“We recently traveled to Belize, a country rich in wildlife with a strong commitment towards conservation. Belize is also culturally vibrant and diverse, and the Belizeans are extremely warm and welcoming hosts.
We first traveled to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, which is the world’s largest protected environment (200 sq. mi.) for jaguars. A fellow traveler spotted and photographed a gorgeous female jaguar!!! We did, however, view many species of birds with the assistance of our excellent guide, Golden, a native of the nearby town of Hopkins. Among our sightings was a wood stork and a violet saber-wing hummingbird.
We also traveled to Monkey River and Monkey Bay, where we saw crocodiles, green iguanas, howler monkeys, and manatees!!! I was the only one who saw an elusive blue morpho butterfly which served as a reminder to conserve our wild environments.
We were the guests of the Hamanasi Resort which is strongly committed to conservation. There they have reduced beach erosion by maintaining the coastal forest which is threatened by development. It was here among the coconut palms and sea grapes where I did my plein air paintings.
We toured nearby villages and developed an deeper understanding of Belize. We also were enjoyed a dance and drumming performance given by a group from Dangriga. They were outstanding!!! I am currently researching Belizean folklore as subjects for studio painting.
I will be posting my Belizean plein air paintings soon.”
THE SILENT ARMY will open Belize’s 5th International Film Festival…
A Carnival like excitement is growing across the country as the BELIZE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL’S Red Carpet Opening Night Gala set for Friday, July 16th at the Bliss Centre draws near. International celebrities like Daryl “Chill” Mitchell and Anthony Anderson are confirming their attendance and so are the BelAms, with comedienne Lauren Burgess leading the bunch returning home to be a part of this glamorous JULY SUMMER EVENT being promoted by NICH and its many partners in the tourism sector. The Festival will open with red carpet events in Belize City at the Bliss on the 16th, San Pedro at the Reef Village Resort Paradise Theatre on the 17th and San Ignacio’s Ka’ana Boutique Resort on the 21st of this month.
The real heart of this festival, however, is its wide diversity of films, industry workshops and seminars. And the long awaited list of selected films was revealed. A sneak peak, however, reveals that The Silent Army, a Dutch film, has been selected to open Belize’s Festival this year.
Underwater Mayan World
Why is this diver burrowing into the bottom of this mini-lake? She’s literally disappearing into the sand and gravel of the water’s floor. Only debris and the occasional bubbles from her breathing tank are visible.
She’s part of a project, largely funded by National Geographic, to dive into the sacred pools of the ancient Maya.
SOUNDBITE: Patricia Beddows, Northwest University, Hydrologist & Geochemist: “Our exploration team discovered this upwelling. It’s an underwater spring upwelling. And it provides this magical experience because it’s located at the bottom of a very large crater. And you can come down, down, down, down into this large crater, and in the bottom is this boiling mass of sediment that’s actually being rolled and boiled. It’s almost like a natural lava lamp. Went in over the lip of the crater, descended down into the bottom, and I didn’t want to have any interference with the water already in the pool. And so it required a little bit of digging, and frankly it was extremely low visibility down there but below the actual base of sediment, there’s about one and a half meters more space. The water coming out of the bottom of this spring, is chemically quite distinct from the water in the pool.”
But this is just the beginning. The dives also revealed clues to past life here, and a first for the country of Belize.
Scientists discovered several fossil beds around 60-to-90 feet below the surface, including femur bones the size of a bowling ball. They also found tusks and pelvic bones. These are the first recorded fossils ever found in Belize.
SOUNDBITE: Lisa Lucero, Archaeologist, Project Leader: “We left those in place. We only removed a few small fossils so we can determine, are they fossilized? Or bone? They are definitely fossilized, so we know they have to be of a certain age. But were they here , were these megafauna present during occupation by humans 20,000, 15,000 years ago? Or are they much older?”
The dives were made in several pools in central Belize earlier this year in an area known as Cara Blanca. The researchers found evidence that the eight pools of the 25 they studied are likely connected through underground passages.
Principal Investigator Lisa Lucero says the major goal is to look for archaeological remains underwater.
SOUNDBITE: Lisa Lucero, Archaeologist, Project Leader: “Because the Maya considered openings in the earth – caves, water bodies – as portals to the underworld of Xibalba. And because the thousands of caves that have been found have offerings, ancient Maya offerings , we just knew there’d be offerings at the bottom of the pool. So we came with the goal of trying to dive to look for these offerings.”
Though they didn’t find offerings on the first dives, they did find ceramic sherds in a pool near remains of Maya buildings, constructed around 1100 to 1300 years ago. Lucero says there is no indication this area had many residences, but rather was likely a pilgrimage site, with Maya traveling here from hundreds of miles away.
Because at least one of the pools was found to be around 200 feet deep, and littered with trees and silt, more sophisticated diving equipment is needed for future dives. And Lucero believes there are more significant Maya offerings at these depths.
The research is being conducted under the auspices of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, and the scientists plan to return for more exploration.
“Thank you” to all of our guests for June, 2010! We hope your Hamanasi and Belizean adventures were everything you imagined and more! Below are some of the comments from guests that visited during June. We hope to see each and everyone one of you yet again.
All the best from the Management and Staff of Hamanasi ~
“Best vacation of our lives! Couldn’t have picked a better place to honeymoon”
Robert and Caitlin DeStefano, Woburn, MA
Vicki and Eric Batterton, Delaware, OH
“It’s so beautiful here. Every night the walk to our room was fragranced with the perfume of tropical flora. We relaxed in hammocks strung between coconut laden palms. Perfect honeymoon!”
