There are some people with an unquenchable thirst for adventure – and for those people, nature made Belize. Home to an expansive coastline, the world’s second largest barrier reef, and a jungle rich with exotic wildlife and hidden Maya temples and pyramids, there’s nowhere else on the world quite like it. Chabil Mar partners with only the best guides in the country to provide one of a kind experiences tailored to a range of tastes.
Here are ten of the best tours available.
1. Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave
There’s a reason why the Mayas thought the ATM cave offered access to the underworld. Widely regarded as the best-sacred cave in the world, the ATM Cave demands adventurers who aren’t afraid to trudge through overgrown forests and swim through an underground river. The reward is one of the most sobering and well-preserved sites of human sacrifice in the world.
2. Xunantunich Maya Ruins
Xunantunich, or “Sculpture of Lady”, was once one of the largest cities in the Mayan Empire, and some say it’s still haunted by the ghost of a woman with fiery eyes and a white dress. But if you’re willing to brave the excursion and make a climb to the top, you’ll be treated to some of the most breathtaking views of Belize around.
3. Scuba or Snorkeling with Whale Sharks
The whale sharks that populate Belize’s barrier reef are a far cry from Jaws. These gentle giants are a sight to behold, but they’re just a fraction of the beautiful underwater world you’ll experience when you book a scuba or snorkeling excursion.
4. Explore Laughing Bird or Silk Cayes
These twin islands are some of the best spots in the country for snorkeling or diving, and they’re also a testament to Belize’s commitment to ecological preservation. Silk Cayes is home to a number of preserved species that you won’t find anywhere else, and it’s one of the friendliest adventure destinations for families.
5. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Speaking of preservation, Cockscomb is one of the most important wildlife sanctuaries in Central America. It’s also the number one site in the world if you’re looking to meet jaguars in their natural habitat. The trail system is eminently walkable and provides access to some truly gorgeous waterfalls.
6. Monkey River Tour
Just as Cockscomb is known for their jaguar population, Monkey River is regarded for their thriving population of howler monkeys. This trip allows you to explore on the water and on foot. Even if you don’t catch a glimpse of the monkeys themselves, you’d be hard pressed to miss their signature calls.
7. Zip Lining in the Jungle
Looking for a more immediate adrenaline rush? Zip lining is one of the best options around. The boldest adventurers can start with the 2,300 foot single run, but there are over 12 platforms to try in the Belize jungle, totaling an impressive 2.5 miles in length.
8. Tikal Maya Ruins in Guatemala
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is more than just a crumbling edifice of stone. It’s a remarkably intact vision of one of the most thriving city centers in the Mayan empire. While the five temples are a highlight of Tikal Maya Ruins, there are plenty of squares and palaces to venture into as well.
9. Barton Creek Cave
Belize is a country known for its systems of caves, but Barton Creek Cave is a cut above the rest. It’s second only to ATM in terms of fame. Barton Creek Cave was once an important sacred site for the Mayas, and many of the artifacts of the time are still in place within this cave.
10. St Hermans Blue Hole and National Park
St. Herman’s Cave offers direct access to the Blue Hole – one of the clearest and most refreshing pools for swimming you’ll find anywhere. But the park is also home to the sacred Crystal Cave. This landmark is known for its otherwordly, glimmering crystalline structures.
If you want to go on an adventure you’ll remember for the rest of your life, don’t hesitate to pull the trigger. Book a Belize vacation package with Chabil Mar today.
Placencia is a beautiful, 16-mile long stretch of golden sand beaches in the Stann Creek District of Belize and serves as the gateway to some of the country’s most spectacular marine wildlife, including whale sharks, stingrays, and manatees.
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean and can measure up to 12 meters (41 feet) long and weigh up to 21 tons. Despite their enormous size, whale sharks pose little danger to humans as they feed on tiny krill and fish spawn. Every spring, the whale sharks migrate to the outer areas of the Belize Barrier Reef in southern Belize, and a limited number of divers get the amazing opportunity to interact with these immense creatures.
