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Jul 26, 2013

News 5’s Moody tours with the BTB

Duane Moody

News Five’s Duane Moody became a tourist in his own country as a guest of the Belize Tourism Board. The fam trip covered the Placencia area showcasing prime destinations and adventure tours. Tonight we bring you part two of the intrepid journalist’s odyssey across Belize.

 

Duane Moody

“The first day of our media tour took us to the Placencia Peninsula. There, we had a breath-taking underwater experience courtesy of Splash Dive Center. This was followed by visits to several resorts including Chabil Mar Villas and of course Laru Beya Resort that hosted the group. But with a new day, it’s going to be a totally new adventure. Day two of the media tour brings us first to the Serpon Sugar Mill here in Sittee River.”

 

It’s the country’s first historical reserve and is hidden in the jungle approximately one mile in on the access road to the village. Serpon Sugar Mill is an important landmark in Belize’s colonial history.  Established in 1865, the mill, main crusher, boiler, beam engine, furnace, and hot air exchanger—all once powered by steam—are preserved at the site. Indicating the start of the industrial era in the jewel, Serpon Sugar Mill was producing and shipping up to seventeen hundred pounds of sugar monthly.

 

But after a brief step back in time, we then checked in at Belizean Dreams Resort in Hopkins.

 

Edsel Cardinez

Edsel Cardinez, Belizean Dreams Resort

“You and your family should come here and enjoy the tropical lush paradise that we have here at Belizean Dreams. Trust me you definitely won’t be disappointed.”

 

Tony Marsico, Owner, Barracuda Bar and Grill

“If you draw a twelve mile circle around Hopkins, you’ve got three very distinct cultures that are alive and well here. The Garifuna culture of Hopkins where you still see the little one and two year old speaking the language; you got the Creole Village of Sittee River and you’ve got Maya Center out there by the Jaguar Reserve. So three pretty distinct cultures, big cultures of Belize are right here on our doorstep.”

 

Created in 1942, Hopkins is a small but vibrant Garifuna community. Farming and fishing was the main way of life; that is until recently since its becoming a growing tourist destination. The village provides a one of a kind cultural experience and shocked we were by the musical percussions and beat of the Lebeha Drummers. According to Ronald Williams, the grassroots band wants to be like the Garifuna Collective.

 

Ronald Williams, Lebeha Drummers

“Basically we are just here to keep the culture alive and just to show people the culture. This is a young group. The rhythms we played for you guys today was the paranda, which is played in the church. Then we went to the Chumba dance that depicts a lot of the Garifuna activities like fishing farming, cutting the yard and other stuffs. Then we went on to the Jankunu when you saw the young kids dancing. The issue of that dance is that it was mimicking the slave masters.”

 

Luis Eck

Lunch at Barracuda Bar and Grill was followed by a tour of the longest operating resort in the village, Jaguar Reef Lodge. Surrounded by millions of acres of reef and rainforest, Jaguar Reef Lodge has received top honors as “Hotel of the Year” by the Belize Tourism Board.

 

Luis Eck, Resort Manager, Jaguar Reef Lodge/Almond Beach

“What makes Jaguar Reef so unique is its location—not only in the high concentration of the Garifuna, but the fact that it is directly in the middle of the barrier reef and the Jaguar Reserve; thus, giving it the unique name Jaguar Reef. So the location makes it very unique apart from its culture.”

 

As we retired for the night, anticipations were running high for day three, which entailed a trip to Jaguar Paw for ziplining and cave tubing tours with Chukka Adventure.

 

But we did make one quick stop before and toured the Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge located at the foothills of the Sibun National Forest Reserve in Belize.

 

Emerson Castillo

Emerson Castillo, General Manager, Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge

“We offer very nice luxurious rooms. We offer jungle and beach packages and we offer mainly Belizean tours. We offer the gazebo hike, we have the gazebo which has onsite activity that we can do. We do kayaks right here in the Sibun River and we are putting up tree houses.”

 

And then it was off to Jaguar Paw and the out-of-this-world but safe adventures; ziplining across the jungle and the amazing cave experience. It was a first time experience for me and now one that I would do over and over again.

 

Karina Cunil

Karina Cunil, Marketing Representative, Chukka Adventures

“When you get here, you are our family for the day. We take care of you because then here at Chukka our goal is safety. For you to have fun, but safety is key for us. Some of the tours that we have here are Jaguar Paw is our ziplining, cave tubing and crystal cave tubing and repelling. And what we do for the added experience we like to do a combination of both.”

 

It was three days well spent as I became a tourist in my own backyard. Are you ready to be a tourist in your own country? Duane Moody for News Five.

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2 Responses for “News 5’s Moody tours with the BTB”

  1. Charl says:

    Yes it is very good to promote our own country to to the Belizean people,but the price $ to visit these tourist places are so high that that Belizean people cannot afford to tour there own country.

  2. Corozal Hotel Ass. says:

    TV Reporter: BTB why did you not go to promote Corozal.

    BTB: Corozal? Da where dat? Must be part of Mexico.

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