Gladden Spit & Silk Caye Marine Reserve

Posted on Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

belize whale shark diving at Gladden Spit in Placencia BelizeExplore the Natural Wonders of Gladden Spit & Silk Caye Marine Reserve in 2017

The waters off of the coast of Placencia in southeastern Belize were declared a marine reserve in 2001 to protect the rich bio-diversity of hundreds of species of sharks and tropical fish that inhabit the area. The lunar cycles of the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve bring enormous schools of fish to the area to spawn, releasing enormous clouds of eggs that attract top predators like whale sharks.

Although fishing is heavily restricted in the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve, visitors to the spectacular blue waters are permitted to engage in one of the most thrilling underwater experiences in Belize – diving with the whale sharks. Being filter feeders, whale sharks pose little danger to humans, allowing divers to interact and play with these beautiful creatures of the deep.

Whale sharks can grow up to 12 meters (41 feet) long, and weigh up to 66,000 pounds, making them the largest-known species of fish on the planet. Feeding on fish eggs, tiny plankton and microscopic shrimp known as krill, whale sharks have no teeth, which is why they can be approached by humans with minimal risk. Whale sharks are curious and playful animals, often approaching and interacting with divers. Because experiencing whale sharks is such a popular attraction, only licensed tour operators can bring divers to the area, arranging tours at specific times to get the best chance of spotting the sharks as they come close to the surface to feed.

Complete Guided Whale Shark Diving Package

If you’d like to swim with the sharks, Chabil Mar is now offering a special whale shark package that includes a guided diving experience with these amazing marine creatures. Located in the beautiful Placencia Village of southeastern Belize, Chabil Mar offer luxury accommodation at affordable prices, with gorgeously-appointed beachfront suites that face the beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

For more information about diving with whale sharks in Belize, 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.

Belize Tourism Board invites Steve Harvey to host Costa Maya

Posted on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

steve-harvey in belize

Photo by www.ellentv.com

Last weekend, all eyes turned to Steve Harvey, who sparked international outrage after mistakenly announcing the wrong winner of the Miss Universe pageant. Expressing solidarity with the popular entertainer and comedian, the Belize Tourism Board sent a tweet to Harvey, inviting him to host the 2016 International Costa Maya Festival in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.

Larry France, the marketing manager of Chabil Mar Villas in Placencia, expressed his hope that Steve Harvey will accept the Belize Tourism Board’s offer to come to the country and host the International Costa Maya Festival.

“Should Steve Harvey accept the Belize Tourism Board’s offer to come to the country, he should definitely visit Placencia,” said Mr. France. “Placencia was just rated by Travel and Leisure as one of the top destinations to see in 2016. With miles of pristine beaches facing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, Placencia is one of the best places on Earth to enjoy scuba diving, fishing, sailing, and snorkeling.”

Many local Belizeans also hope that Mr. Harvey will take up the Belize Tourism Board’s offer to host the International Costa Maya festival.

“Once Mr. Harvey has finished hosting the International Costa Maya festival in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, he can explore and experience some of the world’s best scuba diving off the coast of the Placencia Peninsula or visit the world-renowned Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to over 150 square miles of tropical rainforest that preserve some of the last endangered jungle jaguars in Central America,” said France. “Mr. Harvey can then relax and unwind in one of the luxury villas at Chabil Mar while sipping on a delicious cocktail as he enjoys an unparalleled view of the beautiful Caribbean Sea.”

Chabil Mar is a privately owned resort located in the Stann Creek District of Belize. It opened its doors in 2005 and has built an international reputation since that time. Historically, Chabil Mar—Maya for “Beautiful Sea”—is nestled between a Garifuna settlement and the former Creole fishing village of Placencia and in close proximity to ancient Maya ruins, rainforests, jungles and some of the best scuba and deep-water diving in the Western Hemisphere.

For more information about the resort, visit https://www.chabilmarvillas.com/ or call (011 501) 523–3606. If calling from the U.S. or Canada, use Chabil Mar’s toll-free number: 1-866-417-2377.

 

Government of Belize bans offshore oil exploration at Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

Posted on Monday, December 21st, 2015

belize barrier reefIt takes courage for a government to serve notice to powerful offshore oil exploration companies that they’re not welcome, but that’s exactly what the Belize government has been doing throughout 2015. Standing up for the nation’s endangered Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System—a World Heritage site that’s fragile, delicate and threatened—was the Belize Prime Minister and his cabinet, all of whom agreed that a policy to ban offshore exploration wasn’t just a good idea—it could be the only way to save this unique ecosystem.

As the second largest reef system on the planet, the Belize Barrier Reef is regularly subject to natural assaults from wind, rain and climate change and cabinet members agreed that by allowing oil drilling, reef disintegration, already problematic, could accelerate rapidly. It’s not the last action the government will take in its efforts to preserve the integrity of the reef; it’s first in a three-prong effort to get the Belize reef off the list of endangered World Heritage sites.

To undertake so Herculean a challenge, members of a World Heritage Committee convened in Belize early in 2015 to estimate how badly the reef has begun to deteriorate. Honorable Prime Minister Dean Barrow conferred with Drs. Elena Ospova and Fanny Douvere, head of UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine Program. Everyone worked tirelessly to put together an aggressive Desired State of Conservation plan that imposes a permanent ban on mining the region’s waters for oil. It’s set to take effect on January 31, 2016.

What will happen once this ban goes into effect? First, stressors imposed on the reef will be confined to natural influences, the sale, lease and development of mangrove islands will cease and desist and penalties for members of the extractive sector who try to get around these preventative measures will be onerous. But the winners in this situation will be more than the environment—for the tourism industry dependent upon this iconic reef for its symbolic and historic role off Belize’s mainland, these protective measures are not to be underestimated.

