“Hamanasi Guest Book ~ January 2015″

“Keep being awesome! Everyone just went so far above and beyond for us”

Callan Griffiths, Bourbonnaise, IL

“Thank you ~ we are having a difficult time leaving here. We love the small/homey feel of the resort. Many thanks!”

Terry and Laureen Safron, Eckville Alberta, Canada

“Everything was amazing! It’s a beautiful location with amazing staff who go above and beyond.”

Kim and Greg Nadeau, Ontario, Canada

“Everything is great. I don’t see any need for change, the staff is just amazing. Good job!”

Deneeb Ruiz and Philippe Soares, Watertown, MA

“This resort exceeds excellence in every way! It is perfection, everything is more than one could hope for. Keep up the exact system of service. It is perfect!”

Janelle Freiman, Temple, AZ

“Continue what you are doing! Thoroughly impressed with the level of Eco-consciousness you bring to every aspect of the resort.”

Jonathan and Andrea Krueger, St. Charles, MO

“Everything was lovely and greatly enhanced our stay in Belize. To anyone considering a Belizean vacation, Hamanasi is a no-brainer. WE will miss this piece of paradise!”

Kiki and Ross Carpenter, Denver, CO

“Please don’t change a thing! Huge efforts made by everyone! Very little waste even noticed in the garden tour.”

Annabelle & Seth Barton, Garden City, MI

“Great to see the emphasis on Eco and sustainability – love your garden and the delicious fruits and veggies coming from it. Great job!”

Bruce and Barbara Berger, Princeton, NJ

“Hard to improve on perfection…..Without doubt, the best overall vacation experience I have ever had.”

Thomas Wisener and Heather Hynes, Canmore, Alberta, Canada

‘Great experience, we want to come back next year!”

Beth and Dale Matherly, Oklahoma, City, OK

“Hamanasi Guest Book ~December 2014″

“Just keep doing what you’re doing. Food was great! Service was fantastic! I enjoyed both snorkeling and diving, both were wonderful. The Mayan tour history was incredible; the guide was extremely knowledgeable and profoundly connected to his heritage.”

Joseph Faulkner, Cleveland, OH

“Thank you to everybody – all I met were friendly and welcoming. I loved it here. Very impressive Eco-friendly efforts, gave me some ideas to do at home. Keep up the wonderful work!

Erika Capin, Florida, MI

“Everyone we interacted was extremely polite, friendly and helpful.”

Kelsey Skemp, Durham, NC

“The grounds staff is very thorough and also would stop to ask how you day was. Very thoughtful touches in the room, the fudge, the shoe-cleaning kit, the turn-down service. We were very impressed by Hamanasi efforts to be a self-sustainable part of the community of Hopkins rather than a separate entity apart from the community.”

Shelby & Jeff Arthur, Santa Barbara, CA

“This was one of the best vacations I ever had – everything was impeccable. All food was delicious – exceeded expectations”

Johanna Panciulo, Malvern, PA

“Everything was unimaginable perfect. The People here make such a difference.”

Emily and Hien Pham, Cleveland, OH

“It’s a wonderful place for families of teenagers to have a mutually enjoyable and engaging time. Fantastic!”

Christine Cassidy,

“Keep you the amazing work and friendly, positive atmosphere!”

Gina Nappi & Brian Sascia, Media PA

“Best dive experience we have ever had. Everyone top Notch. Best vacation ever!”

Jackson King, West Simsbury, CT

“Everything was immaculate! Best food! Great Service! Drink specialties were delicious. We loved game night. Beach service was outstanding.”

Vicki Berk, Carmichael, CA

Southwest Airlines To Begin Service To Belize City

Southwest Airlines soon to offer non-stop flights to Belize from US.There is exciting news to report on the international flights into and out of Belize. As the tourism numbers continue to grow, international airlines have recognized the demand for increased airlifts to Belize.  Everyone’s favourite cheeky Flight Attendants from Southwest Airlines will soon begin servicing passengers to Belize.

Southwest Airlines have announced that they have filed applications to begin service to six new destinations, including Belize!  This will provide Belize with nonstop service from William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas commencing October 2015. This service to Belize’s Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport adds a second destination in Central America, a seventh country, and the 96th city in the Southwest route map.

