One of the dangers of vacations is a tendency to try to cram too much in. The whole point of a holiday is to relax, isn’t it? Some of our best days away have been the ones where you wake up to a day that’s a blank canvas, and then decide how to fill it yourself. And that’s where day trips come in, those short excursions that can be undertaken at a drop of the hat, freeing up holiday time to just lounge, talk, reconnect and recharge. Fortunately, Belize has such a variety of awesome day trips that visitors can choose from a menu of a la carte activities and mix and match day excursions to create their own rich, totally satisfying holiday adventures. So, in the spirit of “I’ll take one from column A, one from column B, and finish off with a treat from the desert trolley”, here are three sumptuous choices from Belize’s smorgasbord of activities.
The latest tour, running from Germany to Serbia with a big showing at the prestigious “Summer of Antwerp” festival, drew crowds from all over Europe, attended by faithful fans and many others getting their first taste of what has been hailed as some of the most unique, refreshing sounds coming out of the Americas. The tour supported the European release of the Collective’s most recent album, Ayó (Goodbye), which the UK’s Guardian newspaper described as starting “with a lilting farewell to (Andy) Palacio, and eases into rousing, soulful songs driven by guitars and the distinctive rhythms of the Garifuna hand-drums, with strong vocals from Lloyd Augustine and Desiree Diego, and a dash of dub and funk.”
Like many people in Belize, especially those of us with an interest in Maya culture, history and archaeology, the news that Dr Jaime Awe was stepping down from his post as the Director of the National Institute of Culture and History’s Institute of Archaeology (IA) came as a surprise. No one, and we do mean no one, has done as much for archaeology in Belize as Dr Awe. Working tirelessly and passionately, Dr Awe makes Belize’s rich Maya heritage come alive for a countless number of students, writers, observers and ordinary citizens.
The report specifically acknowledges Belize’s success in protecting the marine environment and working towards the sustainability of local fisheries. “Belize has been a leader in the region for establishing marine protected areas and has a world-renowned system of marine reserves many of which form the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage Site,” Janet Gibson, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Belize Program reports. “It’s clear that no-take zones can help replenish the country’s fisheries and biodiversity, along with the added benefits to tourism and even resilience to climate change.” The WCS commissioned the report to look at the performance of no-take zones in Belize and in other countries to with an aim towards protecting the world’s highly diverse coral reef systems.
Yes, once again Belize’s young environmental activists are taking to the woods to learn about the natural world and how to protect it through environmental sustainability, responsible travel and hands-on instruction in areas such as Maya organic farming practices while getting a deeper appreciation of Belize’s rich natural and cultural heritage. Oh, and did we mention fun? There will be lots of that during the weeklong Eco-Kids educational summer camp sponsored by The Lodge at Chaa Creek.
With the 2014 Commonwealth Games on the horizon, host Glasgow is busily ironing kilts and preparing venues while the National Olympic Committee confirms the events and names of athletes who will be contending. Yes, sports lovers, it has been announced that Belize will compete in five events at this year’s games.
It’s no longer Mother Nature’s best kept secret that Belize has an astounding collection of wildlife living within the 170mi (274 km ) by 68 mi (109 km)of this unique little gem of a country, with many familiar and many not-so-familiar species cohabitating in the huge pristine expanses of protected wilderness. One of the many things we like to do here is introduce some of our lesser known animal friends to the world, and this week we’ve chosen that nocturnal little scamp, the kinkajou.
More Good News for Air Service to Belize. Yes, it is great news that major airlines are keeping up with Belize’s growing popularity by offering more and more flights each year. Last month we posted that United Airlines was expanding its air service from Chicago to Belize with new direct flights beginning December 20 2014, and now we have even more good news for travelers. Delta airlines has just announced that, beginning December 4, it is adding four weekly seasonal flights to its Atlanta, Georgia – Belize City run. This is in addition to the eight weekly round-trip flights to Belize it currently offers year round.
