Toledo Howler


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Toledo Howler
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Marta Hirons; Rob Hirons
Toledo Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association
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Punta Gorda,Toledo District, Belize
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September 2011
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newspaper   ( sobekcm )

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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OCTOBER 2012 YEAR 6, ISSUE 1 INSIDE THIS ISSUE Welcoming Yoli! 2 Colemans Caf 3 Calendar of events 4 The Farm Inn 5 PG Town map 6 Southern Voices: Wil Maheia 7 Warasa Drum School and Battle of the Drums 9 Transportation schedules, including new village bus schedule 10 Backyard birding with H. Lee Jones 12 Whats cooking: lionfish ceviche 13 Living Maya Experience 14 Big Falls Extreme Adventures 15 BTIA member directory 16 Port Honduras Marine Reserve 17 Arzu on medicinal plants: piss-a-bed 18 Toledo District map 20 Newspaper of the Toledo Chapter of th e Belize Tourism Industry Association Boost to Cultural Tourism The intention behind Belizes Sus tainable Tourism Program is to strengthen the tourism sector's con tribution to the national economy while trying to ensure that the growth is sustainable in that it en hances conservation of natural re sources and of cultures. There are four infrastructure projects in San Ignacio, Placencia, Belize City and Ambergris Caye aimed at enhancing the touris ts experience by improving the Fort George area around the tourism village in Belize City, building a pier in Placencia, a long boardwalk on the lagoon side in Ambergris and paving and improving the centre of San Ignacio. Another strand in the program is to diversify cultural tourism products in emerging destinations. Th e STP also has resources for the development of cultural tourism businesses that show case the Creole, Garifuna and Mayan cultures. After training workshops facili tated by Canadian consultants with ex perience in developing cultural tourism among the first nation peoples of Ca n ada applications for development grants were invited. Successful applications from Toledo in cludes two drummers:Ray McDonalds Warasa Garifuna Drum School (see the article on page 9 ) and Emmeth Young, a Creole drummer with a business on Front Street. The WE art gallery in Punta Gorda run by Dr Ludwig Pa lacio and situated near the airstrip was an other successful applicant for a devel opment grant. Outside town, grants were awarded to the Mayan Home Stay Program in Agua cate village, the Toledo Eco tourism As sociation guest house in San Miguel and Cyrilas chocolate in San Felipe The last award went to the Living Maya Experi ence in Big Falls, a group of three fami lies offering distinctive cultural home visits but marketing themselves jointly. Dancers in Punta Gordas carnival parade celebrating Belizes independence Toledo wins Whitley Award again! Last year we were proud to feature Ra chel Grahams Whitley award and this year we are equally pleased to tell Howler readers about the same award won this year by the Hon. Lisel Alamilla, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development for her work to protect the Maya Golden Landscape in her previo us position as Executive Di rector of the Yaaxch Conservation Trust For Belize to win once was a credit to the country, to win twice was quite re markable and for both awards to come for work done in Toledo, inland and offshore, is a mark of the quality of scientific res earch and conservation efforts in Be lizes southernmost district. The honour recognizes the Minis ters work to unite and equip the people who live in the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve to match development pressures, including population growth, agricultural change and increased demand for natu ral resources, with protection for the areas world class scenery, wildlife and traditions. Whitley Award Ceremony


2 Colemans Caf in Big Falls They say of restaurants that it is always a good sign when they are popular with the locals, and Colemans is both popular with locals and visitors from overseas. It is a favour ite stop for Belizean commercial travellers who make regular trips to supply the south with meat, dairy products and groceries and much else be sides. And many of these Belizeans make a point of stopping at Colemans, seduced by the gener ous lunchtime hot buffet with a range of their spe cial dish es. Pearleen and Tom Coleman started cooking when an Englishman, with a crew of workers who were building the bridge over the Rio Grande at Big Falls, asked Pearleen to cook for the gang while they were in the village. Pretty soon archaeologists digging at Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun asked Tom and Pearleen to help them out. So then they be gan cooking for them