Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chocolate Festival of Belize 2013 to be held May 24th - 26th, 2013

The Chocolate Festival of Belize will be held in Toledo this coming weekend, May 24th - 26th, 2013. This is a world class event celebrating the wonderful taste of nothing else but Chocolate. This years event has been organized by the Toledo Cacao Growers Association and Toledo Tourism Board.

We will be in attendance and will certainly be writing about our experience at this years festival and bringing you some great photos like we did when we attended a couple years ago.

For more information about events be sure to visit Chocolate Festival of Belize Facebook Page.

Here are the blogs from our last visit:
Blog 1 
Blog 2
Blog 3


Monday, May 20, 2013

BTB Honors Tourism Industry Partners at the Twelfth Annual Tourism Awards Ceremony

Monday, May 20, 2013-  On Saturday, May 18th, over two hundred and thirty guests, including industry stakeholders and government officials, gathered at Bannister Caye to honor the recipients of the 12th Annual National Tourism Awards.  

Over twelve years ago, the BTB had a vision to recognize organizations and industry partners for their dedicated and outstanding service to Belize's tourism industry. The BTB is proud to say that the awards have certainly evolved from being just a statement of excellence, into a way to promote creativity and to help establish a benchmark for best practices in the industry. Director of Tourism, Laura Esquivel-Frampton said, "A heartfelt congratulations to all the nominees and winners. Your work is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire tourism industry in Belize." The Belize Tourism Board is pleased to congratulate the winners in the following categories:

  • Destination of the Year: Placencia- A destination that is proactive in its marketing initiatives and product enhancement. It also seeks to develop local tourism businesses for the development of the destination. The Destination of the Year encourages the local community's participation, promotes sustainability, executes events that highlight local culture and promotes tourist attractions.
  • Hotel of the Year: San Ignacio Resort Hotel- A licensed hotel where service exceeds excellence; where positive attitude and attentiveness of staff are the norm. The hotel of the year offers exceptional value for money and is equipped with modern facilities and amenities. Its ambience gives visitors an authentic Belize 'feel'. This hotel has, over the years, demonstrated its willingness to adapt to the demands of its patrons, yet remain true to its core values. One of its hallmarks is the adoption of green initiatives.
  • Small Hotel of the Year: Singing Sands Inn- A licensed small hotel that captures the essence of warmth and authenticity through its accommodations. This property displays commitment to excellence in customer service, operational standards and is keen on improving and developing its products and services, including capacity building. Importantly, for this small hotel of the year, eco-consciousness and sustainability are equally important to guests' experience.
  • Frontline Person of the Year: Natalie Ranguy of Chabil Mar Villas- A frontline employee who has great interpersonal skills, welcomes guests with outstanding Belizean hospitality, is knowledgeable about Belize, and goes above and beyond the everyday duties and responsibilities to ensure that guests' needs are fulfilled. This individual makes an impressive first and last impression of her work place.
    • Tour Guide of the Year: Jerome Williams of Huracan Diving- A licensed tour guide who is knowledgeable about Belize, including, but not limited to, the history, natural attractions and local tours. This guide has excellent communication and interpersonal skills, a positive attitude, and great planning and leadership abilities. The tour guide ensures that guests have an unforgettable experience without compromising safety and security.
    • Tour Operator of the Year: Splash Dive Center- A licensed tour operator that excels in customer service, creativity, and personalization, while offering a variety of tours. This tour operator sets the bar for marketing initiatives, meeting the standards of safety and security, equipment quality, cleanliness and reliability. This awardee ensures that visitors have a memorable and enriching experience, therefore, leaving guests with a great lasting impression of Belize.
    • Hospitality Award: Placencia Tourism Center- A tourism ancillary organization that offers exceptional customer service, manages the business seamlessly, is sensitive to the needs of staff, flexible in adapting to change and accommodating to the industry's needs. Regardless of the availability of resources, this entity is always looking for innovative ways to promote Belize through its hospitality services.
  • Major Festival & Event: Placencia Lobster Fest- A hallmark festival/event that promotes income generating activities, stimulates local and international travel, attracts national & international media coverage, and positively promotes the destination.
  • Restaurant of the Year: Maya Beach Bistro- A restaurant that offers more than just really good food, but an overall dining experience. The restaurant's ambiance, coupled with a menu of creative concoctions and excellent customer service, creates its own distinctive character. The use of local products and importance of food safety and hygiene, sell the Belize brand from appetizer to dessert.

