Three killer whales spotted in southern Belize

Posted on Monday, January 9th, 2017

Although the offshore waters of Belize are home to an incredible diversity of marine flora and fauna, the presence of orcas spotted near Ranguana Caye was a rare occurrence. A large killer whale, sometimes known as an orca, was spotted on December 29, 2016, heading north with another male adult and a juvenile.

Jason Westby, a freelance tour guide who operates fishing tours in conjunction with a number of local resorts, including Chabil Mar, spotted the three orcas between 9:30 and 10:30 AM on December 29, 2016, in the vicinity of Ranguana Caye and Palm Owens Caye on the Belize Barrier Reef. Westby told local media that a school of tuna was in the area, which may account for the presence of the three orcas, apex predators who regularly consume tuna as part of their diet.

Westby was alerted to the presence of the three killer whales when he heard a large splash. Westby then signaled to his clients that a “massive” animal was present near their location, but he told local media that he originally believed the animal was a marlin. Westby became alarmed as one of the male orcas “jumped straight at him like a freight train,” causing Westby to reverse his boat’s engine. Westby estimates that the two adult males were between 30-32 feet long, far bigger than the 23-foot skiff he was operating at the time of the sighting.

Chabil Mar guests were on board the boat with Jason Westby and were lucky to see the killer whales


When the pod of orcas turned and headed north, Westby angled his boat to follow them for approximately half a mile. Two other tour group operators in the area, Blue Reef Adventures and an unnamed company helmed by Rowland Alford, managed to capture the encounter on video.

Another giant of the ocean deeps is a more frequent visitor to the waters off of Belize. Whale sharks, the largest fish species on the planet, migrate to the Belize Barrier Reef every year between March and June to feed on enormous quantities of spawn and juvenile fish. Orcas are rarely seen in the waters off of Belize, and the last known sighting occurred in 2014 near Maugre Caye in the Turneffe Atoll region prior to the December 29, 2016, encounter.

One of the premier diving experiences in Belize is interacting with the whale sharks during their time in Belizean water. In order to protect the whale sharks, only licensed tour operators are allowed to bring divers into the area in carefully limited groups. Chabil Mar, the award-winning resort on the Placencia Peninsula, offers visitors a chance to see whale sharks up close and personal with their Belize whale shark diving package.

For information about visiting Belize , feel free to chat with our Concierge at: or contact our Reservations Manager at: Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.



New York Times says to visit Placencia Belize in 2017

Posted on Friday, January 6th, 2017

America’s most prestigious newspaper, the New York Times, has just published a new article entitled “52 Places to Go in 2017.” Although a small country in Central America with far less publicity and prestige than more popular nearby attractions, Belize made the New York Times’s list as a place that travelers should visit in 2017.

In particular, the New York Times article focused on Placencia on the southeastern coast of Belize, home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. With a reference to how ecotourism is expanding in Placencia, the article describes how golf carts are the most popular form of transportation on the 16-mile peninsula and that the area is home to a variety of yoga studios, spas, and luxury resorts. The New York Times highlighted the fact that the “laid-back beach town” of Placencia (the village that serves as the capital of the peninsula) is close to many of the prime locations on the Belize Barrier Reef, including where scuba divers can swim with migrating whale sharks.

See also:10 Amazing Day Trips to Take in Placencia

One of the premier resorts on the Placencia Peninsula is Chabil Mar. Named for a Maya term meaning “beautiful sea,” Chabil Mar features luxuriously appointed villas just minutes from the village. Chabil Mar offers its guests a chance to relax in an oasis of tranquility and beauty, including a lush tropical garden, infinity pool, professional spa, and seafront pier that is a popular dining spot for enjoying gourmet meals made to order at the resort’s restaurant.

