Showing posts with label Beaches and Belize. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beaches and Belize. Show all posts

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Autumn in Belize: A Thanksgiving Twist

In America as fall sets in the cool air drifts by and the beautiful colors of autumn are everywhere. Two of the best holidays are right around the corner: Halloween and Thanksgiving. Fortunately, both holidays are celebrated extensively in the warm, tropical, Caribbean country of Belize. Thanksgiving is about being with the ones we love, feasting on an abundance of food maybe just a bit too much, and giving thanks for all the blessings we have received. Belize puts a twist to the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

In addition, to celebrating a traditional Turkey day, Belize also gives thanks to the diverse cultures that make up Belize. In November the Garifuna culture celebrates its arrival to Belize and gives thanks to their ancestors. Along, with feasting on turkey, cranberry, gravy, and stuffing you are able to incorporate the many traditional dishes of other Belizean cultures such as the famous rice and beans dinner. If you enjoy the adventure and the diversity that life has to offer you will enjoy a Thanksgiving in Belize.
Vibrant colors continue to surround this marvelous country certainly putting a twist to the fall earth-toned colors: orange, yellow, red, and brown. The temperatures are a bit low to what most Belizeans are use to but the lowest would be at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Which if you ask me is a warm weather for my t-shirt, shorts, swimsuits and flip-flops. Life continues to blossom all year-round. The trees are filled with colorful green leaves and the chirping and singing of birds can be heard from your bedroom window.

Have a jungle, adventurous, wildlife tour through the mystery forest of Belize. Or simply enjoy the quiet, and peaceful, environment with your family feasting on a grand Thanksgiving meal. Enjoy the Caribbean Sea throughout seasons. A Thanksgiving with a twist! Swim and dive with the most exotic sea creatures imaginable and spend your evening relaxing on the beach in a hammock. Thanksgiving in Belize is a time to share with your family a memorable vacation.

Enjoy a tropical Thanksgiving. Start planning your Thanksgiving vacation in Belize by contacting Patty at

Belize offers a Thanksgiving Twist!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Splash Dive Center: Combating the Lionfish

The word is that the beautiful lionfish have invaded our natural Caribbean waters. How did this invasion start? Lionfish are native to the Indo-Pacific and are in balance with the ecosystems in that area.  In the Caribbean they are voracious predators of marine life but are not on the food chain for any of our Caribbean fishwere the first to sight the deadly lionfish. The lionfish can easily be identified by its red-and white zebra stripes, with feathery pectoral fins.

  •   Lionfish are members of the scorpionfish/Scorpaenidae family and subfamily Pteroinae.
  •  Lionfish are found in the Indo-Pacific (central and western Pacific oceans) and the Red Sea.
  •        Lionfish are also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish.
  •      The largest lionfish is known to be about 15 inches. However, the average size of a lionfish is 1 foot in length.

·      There is no danger in eating the lionfish meat once the spines have been removed


·      Lionfish are poisonous: False, Lionfish are not poisonous creatures but they are venomous.  The lionfish carries its venom in its needle-like dorsal fins. Divers must be extremely careful around the lionfish, as a sting from a lionfish can be extremely painful.

So why is that the Lionfish are a danger to our reef?

A lionfish can eat up to 20 small fish in less than 30 minutes and due to their venomous spines they stand fearless against any other sea creatures. The loss of our small fishes in the ocean causes a threat to our coral and reef ecosystem. The only lionfish predators in the Caribbean scuba divers trying to protect the existing ecosystem.

Splash Dive Center has hosted many spear fishing expeditions this year in the hopes of saving the reef.  The lionfish is a delicious delicacy and has gained popularity in many local restaurants in Belize. However, the market for lionfish is greater than Belize. David Johnson, Proprietor of Traditional Fisheries, the only commercial supplier of lionfish in the world was the first to ship the delicious Caribbean delicacy out of Belize to the United States. The demand for lionfish meat is growing in the U.S market. Currently many high-end restaurants in New York City, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Houston are serving lionfish meat.

Eat Lionfish, Save the Reef!
Lionfish Hunting Safari

In Belize, lion fish are the only species that regulations allow to be taken with spear guns and the spear guns must meet specific specifications set by the Fisheries Department. 

Interested in joining Splash Dive Center in Belize for a Lionfish Hunting Safari? 
Contact Patty at       

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Your Top 3 ‘Must Visit’ Islands in Belize

Belize is a natural beauty filled with an array of diversity. In Belize islands are commonly called ‘cayes’, pronounced ‘keys’. This tiny English speaking country is certainly blessed with many beautiful and immaculate islands, which are but only a short distance away from one another. My top three must visit islands are: San Pedro Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, and Laughing Bird Caye National Park.