and their student helpers who were also in the village for a few months. And, in this way, one of the best local restaurants in southern Belize was born in 2001. At that time Tom was still working in the dusty environment that is th e Rice Mill just a hundred yards further in from the southern highway in Big Falls village. He welcomed the opportunity to make a complete switch of careers. They were soon found by some tour operators visiting Toledo from Placencia. The first was Basilio Mes of Exoti c Belize Tours. Now tour operators arrive during the season from Dangriga, Hopkins and Placencia on their way to Blue Creek cave fif teen miles south or Lubaantun just seven miles west through the villages of Silver Creek and San Miguel. The res taurant is run by Tom and Pearleen, Tom Jr. and his partner Adelita who has been learning to cook under Pearleens supervi sion. At lunchtime you can find rice and beans or white rice and stewed beans along with baked chicken and stewed beef and pork. Pearleen does not neglect the vegetables and other dishes include cohune cabbage and calaloo and Pearleens home made chutney. When available you can also find game meat such as gibnut and venison and all this comes for just $15 including a juice or soft drink. Over the years they have added more capacity and can now seat fifty in an open area surro unded by the garden which is a riot of colour during much of the year. They also do outside catering for organiza tions such as NGOs, the Rice Mill itself, and the local hospital just call them for a quotation! Their opening hours are fr om 10am until 4pm and then from 6 9pm. They would prefer reservations for the evening session and can be contacted at the numbers below. They recognize their close connection to the tour ism industry and have cemented that relationship by becoming one of BTIAs newest members in Toledo. As Pe arleen says, Every year it seems to be getting better and better, with more visitors arriving. How to find Colemans: Head north from PG Town on the Southern High way towards the village of Big Falls. Cross the bridge over the Rio Grande river, and youll see the sign for C olemans Caf on the left hand side of the highway. Contact: Tel: 630 4432 or 630 4069 Email: Family style lunch buffet Tom & Pearleen Coleman


3 Date Event Venue/Time Other Info 12 14 Oct TIDE FISH FESTIVAL, including Seafood Gala, Youth Con servation Competition, and Fishing competition (Festival held annually, Pan American Day weekend) TIDE Compound, PG Town for full details 13 Oct Maya Concert Central Park, PG, 08:00 12:00 26 27 Oct SUSTAINABLE HARVEST INTERNATIONAL ORGANIC FAIR including tour to organic farm in San Pedro Co lum bia, and cookery classes at Gomiers Vegetarian Restau rant Punta Gorda Town, and San Pedro Columbia, or call722 2010 for more details 10 Nov Miss Yurumein Contest Parish Hall, 19:00 16 Nov Battle of the Drums Food and Fete To be announced 17 Nov Battle of the Drums 2012 Sports Complex, 19:30 17 Nov TOLTEX, showcasing sustainable tourism Central Park, PG,09:00 for details 18 Nov Paranda Top 10 Beya Suites 14:00 19 Nov Yurumein: Re enactment Ceremony of the Garifuna Fishermans Co op Wharf, 06:30 15 Dec Rotary Club raffle draw, with music and BBQ Central Park, PG Lisa Avila, 19 21 Dec Deer Dance Crique Jute Village Contributions requested 20 Dec BTIA Dinner & Show Gala Bringing in the new Baktun 5 Jan Christmas Bird Count Toledo District See page 12 for more details 29 Mar 1 Apr 13 EASTER A CTIVITIES throughout the District mark your calendars now, and check the next edition of The Howler for details! 24 26 May TOLEDOS ANNUAL CACAOFEST for a celebration of cacao, culture and the rich flavours of the Toledo District! Check the next edition of The Howler for details Oct 2013 TIDE Annual Fish Festival mark your calendars now (Pan American Day holiday weekend) Spread the word and publicize your event! Email details to the Toledo Howler Team for inclusion in our calendar of events ( 1 Nov Drumming Central Park 19:00 22:00 7 NovDrumming and video showing the journey of the Garinagu Central Park 19:00 22:00 9 NovCook out display, hudut making Cassava baking, sahau making Wanaragua Contest Central Park 09:00 14:00 Calendar of Events Call 722-2531 for details or email


