Belize’s “Celebration Season” got off to an early start this year with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Hol Chan, the Caribbean nation’s first national marine park, The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s marketing administrator Larry Waight announced today.
“We usually begin what we call our celebration season in September, a big month in which we celebrate the Battle of St George’s Caye, Belize Independence Day and, closer to home, the birthday of Belize’s first eco-resort, Chaa Creek,” Mr. Waight said.
“But this year the celebrations started a bit earlier with so many people joining in observing Hol Chan Marine Reserve rounding the quarter of a century mark, and, with the Maya 2012 celebrations creating more of a buzz as we near the December 21st Winter Solstice, it looks like the momentum is going to continue into the new year. You can already feel the festival spirit,” he added.
Hol Chan, Maya for “little channel” located nearAmbergris Caye on the World heritage-listed Belize Great Barrier Reef, is one of Belize’s most popular Caribbean attractions. Officially recognised in July 1987 and extended to incorporate Shark Ray Alley on August 31, 1999, it has since served as a model for marine conservation in the region.
Independence Day is Belize’s biggest, most enthusiastically celebrated holiday, commemorating the small English speaking country’s entry as Central America’s newest sovereign nation on September 21, 1981. St George’s Caye Day on September 10 observes the battle of St George’s Caye in 1798, when predominately British settlers known as the Baymen and their slaves repelled a Spanish invasion in what is regarded as the defining moment in Belizean statehood.
September 1981 also saw the opening of The Lodge at Chaa Creek, when Mick and Lucy Fleming opened the doors of their small farm to paying guests and began developing what was at the time the novel concept of eco-tourism in Belize. Sustainable tourism is now Belize’s main product.
“September’s a huge month here, and is the traditional start of the holiday season, followed by Pan America Day October 12 and Garifuna Settlement Day on November 19. From there on in the party doesn’t stop until after the New Year, and this year we have the huge Maya Winter Solstice on December 21, 2012, which has been the subject of a Hollywood blockbuster film and countless Internet postings,” Mr. Waight said. “And now, with Hol Chan being celebrated as another example of Belize’s sustainable approach to tourism, the party is beginning earlier than usual,” he added.
Mr. Waight said that in recognition of the environmental, cultural and social importance of 2012, Chaa Creek has placed greater emphasis on their signature all-inclusive Belize vacation packages to give families, couples, friends and singles the most affordable options to participate in what he described as “distinctly Belizean” holidays.
“There’s such a festive atmosphere this year that we really want to encourage people to join in and celebrate with us. Our Belizean music, food, culture, Maya archaeological sites and general atmosphere are so distinctive that this is one holiday season no one should miss,” he said, “And with our Belize vacation packages so full of activities and affordable right now, there’s no excuse to miss out in the celebrations of the century,” he added.