Belize Island Adventure Blog

BELIZE JUNGLE ADVENTURES from YOUR ISLAND BASE

Belize has the largest living Barrier Reef in the world and the largest contiguous stretch of rainforest north of the Amazon. Aside from the incredible Barrier Reef at our front doorstep here at South Water Caye, the mainland tropical forest environment is truly a magical place with an amazing variety of plants, birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, and amphibians.

Hidden rivers and jungle waterfalls

Hidden waterfalls, crystal clear rivers, and a plethora of tropical wildlife make our home Belize an amalgamation of some of the most unique and diverse natural environments in the world. Our beautiful island paradise base is the perfect location for exploring both the terrestrial and marine environments and all their adventures they have to offer.


Our in-house mainland guide, Ms. Julissa, will meet you at the boat and escort you to any of these exciting destinations and activities!

Here are the top 3 inland adventure zones that are easily explored in a day trip from Blue Marlin Beach in the Stann Creek District:

MAYAN KING WATERFALL, ZIPLINE and RIVER TUBING –located on over 50,000 acres of private land, this desination is a private eco-preserve that border national parkland and agricultural zones. In the heart of the Maya Mountains and the source of the South Stann Creek, the Mayan King region is comprised of untouched jungle, beautiful rivers, and the stunning Mayan King Waterfall.

Criss-crossing the South Stann Creek (which is actually more like a river), is the country’s highest zipline. Here, you will have panoramic vistas from 11 decks and 7 lines with views that were previously available only to birds in flight. You might even see the endangered Scarlet Macaws that are know to frequent the area.

After zipping above the South Stann Creek River, you can tube down the class 2 rapids for almost 2 miles of natural Belize splendor. Discover the hidden waterfalls and swim in the clear water pool at the base nestled in the rainforest for a refreshing swim.

ANTELOPE FALLS WATERFALL HIKE

Within the heart of Bocawina National Park, which is run and managed by the villagers of Silk Grass, there is a stunning and wild waterfall. Hike a challenging uphill path to the top of the waterfall where you can also find a lovely pool for swimming. The truly adventurous can get an additional adrenaline rush with a rappel down to the base of the waterfall. Within the reserve there is also a small set of semi-excavated ruins of an ancient Mayan settlement.

COCKSCOMB BASIN JAGUAR RESERVE

The world’s first Jaguar Reserve is home to one of the largest wild populations of jaguars in the world. This is a massive protected area covering hundreds of thousands of acres and also housing Victoria Peak, Belize’s highest mountain other than Doyle’s Delight, which is further south and much less accessible. Victoria Peak is accessible to summit for hardcore adventurers at certain times a year with expedition style overnight hikes to the top. This protected area is managed by the Belize Audubon Society. The mountain is not particularly high on a world scale, but the humid conditions, harsh environment (poisonous plants and animals) and the surprising lack of water sources, all make for an extremely challenging trek.

For those of us looking for a more relaxing way to explore the jungle, there is the option for river tubing. You might spot a howler monkey family or a boa constrictor clinging to the trees on the riverbank. The river habitat is home to numerous birds including parrots and toucans, howler monkeys, iguana. Cockscomb is also home to jaguars, the world’s third largest feline and four other species of wildcats.

Even if you do not see them you will find evidence of many animals by their tracks in the muddy trails. This includes tapirs (also know as mountain cows), peccary (a wild boar), anteaters, and the notorious gibnut (or Royal Rat, in honor of the Queen of England being served this traditional game meat as her lunch on a royal visit to Belize). The gibnut and all the wildlife are safe in Cockscomb because every leaf, flower, bug, and rock is protected in this amazing Wildlife Sanctuary.

FRANK AND GAIL are in the running for our Longest Returning Guests Award.  They have been coming to holiday on Blue Marlin by themselves, with friends, and with family for the past 20 years.


I met this endearing, witty, and sweet couple at coffee before breakfast on my first morning as part of the team here at Blue Marlin. Gail and Frank are probably the cutest couple around and are an inspiration. 