4 Welcome to Bienvenido a... TOLEDO! Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Dilma Yolanda Cano, but just call me Yoli. I am the Tour ism Marketing Officer for the BTIA chapter in Toledo. At first glance you would think right away that I am a gringa. But, I am just a wonderful blend of Mopan, Kekchi, Yucatec and Spanish. I am 100% Belizean Mestizo, 100% bushy, and I love village life. After many years of living in a couple of cit ies, I prefer the country or the bush as we Beliz eans like to call it. I grew up with awesome grandparents who taught me to respect your neighbour and most importantly, nature. I am a strong advo cate for my favourite trees mangroves. But when I die I would like to be buried under my much loved ceiba tree. I have had the privilege of working with my par ents in the tourism industry since I was nine ye ars old. I have seen the up and downs of this fragile industry. Belize is fortunate to have many niches in the tourism market to sell. There is something for everybody, from sun, sand and sea destina tions to jungle, culture and adventures experi ences. And, you can experi ence both at the same time. Bottom line, Belize is blessed in many ways but it will only last as long as all Belizeans work together (that includes you too, Government), to preserving what is ours, keeping it close to our hearts and fighting with all our passion and fury to kee p it safe. Tourism is a beautiful industry to work in. It is never boring or predictable. Expect the unex pected. During my studying Tourism Manage ment, in Austria, I realized that I will never in my whole life finish understanding or learning all that there is to the tourism industry. Every s ingle day you go home with one more grain of wisdom and knowledge. And I am here to share that knowledge with you, to help make your visit to Toledo and unforgetta ble experience. Please visit the Tourism Informa tion Centre in Punta Gorda Town, or telephone or email me with any questio ns you have about Toledo. To you dear traveler, I say thank you for visiting my beautiful country. May you take home many wonderful memories and spread the word. To you my beloved fellow Belizeans, its a pleasure to continue working with you in this beautiful indus try. Toledo Touris m Information Centre Front Street, Punta Gorda Town Mon to Fri 8am to 4pm, Sat 8am to 11.30am Tel: 722 2531 Email: Just call me Yoli


5 The Farm Inn, at San Antonio If you had invested in property between San Anto nio and the border at Jalacte five years ago people might have raised an eyebrow at the idea of estab lishing a business in such an out of the way remote spot. Now in 2012 as the paving of the road be tween Big Fal ls and Jalacte proceeds apace that investment makes far more sense and even looks far sighted. That is what Kevin and Renee Brown did when they began the development that is now The Farm Inn two miles west of San Antonio. Driving west it is located a mile after the waterfall on the ri ght hand side. One day in the not too distant future the road will be complete, a new southern border will be opened, and then the Farm Inn will be the first accommodation that visitors pass as they drive into Toledo from Guatemala. The Farm Inn is situated on fifty two acres of land including several limestone hills and year round creeks that m eander across the land over small rocky falls and provide constant background music for guests in their accommodation. Kevin and Renee are keen to maintain the prop erty as a haven for all wildlife and so for every tr ee that has had to be sacrificed for building they have planted at least ten more. The Inn is now managed by Renees brother inlaw Pieter Steunenberg who moved to Belize from South Africa a few years ago. The farm itself is a very important part of the busi ness and the y have planted coffee trees, pineap ple, vanilla, teak, all spice and, of course, cacao. They have three thousand cacao trees, some of which have produced their first crop this year. As members of the Toledo Cacao Growers Associa tion their crop will finally end up in Gree n and Blacks Maya Gold organic dark chocolate. They also keep guinea hens, turkeys, chickens and ducks, and children staying at the farm can help collecting eggs in the morn ing and putting the birds away in their coops at night. Of course, they love this and for many young visitors it may be th eir first time so close to animals and nature. The Farm Inn opened this year and all their guest ac commodation is contained within a single two storey house built on a steep bank overlooking the creek. There is a mix of accommodation with all but one room having their own en suite bath room facilities and one be ing set up for a family of four with a queen and two bunks. There is a com munal sitting area on the upper floor with an out side verandah area looking down to the stream and across into the tre etops. This makes it a won derful spot for a lazy birdwatcher in the early morning and late afternoon and evening. The pre sent capacity is fourteen guests but a new facility with an additional two en suite rooms is nearing completion. Their South African background has led them to introduce African style cooking methods using large iron threelegged cooking pots to produce delicious stews. These are cooked for hours over an open fire. They also have an African style open oven for roasts and other baking. The restaurant is open to the public for breakfast and lunch from We dnesday to Sunday. Their menu for these meals extends from simple burgers and fries to extended buffets with a variety of meats, with salads and other side dishes. And