Whale sharks circumnavigate the globe every year. They normally spend their time in very deep waters that are inaccessible to humans, but they rise to the surface in conjunction with the phases of the moon in order to feed.
Stingrays are powerful hunters, but their prey in the waters of Belize are small fish and squid. Natural channels in the reef serve as “superhighways” for fish and other marine life, drawing in vast schools of stingrays. Divers and snorkelers face little danger from stingrays, and being surrounded by stingrays as they flit and dart through the water is a truly magical experience.
Sometimes known as “sea cows” and sometimes known as “mermaids,” manatees are gentle, vegetarian mammals that thrive in the shallow, warm waters of Belize. Feeding on the vast beds of seagrass along the coast and estuaries of Belize, manatees are a wonder to behold.
Manatees pose no danger to humans, but their numbers have dwindled over the past century as boat propellers can easily injure or kill them. Today, manatees in Belize are protected animals. Manatees are very docile animals, slowly swimming through the water, but they are very intelligent, often recognizing human beings after just one meeting.
Visitors to Belize are not permitted to touch manatees, but it can be very enjoyable watching them play and frolic. Manatees breathe air and must surface every 15 minutes, making them easy to spot. Manatees communicate with one another with whistles and clicks in a similar manner as dolphins.
Caracol is one of the most interesting and well-preserved ancient Maya sites in Belize. Previously known as Uxwitza (“Three Water Hill”) to the ancient Maya, the current name of the site was coined in 1938 when the local British head archeologist dubbed it Caracol (Spanish for “Snail Shell”) on account of the curving access road that leads to the site.
Far bigger than even Belize City, Caracol once housed up to 180,000 people at the height of the city’s power. Caracol dominated the ancient Maya geopolitical world, variously allying or fighting against other city-states, including Naranjo and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tikal that is currently located just across the border in neighboring Guatemala.
The most famous building in Caracol is the Canaa (“Sky Palace). An enormous period that contains four palaces and three temples, Canaa is still the tallest building in the country at 141 feet (43 meters) high. Other important buildings and items discovered in Caracol include 24 religious altars, three large ball court, five big plazas, 24 carved stelae, reservoirs, causeways, and a very advanced astronomical observatory. A total of 35,000 lesser buildings have also been identified in Caracol along with more than 100 tombs.
Due to its enormous footprint (some 75 square miles), much of Caracol is still awaiting further excavation. A 2009 aerial survey was used to create a 3D map of how the city stands, including large sections of causeway and agricultural terraces that still lie buried in the jungle. The remote location of Caracol in the foothills of the Maya Mountains in southwest Belize also add to the difficulty of performing large-scale archeological work.
Caracol rose to the height of its power during the Maya classic period but the city seems to have been abandoned around the year 1050 for unknown reasons relating to the wide scale collapse of Maya civilization in the area. Once reclaimed by the jungle, the city was accidentally rediscovered in 1938 by a local logger named Rosa Mai who was in the area searching for mahogany trees.
Today, Caracol is located approximately 25 miles south of San Ignacio in the western Cayo District of Belize. The site of Caracol is within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve and is surrounded by both primary and secondary tropical rain forest. The abundance of carved stelae, altars, markers in ball courts, walls, and capstones have allowed archaeologists to accurately document the history of the city, including a monumental military victory of Tikal in the year 562 AD.
Chabil Mar in Placencia Belize & Caracol Mayan Ruins
Chabil Mar resort on the Placencia Peninsula is close to all of the most exciting mainland destinations in Belize. Guests of the resort can include a visit to Caracol Mayan Ruins as part of one of Chabil Mar’s fantastic Belize Reef & Jungle vacation packages.
Visit our website www.chabilmarvillas.com 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.
While no one knows the original name of the cave, today it is called Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave from a Maya term meaning “Cave of the Stone Sepulcher”. Sometimes referred to as the Cave of the Stone Altar, ATM is a complex underground network of tunnels that lead to one of the most important historic sites ever discovered. Containing over 1,400 artifacts from the end of the Ancient Maya Empire that have lain undisturbed for more than a millennium, the ATM cave was once used by priests to conduct human sacrifices at a time of drought, warfare, and civil strife.
