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Coming to Belize on a Cruise?

Cruise ship ToursHey readers and Cruisers, I found an awesome website sent to me by one of my Beautiful Belize fans. I always feature links, images, websites, hotels, restaurants and things that our fans send in. I revised this site and think it is offering great deals for Cruise Ship Passengers coming to Belize. The first time I went on a cruise I purchased my tour from the ship itself but when I got to port i soon realized that If I had found an individual operator I could have saved at least 50% of what I spent for the exact tour. Now I’m a savvy cruiser, and only buy from independent tour operators or even the taxi’s that do individual tours. Carnival Tours Belize is one of the best sites I’ve seen in a long time.It offers amazing discounted tours. And has all the amenities and safety procedures in check. As Quoted directly from their website

Belize Cave tubing

…”Over the years we have operated directly for many cruise lines and we continue to do so in the Winter Season. This summer we have decided to make our services available to all cruise passengers visiting Belize and by booking directly with us you can realize tremendous savings while securing the best possible services, the most experienced guides, and the reliability of a credible tour operTouring on Carnival in belizeator”…   “The owners, management and staff of Carnival Tours Belize represent over 100 years of combined experience in the Belize Tourism Industry. In the majority of cases we own the assets deployed in operating the many tours we conduct and several destinations are company owned as well. We are the true pioneers of tourism in Belize and have greatly contributed to the development of the country”…

This website was so cool, it even has a live chat where you can talk to an operator and book your tour. I browsed the site and noticed that they have been mentioned on Trip Adviser too, they also have an array of tours to choose from including the ever so popular Cave Tubing, the Zip Line or Zip Rider, tonnes of  Snorkeling Tours, and all the Mayan Ruin Tours,  just to name a few.  If I were going to Cruise and stop off in Belize I would definately recommend purchasing your tours from this website verses paying the crazy prices that the ships charge.

September 20, 2010 Posted by | Ambregris Caye, Belize, Belize Holiday, Carnival Cruise Ships, Central America, Cruise Tourism, Tourism, Travel, Travel Information, Vacation | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Belize Manatees a Separate Subspecies, DNA Confirms

Original Article by LiveScience

Manatees in belize The endangered manatees that live off the coast of Belize are genetically distinct enough to be considered a separate subspecies from Florida manatees, a new study finds.

These Antillean manatees in Belize, however, showed extremely low genetic diversity, raising questions about their long-term genetic viability, the researchers say.

The Central American country of Belize hosts the largest known breeding population of Antillean manatees, about 1,000 individuals, and is touted by biologists for its potential to repopulate other parts of Central America where manatees are severely reduced, or even absent.

Mixing manatees

Scientists had questioned whether the two seemingly distant Belize and Florida populations were interbreeding in light of radiotracking evidence that manatees are capable of migrating long distances.  Florida manatees have turned up in places as far away as Rhode Island, the Bahamas and Cuba.

The researchers analyzed information on nuclear DNA and DNA within mitochondria, the energy-making structures in cells. While mitochondrial DNA is good for understanding historical relationships on an evolutionary time scale, nuclear DNA can provide a modern-day assessment of whether the two populations are migrating and interbreeding, the researchers said.

The genetic evidence suggested Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) are not regularly mixing with populations of Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus) in Belize.

Bottleneck species

Belize’s Antillean populations also scored lower in genetic diversity than textbook examples of “bottlenecked” endangered species, such as Wanglang giant pandas, the East African cheetah and an island koala population founded by only three koalas. These species have experienced events that drastically reduced their numbers (called a bottleneck).

Endangered species need genetic diversity to weather threats to their survival, such as diseases, hurricanes or habitat destruction. When a population drops to low numbers, the diversity of its gene pool also shrinks. That means if, say, there’s a genetic vulnerability to a disease, most of the manatees would have that susceptibility and could be wiped out if the illness strikes.

Even after a population rebounds to greater numbers, that initial population decline leaves a legacy of reduced genetic diversity.

Manatee corridors

The low genetic diversity in Antillean manatees is attributed, in part, to centuries of hunting that were only curtailed early in the 20th century.

But even with such a small gene pool, notable differences were found between the two manatee subspecies.

“When it comes to the sustainability of species, this is the type of genetic diversity you want to preserve for the future,” said study researcher Margaret Hunter, a conservation geneticist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

To sustain the diverse gene pool these populations offer, managers will need to consider methods of enabling natural migration and mixing to take place between the two populations, the researchers say.

Original Article Here: http://www.livescience.com/animals/belize-manatees-subspecies-low-genetic-diversity-100914.html

September 15, 2010 Posted by | Tourism | 3 Comments

The Crystal Skull of Belize

vacation in belizeThe Crystal Skull was found in Belize and should be in one of our Museums here, but as far as we know it is still out the country, hopefully one day we will get it back as it is a big part of history and in my opinion, almost forgotten.