The Placencia Peninsula is rapidly becoming one of the top attractions in the country, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy the best of the mainland as well as close access to the nearby Belize Barrier Reef. Chabil Mar offers guests organized Belize vacation packages that include tours to nearby ancient Maya cities, excursions through ceremonial caves once used by Maya priests to perform human sacrifices, and hiking tours through the Cockscomb Basin Nature Preserve, the world’s only full-time reserve dedicated to protecting and studying jaguars.

Some of the more popular annual events in and around Placencia include Lobsterfest. Held every June, the Placencia Lobsterfest celebrates the opening of the lobster fishing season, giving visitors and locals alike a chance to sample dozens of innovative dishes featuring the world’s most popular crustacean. Travelers who cannot make it to Placencia to escape winter should definitely consider visiting the peninsula in June to enjoy all the food, fun, and music of Lobsterfest.

For more information about visiting Belize or Placencia in 2017 , feel free to chat with our Concierge at: or contact our Reservations Manager at: Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.



Miss Belize departs to Phililippines for Miss Universe Competition

Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2017

On January 3, 2017, Rebecca Rath, the reigning Miss Belize, left the country en route to the Philippines where she will compete for the title of Miss Universe on January 30, 2017 in Manila. Prior to leaving Belize, Rath has been touring the country to attend events and help raise money for several charities.

Local channel 7 News Belize interviewed Rath before she departed for the Philippines. Rath spoke about the difficulty in conditioning her body and mind ahead of the prestigious competition. She spoke at length about how excited she is to represent her country.

One of the key segments of the Miss Universe contest is wearing formal evening wear. Rath revealed that two local designers, Roberto Pasos and David Matus, helped prepare all of her costumes and that Julie Mango, another Belizean, was instrumental in assembling her entire wardrobe. Rath also credited her two trainers, Enrique and Victor, in the town of San Pedro for ensuring that she is in top condition ahead of the competition.

Although Rath has departed Belize, she has many important engagements before the competition begins in Manila. Rath will spend approximately 10 days in the United States where she will complete the final touches on her make-up and wardrobe. Once in the Philippines, Rath is already scheduled to participate in a swimsuit fashion show, attend cocktail events, and enjoy a formal dinner with the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte.

With hundreds of contestants, being crowned Miss Universe would be a tremendous accomplishment for Rath. Displaying her trademark optimism and exuberance for representing her country, Rath stated that she will consider her involvement in the Miss Universe pageant a success as long as the people of Belize are proud of what she has accomplished. Already, Rath’s optimism about her chances for winning the crown have been boosted by her being selected as a top 20 candidate by a pre-eminent pageant website.

Asked about any advice that she might have for future Miss Belize winners, Rath recommended that contestants be cognizant of the tremendous amount of work and time the position entails. Rath warned that the glare of the spotlight can be nerve-wracking, including attention from critics. Rath’s advice was to do one’s best and always keep focused on the fact that the number one priority of the job is to represent Belize.

“We’re very proud of everything that Rebecca Rath has accomplished so far,” said Larry France, Marketing Manager of Chabil Mar. “On behalf of the entire staff at Chabil Mar, we wish her the best of luck at the Miss Universe competition.”

The Miss Universe pageant will be broadcast live on Channel 7 in Belize beginning on January 29, 2017.

Best in Travel 2017: Belize

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Lonely Planet, the world’s leading publisher of travel guides, has just published their 2017 report of their top 10 global budget travel recommendations for the upcoming year. Entitled “Best in Travel 2017 – Best Value, Travel bargains for the budget-conscious,” the report highlights a mix of both well-known and less famous cities and countries to visit, including Nepal, the city of Porto in Portugal, and the Central American nation of Belize.

Coming in at number six on their list, Belize was Lonely Planet’s highest-ranking destination in the Western Hemisphere, the other being the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the United States (ranked #10). Decrying misconceptions about the cost of vacationing in Belize, the Lonely Planet report highlighted the country as a top destination to dive or snorkel “as though you’re in the Caribbean,” perhaps somewhat confused about the fact that all the world-class sailing, fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling that draws in so many tourists to Belize every year actually does occur in the Caribbean Sea.

