Belize’s Past is its Present

Written by  Rita Cook

LATIN Belize
If you are looking for a destination that still promises days full of tranquility with little or no interruption, a limited number of tourists and no overrun cities, then Belize is the place for you. Belize became a buzz word back in 2012 when the Mayan calendar ended. Steeped in Mayan tradition, the only thing that happened with Belize’s renewed notoriety from the calendar’s end was that it became even more popular with tourists.

Culture
The ancient Mayan people who once lived in this area were known to be astronomers, scholars and scientists who practiced mathematics, astronomy and writing on a daily basis. Because of their knowledge, much was said about their predictions when the Mayan calendar ended, but we now know everything was fine. The real significance of the calendar is still undetermined, but some folks say it was the beginning of a shift in the consciousness of mankind. As for the Mayans who live in the Belize area, most of them believe 2012 was a time that would herald renewal, reflection and celebration on the earth. The traditions and beliefs of ancient Mayan culture are preserved in the country of Belize, even today. English is spoken country-wide, and there are also three dialects of Mayan still spoken here.
What is left of the ancient Mayan culture in Belize, other than the people who are ancestors from this earlier civilization, can still also be seen in hieroglyphs inscribed on ancient temple walls. There are also ceremonial caves that have been discovered over the years revealing information about the lives of the Mayans during earlier times.
It’s a fact that you can barely dig a posthole or clear land without uncovering some Mayan artifact in Belize. This means that for visitors it’s easy to get an up close and personal view of the culture when in Belize. You will definitely want to visit one or two of the Mayan Archeological sites. The foremost site is the ancient Mayan city of Xunantunich, or Maiden of the Rock. Located on the Western Highway, the site is across the river from the village of San Jose Succotz and a ferry from the village to the site is offered daily.
Built in the “Classic Period” the highlight of Xunantunich are two temples. The lower temple is known for its large stucco frieze and a mask with large ears seen on this temple is said to represent the sun god. Next to this mask, there is a moon sign with a border of signs representing Venus. You can spend all day visiting the site, but it is best to go there on a tour booked through your hotel, with the tour cost built into the price of
your accommodations.

Where to Stay
There are a variety of accommodations to choose from when visiting Belize. The Ka’ana Boutique Resort (www.kaanabelize.com) is the perfect place to have energy work done, usually with a local shaman. The name Ka’ana means “Heavenly Place” in the Mayan language. Located in the Maya Mountains, the resort is in Belize’s Cayo District and is all about being eco-friendly. With just 15 rooms set in a jungle atmosphere, the entire experience will make you feel as if you have stepped back in time.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek (www.chaacreek.com) has a nice Mayan element to it. It is located along the banks of the Macal River and near to the foothills of the Maya Mountains. The Lodge at Chaa Creek sits on 365 acres within a rainforest reserve. The property offers guests an adventure travel experience that includes not only visiting the various Mayan archaeological sites, but also has a focus on Belize’s ecology and natural history.
If you’re visiting Belize then you want to check out the stellar diving there. While you want to be sure to take a few days for ancient culture, don’t miss out on a visit to Hamanasi Reef and Adventure Resort. Meaning “almond’ from the Belizean hamans tree, the resort is set amid these local trees and sits on the beach. This is a comfortable destination where you can relax, enjoy the local cuisine, and also visit the local rainforests and caves as well as the reefs and palm-studded beaches. The resort has also set aside 10 acres as a nature preserve. The area has a diverse terrain with ridges and swamp, and is home to birds, land turtles, small fish, orchids, lily pads and a variety of indigenous trees.
For the ultimate pampering look no further than Cayo Espanto (www.aprivateisland.com). You will take a plane to San Pedro and from there a boat will whisk you to the very private Cayo Espanto resort. It is situated on a private island with only five, very exclusive villas. All the villas have marvelous views, plunge pools facing the ocean and hammocks so you can spend the day lounging.
Located on Central America’s Caribbean coast, Belize is only 70 miles by 180 miles long. It’s easy to get around, and from the ancient traditions such as Mayan farming methods and cooking that is still practiced today, to the Belize barrier reef, there’s no way you will get bored with such a diverse offering of activities.
www.travelbelize.org

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