San Pedro Ambergris Caye is known to be the largest of Belize’s offshore islands and the most developed island- here you can dive the Christ of the Abyss.  The town, San Pedro, is where you will find the most populated part of the island, equipped with an array of lodging, dining, shopping, and nightlife. The island is known as ‘La Isla Bonita’, translated in English as, ‘The Beautiful Island’, a nickname given by Madonna’s hit song, ‘La Isla Bonita’. Tours and activities on the island range from easy, moderate, to strenuous. Choose your adventure: have a relaxing sunset cruise with your loved one, or take a short boat ride out to the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, to snorkel or dive.  San Pedro is said to have been a Maya Trading Post, and the evidence of this exist today, be sure to visit the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site, and unfold the mysteries of the Mayas. With all this said, sure enough it is no surprise that this island has been rated the #1 Island in the world on TripAdvisor.

Take it easy and simply ‘Go Slow’ visiting Caye Caulker. Caye Caulker is located nearby to San Pedro Ambergris Caye, but it is a distinctive atmosphere to San Pedro- here be sure to dive the Hol Chan Marine Reserve for a great reef experience. Looking for paved roads? This cannot be found in Caye Caulker! Kick off your shoes and experience the island life, strolling on the sandy streets. This island has a laid back Caribbean vibe and is popular amongst backpackers, budget travelers and lately even honeymooners, looking for an island escape.  The friendly people of Caye Caulker gives Caye Caulker the nickname, ‘La Isla Carinosa’, translated in English as, ‘Charming Island’, and charming it is. Many locals as well as visitors enjoy the entertainment and swimming at ‘The Split Beach’, a narrow channel that has divided the Island in two. I definitely recommend experiencing the true meaning of Caye Caulker’s motto, “Go Slow”.

This upcoming ‘must visit’ island takes you to Southern Belize. Laughing Bird Caye National Park is located approximately eleven miles off the coast of Placencia Village, Stann Creek District. What is most unique about this island is that it stands on an elongated ridge of reef (faro). Due to its location and form it attracts an abundance and variety of coral habitats and marine life. Unlike, San Pedro Ambergris Caye, and Caye Caulker, this island is secluded, and uninhabited by humans. Laughing Bird Caye is a protected area and is also listed as a World Heritage Site. Diving, fishing, and snorkeling in this area, is a true natural marine experience that can easily be arranged through licensed tour operators such as: Splash Dive Center Belize.

Belize is a natural beauty and is filled hundreds of picturesque islands. However, if you are planning to experience Belize we do recommend visiting these top three ‘must visit’ islands.

Needing more information on Belize and its Islands be sure to contact Patty  or visit us at

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Getting To Belize: 1 – 2 -3 Heavenly Belize from the US or Canada

Belize is amazing!  Rapidly changing topography allows travellers to experience estuaries, rivers, jungle, mountains, coral reefs, expansive underground caves, glorious waterfalls and an incredible collection of flora and fauna.  Some come in the high season (November to May) to escape winter.  Some choose the quiet days of summer for their Belizean adventure. Both times of the year have their own unique attractions or things to do and the choice of when to visit is totally up to you, your budget and the adventure you seek.

Belize Map

Thursday, 4 October 2012

My Fist Dives in the Indigo Blue Waters of the Caribbean….

My boyfriend Tony, at the time, has always been a diving enthusiast and had tried to convince me to take a few dive courses so I can join him in his underwater adventures. Just the thought of going in the ocean filled with sharks and other unknown scary marine creatures, while carrying on your back heavy tanks, was not particularly exciting to me at first. Now, our yearly vacation trip to a new destination was coming up and we were doing a little online research to see where we would go next.  A friend of ours had just visited Belize, a tiny country in Central America facing the Caribbean Sea.  He kept raving about his amazing experience in Belize and all the great dives it offered.  So Tony and I looked it up.  Impressed by what we read, we decided to give it a shot.  Being afraid of water, I was interested in all the charms that a beach destination has to offer but diving. However, Tony was persistent that I took some diving lessons.

Before I knew it, I was already going on a sixty five feet boat to Glover’s Reef in Belize for my first diving course. I felt nervous and tried to focus on all the skills learned and practiced in the pool at the resort.  I was thankful that my instructor at Splash Dive Center in Placencia was very knowledge and patient during my training and practice exercises.  Now at Glover’s Atoll, I kept reminding myself to keep calm, control my breathing, hold nose and blow and so forth. Once there, the views were comforting too. Looking at the nearby great coral ridges, with some rising dramatically and plunging into the ocean into the clear water made me mysteriously excited of what lies beyond this intense surface. 

