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Jul 25, 2013

Media tours Belize with the B.T.B.

The Belize Tourism Board treated the media to a familiarization tour of various tourist destinations in the jewel over the weekend. The four-day tour started in Orange Walk with a visit to the Lamanai Mayan Site and ended in the Peninsula. News Five joined the tour on day two to experience the natural beauty and attractions unique to southern Belize. Duane Moody reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Public Relations and Media Manager, B.T.B.

“What we want to do is that we really want to encourage local tourism. We want to see Belizean visiting Belize; getting to know our country because we’ve come to recognize and realize that Belizeans are our best ambassadors of brand Belize. So we want them to see what Belize has to offer in terms of the tours, in terms of the food, in terms of the accommodations.”

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A sixteen-mile stretch of natural sandy beach, a lagoon, an abundance of coral cayes, jungle rivers and pristine rainforest…the quaint Placencia strip boasts a cultural diversity of Garifuna, Creole and Mayan people. And with the mountainous terrain in the horizon, Placencia is an ideal location for the adventure traveler!

Colleagues from several media houses were treated to a taste of paradise and it started with a warm welcome by Executive Director of the Placencia B.T.I.A. Chapter, Jolie Pollard.

 

Jolie Pollard

Jolie Pollard, Executive Director, Placencia B.T.I.A.

“Placencia has a more rootsy vibe. We like to say that we are a more authentic experience. This is where you have village life integrated with the tourism aspect of things. For a long time, fishing was the big industry here and of course that extended upwards to Seine Bight and later on in the 1970’s you had some Canadian investors who settled in that Maya Beach area and people started buying property there. Later in the nineties, more people started coming here discovering Placencia and very small tourism businesses. So it’s really developed very quickly over the past twenty years. So this is what you have now; something that has caught on very quickly and is becoming an increasingly popular destination across the world.”

 

As the adventure began our first stop was a trip to the Gladden Spit & Silk Cayes Marine Reserve with 2012 Tour Operator of the year, Splash Dive Center. North Silk, Middle Silk and South Silk provide tourists with an ‘under the sea’ experience as snorkelers get to witness a cornucopia of sea creatures including some huge turtles, stingrays whale sharks and a kaleidoscope of colorful fishery.

 

Kenley Williams, Dive Master/Tour Guide, Splash Dive Center

Kenley Williams

“We saw different tropical fishes like lots of snappers, plants, grants, barracudas, damsels, parrot fishes, angel fishes, butterfly fishes and the second snorkeling that we did, we did have some lager head turtles, which everybody got a chance to get a view of them in the water and swam with them. We had different type of rays: the southern stingray, the Caribbean stingray, the spotted eagle ray and we also had some sharks swimming around; we also had the lemon sharks on the island. So it was an amazing time for us today…for everybody else, for the guests and the crew everybody was really happy with the outcome.”

 

Ralph Capeling

Ralph Capeling, Owner, Splash Dive Center

“Our mission statement was to become the best dive shop in Belize and so we are working very hard to do that. But our goal is to go beyond that…to be at least the best dive shop in the Caribbean or maybe the northern hemisphere or western hemisphere. But continuously improving and trying to get better all the time.”

 

Owned by Ralph Capeling and Patricia Ramirez, Splash Dive Center currently has several programs for Belizean youths and adults as well as foreigners living in the jewel to snorkel and scuba dive at a reduced price or even free of cost if you are lucky.

 

We then checked into Laru Beya Resort and Villas. A quiet and modern beachfront resort built for relaxation with hammocks on every balcony and an inviting pool and restaurant. Located in Seine Bight, some several miles from the center of Placencia Village, Laru Beya Resort and Villas has the unique feature of hosting sailors who moor their boats at its deck located just across the street.

 

Rene Nunez

Rene Nunez, General Manager, Laru Beya Resort and Villas

“If paradise has an address, it is Laru Beya. And as some of you had asked me what Laru Beya means. Laru Beya means on the beach in Garifuna. We chose a Garifuna name because we are a part of Seine Bight, one of the more established Garifuna villages in Belize and so we are proud to be a part of that culture and the Placencia peninsula.”

 

After settling in, it was a quick trip to the guest-exclusive and high-end resort, Chabil Mar Villas, where the staff embodied hospitality to a T. We were welcomed with cold towels and a tour of the facilities.

 

Synescio Coh, Manager, Chabil Mar Villas

“We do a lot of personalize service like butler service that most other resorts don’t do. We only have twenty-two villas and out of that only eighteen are rented out. So when we are full, we can host up to seventy-eighty people including children. We cater for a lot of families too.  We ask Belizeans to come and try us out and to feel the warm Belizean greeting we have. That is why people love us.”

 

So Day One ended with fine dining and an evening spent at the Maya Beach Bistro. As we retired for the night, our anticipations for day two and three could have been hardly contained. Duane Moody for News Five.

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2 Responses for “Media tours Belize with the B.T.B.”

  1. Initiate says:

    Yeah, Belizeans need to slow down on the idea that you have to go abroad for a vacation!!!

  2. fureal says:

    Why they don’t offer that to regular Belizeans? We can’t vacation in our own country its way cheaper to take your money to Mexico or even the states…..

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