Minister of Tourism & Culture, Hon. Manuel Heredia, presented two special awards for the night. The Minister's Award was bestowed on David Heredia, owner of Anchorage Hotel in Caye Caulker, for his work and interest in the tourism industry which are grounded in community improvement and activism. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Jessie Young, President of the Community Baboon Sanctuary Women's Group in Bermudian Landing, for dedicating her life to grow and develop Belize's tourism industry.  This awardee's contributions are significant and have positively impacted Belize and the lives of countless Belizeans. Despite challenges, this tourism industry lifetime achiever persevered.

Guests, donned in all-white, at the 12th National Tourism Awards were treated to food by Chef Sean Kuylen, and entertained by Pan Tempters Steel Pan, Tanya Carter and Aurelio Martinez. The event was hosted by Indira Craig & William Neal.

The Minister of Tourism & Culture, Board of Directors, Management & Staff of the Belize Tourism Board salute all winners on their outstanding achievements!

For more information, visit www.travelbelize.org.

For More Photos of the event CLICK HERE


Cashew Festival in Crooked Tree is a Sweet Time in Belize

Cashews, Cashews and more Cashews is the reason for this two day festival held annually in Crooked Tree around the end of May which is held during the season for this awkward fruit. Awkward in the sense that its a fruit unlike many other fruits that has it seed growing on the outside and not on the inside. Crooked Tree is well known around the world for being a Bird Sanctuary but its a place also known for its Sweet Cashews and Cashew byproducts. Cashew by itself is a sweet and very succulent fruit that many love to eat, be very careful though cause the juice and sap can stain your clothes permanently.
Red cashew fruit with nut seed
Driving across the Causeway upon entering the village, although many residents say that there has been very little rain and the lagoon shows signs of drought you still see the magnificent views and the occasional bird including the Jabiru stork.
Crooked Tree Village Lagoon
The residents of the village are so friendly and are always willing to help any first time visitor with the directions to the venue or to tell the story about how Crooked Tree Village came about. Here you see a few men waiting to get their haircut in front of the barber shop before going to the Cashew Festival.

Crooked Tree Villagers
As you arrive at the Festival grounds you will know you have arrived with Belizean music filling the air making you want to sway your body to the rhythm. The festivities start at 10 in the morning on Saturday and goes until 6 in the evening only to be sparked up later that night with a concert by popular Belizean Artists creating vibrant music and people filling the dance floor. The Event picks up again at 10 am on Sunday and continues again until 6 in the evening.
cashew byproduct stalls and attendees
Whilst walking around you will find that there is more to cashew than just nuts that most people are accustomed to getting in a can. Here you can find fresh roasted cashew nuts as well as the sticky sweet stewed cashews, cashew fudge, cashew cake, cashew jam, cashew wine and much more.
Vendor selling Cashew Nuts and Cashew byproducts
Roasted Cashew Nuts
You will notice that there is something for everyone at the festival grounds. If you are looking for a souvenir and something handcrafted you will certainly find that with the artisans showcasing woodwork, beaded jewelry and many other crafts.
Wood Carvers Artisan Stall
For the children you can find many games as well as rides that will have them screaming in joy while the adults drink cold beverages of their choice to beat the sweltering heat.
children playing a game
When you get tired of walking around looking at the many things around the grounds you can go to the food stalls and eat to your hearts content. We found that they were offering rice and beans or white rice and stewed beans with many types of meats including chicken, fish, deer, gibnut and bocotora (turtle). We sat down at Ms. Tillets food stall who had lots of tables and chairs which offers her customers a place to get out of the heat and retreat to the shade.
Fyah Haat Food - Fried Tilapia
Before leaving the festival make sure to visit Mr. Charlie's Wines, who had some of the best wines at the festival to include the famed cashew wine. We made sure to sample quite a few that were on ice to find our favorites. We ended up purchasing quite a few bottles to take home which I am sure we will enjoy sometime soon.
Charlie's Wine Stall
Crooked Tree Village is still a great place to visit during the course of the year as a bird watchers paradise if you missed the festivities.
Yellow Cashew with external seed
If you were not fortunate enough to visit the Crooked Tree Cashew Festival this year, don't you worry you will just have to wait an entire year for next years Cashew Festival.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Bulldozers destroy 2,300 year-old Mayan pyramid in Belize