Exploring Belize’s Caves and Ancient History

belize mayan history tour with Hamanasi Xunantunich

Xunantunich temple

Every week our guests have an opportunity to see some of the best and most beautiful areas around Belize.  This past week we had some amazing guests who challenged Belize’s jungles, explored Belize’s caves and travelled back in time to an era older than most of the Americas recorded history.

waterfall repelling Belize

Waterfall repelling

Monday always starts with out option to visit the Mayflower waterfall.  This is a strenuous hike up to a ten story waterfall.  But did you know for the brave and adventurous you can descend from your hike a bit differently?  Thursday we had a truly adventurous family decide to do just that.  They booked their Waterfall Repelling tour and found out just how fast the water was flowing.

Belize cave exploration with Hamanasi

Lindsay working her way through Saint Herman’s cave.

If heights aren’t your thing then maybe you’ll enjoy what our guests did Wednesday. Belize guide Arnie took a small group of Hamanasi guests into the Saint Herman’s cave to explore through the darkness with only their head lamps.  In ancient Mayan culture caves were through to be a connection to the underworld and you truly begin to feel the connection yourself as you traverse around stalagmites as the eyes of the resident bats keep close watch.

Belize ancient Mayan history tour

Temple seen through the entry to the royal residence.

Of course the highlight for many of our guests is visiting the world famous ancient Mayan sites of Xunantunich and Cahal Pech.  What makes these sites so interesting is how different they are from each other.  Each site was used for a different purpose and as you watch through the reserves you’re transported back in time and can almost hear the priests giving their speeches to all the followers below the alter.

Belize Ancient Mayan history tour Hamanasi

Cahal Pech was first established around 1200 BC and was an active center for nearly 2000 years.

Captains Log – 21 Dec 2014 – Ultimate Dive and Amazing Conditions

scuba diving belize Half Moon Caye Lighthouse Atoll Hamanasi

Hamanasi guest diver Yoepa swims with one of Half Moon Caye’s resident Caribbean Reef Sharks.

It seems each week our diving and conditions just keep getting better and better.  In our last report we were happy to share we helped Jocylen make dive number one-hundred out at Turneffe Atoll and this week, just a couple days later we had a boat full of excited divers making the “Ultimate Dive”, diving the top three best dive sites in Belize.  This consists of a dive at Turneffe Atoll and Belize’s famous Lighthouse Atoll and Halfmoon Caye.

Diving Belize Turneffe Atoll The Elbow Moray Eel

Giant Green Moray out for a stroll along The Elbow.

We started our day for the Ultimate Dive back at Turneffe Atoll at the Elbow.  The other day the Elbow was a great way to start the three tank dive trip and it also helped set up the great trip for our Ultimate Dive.  We had three dive groups on the boat.  Martin was diving with our new arrivals and underwater photographers Jeff and Behnaz while ‘Big Daddy’ Garif took group two with David, Robert, Brian, Yoepa, Mike and his daughter Tricia.  Our final group was Morgan who was working on completing her PADI Advanced Open Water with Belize Dive Instructor Roy.  The visibility was a little lower than it was a few days ago but it didn’t affect our dive.  From Spotted Eagle Rays, to free swimming Moray Eels, Octopus and some awesome little Nudibranchs everyone came up from the dive bragging about seeing something bigger (or smaller) and better.

Scuba diving Belize Half Moon Caye Lighthouse Reef Atoll

Tarpon hanging out in a Half Moon Caye Wall swim-through

During our first surface interval our captain Neal had the boat on the move to our next dive site an hour away at Half Moon Caye Wall.  As we arrived at Half Moon Caye Mother Nature shined down on us and the sunshine came out and made everything bright and sunny.  It was stunning.  All the small islands dotted around us as we geared up for our second dive.  Roy was first into the water with Morgan to do some skills while the other two groups weren’t far behind heading to the edge.  Half Moon Caye Wall is exactly what it sounds like.  The Wall starts at around 30 feet deep and plunges deep towards the abyss.  It was awesome.  We had a resident Caribbean Reef Shark swim with us through most of the dive with a couple late arrival sharks at the end to say good-bye as we headed to our safety stop.  We also enjoyed more Eagle Rays swimming past as we admired beautiful sponge and coral formations as we worked our way through the many underwater swim-throughs. I still think the highlight of the dive was the school of Tarpon we came upon in one of the swim-throughs. For those who have never seen a Tarpon I think they resemble a prehistoric cross between a Salmon and a Shark.  These were not overly large, just around three feet long with a couple bigger granddaddy four footers.  So cool to see in the swim through.

