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Best Belize Blog

The Resource for the Best of Belize
Belize Scuba

Caribbean Life magazine readers vote Belize as the Caribbean’s best diving and snorkeling and says “The Caribbean’s Technicolor depths are one of its biggest draws, and no place does coral like Belize. The tiny Central American nation has prime proximity to the magnificent Mesoamerican Reef, which stretches nearly 700 miles from Mexico to northern Honduras. Grab a mask and fins and dive in”.

Belize was also a favorite pick by Luxury Living International magazine as Best of Paradise when it comes to the Reef and the overall adventure expierence. Luxury Living International also named Roberts Grove as the best resort in Belize to stay and enjoy the treasures of Belize.

I guess “Mother Natures Best Kept Secret” is getting out there!

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Stunning reefs protect the Belize Shorline

Stunning reefs protect the Belize Shorline

I came across a magazine called Luxury Living International yesterday that has just launched an online version and we found an entertaining article on Belize. Called a “webzine”, apparently this one was originally a paper magazine. After spending some time on their sites, some unbelievable homes in the Belize real estate section as well as other places in the Caribbean, etc., I thought I’d post it. As I looked around the pages of Luxury Living International, I found it interesting that here is a magazine done with an emphasis and focus on Belize, Costa Rica, the rest of Central America and the Caribbean in both real estate and as they say “living the good life in paradise”. So, unlike most that I’ve come across, this site gives a pretty good perspective on this growing tropical region.

One thing I agree with in the story is…well…my quote!

“Placencia is the hottest Belize real estate market on mainland Belize,” says Bill Shea, with Three Palms/Coldwell Banker in Placencia. “Although the market here cooled along with everything else in the Caribbean, in the past three months we are getting traction again. The new airport coming in is one key, the charm and the best beach in Belize doesn’t hurt either.”

Yes, its true. Yours truly is now famous! Here is a link to Luxury Living International – www.luxurylivingint.com – enjoy!

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the_split Bar

Belize offers a vastly surprising list of experiences dependant on which part of Belize you happen to visit. If you want an eco-experience then you’ll aim to the mountains outside of Hopkins or San Ignacio. If you’re aiming for a beach experience you’ll need to aim in the opposite direction, towards that amazing blue water surrounding the reef. My last trip up north off the reef took me out to Caye Caulker: a completely different experience than was expected.

Rarely have I woken up on a Tuesday and had the distinct feeling that it might be Sunday. Only one other time have I ever had to shake the dust off my shoes before wearing them for the first time in days. In Caye Caulker, the days really do run together, shoes and shirts are completely optional attire. This is a very simple place and time is somewhat irrelevant. In recent years Caye Caulker has turned into a growing stop for tourists that come to Belize and it’s no surprise. La Isla Carinosa – the friendly island – Is what people think of when they visit countries like Belize. Similar to Ambergris Cay (without the t-shirt shops), it is one of the places that convinces you to come back again – once they visit the mainland and places like Placencia. continue reading…

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Belize

Sometimes, the best way to appreciate a place is to go somewhere else.

In a back-to-back trip last year, I left Belize after an awesome week spent snorkeling, exploring rain forests and catching lots and lots of fish. My next stop: the much more famous Costa Rica, where I looked forward to more of the same.  After all, Costa is the place with the great long-established reputation for eco-adventure, pristine environments, super-friendly people and gorgeous countryside.

I found the people all right. Hundreds of them. Seemingly everywhere I went. I wasn’t in the most touristy part of the country, but it didn’t matter, it’s just not that easy to get away in Costa anymore. continue reading…

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Why Belize Now?

Why Belize Now?

The answer is simple. You know Mark Twain’s famous quote “buy land, there not making it any more”? Well, they’re is a lot of truth to that especially in Belize. Keep in mind this little English-speaking speck on the map is only 170 miles long and 60 miles wide, barely. It’s just not very big to begin with, and much of it is rainforest and jungle that fortunately can never be disturbed by development. And frankly, the northern section above Belize City is not exactly the paradise most want own a vacation home or to retire to. Flat, a bit barren and hot.

Belize is less than half the size of Costa Rica yet has all that has made that country a famous destination, and a bit more. Don’t get me wrong I love Costa Rica, but I can’t speak Spanish (or read the Spanish contracts), it’s a longer flight to C.R., the beaches and snorkeling are OK at best, it doesn’t have the second longest barrier reef in the world (doesn’t have one at all), and the weather is not as good year-round as Belize. Dry season in Belize is very green, C.R. very hot and brown (at least in Northeast Guanacaste) and both have beautiful rainforests. But as far as real estate is concerned Belize is at least a 30 to 40 percent cheaper if you’re comparing apples to apples. continue reading…

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fly-fishing

I was hot, and impatient, and growing more so by the minute. It was June 2005 and my first time in Belize, and I was waiting at the airport for a friend who was in Belize to fly fish and look at real estate.

