Belize Whale Sharks – 8 Fascinating Facts You Need to Know

Posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

belize whale sharksDespite its massive size, Whale Sharks are the “Gentle Giants” of the ocean. Unlike their other shark relatives that are meat-eaters, these giants are filter feeders.

Every year, huge schools of migrating whale sharks arrive in the waters off of Belize in order to feed on fish spawn and plankton. These enormous creatures normally cruise a depth beyond the reach of most divers. It is only when they rise to the surface to feed that humans can get the rare and wonderful opportunity to interact with these friendly and inquisitive creatures.

Below are eight fascinating facts you need to know about whale sharks:

  1. The name “whale” shark refers to their size, not their biology. Whale sharks are fish, not mammals.
  2. Whale sharks have been swimming in the Earth’s oceans for approximately 60 million years.
  3. Whale sharks have teeth but never use them. They feed by filtering the water for microscopic bacteria and algae.
  4. Whale sharks travel approximately 30,000 miles around the globe every year.
  5. The largest whale shark ever caught weighed more than 47,000 pounds.
  6. Despite weighing several tons, whale sharks feed almost exclusively on tiny plankton virtually invisible to the naked eye.
  7. In Asia, whale sharks are called “tofu fish” because the meat is said to taste and look like tofu.
  8. Scientists have never observed whale sharks mating and know very little about their biology.

Although whale sharks circumnavigate the globe every year, it is only in the waters around Gladden Spit off the coast of Placencia in Belize that divers can get the rare chance to interact and photograph these magnificent animals. Drawn to the enormous concentration of fish spawn and plankton in the area, whale sharks arrive in the waters off of Belize between March and June.

Because whale sharks are carefully protected by Belizean conservation laws, divers who want to dive with whale sharks must use a licensed tour operator. If you’d like to partake in a truly special diving adventure to get close to and interact with the gentle giants of the deep, sign up for this complete Belize whale shark diving package. It includes three limited slots to dive with whale sharks and accommodations at the world-class Belize resort of Chabil Mar.


For 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.

 

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Mysterious Jade Megajewel Found in Belize

Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2017

A team of archeologists led by UC San Diego archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell has discovered a carved jade megajewel in the Maya ruins of Nim Li Punit in Belize. Measuring an enormous 7.4 by 4.1 inches, the priceless pendant was meant to be worn on the chest of the king who commissioned it more than 1,200 years ago, Janaab Ochl K’inich.

Unearthed during a 2015 expedition in the thick jungles of southern Belize, Braswell’s team compared the discovery of the jade megajewel to the Hope Diamond, a 45-carat megadiamond worth an estimated $250 million. Jade was highly coveted by the ancient Maya who believed the rare stone was charged with spiritual powers. According to Braswell, the royal pendant was fashioned with extreme skill, the ancient Maya craftsmen etching a series of 30 hieroglyphs onto a brittle slab of jade measuring just 0.3 inches thick.

The text carved on the pendant describes the rise of King Janaab Ohl K’inich to the throne in the year 672 and describes his royal lineage, linking him to other powerful Maya city states in the west. But it is the fact that the jade megajewel was found not buried with an ancient ruler but with a collection of sacrificial offerings that has historians excited. According to an article published in the Journal of Field Archeology, the location of the megajewel in a tomb along with 25 ceramic vessels and a stone idol of the Maya god of wind some 200 years after the death of King Janaab Ohl K’inich tells a tragic tale. The pendant was probably a desperate sacrifice to the god of wind and rain in a time when climate change and civil unrest led to the collapse of Maya civilization and the abandonment of cities like Nim Li Punit.

“This unexpected windfall of historical importance is one more reason why visiting ancient Maya sites is a great choice for people on vacation in Belize,” said Larry France, marketing manager of the Chabil Mar resort in Placencia, Belize. “Finds like the jade megajewel are helping us develop a fuller understanding of Maya history.”

Chabil Mar is a multiple award-winning luxury resort located on Belize’s sunny Placencia Peninsula. With luxuriously appointed villas, a gourmet restaurant, and a lush tropical garden, Chabil Mar offers guests tailored vacations to all of the best attractions in the country, including visiting ancient Maya ruins, exploring the rainforest, and enjoying world-class sailing, fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling on the Belize Barrier Reef.

Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com for more information about 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.

Love Chocolate? Don’t Miss The Belize Chocolate Festival This Year

Posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

belize chocolateOne of the most exciting food festivals in the world is going to kick off in the southern Toledo District of Belize in May. From Friday, May 19 to Sunday, May 21, 2017 the Belize Chocolate Festival will feature three whole days of celebrating this miraculous food in all its various formats. Local farmers will showcase their finest chocolates, and wines in between hosting trips to cacao farms and dancing the night away as local musicians fill the air with the sweet sounds of their indigenous heritage.

The cacao fruit, the seeds of which produce the world-famous food known as chocolate, is a local plant originally from Central America, and Belize’s Toledo District is renowned for having some of the best cacao in the world. Alongside a mind-boggling array of chocolate desserts and treats, the festival will feature other chocolate flavored products like chocolate beer, chocolate barbecue and chocolate soap.

The town of Punta Gorda, capital of the Toledo District, will host a lively street fair during the three-day festival with plenty of live music, arts and crafts, games and activities for children, and a wide range of cultural displays from the region’s rich blend of indigenous peoples.

For chocolate lovers, there’s simply no better place to stay than the lovely Villas at Chabil Mar on the Placencia Peninsula in the Stann Creek District. Popular because of its lovely seaside setting and close proximity to all the fun in Punta Gorda and the Toledo District, rooms are rapidly filling up.

“I thought I loved chocolate before but now I am totally in love,” said one American visitor. “This is truly the best chocolate in the world down here in Toledo District. It has a taste that’s simply sublime.”

Known around the world as a superfood, chocolate in its pure raw form is extremely high in antioxidants as well as essential minerals like copper, manganese and iron. Chocolate was considered the elixir of life by the ancient Maya and the king was reputed to have drunk up to 50 cups a day of chocolate.

Held every year since 2007, the Chocolate Festival of Belize is rapidly becoming one of the most popular events in the country. Local growers enjoy showing off their premium products while getting a chance to promote the natural beauty of Toledo District which has long been overlooked by some tourists. All workers at the fair are local volunteers eager to show off their heritage and culture while welcoming visitors to the agricultural products and unspoiled natural landscapes in Toledo District.

For more information about all of the activities and scheduled events, see the festival’s official website here or 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.

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An Indiana Jones Adventure

Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

A new article published by Destinations Travel magazine has highlighted the many exotic wonders available for travelers in Belize. If you’ve ever wanted to explore a long-lost city deep in the jungle, Destinations Magazine recommends that you visit Belize, an exotic land just a short flight from the United States where you can live out all of your Indiana Jones fantasies while exploring the ancient world of the Maya.

For thousands of years, the ancient Maya ruled over Central America with a vast empire stretching from El Salvador in the south to Mexico in the north. The modern day nation of Belize formed the heartland of the ancient Maya civilization. Dozens of impressive cities were built by the Maya in Belize, including Altun Ha, Xunantunich, and Caracol where lofty pyramids and imposing temples were built deep within the jungle. Today, visitors can explore these unique historical landmarks to marvel at the architectural prowess of a long-vanished civilization that had no access to wheels, draft animals, or modern technology.

Belize is an adventure traveler’s paradise. Whether you’re interested in sunning yourself on a tropical island beach or spotting wildlife deep within a pristine rainforest, Belize has it all. The Belize Barrier Reef is home to a kaleidoscope of colorful marine fauna and flora, including dolphins, whale sharks, sea turtles, and hundreds of species of fish. And Belize’s mainland has plenty to offer as well, including nature reserves where endangered native species like brown pelicans, jaguars, and margays (a big cat similar to a puma) frolic and play in the jungles, savannahs, and rainforests.

“This year has gotten off to a great start for Belize,” said Larry France, marketing manager of the Chabil Mar resort. “This new article from Destinations Magazine is a great introduction to all of the wonderful sights and activities in Belize, and we look forward to welcoming Destinations Travel readers to our home.”