For example, resorts like Chabil Mar attract legions of visitors eager to see this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chabil Mar has put into place Belize’s most comprehensive reef exploration experiences by affiliating with knowledgeable excursion guides who understand that a visit to the reef must be informative, fascinating, exciting and educational, whether a guest explores the reef as an observer, snorkeler, diver or photographer.

Book a Belize vacation package at Chabil Mar and enjoy a beautiful suite as well as other attractions if you stay in Belize longer. By prioritizing a trip to see the reef now, you can tell friends that you visited a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s receiving international attention and governmental intervention so this natural wonder is around for many generations to come.

For more information about traveling to Belize, 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.

The Cousteau’s can’t get enough of Belize, and neither will you after you visit

Posted on Saturday, December 19th, 2015
Alexandra Cousteau with Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, Gaspar Vega

Alexandra Cousteau with Deputy Prime Minister of Belize, Gaspar Vega

Belize is a small country nestled in the heart of the ancient Mayan civilization where lush tropical and jungle mountain terrain leads down to long stretches of beautiful beach fronts and extends into the amazing Meso-American barrier reef, the second largest barrier reef system in the world.

It is a place where worlds collide, and diversity is the norm. Belize has been praised and heralded for its natural beauty and wonders. It is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Great Blue Hole, a site which Jacque Cousteau, the French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher made famous internationally.

In 1971, Cousteau brought his ship, the Calypso, to the hole to chart its depths. After his in depth study of the natural formation, he declared the Great Blue Hole one of the top 10 scuba diving destinations in the world.

great-blue-hole-belize

Belize Blue Hole

More than 40 years later, his granddaughter Alexandra Cousteau, who serves as a senior advisor to Oceana, has returned to Belize several times and has noted that unlike many of the other places she has traveled to cover the course of her expeditions with her father and on her own, Belize’s marine environment remains in pristine condition, with very little changes and damage to its eco-system.

She commends Belize for its dedication to preserving the natural wonders of the sea and applauded the government for its recent decision to ban offshore oil drilling.

My husband and I fell in love in Belize and with Belize. This is where he and I took our first trip together. This is also where I taught him how to dive. Later, our daughter touched the ocean for the first time in Belize. Now, we’re looking forward to bringing our newborn son to Belize. Belize is one of those places that just feels so much like home to me,” Cousteau said.

Belize’ marine environment is world class and attracts thousands of travelers from all over the world each year who come to explore and experience. Cousteau believes this is worth preserving and thinks Belize has done an exceptional job and must continue to promote eco-tourism and sustainable development.

Much of Belize’s international appeal is based on eco-tourism and the many pristine wonders the country has to offer. 2016 is expected to be another great year for tourism in Belize also, as several new airlines and routes to Belize have opened even more markets to the country.

Airports and overnight arrivals are expected to see significant increases, especially with the introduction of Southwest Airlines’ cheap airfare rates, which is expected to create competition and see airfare become even more affordable. Kayak.com has reported that airfare is down 20 percent compared to the rates in 2014.

Belize is a tropical paradise with something for everyone – from scuba diving to exploring the marine environment, sailing in the vivid blue Caribbean Sea, snorkeling or visiting Laughing Bird Caye, which was voted by TripAdvisor this year as one of the best places to visit when staying in Placencia. Visiting Belize is truly a lifetime experience.

For those more inclined to land-based activities visitors can explore inland Belize which is home to a plethora of birds, pristine rainforests, jungle rivers, an abudance of ancient Maya cities like Caracol and Cahal Pech. Caves like Actun Tunichil Muknal and Barton Creek are ranked among the top sacred caves in the world.

Chabil Mar the guest exclusive resort on the Placencia peninsula offers a premium 7-night package to scuba dive at the site Jacques Cousteau made famous and has partnered with the award winning dive centers of Placencia village to provide a bountiful combination of dive services.

Travelers who wish to enjoy the wonders of Belize will definitely enjoy a stay a Chabil Mar and would certainly bask in the breath-taking experiences Belize has to offer.

It only takes one visit to Belize to understand why Belize needs to be protected. I’m proud to support Oceana in its efforts to protect beautiful Belize for future generations of Belizeans and for citizens around the world”, says Alexandra Cousteau.

For more information about traveling to Belize, 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.

Chabil Mar congratulates Tropic Air for ISSA award

Posted on Thursday, December 17th, 2015

flying-with-tropic

The Chabil Mar management and staff wishes to congratulate the Tropic Air team for its success and prestigious recognition in receiving a widely regarded standard safety assessment certification.

Tropic Air was awarded the International Airport Transport Association’s (IATA) Standard Safety Assessment Certificate at the Latin America and Caribbean Air Transport Association Annual General Meeting.

This is the first time any airline based in the Americas has received such an acknowledgment. Chabil Mar is extremely proud to have a Belizean-owned carrier pioneer the way forward in the region.

Tropic Air undertook the IATA Standard Safety Assessment as a voluntary evaluation program that renders beneficial training in areas of operational safety and efficiency to operators of smaller aircrafts.

The program is in line with the increasing emphasis on improving safety management, and aligning with global best practices with the aim to ensure safe and convenient travel for passengers.

The certification is timely as 2016 is expected to see increased air travel to and from Belize, and with increased traffic in and out the country, it also means increased traffic around the country as well.

One destination in the country expected to see more traffic in the next year is Placencia, which was recently voted as one of Travel and Leisure’s top 2016 destination.

Chabil Mar is ready to accommodate the influx of guests as the only guest exclusive resort on the Placencia Peninsula and the closest full–service resort to the Village of Placencia.

For more information about traveling to Belize, 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.