The Lonely Planet report also recommended combining offshore activities with mainland activities like visiting ancient Maya sites such as Caracol (misspelled “Caraco” in the original report) deep in the “wildlife-packed” jungle. One special highlight in the Lonely Planet report about about Belize was the quality and affordability of the street food scene, a key factor for travelers on a budget.

“We warmly welcome Lonely Planet’s recommendation to come visit Belize,” said Larry France, Marketing Manager of Chabil Mar in Placencia. “As one of the hottest travel destinations in the world, Belize is now garnering ever more attention from leading travel authorities and publications, and we look forward to introducing new visitors to this fabulous country.”

The Lonely Planet report contrasted the more upscale and luxurious options available at top tourist destinations in Belize like Ambergris Caye with more affordable and laid-back options in the country’s south, particularly the village of Hopkins and the Placencia Peninsula on the Caribbean coast.

By volume, Lonely Planet is the number one travel guide book publisher in the world. Founded in the 1970s by a married couple who loved to travel, their first publication was entitled “Across Asia on the Cheap” and was hand-printed. Originally focusing just on Asia, Lonely Planet soon rose to become one of the premiere publishers of guide books in the world, selling 30 million copies by 1999. Today, Lonely Planet is a division of NC2 Media and is headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee.

For more information about visiting Belize or Placencia in 2017 , feel free to chat with our Concierge at: or contact our Reservations Manager at: Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.



The Beers of Belize

Posted on Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Few people might think of beer as one of the most enjoyable parts of a vacation in Belize, but the small Central American nation has a proud history of brewing delicious local lagers.

Perhaps the most famous brewer in Belize is Belikin Beer. With their distinctive logo featuring the ancient Maya site of Altun Ha, Belikin is a multi-generational family-owned business based in Ladyville just outside of Belize City. The name Belikin comes from a Maya term for the Belize River, literally meaning “road to the east.” Founded in 1969, Belikin is the largest domestic producer of beer, producing 450 bottles per minute in their state-of-the-art breweries.

Belikin’s beer offerings include:

  • Belikin Beer – The flagship brew, Belikin Beer is a classic European-style lager with an alcohol content of 4.8%.
  • Belikin Stout – With a velvety, rich head, Belikin Stout has a delightful smoky taste. Made with German hops, Canadian malt, and cane sugar from Belize.
  • Lighthouse Lager – A refreshing, crisp beer, Lighthouse Lager is a Canadian Pilsner with a 4.2% alcohol content.
  • Belikin Premium – With a malty, hearty taste, Belikin Premium is made with two different hops and three different malts.
  • Guinness Stout – Belikin is a licensed brewer of this classic stout featuring a rich color and assertive bitter overtones.

Belikin also makes a number of seasonal brews, including:

  • Chocolate Stout – Inspired by a traditional Maya recipe, Chocolate Sout is a creamy beer with a velvety chocolate finish.
  • Sorrel Stout – Introduced for the first time a few years ago, Sorrel Stout features a careful blend of German hops, specialty malts, and local sorrel.

Other Beers Available in Belize

Beer lovers can enjoy a variety of other brews in Belize, including:

  • Red Stripe – The Jamaican classic in an iconic rounded bottle.
  • Heineken – One of the most popular beers in Europe, Heineken is a pale lager with a distinctly crisp finish.
  • Carib – This refreshing lager is brewed in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Dragon Stout – Brewed in Jamaica, Dragon Stout has a rich, velvety head with a lovely dark color obtained from barley.

Enjoy Belizean Beers at Chabil Mar

The bar and restaurant at the award-winning resort of Chabil Mar on the Placencia Peninsula has a full range of Belizean and international beers in stock.

Visitors to the resort can ask the bartender for a recommendation of the best beers to try. The experienced, professional bartenders at Chabil Mar can recommend food pairings and other details about the different beers available in Belize.

Visit our website 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.