As nervous as I was inside the sea hearing my own heavy breathing, I was taken aback by what I saw. Words alone can describe what utter excitement it was to be for a moment in a different and strange world.  An ecosphere so close yet so foreign and mysterious strives beneath.  Although terrified, I was in awe of the fish swimming around me.  I saw an intimidating barracuda and schools of yellow tail snappers.  A green moray eel, with a head larger than mine, was looking on curiously from underneath two overlapping rocks. Every coral head held its own surprise. I saw Baby angelfishes, damselfish and tiny arrow crabs and even small worms like the “Christmas tree” and “Feather dusters” which retracted back into their hard shells whenever they sensed danger.  Even the sand held its own wonders. I saw a Green Razor fish hovered over the sand and dived into the sand whenever it felt threatened.  A number of rays, fishes, and eels crawled under the sand as if though playing a game of checkers for their own amusement.

To my surprise, I was also tuned into the sounds around and above.  I could hear the subtle crackling sound of the corals, the crash of the waves against the reef and the feel of the surge.
Belize Barrier Reef

My first experience was both exhilarating and additive. I had forgotten about Tony who was far lost in the gigantic aquarium of Belize’smarine biodiversity.  Unsuspectingly, I discovered a new sport and I was eager to do more dives.

Next we did the open water dive at the Gladden Spit in hope to see the great giant of the Ocean. I was equally astounded here.  Unfortunately, after an hours dive, I did not see a single whale shark until the second dive. Just as we were getting ready to leave, in the distant blue of the sea, a silhouette of a large fish was making itself more visible revealing all the white spots on its body as it swam towards me.  This was indeed a moment.  Diving just 25 feet under water on a late afternoon of a second full moon, had reached its climax with this large breath-taking but curious sea giant coming right up to me. It swam around me for a brief second just to see who I was and swam out of sight into the depths of the ocean.  Although this magical experience lasted less than ten seconds and I ended up swallowing plankton and seawater, it was all worth seeing. I would do it all over again upon an eye’s blink.

Whale Shark
Since these dives, I am a converted diver and a certified dive  master too. If I was told that on the first dive, I would have called it their bluff!  Now Tony and I can enjoy exceptional honeymoons in each dive destination we visit. We have been married now for fifteen years and our love is still going strong and enjoying many similar hobbies and interests like diving! 

If you are interested in learning how to dive you can contact Patricia Ramirez at or visit for more information. She will make your diving experience memorable! 

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Belize: Costa Maya Festivities on La Isla Bonita

Mark your Calendars on August 2, 2012 for a Week of Costa Maya Festivities on La Isla Bonita

Belize’s number one tourist destination explodes with an exuberance of culture, dances, music, food and concerts with a number of local and international artists on August 2 for the grand opening of the San Pedro International Costa Maya Festival.

A regional pageantry of beauty ambassadors from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico mark the grand opening of this year’s 21st anniversary. Miss Belize along with the Central American beauties and Miss Mexico vie for the coveted title of “La Reina De La Costa Maya” which translates into “Queen of the Mundo Maya.”  Like any other great festival, so too has this festival evolved from a local event to massive national and even international event for salt, sea, and cultural “fiestarama.”  Besides the festival’s first day’s pageantry morphing into an international pageant with full representation from Central America and Mexico, even the name has since changed from Sea and Air Festival to its present name. Mind you, even today many still refer to one of San Pedro’s oldest celebrations as such!

La Isla Bonita’s Costa Maya International Festival is a four day event packed with exciting and fun filled activities. The second day is Gala Night with full entertainment by Soca artist, from Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Kevin Lyttle and Belize’s very own Berne Vasquez. Government Officials, ambassadors and other dignitaries are always in attendance for this cultural extravaganza.

Saturday night is Noche International (International Night) and for good reasons. Perhaps this third night is the climaxes of the festivities as local and international artist take center stage for an explosion of music and entertainment. A collage of diverse cultures and ethnicities, of rich and poor, locals and visitors, of mainland and local islanders come together to celebrate and appreciate the many expressions of cultural multiplicities in food, music and folklore dances. All this on one island. It’s not just any island, its “Temptation Island.” The salty sea breeze carries the acoustic tunes of reggae, punta, steel pan, salsa, marimba and Mariachi music across the island paradise. Your hair is down; you are enjoying a cold Belikin beer, good company and the international entertainment. This is island life in “La Isla Bonita.”