Scuba diving Belize Lighthouse Atoll Halfmoon Caye dive sites

Hamanasi’s Hanou dive boat sailing against blue skies and blue water.

During our second surface interval we took a detour and break from the boat to visit the Half Moon Caye Bird Sanctuary at Lighthouse Atoll.  it was such a perfect day for the visit.  The sun was shining and made for some great photo ops by everyone of the resident iguanas, Red Footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigate birds.

Scuba diving Belize Lighthouse Reef Atoll the Aquarium dive site

Spotted Eagle Ray swimming along the Aquarium dive site.

After lunch we headed back onto the dive boat for our third and final dive at the Aquarium.  After this dive I really think we should change the name to Eagle Ray Runway.  We saw Spotted Eagle Rays everywhere.  They were out in the blue water, in the deep below us, up on the shallow reef, they were all over.  At one point Vicky called me over to show me two of the prettiest blue nudibranchs we’ve seen in a long time.  The first part of our group even found a turtle when they were swimming into the shallows for their safety stop.  Such an amazing way to end a great day… and this was only the first day of the week!  The water just keeps getting nicer and nicer.

Hamanasi and Pack For A Purpose Team Up To Outfit Hopkins Pre-School With School Supplies

Hopkins village pre-school supplies donations under privledged

The Hopkins pre-school class proudly showing off their donated school supplies and backpacks

Here at Hamanasi we have strong links to our community of Hopkins and have a strong belief that as part of the community we must do everything we can to support and help Hopkins to grow and develop.  One of our favorite relationships is with the schools, not only in Hopkins, but also in the surrounding areas of Silk Grass, Sittee River and Maya Centre.  Many guests bring down small packages of school supplies such as pens, pencils, crayons, art supplies, writing books and backpacks.  Once we have a collection of supplies the Hamanasi Green Team puts together enough packages for each one of the children and then they get delivered to the schools and the children.

 

Pack for a purpose donation for school supplies Hopkin's Village school Belize Hamanas donations

Little girl from the Hopkin’s Village pre-school receiving her new backpack from the Hamanasi Green Team.

Last week the Hamanasi Green Team took 38 school supplies packages to the Holy Family Pre-school and handed them out to the boys and girls at their Christmas party.  The packages were filled with crayons, stickers, posters of colours and numbers, construction paper and some Christmas toys.  It was great to help the children with items that they can use both in school and at home to learn as they have just a few more months before starting in the main school.

We would like to send a big Thank You to everyone who brought something on their trip to donate to the schools, no matter what the amount it is always appreciated.

If you would like to donate any supplies to the schools around Hamanasi or to the Hopkins Belize Humane Society (HBHS) you can find all of the supplies that are most appreciated on the Pack for a Purpose website.

Pack For A Purpose Logo at Hamanasi Belize helping the community

(PFAP Link http://packforapurpose.org/destinations/central-america/belize/hamanasi-adventure-dive-resort)

Captains Log – 13 December Diving Belize’s Atolls

Belize scuba diving Barrier Reef moray eel

Giant Green Moray sticks his head out of the reef to say Hello.

What a difference a week makes.  During our last captains report to recap our Belize dive trips we talked about Mother Nature stirring up the Caribbean Sea a bit and taking us out of the water.  Then the winds shift and die down and we have a week where it all lines up and comes together.  We had a great group of divers joining us through the week with many different dive courses happening and lots of smiling, happy salty faces.  Easily the highlight this week was being able to dive two of Belize’s atolls during the week, Glovers and Turneffe Atoll where our new Adventure Centre Manager Chris was able to join us with his camera to captures some great pictures of the amazing reef.