Frank and Gail – Valentine’s Dinner 2019

Frank is a US military veteran and a retired doctor. Gail is an amateur naturalist and professional editor and art historian (sorry for any grammatical errors in this blog, Gail) and mother of three. Gail is petite with pink cheeks, a friendly smile, a genuine kindness, and a sharp wit. Frank is adamant about unplugging and spending quality time in a technology-free zone. Frank is tall and lean with wirey glasses and windswept gray hair.

The staff had already advised me that these were very special guests that come back every year. When I first met them, Gail was donning her gray Blue Marlin logoed shirt– she calls it her “breakfast shirt”. They appeared to be at home here on our little island paradise and I caught Frank sipping on his steaming cup as he surveyed the open sea from out vantage point at the over-the-water dining area. He was waiting for Gail to return from her morning “Dock Patrol”, where she scouts out the critters in the clear shallow waters by the dock.


Bonefish schools which can be seen all around our docks on a “dock patrol”

I approached Frank and asked him if he wouldn’t mind sharing some of their experiences here over the years. At first he gave me a sort of skeptical look and told me he would have to wait for Gail to come to breakfast and clear it through her. 

Despite having the sweetest smile and being a good two feet shorter then Frank, Gail is clearly the Boss in this relationship. And Frank is clearly a gentleman who comes from a tradition of respect and honor because he won’t sit down at the table without his wife.

I humbly approached Gail to introduce myself. She gave me a quick glance over as if to say “you’re new here” and then smiled and we began to chat. It turns out Frank did his medical residency at my Alma Mater and Gail had given birth to their now grown children at the same hospital as my College 50+ years ago in tiny New Hampshire. So that cleared the air and they started warming up to this newbie.

It becomes rapidly obvious that Frank and Gail know exactly what is going on here at Blue Marlin, starting from dock patrol to the latest in staff gossip. Gail even caught a diner from a day trip catamaran trying to pocket the salt and pepper shakers off of his lunch table and she immediately exposed this drunken sailor’s unsavory deeds. In no time, the items were returned to the table and this petite agreeable lady had brought a grown man to his knees in apology with just one look. I didn’t know whether to applaud or to laugh or both.

In any case, the jist of this tale is that Frank and Gail clearly love this place, its people, and what it offers. Frank tells me that island life is almost like a mini series and the thing he loves most about Blue Marlin is the personalized service, the family hospitality, and the fact that the staff go out of their way to make things right. He was amazed by how Mireya, our head dining room server, folds their napkins for every meal and how they are always in the shape of different objects or animals. It’s these small details that make a big difference.

Frank was impressed that a couple years back when Captain Bo took one of the guests all the way to Belize City to the private hospital to check on an earache which Frank had deemed in his medical opinion as “no big deal.” Frank, who carries a serious demeanor, isn’t easily impressed. But obviously, Blue Marlin has left an impression on both Frank and Gail. As they have left an impression on the team here at Blue Marlin. They are truly appreciated, as are all of our guests, by the staff and crew.

Gail, her daughter, and her grandchildren at Blue Marlin Beach Resort on a family vacation

On their last morning here at the end of their three-week stay, Gail barely touched her fruit bowl and let her coffee go cold. She stared at the turquoise  blue sea and seemed deeply saddened to be leaving her home-away-from-home for her real home in the States. The barracuda that always hovers in the shallows by the dock even seemed a little sad. Gail’s love of nature and the sea is evident in her religious daily snorkels and her purveying of the docks every morning and evening. 

Sunset over the Caribbean Sea- view from our evening dock patrol

And there is no place closer to nature’s never-ending glory than right there at Blue Marlin Beach Resort, Atop the Living Barrier Reef, Belize, Central America. As their boat pulled away to bring them back to town for their island hopper flight, we didn’t say “Goodbye” to Mr. Frank and Ms. Gail. We said “Until next time!” 

