Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Belize Zoo...

      Mrs. Barbara Thummalapally, the wife of the USA Ambassador to Belize, Mr. Vinai Thummalapally, feeding "Panama," the Harpy Eagle. This wonderful story and other details of the "best little zoo in the world" can be found on The Belize Zoo website.
      The zoo is at mile 29 when you are traveling from Belize City to Belmopan... about a 30 minute drive.    Although not big... it has some of the most interesting animals you will find in any zoo in the world.  If you get the chance... don't miss it!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Birds of Belize... 101 and more

I just became aware of a book that I suspect will appeal very much to the birders coming to Belize for the huge diversity of species to add to their list of sightings.    
Read the great review and order it here from the Belize Audubon Society.
From the product description on Amazon (referring to an earlier edition)...
"This is a first-class book that will enable users to identify any bird they encounter in Belize." --Victor Emanuel, President, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. 
...With nearly six hundred identified species of birds--and an average of five "new" species discovered annually--Belize is becoming a birding hotspot for amateur and professional birders from around the globe. Thousands of birders visit the country each year to enjoy Belize's amazing abundance and variety of both temperate and tropical birds in natural habitats that remain largely unspoiled. But until now, despite the growing need for an authoritative identification guide, birders have had to rely on regional field guides that offer only limited information on Belizean birds. Birds of Belize provides the first complete guide to the identification of all currently known species--574 in all. The birds are grouped by families, with an introduction to each family that highlights its uniquely identifying characteristics and behaviors. The species accounts include all the details necessary for field identification: scientific and common names, size, plumage features, thorough voice descriptions, habitat, distribution, and status in Belize. Full color, expertly drawn illustrations by noted bird artist Dana Gardner present male and female, juvenile and adult, and basic and alternate plumages to aid visual identification throughout the year, while 234 range maps show the birds' distribution and seasonality in Belize. A comprehensive bibliography completes the volume.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sunrise at The Maine Stay - Belize

As many of these as I take... they never get boring!

See this and other photos on The Maine Stay Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Belize Big Cats and Great Blogs...

Lisa has spent time in Belize several times. Read some excellent posts on her current visit to Belize in her "Left Coast Cowboys" blog.  Good Stuff!

Photo: Marcus Obal, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Belize Hibiscus

With blossoms more than six inches across... this particular Hibiscus (hybrid) bush is gorgeous when it blooms.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Belize in Top Ten...

BERKELEY, Calif., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Are you the kind of traveler who wants to have a great time AND feel good about where your travel budget is going?
"There's no doubt that worldwide interest in mindful, responsible travel is growing - not only among travelers, but within the countries that host us," says Jeff Greenwald, executive director of Ethical Traveler and co-author of the report. "Now is the perfect time for savvy travelers and well-intentioned governments to evolve together, each encouraging the other. This is especially true in the developing world, where travel and tourism can be developed as lucrative, low-impact alternatives to forestry, mining, and the destruction of ocean habitats." 
In alphabetical order, the best ethical travel destinations for 2010 are:
South Africa
"In drafting our report, we use scores of information sources -- including publicly available data -- to rate each country's genuine commitment to environmental protection, social welfare and human rights," says Christy Hoover, co-author of the report. "Data sources include the United Nations Development Program, Human Rights Watch, Columbia University, Reporters Without Borders, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and many others. Private interviews with NGO leaders are part of the process, as well."
The full report can be viewed at Traveler is an international alliance of travelers who believe that travel is a powerful tool for international goodwill and cultural understanding. The group seeks to harness the political and economic clout of tourism to support human rights and the environment. Ethical Traveler is a project of the Earth Island Institute. More information:  SOURCE Ethical Traveler © 2009 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Belize Rescue Dogs!

Our latest addition to the pack, Taco, seems to be getting along quite nicely with Bowdoin! Taco is about 10 months old and he is a black and white male Chiuaua mix.

Bowdoin is a very local rescue... as a tiny scrawny puppy (look here for the story and photo) she wandered down the main Peninsula Road and in to our yard and said "can I stay here?"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bare Back Yard - NOT!

Our back yard was bare 4 years ago! See top photo. There was one small ficus tree and a few plants. Well, we got busy and planted like crazy. Along the back fence we planted a bunch more ficus and also scattered citrus trees. We even planted a breadfruit tree. When the road got paved we had to remove some grass from the front yard, so we used that sod to make pathways in the back yard. Now we are removing some things... it's getting so overgrown! The ficus trees are 25 or 30 feet tall, and the citrus trees are too close. The breadfruit had to go! One thing you don't have to worry about in Belize, is landscaping... it's easy and quick.