Heavy Construction Equipment sits dormant at the remains of a partially
destroyed Mayan temple, part of the 2,300 year old site known as Noh Mul or "Big Hill"
(7NewsBelize.com / Jules Vasques)

Bulldozers and backhoes have essentially destroyed one of Belize's largest Mayan pyramids, which survived millennia of storms, rain and wind only to succumb to a construction company seeking gravel for road fill.

The head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology says the destruction was detected late last week, and only a small portion of the center of the pyramid mound was left standing, according to the Associated Press. 7Newsbelize.com, the website for TV channel 7 in the small Caribbean country, accompanied a handful of archaeologists to the site recent.

'It's an incredible display of ignorance.'
- John Morris, an archaeologist with the Institute of Archaeology

They described the destruction as "intolerable."
"This is one of the worst that I have seen in my entire 25 years of archaeology in Belize," John Morris, an archaeologist with the Institute of Archaeology, told 7newsbelize.com's Jules Vasquez. "We can't salvage what has happened out here -- it's an incredible display of ignorance. I am appalled and don't know what to say at this particular moment."

Jaime Awe, director of the Institute of Archaeology, said he was sickened by the destruction of the Noh Mul pyramid and temple platform, which date back about 2,300 years. He told 7newsbelize.com it was "intolerable."
Photos of the remaining portion of the pyramid showed what appeared to be classic Mayan-arched chamber dangling above one clawed-out section.

The Noh Mul complex sits on private land, but Belizean law states any pre-Hispanic ruins are under government protection.

The heavy equipment at the site carries the name D-Mar Construction, but Denny Grijalva, owner of the company, told 7newsbeilze he knew nothing about the project.

Morris said that the construction company must have been aware of the site's significance.
"There is absolutely no way that they would not know that these are Maya Mounds," he said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/05/13/builders-bulldoze-mayan-pyramid-in-belize/#ixzz2TE1I852m

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Another Home Sold by Platinum International Real Estate in Belize

SOLD - Beautiful Riverfront Home With Room for Expansion in Punta Gorda, Belize

Just minutes away from downtown Punta Gorda this sizeable 3 Bedroom - 1 Bath single storey home with 2400 Sqft of living space in the Hopeville area of Punta Gorda has been SOLD by Platinum International Real Estate

This waterfront home sits on the banks of the river and just a short boat ride away to the Caribbean Sea from its private dock/pier  .

If you are looking to SELL just contact us for a FREE, no hassle HIGHEST PRICE ANALYSIS on your property. 

We offer Property Management Services as well for those that want to have investment property in Belize without the hassles of dealing with it themselves. 

If you or anyone you know is looking to buy, rent or lease property in Belize make sure to have them call: Platinum International Real Estate and Investments at +501-664-1630 or email: info@platinumrealestate.biz

Thursday, May 9, 2013

2 Acres of Prime Land at 11.25 Miles on the Old Northern Highway

This area is rapidly becoming a much sought after, residential location, with land that is high and flood resistant, making it an ideal shelter in times of storms.  While others will be seeking high ground, you can stay at home, confident in the knowledge that you will be protected from harsh winds and flood waters.
This property is ready to build on... partially cleared, with road frontage and access to infrastructure.  Imagine a beautiful home... your Dream Home... beautifully set on two lush acres of prime land!
Call today!  Your Dream Home might be much closer than you think!
For More information and photos on this listing Click Here!