The best way to relax after a full day’s adventure of fun in the sun is by staying at a Belize beach resort. Offering luxurious accommodations right on the beach and world-class hospitality, gourmet food, and customer service, resorts like Chabil Mar on the Placencia Peninsula, and a stroll along the beach to center of Placencia Village, are an oasis of tranquility conveniently located close to all of the top attractions both on the mainland and the offshore reef and islands.


Valentine’s February Special

Make your reservations during February and you’ll get substantial savings on your summer vacation. Book now and reserve your villa at Chabil Mar between May 1 and September 30, 2017, for a six-night stay and you’ll get one additional free night (Pay for six, Stay for seven). To qualify for this special offer, you must make your reservation on or before February 28, 2017.

For more information about our specials or Chabil Mar, 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.

Easter in Belize: Everything a Spring Holiday Should be–and More

Posted on Friday, February 10th, 2017

easter in Belize

When spring arrives, the faithful eagerly await Easter, a holiday filled with pageantry and fun. Should you decide to celebrate the holy season here in Belize, make it the kind of vacation that suits your religious needs and sensibilities while enjoying weather that’s heavenly. As a Christian, you’ll celebrate in a nation where 80-percent of the populace shares your faith; if you’re not Christian you’ll have an equally fabulous time of it since Belize serves up some of the most beautiful sights, sounds and tastes in the Caribbean at this time of year.

What sets Belize apart from other Central American nations when Easter rolls around? As a society that takes the season of Jesus’s resurrection very seriously, your visit will coincide with a four-day celebration that’s a non-stop ride through parties, events and religious rituals. The nation shuts down in deference to the pious nature of the season, but you won’t care if you visit because you are in Belize to slow down and relax, right?

If you’ve limited time in Belize and wish to see the best of the best, we urge you to attend this Good Friday tradition: evening mass followed by a moving re-enactment of The Way of the Cross staged in the town of Benque Viejo del Carmen in western Belize. Other re-enactments of the Via Crucis will also be held in the Districts of Orange Walk and Corozal, in case one of these locations is more convenient for you.

If you think a suitcase filled with fancy Easter duds is necessary for your holiday trip, re-think your packing strategy. Bring one nice outfit to attend services at any of Belize’s churches on Good Friday, but because the weather’s hot and lots of activities surrounding Easter are more secular than sacred, lightweight shorts, shirts, skirts and traditional resort wear plus swimsuits will have you covered in the fashion department.

Be forewarned that alcohol is not served in Belize on Good Friday, so if you can’t imagine a day that doesn’t include the cocktail hour, follow the lead of tourists and stockpile your bubbly before this 24-hour period begins. Some visitors say that the parties, church services, water sports and visits to attractions keep them so busy, they don’t even miss having alcoholic beverages on this holy day.

Change up the pace of your Belize Easter visit by attending the annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycle Race. The antithesis of religious pageantry, this cycling race is an excitement-filled, 140-mile-long event that takes cyclists from Belize City to San Ignacio/Santa Elena and back. This wildly popular competition attracts big crowds, but if you’ve no interest in the sport, your resort host can help you find things to do for this short period of time that are away from the race route along the Western Highway.

Once you’ve experienced Good Friday and Holy Saturday Belize style, you can expect a more familiar day on Easter Sunday. Churches throughout the nation proclaim the Resurrection of Christ during services and then, in fairly typical fashion, families get together for meals as do tourists in country for the holiday. By afternoon, athletic events, fairs other secular events liven up the third day of this holiday—leaving Easter Monday to be observed. On this day, the last of the fairs, athletic events, dances and parties wrap up this four day celebration!

If reading about Easter in Belize whets your appetite, we recommend accommodations at Chabil Mar in Placencia. The recipient of myriad hospitality and media awards–plus recommendations from travelers who keep coming back–this luxury resort offers gracious surroundings, superior accommodations and service. Staff is delighted to help guests find and attend celebrations held during the Easter holiday season, but to see the full extent of what awaits at Chabil Mar, take a peek at the resort’s website.


For more information about visiting Belize or Chabil Mar for Easter, 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.

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