Beach morning in Belize...

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Plumeria in Belize

These are both the same flower! Commonly known as Frangipani, it's botanical name is Plumeria. It has a very strong frangrance, and is used to make leis in Hawaii. We have several varieties of these growing at Kokomo and The Maine Stay. More information here and here.
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Belize "Clock Vine"

Karen absolutely loves Clock Vine (Thunbergia grandiflora) and has managed to completely disguise the corner of our house with it! It blossoms all the time here... and will grow on anything. More information here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Big Boy Belize Iguana... "El Garrobo"

This afternoon, at a friend's place, we saw this quite large Iguana. The tip of his nose is 18 inches off the ground and from nose to tip of tail is 5 feet.
Apparently, in Spanish... "El Garrobo"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Belize "Mountain Cow"

This is the national animal of Belize.

"Reaching a weight of over 800 pounds the Baird's Tapir is the second largest of all tapir. The Malayan Tapir is the largest of all tapir species. A Baird's Tapir can grow as tall as 4 feet and as long as 6.5 feet."

See more information here and here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cabana Updating... Yay!

Although the original cabanas we built for our vacation trips to Belize were delightful, it was clearly time for some updating. In addition to brand new windows, insulation, and tile floors, we updated and enlarged the kitchen and sleeping spaces in the south (kitchen/dining) cabana. The bedroom cabana has new tile and windows also. More pictures here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fresh Fruits and Veggies in Belize

Our guests often ask us about the availability of fresh fruits and veggies. Well, not only are they readily available, but you get them delivered! Greg and Carmita have a great grocery truck loaded with fresh produce and other items... including milk, yogurt, OJ, chicken, beef, pork and more. They come by the Cabanas twice a week (Thursday and Sunday) and their truck is in Placencia Village across from the Tourism Center almost every day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Critters in Belize

Praying Mantis

It's fun to see these guys "up close and personal" and here are two very different examples of nature's best.
Both photos were taken on the same day right in our garden palapa.

Blue Crab

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Belize Expats

I was recently profiled in Expatify's blog section. This website caters to expats around the world and has drawn many from Belize to it's pages. Not only does it have profiles and blog links, but it includes many fascinating stories and informational links to the rest of the world! Check it out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Belize - The Maine Stay - Calendar

As we get closer to the "high season" in Belize, the calendar for The Maine Stay is getting more and more tight. We still have lots of time available, but it's probably best to get your time reserved so you won't be disappointed. The weeks that we routinely book several months or more in advance are Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Spring Break and Easter.

Open Days/Weeks - 3 days or more (November through March)

November 14th - November 20th - BOOKED
November 21st - November 27th - BOOKED
November 28th - December 5th - BOOKED
December 7th - December 19th - (one suite open)
December 19th - December 26th - BOOKED
December 26th - January 2nd - BOOKED
January 13th -January 15th (3 nights)
January 17th - January 23rd - BOOKED
January 23rd - January 26th (4 nights)
January 24th - January 30th - BOOKED
January 31st - February 6th - BOOKED
February 7th - February 13th - BOOKED
February 8th - February 10th (3 nights)
February 21st - February 26th - BOOKED
February 27th - March 4th BOOKED
March 1st - March 7th - BOOKED
March 7th - March 14th - BOOKED
March 15th - March 26th - BOOKED
March 27th - April 9th (one suite open)

Still open time in April and May - two of the warmest and sunniest months of the year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Belize - Laughingbird Caye National Park

Here's a photo from and a link to more spectacular photos of Laughing Bird Caye National Park - from the Southern Environmental Association's Facebook page. Laughingbird is visited by many, many Maine Stay guests while on snorkeling trips.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Maine Stay - Belize - TripAdvisor Review

I don't usually like to "toot our horn" here... but this review written by one of our recent guests, Heather Anderson, is so well done and terribly flattering to us and the Placencia Peninsula, that I just had to share...

We just returned from 9 days at the Maine Stay. We could not have asked for anything more. We were a large group (8 people), and Drew and Karen accommodated us perfectly. The cabanas were spotlessly clean, and had everything we needed. Karen nicely noted that if we needed anything at all (ie. bigger pots, different cooking utensils) to just come across the street and she would be happy to lend them to us. They provided us with great information about the peninsula and its surrounding attractions. The bathrooms were beautiful and again spotless. The beach is soft, clean sand, dotted with several palm trees for some shade and privacy. the property is also covered in beautiful hibiscus plants and other vibrant flowers. The water was gorgeous, jumping off the dock was tons of fun. There are beach dogs - but they are harmless! they just want to say hello, maybe get a few pats from you and just check out what you are doing. we loved them. The beds were extremely comfortable, and the rooms were air conditioned, so sleeping here was perfect. for a day time nap, relax in one of the many hammocks on the deck.