MARCH 2019: WOMEN’s MONTH at BLUE MARLIN

Who rules the world? Girls! March 2019 is International Women’s Month. The strength, creativity, versatility, intelligence, and skills of women worldwide are highlighted here in our staff and crew at Blue Marlin. Without women, this would certainly be a much different place. The dedication, hard work, kindness, and friendliness of our female staff make Blue Marlin what it is– a place where guests can come relax, eat well, explore, and enjoy the beauty and comfort of our accommodations, setting, and dining here at Blue Marlin. The staff is over 50% female and most are single moms.

Meet our Blue Marlin Beach Resort “Woman Power” Team and see what makes us so special:

Ms. Rosella: Owner/General Manager/Chef

“Momma” Rosella

Ms. Ros has been lovingly welcoming guests to her island paradise for nearly 30 years. She is a born- and-raised Belizean, dedicated to providing the best in personalized service. She has become a personal friend to many Blue Marlin guests over the years. After her husband passed away, she continued on with the business on her own as well as raising two daughters on her own. On many a day, you can still find her in the kitchen being “Momma” preparing delicious home-cooked meals for our guests. Or, in the office making sure that all your needs are filled and that you can have an unforgettable time on her private island getaway, Blue Marlin Beach Resort. Her guests come as friends and leave as family– with her trademark family-style, home-style service here at Blue Marlin. She is heavily involved in the tourism industry and community enhancement projects, being the President of the Belize Tourism Industry Association Dangriga chapter.

Ms. Julissa: Inland Activities Liaison/Licensed Tour Guide

Ms. Julissa-mother, licensed guide, entrepreneur

Ms. Julissa is also a member of the Blue Marlin family, being the oldest daughter of Ms. Ros. She is our mainland tour guide as well as personal liaison for our guests. She will meet-and-greet you at the Dangriga airstrip upon arrival, transfer you to the boat, and show you all the mainland attractions such waterfalls, ziplines, jungle hikes, birding, Mayan ruins, Garifuna culture, and Marie Sharp hot sauce tours on an unforgettable inland day trip.

Ms. Mariel– mother, masseuse, business woman

Ms. Mariel: Masseuse/Marketing

Ms. Mariel is maintaining the tradition of her mother, Ms. Ros, by literally being “hands on” in her family business. She is the island masseuse, having studied and practiced the art of massage for almost a decade. She is also involved in marketing, overall island operations, and has grown up assisting with the family business at Blue Marlin in all aspects since childhood. Mariel is also dedicated to fitness and healthy living. She makes sure that our guests have access to healthy activities and meals. She is devoted to motivating women and girls take charge of their bodies with exercise and mental focus.

Ms. Makayla: Photographer/Model

Ms. Makayla–student, model, photographer

Ms. Makayla is the youngest member of our team, but has grown up at Blue Marlin, her grandma’s family business. Makayla is still a student, so she can only assist part-time, but she spends her weekends and school holidays taking amazing photos on the Caye. Makayla is very artistic, creative and beautiful and she works both sides of the camera as model AND photographer. She has a great eye for the beauty of the island and the joy of spending time out here.

Check her out at Instagram @Makayla Leslie.

Ms. Stacey: Divemaster/Island Guide

Ms. Stacey– Island divemaster and guide

Stacey is an all around powerhouse when it comes to water activities and island knowledge. She is a skilled divemaster, has a plethora of knowledge about marine life, and can show you the ins and outs of the island environment here on South Water Caye on an island walk or night walk. She has been living and working on South Water Caye on and off for over 12 years. Stacey does a little bit of everything on the island. She certainly makes it an exciting experience for our guests with her sharp wit and vast knowledge of island life.

Ms. Sonia: Staff Supervisor/Bartender

Ms. Sonia, Stacey’s mother, has been coming to Blue Marlin for many many years and has been working here full time for a couple years. She is a no-nonsense kinda’ gial and she is full or stories and history of the islands and Belizean traditions. She mixes a mean margarita and welcomes our guests with a complimentary welcome drink upon arrival. And she will play anything from country music to dancehall music at the bar at your request.