As the iconic festival approaches closure, the fourth and final day ends with a final leg of cultural performances showcasing the very best of the participating countries. Featuring this summer is Ballet Camara De QROO from Mexico.

While on the beach, it is party time – sail race, beach volleyball, greasy pole and party with the DJ’s in island style! See the reef from the beach. Feel the sand between your toes. This is San Pedro. No shirt, no problem. No shoes, no problem!

You can aslo contact Splash Dive Center for more information via email at or visit

Saturday, 18 February 2012

“Falling in Love in and With Belize”

Little did I know that twenty years later I would be returning to the tiny paradise of Belize were Mark (my husband) and I spent our honeymoon.  Despite the many changes I see now, mostly for the better, I still remember my first trip back in 1992 as if though it was merely a year ago.  We spent most of that one week vacation in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye at Victoria House.  The entire experience was magical. Coming from Chicago, a honeymoon in the tropics is quite a treat.

I first landed at the San Pedro Airstrip on a small flight from the international airport and was taken aback with the quaint fisherman image of this sleepy town.  I was initially concerned whether the town or the hotel would even have the amenities or facilities it claimed to have. Well, even then, Victoria House exceeded my expectations. Mark and I are as much in love today as we were back then but with the intense butterfly feelings that newlyweds often have. Every moment and every second was glorious. The room was impeccable and elegant. The ocean view was break-taking. The food was exquisite, the indoor dining hall was superbly elegant and private dining on the beach with torch fires was beyond romantic. The service was exceptional and all staff members seem so genuinely happy to be providing a superior service. Going to the outer cayes and snorkeling in Hol Chan Marine Reserve with the overly abundant marine diversity reminded me of Brook Shields in the Blue Lagoon. I could not have been any happier, if I could only hold on forever to that fairylike feeling of overwhelming happiness.  Beyond any doubt, the island represented great memories for Mark and I. So much so, we swore that one day we would bring our kids one day to visit Belize.

This year, my son Andrew completed twelve years and my daughter Jessica will turn 16 and I thought that perhaps this year my family is much deserving of a vacation. Surely enough my husband and I made well on the promise to introduce our kids to Belize- the place where we consummated our marriage. Indeed, twenty years was plenty time to bring about serious changes in a destination we visited two decades ago.  I was elated to note that the country had since grown substantially since our trip in 1992. The small town of San Pedro is now booming with several more resorts, restaurants and even more people.

Placencia was a top priority this time around.  Mark is very fond of sports fishing and my two children are huge diving enthusiast.  Jessica and Andrew took intermediary diving lessons with our local dive and tour operator, Splash Dive Center, who also arranged our family excursions to Caracol Maya, Monkey River, horseback riding and to the Belize zoo.

My family and I spent the final two days of our vacation in Toledo District at Machaca Hills lodge.  The property itself is rustically divine and chic. The view from the exquisite and award winning restaurant perched on a hill top was just stunning.  Mark and I made much use of the sunsets and sunrise from the balconies of our private cottages looking at the dense Machaca Forest hills and the sea in the backdrop. It was the perfect setting for us to re-commit our vows to each other and we did!
These are memories that my family and I will cherish forever. I am very happy that we decide to visit Belize a second time and I know that every member of my family has gained so much more from the experience. Thank you Belize for a wonderful time, it truly was a perfect and indelible family vacation! 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Maya 2012: The Apocalypse or the New Era of higher Consciousness and Unity?

We are now only a couple weeks away from the year 2012, the year that some claim will bring about drastic changes in our way of life. Dire changes, some believe, will be in the form of an apocalypse while others believe will usher in a new era in our evolutionary human development in which we achieve higher levels of self awareness and overall spirituality.  While no one really knows what happens next, we do know definitively that the acclaimed doomsday of December 21, 2012 marks the end of a cyclical long count period (every 5,125 years) in the Mayan Calendar and initiates a new one – the summer solstice. Despite the controversy of the prophecies, Belizeans can be proud of the rich cultural heritage that the Mayas have contributed to Belize’s history and the Mundo Maya. Belize is indeed proud of being the heartland of the astoundingly advanced Mayan civilization.