The most famous crystal skull is the Mitchell-Hedges “skull of doom” allegedly discovered by a 17-year old Anna Mitchell-Hedges in 1924 or 1927 while accompanying her adoptive father on an excavation of the ancient Mayan city of Lubaantun in Belize. Because of its small size and other characteristics, it is thought more closely to resemble a female skull and this has led some to refer to the Mitchell-Hedges skull as a “she.” The Mitchell-Hedges skull is made of clear quartz crystal, and both cranium and mandible are believed to have come from the same solid block. It weighs 11.7 pounds and is about five inches high, five inches wide, and seven inches long. Except for slight anomalies in the temples and cheekbones, it is a virtually anatomically correct replica of a human skull.

The Mitchell-Hedges family loaned the skull to Hewlett-Packard Laboratories for extensive study in 1970. Art restorer Dr. Frank Dorland oversaw the testing at the Santa Clara, California, computer equipment manufacturer, a leading facility for crystal research. The HP examinations yielded some startling results.

Researchers found that the skull had been carved against the natural axis of the crystal. Modern crystal sculptors always take into account the axis, or orientation of the crystal’s molecular symmetry, because if they carve “against the grain,” the piece is bound to shatter — even with the use of lasers and other high-tech cutting methods.

To compound the strangeness, HP could find no microscopic scratches on the crystal which would indicate it had been carved with metal instruments. Dr. Dorland’s best hypothesis for the skull’s construction is that it was roughly hewn out with diamonds, and then the detail work was meticulously done with a gentle solution of silicon sand and water. The exhausting job, assuming it could possibly be done in this way would have required man-hours adding up to 300 years to complete.

New-agers have associated the skulls with the belief that the Mayan “Long Count” calendar runs out on Dec. 21, 2012, when it reaches the end of a 5,126-year cycle. According to this theory, all 13 skulls must be reunited and lined up together to prevent the world from falling off its axis.

Is the Mayan 2012 Doomsday real or just a fantasy? end of the world 2012

This interesting legend connects 13 original Skulls to the Maya Calendar’s b’ak’tun-cycle. This is the Mayan Long Count which ends at 13.0.0.0.0. The current cycle ends on 21.12.2012 or on 23.12.2012. According to the Mayans our existing world will end on that day.

There are different opinions all over, if this is a real “End Of The World” or a transition to new spiritual level. According to Mayans there have been several end of the world events due to natural disasters. This latest Apocalypse on 21.12.2012 would be due to man’s own actions.

The “13 Skull Theory” is that all the 13 skulls scattered around the world will be united to pass us knowledge and enlightenment which will help us to stop the Apocalypse happening on 21.12.2012

The World Will Not End – The Debate Begins!

They say that the world will end in December 2012, but the Mayan elders are angry with this. The world will not end. It will be transformed.

Many of the Elders have publicly stated that “Anthropologists visit the temple sites and read the steles and inscriptions and make up stories about the Maya, but they do not read the signs correctly. It’s just their imagination, other people write about prophecy in the name of the Maya. They say that the world will end in December 2012. The indigenous have the calendars, and know how to accurately interpret it, not others.”

Carlos Barrios was born into a Spanish family on El Altiplano, the highlands of Guatemala. His home was in Huehuetenango, also the dwelling place of the Maya Mam tribe.

With other Maya and other indigenous tradition keepers, the Mam carry part of the old ways on Turtle Island (North America). They are keepers of time, authorities on remarkable calendars that are ancient, elegant and relevant. Mr. Barrios is a historian, an anthropologist and investigator. After studying with traditional elders for 25 years since the age of 19, he has also became a Mayan Ajq’ij, a ceremonial priest and spiritual guide, Eagle Clan. Years ago, along with his brother, Gerardo, Carlos initiated an investigation into the different Mayan calendars. He studied with many teachers. He says his brother Gerardo interviewed nearly 600 traditional Mayan elders to widen their scope of knowledge.

Mr. Barrios says, we have been in a time when the right arm of the materialistic world is disappearing, slowly but inexorably. We are at the cusp of the era when peace begins, and people live in harmony with Mother Earth. We are no longer in the World of the Fourth Sun, but we are not yet in the World of the Fifth Sun.  This is the time in-between, the time of transition. As we pass through transition there is a colossal, global convergence of environmental destruction, social chaos, war, and ongoing Earth changes. All this, Mr. Barrios says, was foreseen via the simple, spiral mathematics of the Mayan calendars.