Tuesday we had a boat full of enthusiastic divers including Scott, Jocelyn, Tarah, Arianna, Milt, Norm head to Glover’s Reef Atoll.  As people like to say Glovers reef is like everything is on steroids (not that we’re condoning PED’s) and all the eels and fish are bigger, the coral is bigger and brighter, truly a sight to behold.  Also joining us on the trip to Glovers was Matt and Val from Tennessee.  Matt was working with our local instructor Martin on his first dives for his PADI Open Water certification and had the chance to make his checkout dives on Glovers Reef!

Because Tuesday’s dive trip was a three tank trip it also meant Matt would only need one more dive to complete his Open Water cert so his second dive Wednesday was his first dive as a certified diver.  Needless to say Matt as Martin put it, “Was a rock star!”  Finished his course with ease, even if the surface was a bit rough for a few of his swims.

Belize Barrier Reef diving Turneffe Atoll Coral

Belize Dive Instructor Martin swimming past beautiful coral formation at Turneffe Atoll.

For a long time Glovers has been one of our most requested outer reef dives, but I think more people should come requesting Turneffe Atoll.  Man the ocean was happy to play with us Thursday.  Joining us Thursday was Norm, Mike, Brian and his wife Youpau celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary and Jocelyn who was making her 100th dive!

Scuba diving Belize barrier reef spotted eagle ray

Spotted Eagle Ray gliding up and over the Belize Barrier Reef

All three dives it seems someone pushed the right button to call in the wild life.  Dive one we found two Eagle Rays, a couple huge GT’s, and a turtle right at the end of the dive.  Dive two another Eagle Ray came to check us out, a Nurse Shark and many free swimming eels.  But it was dive three, saving the best for last.  Great Barracuda, a Rough Tail Sting Ray and count them not one, not two but SEVEN Eagle Rays!  The best part?  Four of them where dancing with each other.

Hamanasi Guest Brian diving along the top of the coral reef at Turneffe Atoll.

Hamanasi guest Brian diving along the top of the coral reef at Turneffe Atoll.

The week ended with a bang as the dive boat just docked with stories of turtles checking out their reflections in the divers masks!  We’re looking forward to starting the week off right with a trip to do the Top Three dive sites in Belize tomorrow.  Weather is looking good so lets do our dance to keep the oceans gods happy.

“Hamanasi Guest Book ~ November 2014″

“Wonderful stay, beautiful surroundings. The staff was unfailingly friendly and accommodating. Adventures were great and well organized!”

Reina Schwartz, Elk Grove, CA

“You do a great job; it’s nice to come to a resort when you feel like you’re the only guest. Quiet, somewhat remote yet well cared for. It appears your resort is very eco-conscious. Recycle and use of the property to grow products for use on site shows your concern for keeping our precious resources.”

Craig and Marcia Hansen, Mammoth Lakes, CA

“Continue the course and emphasis on personal treatment. Service is outstanding, we are grateful. Loved the consciousness to reducing waste and the natural environment was noticeable and appreciated.”

Josh and Ashley, Tucson, AZ

“We have traveled around the world and Hamanasi provided a “Best Ever” experience for our 25th Anniversary.”

Ruth and Anita Kauffeld, West Cape, NJ

“Couldn’t see how you could improve perfection!”

John and Angela Lehman, Stafford, VA

“We had a great experience. Hamanasi is a fantastic resort!”

Mike and Shasta Devlin, Pollode Pines, FL

“Everything and all staff were so nice! Couldn’t ask for more! Food was great!”

Kevin and Maggie Weathersby, Houston, TX

“Your Eco-friendly efforts continue to improve and surprise us! Your ideas are far ahead of what we’ve seen elsewhere!”

Ryc, Sandra and Nic Brownrigg, Sedalia, CO

“Kudos to Hamanasi! We are very impressed with how green the hotel is; the recycling effort is great – could not be better. It would be hard to improve the best! So we would just say keep up your great job.”

Larry and Annette Robinson, Boerne, TX

“We had a wonderful time. Thank you for making our honeymoon a time to remember.”

Michael Newell and Janet Fletcher, Renton , WA

“The services were spot-on, just keep doing what you’re doing. Loved it all!”

Jeanne Hanahan and Kelly White, Golden, CO

“Exceptional – you all were absolutely exceptional!”

