A Ray of Light

We have all been waiting for some promising news for many months now, and it seems like the announcement of a vaccine might be that ray of light. Obviously, this is something that will take months to deploy, but it gives us all, as citizens of every country in the world, something to hold on to, that soon, we may be able to return to some form of normality.

Here in Belize we have been dealing with the second wave in the same way many other countries have, stepping up precautions both on land and with regard to travel and day-to-day activities. People are still traveling here. American Airlines operates flights between Goldson International Airport and Miami, and starting in December, it will increase its number of flights to Charlotte N.C. and Dallas/Fort Worth.

American has teamed up with LetsGetChecked.com, which offers home health tests including COVID-19. Currently, travelers must complete their testing within 72 hours of departure, and those who do not take a test must do so upon arrival at Belize airport. If the test is positive, they will be required to quarantine at their hotel.

But the ray of light still exists. According to TravelPulse.com, several new luxury resorts will be opening in Belize in 2021, including one on Ambergris Caye itself. These resorts offer a different type of stay than we provide, so I can’t consider them direct competition, rather I am pleased to see that they are going ahead. Their promotional budgets will do a lot to bring Belize to the front of mind for people who are looking forward to indulging themselves after such a difficult and tragic time. We continue to maintain our own quiet and relaxing form of tropical getaway, and we are always ready to take care of you safely.

More Life

One of the things that people have noticed during this year of reduced travel and activities of all sorts is the return of birds, fish and other wildlife to areas that humankind had driven away by pollution, noise and activity. There had been sightings of dolphins in the canals of Venice, for example, and birdwatchers in heavily populated countries like England had noticed an increase in the amount and variety of bird calls, since the birds did not have to compete so hard against the noise of traffic and industry.

Such stories make me and other Belizeans very happy, since we are a nature-loving country. I have already written about our own bird populations as well as the amazing underwater life that you can visit directly in a scuba tour.

I was thrilled to read the announcement that on November 6th of this year, the Government of Belize formally signed legislation that prohibits the use and possession of gill nets in all coastal waters of Belize. This will allow for long-term protection of our natural marine resources as well as game fish such as permit, tarpon, and bonefish, while helping the people who work in the fishing industry to fish more sustainably or even transition into other forms of work.

As written about by Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, Dr. Rachel Graham, Founder and Executive Director of Belize-based MarAlliance, a coalition member organization and a leader in marine conservation efforts, this law shows the world that it is possible to ban destructive fishing gear. In less than a week, news of this Belize net ban and the roadmap to its enactment has already spread to other countries in Latin America, inspiring conversations with fishers on the possibility of enacting a similar ban in their waters.”

So I am hoping that these stories show genuine optimism for our aquatic wildlife as well as for those of you who plan to come and visit them. This has been a long, hard year, and the troubles aren’t entirely over yet. But with hope there comes strength and resolve. We look forward to sharing these rays of light with you.

For more information about our beach house properties, please visit us at coastalbreezes.bz, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Going Gold – and Green

Belize is open to visitors once again. It opened on October 1st, and is appropriately, following strict rules. Travelers to Belize must test negative for COVID-19 and may only stay at approved Gold Standard Hotels. The Gold Standard includes a nine-point checklist for tourism businesses that includes temperature monitoring, masks, sanitation, training and enforcement and a “safe corridor” program which aims to limit the places that guests can go, both on hotel property and when touring around the country. You can review the full Gold Standard list at https://caribbeanlifestyle.com/gold-standard-program/ and on Episode 23 of The Belize Travelcast.

We are actively pursuing our own Gold Standard certification, and we will of course make an announcement as soon as we achieve it.

Sticking to these new guidelines makes sense in terms of ensuring safety for visitors, of course, but it also inspired us to look at some other changes we have been thinking about for a while. One of the things that struck us when we first arrived here, and which strikes every visitor, is how closely we are intertwined with nature. The country of Belize is a natural paradise, and Ambergris Caye is as close to the water as you could possibly get. I have always enjoyed watching our guests breathe in the life that surrounds them as they trade their leather shoes and winter boots for bare feet in the sand. 

Bret and I are aware that people are increasingly making “green” a high priority in their home lives, choosing more environmentally friendly packaging and products, and even looking at alternate sources of power for their homes and cars, and in some cases focusing on more plant-based foods for their meals. There really seems to be a growth in the desire for more responsible use of our planet’s resources, and in the midst of all the chaos of the pandemic, it was amazing to observe things like the waters of Venice running clear, with dolphins and fish returning to places that had not been accessible to them for decades, and everywhere around the world, birds changing and enhancing their songs thanks to reduced noise pollution. We are also aware that these same environmental concerns are influencing peoples’ choices of how and where to vacation. It’s wonderful to spend some time relaxing by the sea, but it feels so much better when you know you are not leaving an environmental footprint behind.

This is why we are looking into ways we can become even more environmentally friendly, here at Coastal Breezes. We are looking into eliminating single use items, and incorporating more solar electricity into our operations. It has been a learning experience! Coming from Canada, a country with a vast amount of fresh water, to an island surrounded by salt water, has opened our eyes to the fact that natural resources should not be taken for granted. Two years ago, I had no idea what a cistern was. Now I think it is the best thing since sliced bread!

We are also very active in working to eliminate plastics and styrofoam from our roadways, and we drive any glass bottles that we find to a “recycling” center south of town, where they actually pulverize it for tile. We have a long way to go, of course, but it certainly feels like the right time to get started. A few years ago, it wasn’t feasible to consider solar panels, but now, you can buy everything from Amazon and get set up quickly and safely. These are changing times in so many ways. I think we have all gained new appreciation for the things we took for granted less than a year ago, like being able to dine at a restaurant, or even give someone a hug. I think this renewed awareness for the things we care for in life can also be applied to the life that surrounds us, so yes, we feel it’s the perfect time that as we pursue our new Gold standard, we will establish a green one alongside.

For more information about our beach house properties, please visit us at coastalbreezes.bz, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.