The entrance to ATM Cave is protected by a deep pool of cool water that visitors must traverse by swimming. Once inside, the cave opens up to a series of enormous stalactites and stalagmites. The first indication of the cave’s religious importance is a large stone altar carved from a stalactite with a stingray spine as its centerpiece, the altar or sepulcher that gave the cave system its current name. All around the altar lie potsherds, bone fragments, relics and other artifacts left behind by the Maya priests more than a thousand years ago.
Further in, towards what the Ancient Maya believed was the sacred nexus where the underworld of the gods connected to the world of men, lie the bones of the Crystal Maiden. This sacrificial victim, estimated to be a young adult in their 20s, has, over time, bonded with the minerals in the cave to acquire a glittery sheen. Nearby lie the remains of seven adult sacrificial victims as well as those of five children all under the age of 5. Thousands of fragmented pots and vessels are scattered near the bones, including some largely-intact pots and bowls that archeologists believe once held food offerings to appease the gods. Other artifacts include the obsidian blades that are believed to have been used in the solemn but gruesome human sacrifices conducted by Maya priests.
Archeologists have estimated that the ATM cave first became a site used by the Maya for religious purposes nearly 2,000 years ago. The most recent remains are dated to the Terminal-Classic Period (roughly 800 to 1000 AD), a time when the Maya heartland was suffering from severe drought and civil wars. Forgotten for more than a thousand years, the ATM cave was rediscovered in 1989 by local archeologists.
Due to the fragile nature of the artifacts within, only guides authorized by the Department of Archeology can access the ATM Cave. At Chabil Mar, we offer guests guided tours of this unique historical site in Belize. Our concierge would be very pleased to make those arrangements for a visit there for you.
Placencia: A Romantic Honeymoon Destination in Belize
Belize is a small country in Central America between Mexico and Guatemala with a long coastline on the Caribbean Sea. Thanks to its sunny weather all year round, gorgeous beaches, pristine jungles and rainforests, and offshore reef, Belize is becoming one of the most popular destinations for honeymooners and couples looking for a romantic getaway in a tropical paradise with first-class hotels and resorts.
Ideal for swimmers, fisherman, snorkelers and diving enthusiasts, the Belize Barrier Reef is the second-largest coral reef in the world. The mainland of Belize is an ideal mix of mountains, jungle, rainforest, rivers and lagoons, making it one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Coupled with some of the finest hotels and resorts found anywhere, Belize is an ideal place for couples to enjoy some intimate time in a truly beautiful and charming setting.
Where to Honeymoon in Belize
One of the most romantic locations in Belize is the Placencia Peninsula. Just a mile across, the peninsula stretches for 16 miles along the turquoise Caribbean Sea, featuring some of the most beautiful beaches found anywhere in the country. At the tip of the peninsula is the village of Placencia, a small and friendly community complete with gourmet restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops and dive outfits with a full range of gear for exploring the nearby Belize Barrier Reef.
Best Honeymoon Resort in Belize
Located just a few minutes’ walk up the beach from Placencia Village is the award-winning resort of Chabil Mar. From a Mayan term meaning “beautiful sea”, the gorgeous beachfront villas of Chabil Mar are all tastefully appointed and include a full range of modern amenities, including 400-thread-count linens, multi-zone air-conditioning, and high-speed wireless internet. The resort also has its own private seafront pier, an ideal spot for enjoying a romantic meal under the stars.
A Complete Belize Honeymoon Package
If planning for your wedding has taxed your time and resources, then why not unwind with a delightfully romantic Belize honeymoon package? Instead of fretting over the details, this inclusive honeymoon package includes your stay at the luxurious Chabil Mar resort, trips to the mainland, and diving/snorkeling adventures on the majestic Belize Barrier Reef.
Start your new life together with a wonderfully romantic getaway vacation to the friendly nation of Belize. Whether you prefer to spend your time luxuriating on the beach or want a more adventurous trip exploring mysterious ancient Maya cities and snorkeling the crystal clear waters offshore, there’s something for every honeymooner in Belize.