Linda Santandrea, Enfield, CT

“The difference between Hamanasi and nearby beach-front hotels was unbelievable. We really appreciated the natural landscaping, composing and efforts to stay organic!”

Susan and Pradeep Kaul, Montgomery, MD

“Service is top flight; little or no room for improvement. We like how Hamanasi strives to be sustainable, all efforts are appreciated.”

Greg Clifton and Family, Tellinide, CO

“I travel the world and this was among the best experience I’ve ever encountered. Your staff is what makes the experience unique. Thank you!”

Chris and Blake Noonan, Grapevine, TX

“Everyone was fantastic. Thank you so much, you have mastered the art of customer service!”

Amanda Tobler and Family, San Jose, CA

“I’ve been to quite a few dive resorts. Hamanasi is hands down, the best so far. Thank you for a wonderful time.”

Ray Blatter, Walnut Creek, CA

“Everything was wonderful and far surpassed our expectations. We really appreciated the very personal attention. We will recommend Hamanasi to everyone we know!”

James and Stephanie Small, Houston, TX

Flowers of Belize: Flor de Pato “Duck Flower”

flowers of Belize and Hamanasi

The biggest flower found in Belize A.grandiflora in full bloom in the Hamanasi garden.

The “Duck Flower (A.grandiflora) is the largest flower found around Belize and the Hamanasi garden.  Due to their large size and brilliant colors they make a stunning addition to the Hamanasi grounds.  There are 10 unique species found throughout Belize and many are often locally referred to as the “Contribo” or “Guaco” as well as the “Duck Flower”.  Many of these species are highly regarded as for their traditional medical use.  The flower can often be seen soaking in a bottle of rum at saloons.  Taken by the shot for everything from hangovers and flu to flatulence, late menstrual periods, and irregular heartbeat. But users beware, the A.grandiflora species contain Aristolochic acid which the American FDA has announced as a known carcinogen so their consumption is not without danger.  Best to look but don’t eat.

Belize flowers

The Duck Flower closed just a few days away from blooming.

For the aspiring gardener, several juvenile butterflies such as the swallowtail and cattleheart butterflies use the Duck Flower as a food source while in the larval stages, so adding the Duck Flower to the garden increases our likeliness to spot these beautiful butterflies.  During your visit to Belize ask a Hamanasi garden team member like Nathan to share with you this amazing flower.

“The Manasi Project – School supplies for the Hopkins Village Children”

The Manasi Project

Nic Brownrigg and Principal Natasha, receiving the school supplies for the Hopkins Children

This was Ryc, Sandra and Nic Brownrigg 4th stay at Hamanasi.  Over the years they have become part of the Hamanasi family.  Nic first visited to Hopkins Village in 2008 when the Brownrigg family visited Belize for Nic to complete his PADI Open Water SCUBA diver course with Hamanasi Adventure Center.  During his visit Nic met and fell in love with the many people of Hopkins Village.  He found the Hopkins area to be one of the most beautiful places he had ever visited; but what stood out the most was how the people of Hopkins lived.  He was also moved by the poverty he saw, but how happy everyone still lived, he knew these were unique and amazing people.  When he left Belize Nic knew he wanted to help his new friends. During his second and third trips he brought donations of medical and school supplies for the village.  These donations were warmly received but he knew he could accomplish more if his efforts were assisted by others.

The Manasi Project

Scissors, crayons, glue school supplies donation for the Hopkins Children

Fast-forward to 2014.  This year the Brownriggs visited Hamanasi in late November and Nic and Sandra took time during their visit to meet with the principal from the Holy Family Primary School Natasha Acosta to introduce the new “Manasi Project.”  Founded by Nicholas Brownrigg when he was 15-years old the Manasi Project brings hope to children in impoverished areas by providing necessary educational supplies. The Manasi Project has begun by serving Hopkins Village in Belize where Manasi means “respect” in their local Garifuna language. The Manasi Project hopes to build a worldwide culture of mutual respect by improving educational opportunities not only in Hopkins Belize but worldwide.

Hamansai is very proud of Nic Brownrigg’s accomplishment with The Manasi Project.  His efforts and the donations of many have surely brought many bright smiles to the Hopkins kids and their familys.

To get more information on how to donate to the great cause you can visit The Manasi Projects homepage.