I’m not the most patient fellow and neither is my friend, less so if anything. A tall, hard-charging sophisticated big city guy, he’s a born salesman who loves life in the fast lane. In the four years I’d known him at that time I don’t think I’d ever seen him without silk slacks and high-dollar dress shoes.

We’d crossed signals and were late to reconnoiter, and I could imagine what kind of mood he was in; the two of us would be a real pair until we could get somewhere out of the heat and relax.

So imagine my shock when a rental car pulls up in front of me, and out steps a guy who is a dead ringer for my tall friend, except it can’t be him. The guy is wearing sunglasses, a mostly unbuttoned Tommy Bahama shirt, board shorts and flip flops. continue reading…

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Costa Rica and Belize earn 8 of the 10 places on Trip Advisor’s list of “Top 10 Best Beaches in Central America” as selected on the site by active travelers in their 2012 Traveler’s Choice Awards

Trip Advisor Names Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio Beach Top 10

Costa Rica and Belize dominate TripAdvisor’s newly released “Top 10 Beach Destinations in Central America” as chosen by travelers. Costa Rica put five sandy destinations on the list, while Belize totaled three in the Traveler’s Choice 2012 Awards. Nicaragua and Roatan, Honduras each scored one beach in the top 10.

Costa Rica's Santa Teresa Playa del Carmen Beach

Costa Rica's Santa Teresa Playa del Carmen Beach

Costa Rica claimed the top three spots in the annual rankings of the best beaches in Central America, with Santa Teresa topping the list at number one. According to the report, “Surf’s always up in the Costa Rican beach town of Santa Teresa. Bright sun and gleaming sands make the perfect backdrop to hang ten in the crystal-clear waters, and fishing, snorkeling and kite-surfing are popular among vacationers.”

The number two spot goes to Costa Rica’s Playa Samara, which is recognized for the myriad of beach activities, including horseback riding, fishing and yoga. An offshore coral reef is a favorite of snorkelers. Rounding out the Costa Rican top three is Tamarindo, which is a prime spot for surfing and sportfishing. Tamarindo is also known for its selection of luxury hotels, beach houses and quaint B&Bs.

Other Costa Rican destinations making the list are Puerta Viejo de Talamanca (#6), known for its world-class surfing, and Gulf of Papagayo (#10), which attracts visitors with its unspoiled, tranquil beaches and nearby volcanoes and tropical forests.

Belize Earns 3 Spots on the List

Belize Placencia Beach Named Top 10 by Trip Advisor

Ranked seventh through ninth on the TripAdvisor list are three popular beaches in Belize: San Pedro (#7), Placencia (#8) and Caye Caulker (#9). San Pedro is “La Isla Bonita” that Madonna made famous, and features great beaches and plenty of dive shops. Diving and snorkeling are favored activities at Placencia, but sailboats and catamarans available for rent attract those wanting to cruise the clear waters. Caye Caulker is an island so small you can walk across it in about 20 minutes. Travelers report that it’s “not for the party animal,” and appeals especially to backpackers, painters, divers and snorkelers.

Nicaragua and Roatan Make Top 10

Roatan Beaches Named Top 10 by Trip AdvisorThe increasingly well-known San Juan del Sur is Nicaragua’s representative among the top 10. Situated on a crescent-shaped bay, the beach is known for its surfing and fishing, but also an occasionally boisterous nightlife.

The world’s second largest coral reef, pristine beaches and lack of crowds draws travelers to Roatan in Honduras. TripAdvisor’s readers note Roatan is not one “all-inclusive resort after another,” but also advise to get there before the word gets out.

About Trip Advisor: TripAdvisor.com is the world’s largest travel site, featuring a wide variety of travel choices and planning features and reviews, enabling individuals to plan trips using advice from real travelers. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 60 million unique monthly visitors, and over 75 million reviews and opinions.

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There’s a superb occasion for those that want to spend some time away from the busy cities, in a perfect landscape, in the middle of the sea. If you’re willing to spend a bit for privacy and for a unique vacation, then the Royal Belize, a Caribbean Island designed to serve as a private retreat, can be all yours.

The place can be fully rented, measuring seven acres. The island sports 3 different types of accommodations, while the temporary and his guests are fully tended to. They can either reside within Casa Catalina, Villa Alba or Casa Valentina, all three of them being decked with antique European and Asian furnishing, along with local traditional art decór.

Hungry ones permanently have a chef ready to fill their tummies, with no real importance if they dine in their rooms, under palm trees or on the beach. Catamarans are also fit to host diners, while cruising up local tropical rivers. Besides eating, everyone can also enjoy a decent number of activities. Among these, the ones really worth mentioning are kayaking, jet-skiing, diving or fishing on the coral reef, beach sports or snorkeling. If you prefer the security of the land, hiking, exploring the local Maya ruins or river tubing will definitely fit you perfectly.