All of us here at Chaa Creek are wishing our many friends to the north a very happy Independence Day. As we’ve mentioned several times here, Belize and the United States have enjoyed a long and friendly relationship based on mutual respect. Having both started out as British colonies (and both enjoying excellent relations with Great Britain), we share a common language, as well as having Spanish as a second language. And ties between our two countries have become closer than ever in recent years. The US is home to the largest Belizean population outside of Belize, and each year more Americans are investing in and moving to Belize to enjoy the tranquil lifestyle, wonderful climate and generous retirement incentives.
As the Huff Post pointed out in “Why Belize Is The Perfect Surf-And-Turf Vacation”, and the Star Tribune in “Belize serves up surf and turf vacation of Maya Ruins and mind-boggling sea life”, Belize is unique in being able to offer discriminating travellers the chance to explore ancient Maya temples and cities one day and enjoy some of the world’s best diving, snorkelling and swimming in pristine Caribbean waters the next.
The first Houston Caribbean Queen (HCQ) Pageant, billed as “a cultural, educational, and festive event that seeks to celebrate the talent and intellectual abilities of young Caribbean women” was held on June 28, 2014 and it seems only fitting to us that the very first HC Queen is a talented young Belizean, Rheisha Shol. Rheisha was born in the national capital of Belmopan and moved to Houston, Texas with her family, where she currently attends Texas State University.
Summer in Belize: Why I’m going Back!
The arrival of the Summer Solstice means many things to many people around the world, with Druid fans congregating around Britain’s Stonehenge, people wanting to get in touch with the ancient Maya vibe at Chitzen Itza in Mexico, Tikal in Guatemala and Xunantunich in Belize, and farmers the world over consulting their almanacs.
To me, the Solstice sounds a gentle alarm – from here on in the days get shorter and the nights get longer …
Good Neighbour Belize Takes Helm of SICA
Belize assumes the presidency of the Central American Integration System, or SICA
Have you heard?
Prime Minister Dean Barrow recently travelled to the Dominican Republic to assume the presidency of the Central American Integration System, or SICA as it is more widely known, in a move that furthers Belize‘s reputation as a significant player in the Central American region.
The closer ties envisioned by SICA member states also bodes well for regional tourism, and especially throughout the …
Yes, summer is now well and truly here. At Chaa Creek, celebrating the summer solstice is part of a local tradition going back thousands of years. Long before western telescopes came into use, the ancient Maya were busily recording the solstices with astounding accuracy and marking the exact day with ritual celebrations. The Summer Solstice, widely considered to be the first day of summer, falls on June 21 in the northern hemisphere, making it the longest day of the year. And, of course, June 21 in the southern hemisphere is the winter solstice with the shortest day of the year.
It’s that time again to celebrate the opening of lobster season in Belize and show our appreciation for this gastronomic delight. Yes, all over Belize fishermen are out catching, cooks are preparing and diners are consuming the yummy bugs, as Caribbean Spiny Lobsters are known locally. And to celebrate the opening of the lobster season, several Lobsterfests are held around Belize, providing a rare opportunity to not only gorge on these delicious crustaceans, but participate in great community events as well. Here’s a list of the main fests, followed by some facts about rock lobsters that 80s band the B 52s for some reason left out of their tribute song.
By happy coincidence, just after posting the recent Birds Of Belize Blog (Birding in Belize – Six of the Best Spots 17 June 2014), we’ve received reports of a new International Development Bank program to train and certify Belizean tour guides in the highly specialised field of birding. Funded by the IDB and delivered by the Belize Audubon Society, the USD$ 2.6 million project budget will be shared by Belize, Bahamas, Guatemala and Paraguay. Speaking at the project launch at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City, Amanda Burgos, Belize Audubon Society’s Executive Director said that the Belizean funds are earmarked for introducing birding as a specialized field of study for tour guides.
The company said it is adding flights from Chicago’s O Hare airport to Philip Goldson International in Belize City, with a Saturday service scheduled to run through to May 2015, depending on government approval. Great news for visitors from the Windy City, as well as the substantial Belizean diaspora living in the Chicago area. With Delta Airline’s direct Los Angeles to Belize City flights that began last year, and joining American and Continental Airlines as well as USAir ways and TACA servicing Belize from Miami, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Charlotte, New York and Los Angeles, and given the close proximity of Belize to major North American hubs, paradise keeps getting closer for our American friends.