Ms. Carlene: Sales and Reservations Manager

Ms. Carlene- right hand wo-man to Ms. Ros

Ms. Carlene is based at our mainland office in Dangriga. She has been with Blue Marlin for 5 years and she is the glue that keeps it all together when it comes to reservations, scheduling, organizing transportation, and communicating guest needs to the staff on the island. She does everything from personally transfering guests to the boat to representing Blue Marlin at trade shows and conferences. She is no stranger to the resort and she is also involved in managing the BTIA office.

Ms. Ilana: Bonefish Hotel Operations Manager (our sister resort)

Ms. Ilana– our go-to lady

Ms. Ilana has been a dedicated member of the team for the past 12 years. She is the heart of the mainland office and works tirelessly behind the scenes ordering supplies, ordering maintenance, and making sure everything runs smoothly for our guests. She is always happy to assist with anything and everything. Ilana is a critical back up player to our Blue Marlin Team and we truly appreciate her.

Ms. Marjorie: International Airport Liaison

An old family friend of Ms. Ros and remote member of our Blue Marlin Team, Ms. Marjorie will be your first point of contact upon arrival in the country in Belize City. She will personally meet and greet you at the Phillip Goldson International Airport and make sure you make your connecting island hopper flight to Dangriga on Maya Island Air.

Ms. Amber: Kitchen Assistant

Ms. Amber- Women’s advocate and assistant cook

Ms. Amber is new to our team and has worked in kitchens at big hotels in the city. She is a kitchen assistant and baker, prepping our delicious meals, as well as baking breads and desserts. She is socially involved in women’s issues and is a member of the activist group, Our Circle, dedicated to human rights and equal rights in the LGBT community, particularly for women.

Ms. Faust: Staff Cook

Ms. Faust– doing her thing in the kitchen

Someone has to keep all of our hardworking staff well-fueled and nourished. Ms. Faustina is often the first to get up and the last to go to sleep, making sure that the staff has three homecooked meals a day while on the island. She has a daughter in university and is a dedicated mom, working hard to pay the school tuition. She makes a killer corn tortillas, stewed chicken, and pizza.

Ms. Eleonora and Ms. Amina: Housekeeping

New to the team, Ms. Amina has experience working on mainland resorts and will make sure our guests are well taken care of with fresh linens, fresh water, clean towels, and an evening turn down. Ms. Eleanora is also new to the team and she has experience in the cruise ship industry and in hotel housekeeping. These ladies make sure all of our guests have a wonderful clean environment and that their needs are well-covered.

Ms. Mireya: Dining Room Hostess/Server

Ms. Mireya- service with a smile

This is Ms. Mireya’s first season at Blue Marlin, and she has proven to be dedicated to fulfilling our guests’ wishes by accommodating their dietary restrictions, helping them select the best wines, and folding their napkins in beautiful and artistic shapes. She is always on her toes and, if you need anything at all related to dining, she is there to assist. Mr. Mireya has years of experience working at high end resorts and has even worked for Francis Ford Coppola. Ask about her napkin folding classes.

Ms. Isabelle : Guest Services/Marketing

Ms. Isabelle- mother, guest services coordinator, blogger

Also a new member of the team, Ms. Isabelle (the author of this blog) is an experienced blogger, naturalist, and guest services manager. She has worked in resort and tour sales, marketing, and guests services for over 15 years throughout Belize. She has been working around the Belize cayes for over a decade and has been all around the waters fishing, snorkeling, and free diving in her free time with her two sons. Isabelle has also worked inland managing nature reserves, eco-resorts, and tour companies.

Feel free to ask any of our power ladies about the latest happenings and activities available on and off our island base.

SUSTAINABILITY at BLUE MARLIN RESORT

Being situated on the largest living Barrier Reef in the world, the staff and crew at Blue Marlin insist on maintaining the most environmental alternatives to traditional sources of water, fuel, and food.