they pride themselves on their baked goods including their cheesecake that has received rave reviews from a guest claiming some e xpertise in eating cheese cake if not making it. They are also able to host weddings and seminar workshops. Like most places it is a work in pro gress The Howler welcomes this newest addition to Toledo accommodation. Contact: Telephone 732 4781 or 604 4918 The Farm Inns home built oven and fireplace and iron cooking pots Bug corner orchid bees So, as well as the wettest district (read most lush ) the bug question often occurs when talking about Toledo. The reality is that we do have some mosquitoes (although fewer than some other ar eas in Belize), but also a whole host of weird and wonderful creatures. Orchid bees are, by and large, solitary bees which come in a rainbow range of colours and sizes and in many cases they are the sole pollinator for various orchids. They tend not to cross larger open areas, and few species of orchid bees have survived the agriculturisation of the tropics and habitat loss. We are fortunate in Toledo that or chid bees appear to be surviving, if not thriving a local annual census reveals higher numbers year on year, as well as a previously unidentified species. The males have specially adapted pouches in their hind legs in which they gather and store es sential oils fr om the various orchids (as well as some other flowers), using their bespoke cologne to attract females. Vanilla (vanilla planifolia) can often be found growing wild in Toledo, and the beautiful metallic green Euglossa Tridentata (pictured right) is the only known natural pollinator of this orchid. Dont forget to che ck out our article on the Belize Spice Farm and their vanilla production in the next edition of The Howler.




7 Southern Voices: Wil Maheia Wil Maheia is pure Toledo born and raised in Forest Home and Punta Gorda Town, and leaving Belize only to complete his university education in the US.Wil is the founder and former executive director of TIDE, Toledos largest conservation NGO, and was instrumental in having the Port Honduras Ma rine Reserve declared a protected area. Wil now spearheads the Peoples National Party of Belize, and hosts a publicinterest programme on PG TV News network. Family history in Toledo? Im Toledo born and bred, and proud of it! I was born and raised in Forest Home, and th en moved to PG. My mum was born here, although my fa thers family was split between Double Head Cab bage, Belize City, and St Georges Caye. Youll find the Maheia nam e in Belize City and the Mullins River area, and youll also see a Spanish spelling, Majea, in some Spanish and Garifuna families. What are the most significant changes you have seen in Toledo in your lifetime? I think it would have to be improved infrastruc ture: electricity, water supply, and roads and transportation. As a chi ld we used to take old paint tins and stand in line to fill them up at the standpipe, and we didnt have electricity in the village. Even moving to PG the power used to get shut off at 9pm, when the generator was turned off. The buil ding of the Southern Highway made a big difference and, along with many other kids from Forest Home, I worked on James Bus line which was owned by my Uncle James James Bus line is a whole other story in itself! Are you optimistic about the development of t ourism in Toledo? Toledo is beautiful, were so rich in so many ways, and we have such a lot to offer visitors that it would be difficult to imagine tourism wouldnt develop. But, we need proper planning, a strategic plan, to determine what could and should happen, and when. We need improved border facilities, not necessarily 24/7, but certainly we need to make it easier for boat owners to visit Belize from Guatemala, streamlining the entry process and making it affordable for them. There are a lot of boats in the Rio Dulce, and Im pretty sure that they present a tourism op portunity, especially if facilities at Joe Taylor Creek could be made bigger. What could Government do to promote tourism to Toledo? Well, Toledos still thought of as one of the more difficult destinations to reach. Lower airfares would certainly help, but helping establish a regu lar water taxi between PG and Placencia and maybe points in betwe en and even extending it to Belize City could be a great way for visitors to travel south. Costs in Toledo are high compared with the rest of the country, and have countrywide rates for fixed price goods could give us a more leve l playing field. Whats the point of having, for example, fixed gas prices if Toledo has to pay a higher fixed price than the rest of the country? How can we improve tourism in Toledo? Well, first, together is always stronger, and we need to work as a team the p ublic and private sectors, the tour guides, accommodation, restau rants, and all the groups that make up the tourism product. Some more coordination for bus routes could help make it easier