According to Brave New Traveler, Belize is one of the top five green travel destinations, noting that “Belize is deeply committed to eco-tourism.” Among its attractions is that it is home to the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.
Francis Ford Coppola, inspired by his experience filming Apocalypse Now in the Philippines, decided to search for a “jungle paradise” closer to his northern California home. He ended up buying property in Belize and Guatemala, and now run three hotels there.
- Blancaneaux Lodge in the Maya Mountains of Belize
- Turtle Inn on the southern Belize coast
- La Lancha in Gautemala near Tikal
He writes about his experience in an article in the Independent. An excerpt:
When I visit the resorts, I cast a critical eye. What needs to be added, how is the food and so on. We grow all our fruits and vegetables in our own organic garden, so we can guarantee the quality. We raise our own chickens, and local fishermen bring their catch to the chef. I have a great deal of input with the menus. For La Lancha, we wanted to serve Guatemalan fare using staples such as tamales, beans, chillies, plantains and fresh vegetables. At Turtle Inn, the menu is based on the sea; we serve river lobster or a conch cooked on the beach. And, at Blancaneaux Lodge, it’s Belizean dishes on the menu – rice, beans, chicken and fresh fish, including white fish pickled in lime juice. We also have a wood-burning pizza oven plus espresso machine and coffee roaster imported from Italy.
When I originally discovered Blancaneaux Lodge, I’d been looking for some kind of tropical Utopia and I immediately knew that this was the hideaway I had been looking for. Even now, once I’ve been there a couple of days, the laptop comes out and I write – after all, that’s why I bought the first resort in the first place.
This 45-minute video, shot entirely in Belize, presents an overview of the history of Garifuna people of the Central American Caribbean coast, as told in their own voices. (Around 18 mins. are some historical photos.) The Garifuna are an ethnic mix of Carib, Arawak, and African peoples. To the outsider, Garifuna drumming is the most immediately striking and characteristic aspect of the culture. There are some examples around the 15 minute mark in the video. Around 21-22 mins. is a taste of punta, the contemporary expression of traditional Garifuna rhythms. There is a female chorus around 39 mins.
I am still looking for the perfect Garifuna drumming video — there is a lot of touristy stuff, much of it shot in restaurants or at staged performances, on the web, but the authentic experience seems elusive.
Archaeologists have discovered traces of an ancient Maya city in a papaya plantation in the Corozal area of Belize. The find includes three Mayan foundations tentatively dated to the early classic period. Skeletons of a man and a woman were also uncovered, although they seem to be from a little earlier. According to the Belize Reporter, “It is believed that Aventura had seven to ten thousand inhabitants and encompassed an area of two to three square miles.” The Reporter article also alludes to a temple and some “ornate pottery.” I suppose in time exactly what the site comprises will become clearer.