As an eco-resort, we have taken initiatives to avoid harm to the reef that supports and sustains us. In order to maintain the local ecosystem, with as minimal impact as possible, the staff, guest and crew at Blue Marlin are committed to protecting and preserving our local back yard, which also just so happens to be on a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

By abiding by green practices, we minimize waste and still provide the quality of service our guests have come to expect.

Whatever we consume needs to be transported to the island, processed, and disposed of properly. We make every effort to be conscious of the sensitive environment in which we choose to live and enjoy ourselves. Our eco-consciousness starts from what we eat to how we dispose of it.

These are the top 5 eco-friendly steps we are taking at Blue Marlin Beach Resort, Southwater Caye Marine Reserve, to protect the precious natural resources on which we all depend for our livlihood, health, enjoyment, and future!

1. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE WAATA

It’s ironic that being on an island surrounded by water, one of our main concerns at Blue Marlin Beach Resort is water conservation. Freshwater sources are limited, althought the island was named in honor of several natural freshwater wells that supplied early traderwind merchants and fisherman with water. Alternatively, the rain is a perfect source of water for showers and washing dishes.

We have several large collection tanks that hold 2800 gallons of rainwater at a time. We ask that our guests conserve water when showering and brushing teeth. We supply biodegradable soaps to our guests as well as ask our guests to assist with water conservation by reusing their bath towels and only laundering when needed. Blue Marlin also has a desalination system as a back up water source.

Reusable straws are a big step in the right direction to ocean conservation efforts

2. SAVE A TURTLE: AVOID SINGLE-USE PLASTICS

Plastic waste is destroying the world’s beautiful oceans, killing wildlife, and poisoning humans. We make every effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle. On our adventure trips to the inland which include picnic lunches, we do not pack lunches in disposable containers. We use reusable containers and cutlery. Or we patronize a small, locally-owned restaurant and sample Belizean culture in cuisine as well as explore the beauty of the country.

Every guest receives a reusable Blue Marlin metal canteen to refill throughout their stay with free drinking water provided from the dispenser in the dining area. This makes for a great way to stay hydrated on the boat during a dive trip and also makes for an amazing souvenir to take home along with your memories..

Charlie’s Bar is also phasing out the use of plastic straws and is moving toward biodegradable or bamboo straws. We encourage our guests to consider bringing their own reusable straw to enjoy their Frozen Mango Tangos, a bar favorite. The Government of Belize has recently launched a nationwide initiative to phase out all single-use plastics by the end of 2019.

3. PROTECT THE REEF

Our dives and snorkels take place on the largest living barrier reef in the world. Reefs around the world are dying due to global warming, bleaching, and human destruction. Every time we touch a coral it is injured. Every time we feed a wild animal the balance of nature is thrown off. Every time we use sunscreen and insect repellant that is not biodegradable we add more pollutants to the fragile ecosystem in the sea.

Our divemasters, Bo, Stacey, and Abel, are all avid naturalists. It is part of their mission to educate guests on reef ecology and conservation.

We our guests to assist with reef conservation by following these basic rules:

  1. Do not step on the coral and do not touch the coral. Find a spot on the sandy bottom if you need to take a break or readjust your mask.
  2. Avoid using sunscreen just before entering the water. If possible use biodegradable sunscreen or protect yourself by covering with protective swimear
  3. Do not attempt to lure in wildlife with food and do not touch the wildlife such as turtles, whale sharks, manatees, sting rays, or nurse sharks.

4. IN HUNT OF THE LIONFISH

Lionfish are a predatory invasive species that kill off many endemic reef species. They are highly reproductive as well as highly aggressive. The lionfish is actually quite a beautiful creature covered in orange and white stripes and in an impressive array of spikes. Don’t let its beauty fool you– the toxic spines can injure a human. One lionfish can kill hundreds of native fish per day and this can lead to almost local extinction on some species.

