This Saturday will see one of the most exciting and much-anticipating sporting events in Belize. Known as the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic, this challenging 140-mile roundtrip bike race from Belize City to San Ignacio Town will feature more than 100 competitors from around the country and the world.
Saturday, March 31, 2018 will mark the 90th anniversary of the race which first began as a way to encourage Belizeans to attend more cricket matches. Due to uneven road conditions, the first roundtrip race between Belize City and San Ignacio Town was a punishing affair lasting more than 13 hours. In recent years the winners usually cross the finish line in less than six hours.
All cyclists will take off with the firing of the starting gun at 6:00 am on mile marker 1.5 on the George Price Highway but awards are given for four different categories of competitors: Masters (professional racers), women, men under 18, and men under age 23. Most competitors race individually but a separate category of award (called “Elite”) is given to the team that crosses the finish line with the best collective time.
Thousands of people will see the racers off at 6:00 am across from Leslie’s Imports in Belize City as well as cheer on the first finishers to arrive back in town at Memorial Park just before noon. The mid-point of the race is Queen Elizabeth Park in downtown San Ignacio, another popular location to witness all the action.
At the end of the race, there is an exciting awards ceremony followed by boisterous banquets and celebrations throughout the day for all of the competitors and their supporters. Falling halfway through the country’s four-day Easter celebration, the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic is one of the most anticipated and popular sporting events of the year in Belize.
Visitors and locals alike line the streets to cheer on and celebrate the thrilling excitement of watching top athletes to compete in this grueling 140-mile roundtrip race from Belize City in the east to San Ignacio Town in the western part of the country.
On behalf of Chabil Mar and its Staff, we wish the best of luck to all the participating teams.
The hottest trend in family vacations is called eco-tourism. Instead of waiting in line at an amusement park, a family eco-tourism is a chance for everyone to put down their smartphones, get outside, and enjoy bonding in some of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Who likes lobster? Everybody! The Placencia Lobsterfest is three days of fun in the sun, with plenty of food, games, live music, and activities to keep the whole family entertained.
Dive With Whale Sharks
Few experiences can compare to diving with whale sharks, the largest non-mammalian animal in the ocean. Whale sharks only visit Belize once a year, making their annual arrival a truly special event.
Visit Placencia Village
This charming fishing village has the unique pleasure of holding the Guinness World Record for the smallest main street. It also has colorful murals, funky shops, and cool cafes.
Go On a Nature Tour
Whether it’s an educational boat excursion along the well-named Monkey River or a hike through the pristine wilderness of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, a nature tour is a great way to learn more about plants, birds, and animals.
Visit an Ancient Maya City
Your whole family will love the thrill of “discovering” an Ancient Maya city located deep in the jungle. Cities such as Lubantuum and Xunantunich allow children and adults to learn more about Central America’s most advanced ancient culture that built the enormous pyramids, palaces, and temples that dot the Belizean landscape today.
Explore the Creepy ATM Cave
Abandoned and forgotten for more than 1,000 years, the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave was accidentally rediscovered in 1989. You’ll have to swim, crawl, and climb to get to the deepest chamber in the cave, but the effort will be well worth it. Discovered in the cave are the remains of men, women, and children who had been offered up as human sacrifices to the gods by Maya priests.
Chabil Mar Villas
If you’re ready to create unforgettable family memories this summer, choose Chabil Mar Villas. Located on the beautiful Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize, Chabil Mar is an award-winning family resort and a perennial TripAdvisor favorite.
Chabil Mar has its own stretch of private beach, two infinity pools, a lush tropical garden, and a gourmet restaurant. Chabil Mar is close to all of the top attractions in the country on both the mainland and the reef.
On March 20, 2018, a collaborative government task force involving the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Commerce introduced a proposal that was approved by Belize’s Cabinet that will completely phase out the sale and distribution of single-use plastic shopping bags, Styrofoam food items, and plastic food utensils by April 22, 2019.
Currently, single-use food-grade plastic waste and shopping bags are responsible for an estimated 19% of all solid waste in Belize. The new law will work to stem the pollution of the environment by single-use plastic food items and shopping bags, especially in coastal and offshore areas, that are both an eyesore as well as a hazard to animals.
Every year, the government, ,volunteer groups, and local NGOs perform clean-ups of highways, rivers, lagoons, and coastal areas in order to restore the natural beauty of the country and to protect wildlife. Animals and birds often mistake plastic pieces for food, which can pose a choking hazard as well as potentially causing fatal injuries.