“It will change,” Mr. Barrios observes. “Everything will change.” He said Mayan Daykeepers view the Dec. 21, 2012 date as a rebirth, the start of the World of the Fifth Sun. It will be the start of a new era resulting from and signified by the solar meridian crossing the galactic equator, and the earth aligning itself with the center of the galaxy. At sunrise on December 21, 2012 for the first time in 26,000 years the Sun rises to conjunct the intersection of the Milky Way and the plane of the ecliptic. This cosmic cross is considered to be an embodiment of the Sacred Tree, The Tree of Life, a tree remembered in all the world’s spiritual traditions. Some observers say this alignment with the heart of the galaxy in 2012 will open a channel for cosmic energy to flow through the earth, cleansing it and all that dwells upon it, raising all to a higher level of vibration.

This process has already begun, Mr. Barrios suggested. “Change is accelerating now, and it will continue to accelerate.” If the people of the earth can get to this 2012 date in good shape, without having destroyed too much of the Earth, Mr. Barrios said, we will rise to a new, higher level. But to get there we must transform enormously powerful forces that seek to block the way.

September 1, 2010 Posted by | Archaeology, Belize, British Honduras, Crystal Skull, Documentary, History Channel, mayan ruins, Tourism, Travel, Travel Information, Vacation | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Belize on the History Channel

belize on the history channelTune into the History Channel on August 17th at 8pm to watch a documentary on the Belize Maya called “Gates of Hell” and discover actual portals into the Underworld. Caves, volcanoes, and lakes of fire – all were believed by the ancients to be gateways into Hell itself.

Earlier this year, a company called “Red Marble Media”, filmed in Belize (as well as Nicaragua, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, and across the US) for a commissioned two-hour History Channel special originally called “Portals to the Underworld.”

The documentary charts historical thoughts and beliefs about the afterlife from the ancient Maya to modern Christianity. Producers traveled to places that were once believed to be sacred portals to spiritual realms of which Belize was one and used interviews with experts and artistic depictions of the Underworld from throughout the ages for the project.

According to Courtney Engelstein, Development Producer of Red Marble Media, “The show looks fantastic, and the segment in Belize is beautiful, compelling, and creepy.”

Tune in to the program to learn more.

gates of hell

Watch Gates of Hell August 17th at 8pm

August 13, 2010 Posted by | Archaeology, Belize, British Honduras, Crystal Skull, Documentary, History, History Channel, mayan ruins, Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

International Costa Maya Festival

Belize Costa Maya

Costa Maya 2010

San Pedro’s International Costa Maya Festival is the only festival of its kind in Central America. It is the biggest festival in Belize, as well as the highlight of Ambergris Caye’s entertainment year.

The dates for the 2009 Festival are from Thursday, August 6 to Sunday, August 9 2009.

The week of the festival is the most colorful and busiest week on the island. People from all over the country come to the island to be part of this one of a kind event. Hotels, restaurant, cart rentals, airlines, and water taxis are all busy and need to be booked in advance. It is a week when the air is filled with Punta, reggaeton, reggae, ballads, and salsa mixed with some marimba, steel pan, and mariachi music.

The San Pedro International Costa Maya Festival is indeed a grand event that is enjoyed by all those that participate. If you have not been to one maybe it is time to join your friends in San Pedro, Belize for a week of entertainment.

The festival continues to promote the culture of the Mundo Maya countries with their folklore dances, music, and food, while promoting tourism in the island of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

August 4, 2010 Posted by | Ambregris Caye, Belize, Belize Holiday, Costa Maya Festival, Diving, History, San Pedro, Tourism, Travel, Travel Information, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BTIA – Made in the USA

btiaM A D E I N T H E U S A 2010 – From BTIA

“Come out to experience USA and Belize working toward improving business opportunities !”

We encourage your attendance at the”Made in the USA” Speakers Series and Exhibition that will take place on August 10, 2010 at the House of Culture in Belize City; and on August 13 & 14 at the Radisson in Belize City.

Co-sponsored by the National Institute of Culture and History(NICH) and by BELIPO, the “Made in the USA” Speaker Series will showcase presentations by special guest speakers on a variety topics to inform the public, business, entrepreneurs, and particularly those interested in investing in Belize on the multiple opportunities available within the country, as well as to inform them of ways to enhance the products and services they provide. There will also be a featured segment on “Intellectual Property” and “Software Protection”. This year’s agenda includes eight speakers from government, businesses, and associations from both Belize and the United States.

The two day Exhibition at the Radisson will serve as an excellent opportunity to see what is on the market, meet new contacts, and learn how to become involved in doing business!