In response, conservation organizations, dives groups, and local resorts have all gotten together to make an effort to decrease the lionfish population. The best way to kill a lionfish is with a speargun. Many divers carry spears along their dives, killing and collecting lionfish. The lionfish filet is actually very tasty once cleaned properly and has become in high demand in local restaurants. And local artisans have been making beautiful lionfish jewelry with the spines and fins.

5. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

Here at Blue Marlin we believe in serving our guests the freshest meals. We bake all our breads in- house as well as provide our own supply of seafood. When they are not out SCUBA diving, our divemasters and boat crews are out freediving for lobster and conch., You can arrange to join them on spearfishing/drop fishing/trolling trip as you catch seafood for the evening dining. What could be fresher?


Lobster thermidor, coconut cilantro rice,corn on the cob, pesto sauce, glazed beets and asparagus with stem, cho-cho and carrots.

All our meals are made with love and use only local ingredients from organic farms on the mainland or catch of the day from the sea. Enjoy a snack of ceviche or conch fritters, fish panades or fried plantains at our Happy Hour Snack Time. We also cater to dietary restrictions. Our international cuisine incorporates tropical fruits, free range meats, and local veggies. Your wish is our command!

How will you treat yourself on your next vacation?

Jumping around on overcrowded beaches with drunken spring breakers is not your idea of fun?

We’re with you on that one. For those of us focused on holistic living and natural wellness, there is so much more to discover and experience on a Caribbean getaway . Blue Marlin Beach Resort provides the perfect space to get away from the crowds and truly experience a melding of spirit, body, and nature in one place.

One of the best ways to enjoy the Caribbean is by benefiting from the physical and spiritual power of the sea and its bounty. Island life is perfectly blended for a healthy Belize vacation. Wellness surrounds you with nature, marine activities, and fresh seafood as part of daily life.

Here is a list of some of the amazing opportunities for a relaxing and adventurous vacation with a focus on you:

Fresh coconut waata! Photo courtesy Makayla Leslie.

Coconuts

Our property abounds with coconut palms. Coconuts are filled with sweet water and pulp perfect as a refreshing and cleansing alternative to juice. Coconuts have many nutritional properties are are packed with vitamins and minerals. Coconut water can cleanse the kidneys as well as hydrate and possibly help lower blood pressure.

Beach Yoga

Each of our private cabanas is equipped with two yoga mats. So grab your partner and watch the sun rise as you get your energy flow focused with a little morning yoga session.


Photo courtesy Makayla Leslie.

Vitamin Sea

Nothing promotes health and wellness as much as exercise. Here at Blue Marlin, you can get exercise and have fun in the water at the same time. Sea kayaks are a perfect way to explore the nearby reef. Swim, snorkel or dive once of even twice daily to discover the largest living barrier reef in the world. Or you can just take advantage of where the land meets the sea and go for a little jog around the island.

Homestyle Goodness

Charlie’s Bar and Dining offers delicious smoothies made with fresh tropical fruits from the mainland and amazing seafood dinners. Catch of the day is usually caught by our marine staff. When they’re not diving, they’re  fishing! This brings a variety of amazing homemade healthy meals, such as grilled snapper fillet topped with a pineapple chutney, lobster and conch ceviche (seasonal), or shrimp scampi.

Meditation


Photo courtesy Makayla Leslie.

One thing about the lack of crowds and the pristine natural setting situated in the middle of a Marine Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site is that this makes for a peacfeul and quiet environment. Relax in our hammocks or do a personal meditation on the dock. Here the loudest thing you will hear are the pelicans plunging into the water or the sound of the dinner bell.

Massage

A one hour massage is said to have the same health benefits as getting 8 hours or sleep. We can arrange for a private massage or couple’s massage right on the beach in the shade of the palm trees. Our certified massage therapist, Mariel, will help you ease off the stress and aches of daily life. Guests can pre-book massages as part of their vacation package or can arrange with the island guest services for a treatment 24 hours in the advance.