Mayan sites excavations and continuous discoveries are showing that Lamanai, the last site to be occupied by the Mayas, has been occupied for more than 3000 years from 1500 B.C to the late 18th century. Even today when archeologists rewrite Mayan history with each new discovery, never cease to be increasingly impressed with their depth of sophistication and breadth of knowledge. A few eminent examples are: the mayas were among the first to use the concept of zero; their calculation of the moon cycle with astounding precision centuries before our scientists; their development and use of medicinal plants laid the foundation of pharmacology today. In about 500 A.D, it is believed that more than one million Mayas inhabited Belize. More than 35 significant sites across the country have been uncovered while much more is still believed to lie beneath the earth in the dense topography of Belize’s rainforest. Significant sites of tremendous historical importance include Altun Ha (Stone Water), Cerros (Hills), Xunantunich (Maiden of the Rock), Cahal Pech (Place of Ticks), Nim Li Punit (Big Hat), Lubaantun (Place of the Fallen Stones), Actun Tunichil Muknal (Cave of the Stone Sepulcher) and Caracol (Snail) – the supreme Mayan City of the Classic Period with a population of two thirds the entire current population of all Belize. The Mayas are truly an advanced society and Belize proudly distinguishes itself as the epicenter of this advanced culture that continues to intrigue scientists and even spiritual seekers with their sense of mysticism and spirituality.
Copyright: SplashDiveShop


Culturally speaking, the Mayas believed that time, as well as he universe, is circular and cyclical. They also believe that cosmic configurations can reveal the most profound levels of our consciousness as humans and that the universe is alive and sacred confirmed through the varied and diverse manifestations of four key elements - the earth, water, sun and air. They believed that all people, animals, and elements on earth are closely related and united in one entity that allows each component to be, live, share, communicate and interact with each other as living entities both creators and re-creators of life. Some Mayan belief claims that human beings, along with planet earth, are now vulnerable due to the many ecologically unsustainable alterations to the planet that threatens the delicate balance of nature that sustains life. It is this negligence and failure of humans to recognize their interconnectivity with all else on earth and to maintain their supportive role in relation to mother earth that will unleash the apocalypse. This, some believe, will be towards the detriment of the human race.
Conversely, some believe that the prophecies of Maya 2012 are more in relation to another evolutionary process in our human development and social transformations where by the mind will become awakened and realize the purpose of our existence and hence the purpose of life. In responding to some prediction that 2012 signals the end of the world, Mayan Ambassador Cirilio Perez Oxlaj recently shared the following interview:

What do you expect to happen on December 2012?

It is the belief of the Mayan people that we will be entering a period associated with a change of sun (summer solstice), not in 2012 but in 40 to 50 years. During this time, there will be an end to diseases, plagues, droughts, tornados and devastating hurricanes that are now occurring.

Why do you think that the end of humankind has been associated with this date?

This will not be the end of the world but merely a change of sun. Neither is this serious since it has occurred before. Of greater concern is the contamination of the environment, nuclear bombs, the movement of petroleum, mineral exploitation, the use of plastic material and other substances that are harmful to the environment.

Altun Ha
CopyRight: SplashDive

What is your evaluation of the significant campaigns launched on this topic?

These campaigns have largely commercialized the concept of Maya 2012. They are derailing the Mayan calendar because nothing will happen on December 2012.

What does this new cycle means for you?

We welcome the New Year, so that we start to significant and meaningful change. There will no longer be discrimination, prejudice or racism among one another.

This interview with the great Mayan leader provides insight that 2012 is more about hope, world peace and unity. It is an opportunity for deeper reflection and the consideration of future direction. Maya 2012 provides a timeless warning from the ancient past that today we should also be better stewards of the environment which we as humans are privileged to enjoy.  In celebration of Mayan heritage, Belize has a full year’s program highlighting Mayan Culture that includes, lectures, festivals, ceremonies, a collection of commemorative stamps of each site and a wide range of Maya 2012 packages. A special highlight, between December 21 and 23 (2012), is the participation of more than two hundred and fifty spiritual leaders of the Mopan, Q’eqchi and Yucatec Maya in an ancient ceremony to welcome the new calendar. In commemorating Maya 2012 and the envisioned new beginning, Splash Dive Center joins other service providers with special 2012 packages for those wishing to experience and immerse themselves in the ancient past of the Mystical Maya.

As the Maya 2012 year evolves stay tune for more Maya 2012 insights to come and for more from Splash Dive Shop who will be offering special Maya 2012 Tours this coming year. Splash Dive Shop has also launch their new Maya 2012 Logo which will be use during next year. Where will you be when the world starts anew? For more information contact us by Clicking Here.

Splash Dive Shop
c/o Patricia Ramirez
Placencia Village, Stann Creek District, Belize, Central America
Phone: 501-523-3058, 501-523-3080 or 620-6649