for tourists to visit inland destina tions, and Id like to see people being more crea tive, and looking longer ter m. Our trips can be ex pensive, so we need to offer more affordable ac tivities to attract tourists, and to be constantly thinking about new possibilities. I took a trip up to Boom Creek village re cently, and kayaking on the Moho (River) into the Amado lagoon was fantastic. Reef or rainforest? Thats an unf air ques tion how can I choose between the jungle and all the amazing wildlife, and the offshore cayes. Name one cant miss place or activity in Toledo 19th November! I love the sound of the drums, and growing up I remember hearing drumming all over town. Drumming seemed to be dying out, but Battle of the Drums and Warasa, to name a couple, are do ing a lot to help renew interest, with kids learning the skill. No vember 19th in PG is very special, and I love seeing people coming together to have fun and celebrate the Gari funa culture. Most memorable en counter with a wild animal? Hiking in the Golden Stream Corridor it was a really hot day and we stopped for a quick rest. Look at that, and I turned round to see a jaguar only 50 feet yonder. Whats your favourite time of year? Easter time the weather is nice and dry, and its the time when Belizeans come together to cele brate friends and family. (But, I also love the thun derstorms in Toledo). Ever y month has something good to offer us. Whats your favourite Belizean dish? As a child, definitely hicatee and white rice. We all know how scarce the hicatee is these days, so I now have to say cohune cabbage. My mum would make cohune cabbage for us all, and she taught my wife how to make it. Red beans or black? Black beans, cooked as rice and beans. But I do like white rice and stew beans also! Any future plans youd like to share with us? Im going to continue to lobby for sustainable de velopment in Toledo, including tourism. Id also like to see more agricultural micro enterprises cacao is a rea lly good opportunity for Toledo, spices, and coffee anyone whos tasted Toledo coffee knows you dont necessarily need high land to produce good coffee, just good processing and roasting.




9 Warasa Drum School paint, plywood, and vision! Drumming is just one of the tangible elements of the Garifuna culture, and Warasa Drum school is aptly named warasa meaning our culture in the Garifuna language. Warasa Drum School was founded in 2010 by Ronald Raymond McDonald, and his wife, Ruth. Ruth originally hails from Scotland, and she reminisces that a few weeks after they first met Ray shared his dream with her of opening a Garifuna drumming centre not only to teach drumming, but also how to make drums, and to share the Gari funa cul ture with others. With both of them working and saving hard to build their house at the Garifuna reserve they struggled to see how this vision could become a reality but, deciding they had to start somewhere, spent a weekend designing a sign, putting paint to plywood, and erecting the finished product outside their rented house. The sign did it s job, piquing interest, and Ray be gan teaching four local children. He was also en gaged by a PG guesthouse to provide weekly drumming lessons for their guests, and interest quickly spread to include performances and lessons at a number of lodges throughout the District. Ray is an eng aging character and a very pa tient and skilled teacher. Being fiercely proud of the Garifuna culture, lessons are filled with anecdotes which provide extra insight into the Garifuna culture a culture which was little known outside of the re gion until recently, but one which is now recognized by UNESCO as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of human ity. Ray claims that he can teach even the most non musical to master at least one of the six traditional Garifuna rhythms, and I was curious as to whether he lived up to his reputation I wondered how I would fare at my first lesson (especially being kack handed which had previously led to some interesting experiments with stringed in struments), but Ray broke down the sim plest Paranda rhythm into easy stages the heavy beat from the lead hand, inter spersed with a half beat. Within a few minutes we were rocking my providing the lead beat on the larger segunda drum, with Ray dazzling us with complex rhythms on his smaller primero drum, hands moving seemingly at the speed of light, before breaking into song in his rich, mellow voice. Although my tech nique could have done with quite some im provement, we then moved on to the Gunjei rhythm. Oh my, not only was a lot more beating in volved, but suddenly your hands need to move position on the drum. It looked amazingly complex but, again, Ray broke it down into small par ts and a few minutes later the one two and three and four and (coupled with a back and forth from the centre to the edge of the drum) was starting to become more fluid. The drums themselves are a labour