As for things to do on the peninsula - the saturday night buffet at Roberts Grove is AMAZING (all you can eat lobster - need i say more??) another great find was The Secret Garden restaurant down in Placencia Village - fantastic food and friendly service. they were also one of the few places that serves American breakfasts - nice to have a little taste of home once and a while! If diving is your thing, go with Avadon divers, they are located just south of the air strip. Ann Marie and her brother run the company and they are such wonderful people, and our day out on the boat was amazing. we saw dolphins, rays, millions of fish, lobsters, you name it, we saw it. Their lunch was incredible too.

I could go on and on about the house and Placencia, but I suggest you book this house and get down there to experience it yourself. Oh and be sure to drop in on Drew and Karen - their house is the coolest house i have ever seen and their knowledge of the country is really cool, they know anything you will want to know. Their dogs are adorable, and they have birds too!!
TripAdvisor Review 20 August 09

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Xunantunich - "tunasandwich" - Belize Mayan Ruin

Check out the YouTube video of one of the Mayan ruins that many of The Maine Stay guests visit. This is a delightful day trip to the San Ignacio area and is easily combined with a visit to the Cahal Pech ruins about 15 minutes from Xunantunich. Read what Wikipedia has to say about Xunantunich and Cahal Pech.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Belize Pickles... the California Method

My son Steven sent this email... check out his recipe link below!
So, someone at my office brought in a ton of cukes from their garden, really big ones, and I took home a bunch, cuz it was like, free food, and that's good, because free food means I can buy more ipods, and anyhoo, I was never going to be able to eat these cukes before they went moldy, cuz there were like too many of them, so I figured I should somehow try to extend the life of the cukes, and then I remembered there were these things people made called pickles and preserves and stuff like that, so I started to look into it, using the interwebs, and I found a basic recipe, after some searching--the first several recipes I found had sugar as an ingredient, and I said no, no, no--so I kept looking and found something that was more true, and found a way to do this experiment without special canning equipment and huge vats and special jars and lids and seals and sterilization and all that, because I didn't have the time or energy for that, and to this basic recipe I added about eleventy different spices because I was feeling mischevious, and I thought it would probably be a bust, that things would turn out to be inedible, but I didn't care too much, cuz the cukes were free and it was darn easy to do, so I experimented and went wild and added in the spices like the spicy guy that I am, and wouldn't you know it, these pickles turned out to be the best pickles i've ever tasted, they are mega-delicious, and I brought several jars of them in to work, and people often bring stuff in to work to share, so usually it's like, ho hum, thanks, but people who I don't even talk to a whole lot went out of their way to stop by my desk and rave about how amazing the spicy pickles are, and to please share the recipe, so I was at this point obligated to write it all up, and thus I bring you this internets page that I made, which is passed along with love and best wishes and hopes that the pickle gods may allow your preserved cukes to turn out just as deliciously, and that you may enjoy in the crunching and spicy goodliness of which you might partake if you undertake and execute to the equivalent of my own pickle making abilities, yeah good luck with that!
Aww yeah, that was one sentence.
recipe by Steve Travers

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Belize - Waterfalls & Sunsets

One of our guests recently snapped the shot of the waterfall and pool at the Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve... this is a great day trip for hiking, river tubing, rock sliding and "critter" observing!

And then. of course, you can come back to Kokomo to enjoy a gorgeous lagoon sunset sitting in one of our palapa swings on the Marina boardwalk.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Belize... Name That Plant!

Ok folks... this is a "Yucca" type plant with very sharp spikes that seems to blossom every several months. It has grown to a height of 3-4 feet. Any ideas what this is?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Name that Toad...

This little guy has decided to make my desk and work space his home territory. So let's name that toad...
Maybe if I start having conversations with him he'll stay out of my printer!

Any ideas?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Maya Island Air... Belize - Cancun Connection?

Is this the plane that will be flying the rumored Maya Island Air Belize City - Cancun route? Don't know for sure, but I do know that this photo was taken June 2nd, 2009 at an unknown location. The ATR 72 is a twin-turboprop short-haul regional airliner built by the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR. It seats up to 74 passengers in a single-class configuration and is operated by a two-pilot crew. See Wikipedia for more detailed information.

For those of us in the tourism industry, the prospect of travelers getting to Belize via Cancun is an exciting development... opening up the possibility of significantly better connections and fares for both North American and European passengers.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Five Minute Walk In Belize...

A 5 minute walk in our back yard this morning yielded this splash of colors!