I asked another crew member. ‘Oh, rubbing on each other in time to the music,’ he replied without a hint of embarrassment. ‘You try to cum the girl and she tries to cum you.’ This was a fascinating piece of education for a psychologist/ sex therapist – the word ‘cum’ actually being used as a transitive verb! I must confess I looked forward to being introduced to this dance. So let’s see: chocolate, sex and dancing already, and I haven’t even gotten wet yet (insert joke here). Belize could be my all-time favorite dive destination.

See also: Dive the Great Blue Hole of Belize

Belize lies in the Caribbean Sea, bordered by Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west and south. Well-known for whale shark sightings, Belize boasts the longest coral reef in the northern hemisphere (185 miles), which draws more than 200,000 divers every year. The reef is home to more than 70 types of hard coral and around 500 species of fish. On my first morning, we headed out to Silk Caye North Wall. The light rain, typical for this time of year, was abating. ‘Any current?’ I asked. ‘Unlikely!’ was Mark’s reassuring reply. Not that I’ve got anything against currents; I was just a little chocolate-logged.

Read more: http://divemagazine.co.uk