The purpose for which you would rent this island isn’t of great importance, simply because it can fit everything – be them helicopter tours, weddings, corporate outings, yachting, romantic picnics or simple vacations. The best thing of the renting process is charity – Christie’s Green Auction: A Bid to Save the Earth.

All proceeds earned from the island’s bidding, through Christie’s, will get to the aforementioned purpose. Charitybuzz undertakes the whole process.

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PLACENCIA, Belize, March 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The Placencia proudly announces construction has completed on the breakwater at The Placencia Marina, Belize’s first luxury super-yacht marina.  Serving as a key component of The Placencia’s master-planned development, Placencia Marina is the largest fully permitted, government endorsed, full-service marina in Belize.

Opening Winter 2012-13, The Placencia Marina will ultimately consist of up to 293 slips, accommodating boats from 30 feet to over 260 feet in length.  Phase 1 of the 27-acre super-yacht marina will include 117 wetslips from 40 feet to 220 feet.  Planned marina facilities include a refuelling station, water, sewage, crew-only recreation center and management services. Marina Village at The Placencia will include a VIP Casino, multiple restaurants, retail shops, world-class spa and boutique hotel.

“Development is progressing and we anticipate a timely launch in first quarter 2013,” said Brent Borland, Principal, The Placencia. “Our team is dedicated to creating a world-class marina offering an experience unlike any other in the Caribbean. We’re confident our commitment to deliver the highest level of customer service at our 90-key luxury beachfront The Placencia Hotel, our superior location, and broad set of amenities included in our Sporting Club Membership, combined with the forthcoming opening of the Placencia International Airport, puts The Placencia is a class of its own.”

The Placencia is pleased to announce that the Supreme Court of Belize dismissed the frivolous claims against The Placencia Marina made by the Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development’s self proclaimed environmentalist leader Mary Toy. All claims and challenges were soundly rejected by the Judge as totally baseless and Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development and Toy were ordered to pay all legal fees and costs.

“It was clear to all parties involved that Peninsula Citizens for Sustainable Development and Toy’s claims were designed to stop development merely for the sake of stopping development and for her own personal motives,” said Marco Caruso, Principal, The Placencia. “We’re optimistic that a significant infrastructure development for the country of Belize such as The Placencia Marina has a clear path to success. This ruling is validation that collaboration between the private and public sectors will not be deterred by baseless, selfishly motivated claims of a select few.”

About The Placencia

The Placencia is a master-planned environment fronting over 4,000 acres of Caribbean coastline, five miles of lagoon shores and the ultimate in Belize Real Estate. The development includes the privately owned Placencia International Airport & FBO, world-class The Placencia Marina, Panther Golf Club & Residences with its 18-Hole Championship Course featuring the premier property in Belize, exquisite Belize condo towers at Copal Beach Resort and the ultra-exclusive 15-acre Rendezvous Island featuring oceanfront private island homes in Belize. Real Estate in Belize is booming and The Placencia offers the largest and most diverse offering of pre-construction and turnkey furnished real estate opportunities in Belize.

SOURCE The Placencia Group

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The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize’s foremost eco resort and, with over 135 staff members, one of the country’s largest private employers, honoured two of its team members for 20 service this week.

Owners and general managers Mick and Lucy Fleming reflected on Chaa Creek’s 30 year journey from small family farm to world recognised model for eco-tourism, and, in acknowledging Rupert Harris and Dionicio Tun’s long commitment, stressed that this success was as much the employees’ as their own.

“Chaa Creek is a bit different to other large resorts in that we’ve always had a very strong family focus. As Chaa Creek grew, so did our family, as I think our long term staff members will agree. We experience all the joys, frustrations, responsibilities and feelings of loyalty that any large family does, and Mick and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And guess what? It works, and it works very well” Ms Fleming said.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek recently celebrated its 30 years anniversary as Belize’s first genuine eco resort, growing from a staff of one to 135 maintaining a 365 acre private nature reserve with miles of trails linking 70 Maya archaeological sites including the ancient Maya temple of Tunichilen, Belize’s Natural History Centre, restaurant, lounge, pool, Butterfly Farm, Hilltop Nature Spa, conference centre, stables, canoe fleet and other amenities. It continues to garner international recognition and awards from peers and travel industry professionals such as Conde Nast, the BBC, Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor and others.

Mick Fleming stressed that Chaa Creek’s success has always depended on the commitment of their staff members, many of whom grew up in small villages near Chaa Creek as it developed over the years.