Regionally, the issue of Styrofoam and plastic pollution is a major concern for Caribbean nations. Large masses of offshore floating plastic debris have begun to affect the health of coral reefs as well as causing a detrimental effect on the tourism industry. Belize has been a regional leader in responsible environmental stewardship, having previously banned all offshore drilling as well as establishing Central America’s largest wildlife corridor. Over half of Belize’s territory is already designated as a protected environmental area or national park.
“We warmly applaud the government of Belize for taking yet another important step towards the long-term protection of the environment,” said Larry France, marketing manager of Chabil Mar. “Belize’s bio-diversity is one of this country’s greatest attractions, and we welcome eco-travelers to visit Belize to explore the pristine landscapes of this magnificent country.”
Belize creates one of Central America’s largest biological corridors
As yet further proof of the government’s long-term committing to protecting the environment, the Belizean legislature has passed a new law to establish a biological corridor in the northeast of the country.On February 18, 2018, the Belizean government signed into law a bill that established a 42-square mile (110-square mile) section of northeastern Belize as a wildlife corridor between the Shipstern Nature Reserve and the Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve. This corridor will allow local wildlife to safely transit between these two areas without having to intrude on private land, farms, or cross paved roads where they may be at risk of collisions with motor vehicles.
“What makes this all the more special is that the corridor is the result of cooperation between NGOs, private landowners, and the government,” said Heron Moreno, executive director of CSFI. “The privately-owned land will be placed in a trust that will operate according to national law on conservation, meaning that the corridor will be protected in perpetuity.”
The new biological corridor in Belize will allow animals such as pumas, tapirs, and jaguars to freely travel between the wetter, more tropical forests of the Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve on the coast and the drier, deciduous forests of the Shipstern Nature Reserve further inland. Recent expansions in agricultural development in the region have begun to infringe on the animals’ ability to move between these two reserves.
“We enthusiastically support and celebrate the government of Belize’s forward-thinking decision to establish Central America’s largest biological corridors,” said Larry France, marketing manager at Chabil Mar. “Belize’s greatest resource is its nature, and this new corridor will help protect the country’s wild beauty for generations to come.”
Chabil Mar offers guests accommodations in luxuriously appointed villas and has a number of Belize jungle and sea vacation packages for visitors who want to experience the best of both the mainland and the islands.
One of the hottest trends in adventure tourism is cave diving. Combining all of the excitement of standard scuba diving with a thrilling underwater environment, cave diving allows divers to explore secret caverns, passages, and labyinths, many of which have rarely been visited before by humans.
In a recently published article in Afar Magazine, Brooklyn-born Ben Popik described why he moved to Belize eight years ago. “There’s simply no thrill more exciting than diving straight down 75 feet through a narrow shaft. You then have to crawl for about 20 feet before you enter an enormous underwater cavern with stalactites and stalagmites in every direction as far as the eye can see.”
One of the top spots for cave diving in Belize is the Great Blue Hole, sometimes known as the Belize Blue Hole. From the surface, the Great Blue Hole looks like a perfectly circular body of water that is several shades darker than the surrounding water. But the tranquil surface hides a true diver’s paradise – a vast cavern system begging to be explored.
Formed over 10,000 years ago by the rising waters of the last great Ice Age, the Belize Blue Hole came to the world’s attention in 1971 when legendary French marine biologist Jacques Cousteau declared it to be one of his top 10 favorite dive sites in the world.
Not a traditional “color” dive where large numbers of fish and other animals congregate, the Great Blue Hole is, instead, a mysterious, gothic underworld that attracts elite divers from all over the world. Beyond the occasional hammerhead shark or elusive octopus, the Great Blue Hole is largely uninhabited. But the shadowy depths of the underwater labyrinth make this a truly unique dive.
Travelers to Belize should be aware that cave diving, including at the Great Blue Hole, is strictly limited to experienced divers. Beginning divers, however, can enjoy plenty of amazing sights at other nearby locations on the reef.
If you’re interested in cave diving, the best resort to stay at is Chabil Mar. Located on Belize’s fabled southern coast, Chabil Mar is very close to all of the top scuba diving spots on the reef, including Laughing Bird Caye, the Silk Cayes, the Turneffe Flats, the Great Blue Hole, and Gladden Spit, where whale sharks come to congregate every year.
Chabil Mar has a number of Belize vacation packages that include diving trips lead by experienced local dive instructors to all of the top spots on the reef.
For more information about scuba diving in Belize, feel free to chat with our Concierge at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our Reservations Manager at:email@example.com. Or perhaps you would like to call toll free from the US or Canada: 1-866-417-2377.