Belize has befriended those who seek out our feathered friends.
The ecology-minded country has protected more than 40% of its terrain from development, and that in turn has provided a shelter for a host of exotic birds such as toucans, says Deborah Gilharry of the Belize Tourism Board. The tourist board’s logo actually has a toucan on it.
“At some hotels you can see hundreds of birds within a one-mile radius,” Gilharry says of guided birdwatching opportunities in a country that has large swathes of jungle. Gilharry adds that nature enthusiasts will be able to appreciate other sides to a country that is home to the world’s only jaguar sanctuary. Another attraction is what’s labelled a baboon sanctuary, but which actually provides a home to howler monkeys, famed for their loud calls. But Gilharry adds that Belize also has plenty of beach and watersports opportunities.
“We offer the best of both worlds – jungle and beach,” she says. “Belize is a great place to enjoy some nice tropical weather.”
Gilharry adds that Belize is also home to many Maya ruins that tourists can visit, among the Caracol, which actually has the tallest structure in the country. Descendants of those who built the likes of Caracol can be found around the community of Punta Gorda, where Maya home-stay programs offer day visits and overnight stays, with visitors able to learn the likes of how to make chocolate. “It’s very interesting, very authentic,” Gilharry says of those visits.
Pictured during a recent Toronto reception are Gilharry; Reggie Kieda, who helped organize the Toronto event; Tony Rodrigues of Bento’s Tours, Inc.; Jana Puga of the Belize Tourism Board; and Martin Jeffery, who also helped organize the Toronto event.