August 4, 2010 Posted by | Tourism | Leave a comment

Toledo Cacao Festival in Belize

May 21, 22, 23. Chocolate, Culture, Wine cacao festivaland Music. A celebration of cacao, culture, and the rich flavors of the Toledo District of Southern Belize.
Cocoa has played a dominant role from ancient times, when the Maya first discovered the ‘magical’ process that transformed cacao into chocolate, right through to the modern day. The Toledo District of southern Belize is home to the organic cacao orchards where the pods are grown, harvested and processed, and later transformed into chocolate.
The Festival seeks to raise awareness of the Toledo District and its unique cultural and environmental diversity, promote sustainable tourism throughout the District, and extend the tourist season for the benefit of the entire community
See all the activities at a glance – check out the Festival Program overview
For More info on the Festival go here – www.ToledoChocolate.com

May 17, 2010 Posted by | Tourism | 3 Comments

Whale Sharks in Belize

Belize whale shark whale sharks in belize The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, and one of the largest creature of any kind alive today. It is classified in the order of Orectolobiformes (five gill slits, anal fin, two dorsal fins, no spines on the fins and the mouth in front of the eyes). In Belize they are most often seen from Placencia or Hopkins, and out by the Silk Cayes.

Since whale sharks are night feeders, there really are no guarantees as to when they show up. They are usually visible three days after the full moon at the end of May but sometimes they do not show up until a week later. Although 3 or 4 days before and after the full and new moons in April and May are the best times to interact with the sharks, they are often sighted through the summer months as well.

Despite their size, whale sharks are remarkably gentle and curious. The whale shark’s gentle natures makes swimming with them a special treat for divers and snorkelers. The whale shark’s curiosity even pulls fishing parties into its thrall. We have sometimes had whale sharks seem to be asking to be petted as they glide alongside fishing boats.

Visit Belize to see these magnificent creatures.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Tourism | Leave a comment

THE GREAT BLUE HOLE

Believed to be the world’s largest feature of its kind, the Great Blue Hole is part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Great Blue Hole is a large underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize. It lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the mainland and Belize City. The hole is circular in shape, over 300 metres (984 ft) across and 125 metres (410 ft) deep.
Great Blue Hole This site was made famous by Jacques-Yves Cousteau who declared it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. The diameter of the circular reef area stretches for about 1,000 feet and provides an ideal habitat for corals to attach and flourish. The coral actually breaks the surface in many sections at low tide. Except for two narrow channels, the reef surrounds the hole. The hole itself is the opening to a system of caves and passageway that penetrate this undersea mountain. In various places, massive limestone stalactites hang down from what was once the ceiling of air-filled caves before the end of the last Ice Age. When the ice melted the sea level rose, flooding the caves. The temperature in the Blue Hole at 130ft is about 76F with hardly any change throughout the year at that depth.

April 13, 2010 Posted by | Tourism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baboon Sanctuary in Belize

Belize Animal Sanctuary
The Baboon Sanctuary was established to protect the local population of Black Howler Monkeys through community participation in appropriate land management. The Community Baboon Sanctuary on the banks of the Belize River is located some thirty miles west of Belize City off the Northern Highway in the Belize District. Consisting of some eighteen square miles of basically subsistence farms, the sanctuary exhibits the spirit of coexistence that Belizeans have with nature. The Black Howler Monkey is the main species of interest in the reserve. A total of 28 troops were identified in the area in 1985. The Howler population has grown from 840 at this point to over 1000 by 1988. Territories are occupied by anything from a single animal to groups of 10. With increasing habitat destruction, this primate is becoming increasingly threatened.
The Sanctuary was established and visited by primate researchers in 1981, whose follow up studies highlighted the higher densities of Black Howler Monkey associated with riparian rather than other types of forest . After initial consultation with the villagers in 1984, an application was made to WWF USA in 1985 for funds to set up the reserve.
Local landowners and the Bermudian Landing Village Council signed a voluntary management agreement in 1985, with technical support provided by R- Horwich of Community Conservation Consultants (TJSA). The reserve has expanded since, to 11520 acres in 1986 (about 60 land owners) as more landowners have joined the project and committed themselves to the land management practices winch accommodate the Howler monkey (known as baboons in Creole).
By March 1987, 6 other villages in the area were party to the agreement and there are now 70 land owners who have signed the voluntary pledge, and 30 others who cooperate with it In addition to Bermudian Landing, the other settlements involved are Flowers Bank, Isabella Bank, Big Falls/St Pauls Bank, Willows Bank, Double Head Cabbage, and Scotland Halfmoon.
A variety of other mammals are found in the reserve or nearby, including Bird’s Tapir and the Jaguarundi. Reptiles include Morelet’s Crocodile, Iguana and the Central American River Turtle. Local people report that deer are beginning to re-appear and that birds are becoming more abundant Whilst 59 species of birds were recorded by Zisman in 1989, the number identified with increased investigation has risen to 250.

April 8, 2010 Posted by | Tourism | , , , , | 3 Comments