Lindsay and Scott Gaspari, Woodstock, IL
“We had the best honeymoon ever! thanks for the GREAT memories!”
Adam and Leanne Fleet, Pittsburgh, PA
“The family had a wonderful vacation. The trip of a lifetime. Thank you!’
Sharon and Les Arnold, Memphis, TN
“Thank you to all the Hamanasi staff! This experience has been amazing and so personal! Everything has been perfect and you have made our honeymoon so memorable!”
Chris and Andrea Clark, Worcester, MA
“Every meal left us stuffed! It was better than anywhere I’ve ever been! The staff was better than anywhere else in the world! We got to know each one, which is very unusual! I will miss them all!”
Lexie and Dick Graf, Selah, WA
“You should be very proud of your eco efforts. There is such pride in Belize and it shows.”
The Phillips Family, Fairplay, CO
“I was amazed that everyone knew our names, were genuinely sincere and care, and took care of our every need!”
Terry and Susie Campbell, Fort Collins, CO
“Every meal was outstanding! Being greeted by friendly, smiling faces that truly cared and calling us by name really made us feel special.”
Amy and Rich Welch, Irmo, SC
“Food was excellent, service outstanding! Everyone made us feel special.”
Ed and Kathy Fowlkes, McKinney, TX
“Beautifully maintained tropical setting. very respectful to the environment, very personal service!”
Andy McGahee, U.S.A.
“You have created a very unique resort experience. Excellent dive staff!”
Rick and Yvonne Brusky, Palm Desert, CA
“It was paradise – thank you!”
Brooke and Ross Davis, Manchester, MD
“Incredible level of service, warmth and humor in the staff. We were blown away by the food & service!”
Dick and Kathleen Fine, San Francisco, CA
“Everything was perfect! We are very sad to leave.”
Mike and Kristen Russo, Cleveland, OH
“Wonderful! Felt like I was living in the rain forest but in luxury!”
Aimy and Brandon Wiley, Austin, TX
“This is the best resort we have ever been to – we will be back & will tell all of our friends!”
Lindsay Cohen and Pat Fagen, Richmond, VA
Happy Father’s Day!
Sunday, June 20th 2010
Pan Cubano (Cuban style bread)
Black Bean Soup
Chilled Lobster Salad with Habanero Aioli
Fish Cakes with Fresh Lime Cocktail Sauce
Green Plantain Tapas
Fried mashed green plantain topped with diced vegetables and fetta cheese,
served with a black bean & sweet corn chutney.
Braised Pork Roast
Spicy braised shredded pork roast served with coconut milk rice and beans
and fried ripe plantains
Tender quartered chicken browned and simmered in a stew of fresh citrus juice and
assorted vegetables, and served with white rice
Lime Red Snapper
Whole red snapper marinated in lime juice and herbs, pan cooked with a splash of white wine, served with a fruity petite green salad
Land & Sea
Grilled flank steak spiked with garlic-orange reduction sauce and topped with mango chutney,
paired with (one-half) grilled lobster tail
and served with roasted herb potato and sautéed vegetables
Tropical Fruit Crepe A la Mode with Rum Raisin Sauce
The Belize Tourism Board held its tourism industry awards ceremony June 10th, 2010, and Hopkins Village received the award for “Destination of the Year”! Hamanasi Resort, also located in Hopkins Village, was recognized for its excellent ecologically friendly and sustainability practices and its attaining official Green Globe Certification. Congratulations to all of the people and businesses that have worked hard to make Hopkins a unique and culturally stimulating destination!
Friday night was the Stann Creek District Mayor’s Cup football championship. Hopkins Village took the win 3-2 and brought home the trophy! There was a great turnout from the area, and many of the players on the Hopkins team are Hamanasi staff members! Hamanasi’s Selvin Arevalo was named mid-fielder MVP! Well-done Hopkins. We’re very proud of you!
Below is a selection of comments from guests at Hamanasi this May. From the Hamanasi staff to all of our guests this past month, Thank you for coming. We hope you had a great time, and we can’t wait to have you back!
“This was a trip of a lifetime!!”
Steve Eckhart, Camas, WA
“Keep doing what you are doing – taking great care of your guests and making them feel welcome. Much appreciated! “
Mike & Shannon Novakovich, Pasco, WA
“Hamanasi is just fantastic. We had a great time and hope to be back soon!”
Tim & Karen Fox, Lanexa, VA
“Everything was PERFECT… “detailed to perfection”
Darwin & Shonda Darr, Tyler, TX
“Thanks for a wonderful honeymoon and the experiences of a lifetime!”
“Waimar & Miguel, Washington, DC
An unusual ingredient gives this smooth, tropical drink a delicious twist. Give this one a try at home, and even add your own special twist…
One Barrel rum, fresh orange juice, condensed milk, coconut cream, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and…..sweet corn (yes, corn!). Blend with and garnish!
Aveda and Adele Wechsler are partnering to co-host regional bridal events during the months of April, May and June at participating Aveda salons across the country.
Brides may enter to WIN the national grand prizes: an Adele Wechsler Eco Couture wedding gown, a honeymoon vacation at the eco-friendly Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort, or a gift basket courtesy of Aveda!
Watch for places, dates and times on www.Facebook.com/HamanasiResort