“You often hear businesses praising their staff, but in our case the appreciation goes very, very deeply as we literally grew up along with our employees and their families. In the early days especially when there was hardly any infrastructure or financial resources, we accomplished some extraordinary things through sheer determination, cooperation and a commitment towards each other and Chaa Creek.”

Chaa Creek has a strong emphasis on staff development, and under the Chaa Creek Cares program, overseas training and other opportunities are subsidized by the resort. As a result, many former employees have gone onto starting their own business or taking on managerial positions in Belize’s tourism industry. And as the awards show, many choose to stay on, with five employees having received 20 year awards and over 30 reaching the 10 year mark, a record unmatched by any Belizean resort.

The Flemings said that they hope to show by example that investments in staff, just like investments in sustainable tourism and community development programs, may not be immediately apparent but pay dividends in the long term. Both Messrs Harris and Tun echoed this sentiment and praised the training and sense of belonging they receive as being part of Chaa Creek.

“I feel so honored to be working at one of Belize’s top resorts and 20 years later, it feels like I have just started working here. Mr Mick and Ms Lucy Fleming are great people and I thank them for the opportunity to work with them”, Mr Harris said.

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BELIZE CITY — Belize’s founding father and first prime minister, George Price, died early Monday, just short of three decades since he led the small Central American nation to independence. He was 92.

Price died at the Belize Healthcare Partners Hospital in Belize City, said a grand nephew, Henry Charles Usher. He was hospitalized Wednesday after a fall at his Belize City home and put in a medically induced coma following surgery to remove a blood clot.

Belize just celebrated it’s 30th anniversary of Independence on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, the death of the Right Honorable George Cadle Price, 92, two days after this milestone achievement – Belize’s Independence. -

Price was Belize’s first leader when it became independent from Britain on Sept. 21, 1981. As head of the centrist People’s United Party, he served two terms as prime minister, in 1981-84 and 1989-1993, and is considered the father of the Caribbean country of about 300,000 people that borders Mexico and Guatemala.

Belize is on the Central American mainland but maintains closer cultural ties with other English-speaking former British colonies in the Caribbean than with its Spanish-speaking neighbors.

In a message broadcast to the nation, the current prime minister called Price “a giant of a man, the greatest architect of Belizean nationalism and Belizean sovereignty.”

PUP Leader Johnny Briceño told the media, during a press briefing held at the PUP headquarters on Queen Street, that he would surely miss the man he said was his mentor.

“We are very grateful for what Mr. Price has done for us as a nation, for all the Belizean people, the fight from the colonial masters to self-government to Independence, where he forged a new country in the Caribbean and Central America, a country that is known as Belize, and where we Belizeans have an identity as Belizeans.

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BELIZE CITY, Belize — The Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA), Belize’s primary port of entry, will now be dishing out regular doses of unique musical renditions to vacationers, as sister agencies within Belize’s Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture — the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), on July 20, 2011, launched the long-awaited Belizean Beats program.

Being a country that proudly boasts over ten diverse ethnic groups, the Belizean Beats program is specifically designed to introduce travelers to Belizean culture from the very onset of their time in the country. It promises to set the tempo for their entire trip as they are immediately and melodiously baptized into the very essence of the Belizean experience.

“As soon as the tourist arrives in Belize we give them a sense of what we have to offer as a vibrant tourism destination filled with culture and history.” said Seleni Matus, BTB’s director of tourism.

“Today we cut the proverbial ribbon on an exciting new initiative that does so much more than just entertain; it serves as an immediate gateway to the heart of Belizean culture.” Dalhouse explained.

Defining music as the universal language, the BTB says it’s confident that this program will transliterate the nation’s heartfelt welcome into an idiom that everyone could comprehend and appreciate despite the linguistic barriers.

Performing at the PGIA on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the first group to be featured in the Belizean Beats program is the up-and-coming local band affectionately known as the Laru Beya Boys. Chosen after grueling auditions against dozens of other top musical groups, this first group has clearly earned the trendsetter position for one of the most dynamic airport programs to have ever come into existence in Belize.

So the next time you take a trip to Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret and passing through the international airport, don’t worry about your feet tapping — it’s just part of the Belizean experience.

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It’s a fact—Belize does not have a bunch of big-name hotel or resort flags flying around, yet. As a matter of fact it has none…the Radisson in Belize City doesn’t count.  But there are some very cool places to stay in Belize as long as you don’t mind not being in a 300-room Marriott! There is a great mix of nice lower-budget places to stay, but the properties below represent the best Belize has to offer. The funny thing is that as I put this list together with the help of my friends—and to make sure we got what we considered the best in Belize—you realized there is such variety here, even in a relatively short list. All of these represent some prime real estate many with great spas and food. Without further ado (and in no particular order), here are the finest resorts and hotels offered in this Caribbean jewel known as Belize: continue reading…

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