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Paying tribute to “The Garinagu” in Belize

Of the many cultures and ethnic groups that make up the identity of Belize, none is more synonymous to November than the Garinagu/Garifuna culture. An annual celebration held in Belize on November 19th, a public and bank holiday, signals their prominence and arrival to our southern shores; almost 4 centuries ago. This holiday is known as the Garifuna Settle Day in Belize. Here are a few facts focusing on this unique culture and people that share part of our identity as a country. History of the Garifuna More than four centuries ago, the British began importing slaves from Africa to work on plantations in the Caribbean. Over time, these people began intermarrying with local Carib and Arawak natives, developing a new culture called the Garifuna. After rebelling against the British, the Garifuna were pursued throughout the Caribbean. First landing on the island of Roatan (part of modern Honduras) where they adopted cassava into their diet, the Garifuna eventually arrived on the shores of Belize on November 19, 1802, establishing themselves in villages such as Barranco, Seine Bight, Dangriga, Hopkins and Punta Gorda. The unique Garifuna Culture While Garinagus are known as skilled crafters and talented painters, there biggest contribution has […]

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‘El Gran Carnaval’ de San Pedro – An Island Tradition

February might be known as the month for romance, but travelers to Ambergris Caye will quickly find that El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro takes precedence over any other event on the island (even the lovey-mushy stuff). This year, the long-standing island tradition will kick off from February 10th through the 14th and is usually celebrated to signal the start of the Lenten season (Lent). When it comes to an island with huge personality and character, Ambergris Caye is among the top ten islands in the world. Can you picture men in drag dancing in the streets? How about fully-donned groups performing skits for carnival goers? Or do you fancy a good old paint war? These are all the elements that make up El Gran Carnaval, making February an ideal time to travel to Belize! What is El Gran Carnaval? This traditional festival derives from the Mestizo culture over a hundred and fifty years ago, brought down from Northern Belize. The carnival is centered on a character named Juan Carnaval. History depicts that Juan was a rich man who loved to party and was known for breaking hearts of women he came across, with whom he had several children. History also suggests that […]

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San Pedro Hosts Belize Hotel Association’s Bi-Annual AGM

On Tuesday, December 5th, the Belize Hotel Association gathered in San Pedro for their bi-annual annual general meeting. The stakeholders in the tourism industry and BHA board converged at the conference room at Mahogany Bay Village. Kevin Geban, Master of Ceremonies and honorary BHA member, kept the audience entertained, energized, and enthusiastic throughout the meeting. As is customary, BHA directors presented reports to their membership, as well as plans on activities and advancements in the industry for upcoming months. Several subjects were discussed, which included reach out towards more international traveler markets and advancements in the digital realm to strengthen the local industry and the BHA’s online presence. Ted Tejada, BHA President, expressed his excitement for growth in the organization’s global initiatives and public sector partnerships aimed at increasing the demands and standards of the industry. A marketing scope of the BHA’s plans was delivered by Trinity Castro, who emphasized the importance of tapping into Dutch, European, Canadian and South American source markets (amongst other), based on data collected between 2014-2017. Damian Solano of Idea Lab Studios provided a presentation on the web development process of the BHA’s website portal. Solano expressed that with the growing demands in the digital world, it is important for members’ online presence to be […]

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Garifuna Settlement Day: What is It?

Of the many reasons as to why November is the ideal month to vacation in Belize, the country’s observance of Garifuna Settlement Day and the celebration of American Thanksgiving tops the list. While both holidays are incomparable and individually unique, one thing is true; both occasions celebrate diverse identities and rich cultural history. If you find yourself vacationing in Belize in this particular month, be sure to bring along your dancing shoes and an open mind; November at premiere tourist destinations across Belize is annually a big deal. Let us tell you why: On a local scale, the nation of Belize celebrates its diverse identity with the observance of Garifuna Settlement Day every November 19th. As history has it, the Garinagu people, who have contributed significantly to the antiquity of Belize, arrived and settled in British Honduras (now known as Belize) and along Central American territories in the early 1800’s. Over the next century, the population inter-mixed with settlements of Carib Indians and fused into a single culture called “Garinagu” (or “Black Caribs”). Around the 1800’s, the Garinagus were a dominant population in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but European politics began to exert its influence throughout the Caribbean. A series of […]

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WestJet Inaugurates Non-Stop Flight from Calgary to Belize

On Friday, November 3rd an inaugural direct flight between Calgary, Canada and Belize City, Belize was commemorated with a short ceremony at the Philip Goldson International Airport. This was the first weekly flight of WestJet’s seasonal winter schedule. To welcome this milestone flight to Belize, members of the Canadian Consulate, the Belize Airport Concession Company (BACC), the Belize Tourism Board, and the Belize Hotel Association joined many others at Philip Goldson International Airport. The congregate was addressed by Manuel Heredia, Jr. (Minister of Tourism) and Lynn Young (Canadian Consulate to Belize). Both keynote speakers expressed that the welcoming of an additional major international flight to Belize signifies economic growth as a result of the increasing popularity of Belize as a destination for not only tourists, but also for investors, retirees, and expatriates hailing from Canada. Tourism overnight statistics reveal that 6% of arrivals to Belize in 2016 were from the Canadian Market, and projected to increase in this 2017-2018 winter season. The Belize Tourism Board’s Director, Karen Bevans, addressed the inaugural gathering and expressed that this new flight “will help with the different areas such as Vancouver and the others that were unable to get a direct connection into Toronto so this makes it much more […]

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White Sandy Beaches in Belize? We Don’t Want Them! Here’s Why.

One of the questions our reservations team gets asked most frequently is “Do you have white sandy walk-in beaches at your resort?” Our answer is always “No”. We then proceed to give a bit more details explaining why we, along with the majority of beachfront resorts and hotels in Belize, don’t have any plans to change that anytime soon. Are you curious as to why we don’t have walk-in and clear-water beaches in Belize? It’s all about our ecosystem. Seagrass is a vital part of a marine life’s ecosystem. Not only does it act alongside the Belize Barrier Reef as a buffer of protection from harsh weather and storms, it acts as a natural defense against erosion. The seagrass that lines the coast of Belize is also a nursery to millions of sea creatures that you’ve come to love about the waters in the Caribbean! Ocean floors that do not have seagrass are extremely vulnerable to wave action from currents and storms, which cause beach erosion at a much faster rate than ocean floors that are covered with seagrass. This stabilization is important for the safety of beachfront establishments along the coastline. More importantly, the seagrass provides an ecosystem support system that is quite complex. […]

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Summer in Belize

Belize Summers at Banyan Bay There is a common misconception of what summer is like on San Pedro Ambergris Caye. Some of our best diving, and fishing, happens in June, July and August. When relaxing in the shade of a palapa or a coconut tree our trade winds will keep you cool. Our average temperatures in the summers are around 87 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Travel Tips

Where is Belize? Belize is located about 125 miles directly south of Cancun & Cozumel. With a population of about 355,000, Belize is south of Mexico bordered by Guatemala on the south and west and the Western Caribbean Sea on the east. The mainland is about the size of Massachusetts. There are over 200 islands along the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.

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Getting Here

Airlines to Belize Plan your trip schedule. These airlines serve Belize. The airport code for Belize International is BZE.(Flight time to Belize is about 2 hours from Miami & Houston )

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Banyan Bay Donates to First Children’s Home on Ambergris Caye