of love, hol lowed out from cedar, mahogany or yemeri logs, topped with deer skin held in place by vines, and a wire or string snare to i ntensify the sound. (Note to ladies: you should dress suitably so as to pre serve your modesty a large drum and short skirt can make for some pretty revealing photographs, so short or long pa nts are a good idea). Each Garifuna rhythm is usually accompanied by a different style of singing and dancing, with the Punta probably being the most popular style in Belize, and as close to a national dance as you can get. Visitors are often mystified how Beliz eans are see mingly able to move their butts independently of their body, and theres a widespread myth that Belizeans have devel oped special muscles. Ray disputes that, and also teaches Garifuna Dance the secret, he says, is all in shifting your knees! Ruth agrees, and she has now mastered both the Punta and Paranda dance, but I de cided to leave those lessons for another day. Warasa has grown from strength to strength, and they are helping to raise awareness of Toledo and our rich cultural heritage. This edi tion of the Howler coincides with their move from West Street to their new home at the Garifuna Reserve on New Road, around a 10 minute walk from the airstrip in PG Town. To learn more about Warasa, visit their web site at and their Facebook page WarasaDrumSchool Over the past seven years The Battle of the Drums has become an integral part of the Garifuna cele brations that culminate with Yurumein, the re enactment of the arrival of the Garifuna on the shores of Belize on 19 November. On the evening of Friday 16 November the Battle of the Drums Food & Fete brings people to gether from all walks of life to socialize, network and enjoy an evening of good food and great Gari funa music. It will showcase Garifuna Cuisine fused with contemporary cooking styles, dishes and menus prepared by chefs from the Radisson Fort George in Belize City, Laru Beya in Placencia and Belcampo Lo dge of Punta Gorda. It will also fea ture local and national Garifuna musical perform ers performing great paranda and other Garifuna music. Performers will include Paul Nabor, Mario and the Umalali Group, Godfrey Sho and the Cul ture Dynamics and Lascelle Martinez and the PG Vibes. The Battle of the Drums Competition on Saturday 17 November is a drumming competition and show that allows groups to compete and display their musical artistry in playing five different cate gories of Garifuna drumming. The first Battle of the Drums was held in Punta Gorda Town on No vember 17, 2006 and was well received by specta tors from home and abroad. In 2007, there was even a bigger audience and greater enthusiasm. In 2008 the event evolved into an international drumming competition and show involving drum ming groups from various parts of Belize as well as from neighbouring Guatemala and Honduras.The Yurumein Ceremony takes place at 06:30. at the Punta Gorda Cooperative wharf area and pre sents a dramatization that depicts the first arrival of the Garinagu to the shores of Belize. After the re enactment ceremony there is a parade through the principal streets of Punta Gorda Town fol lowed by a church service. Battle of the Drums


10 Service Depart PG Destination Calling at... Days Return to PG Pop 10:30 Golden Stream Dump, Big Falls, Indian Creek Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 06:45 Chub 11:30 Crique Sarco San Felipe, Santa Ana, Midway, Conejo, Sunday Wood Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 05:15 Kan 11:30 Aguacate Dump, Mafredi, Blue Creek Mon to Sat 05:20 Chen 11:30 San VicenteDump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz (for Rio Blanco), Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 02:00 Chunny 11:30 JalacteDump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz (for Rio Blanco), Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Mon to Sat 03:00 Chunny 11:30 San AntonioDump, Mafredi Mon to Sat 06:00 Sho 11:30 San Jose Yemeri Grove, Dump, Mafredi, Crique Jute, Nah Lum Ca Wed/Sat 04:00 Cucul 11:30 Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia (for Lubaantun), San Miguel Mon to Sat 06:00 Pop 11:30 Medina Bank Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee, Indian Creek (for Nim Li Punit)Mon to Sat 05:30 Bobby 11:00 Santa Ana San Felipe (for Cyrilas Chocolate)Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 07:15 Cal11:00 Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia (for Lubaantun), San Miguel Mon to Sat 07:00 J n L12:00 Barranco San Felipe (for Cyrilas Chocolate), Santa Ana, Midway Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 06:00 Ack 12:00 Dolores Dump, Mafredi, Jordon, Santa Teresa, Mabilha, San Lucas, Corazon Creek, Otoxha Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 03:00 Teck 12:00 San Benito Poite Dump, Mafredi, Blue Creek (for Hokeb Ha), Santa Teresa Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 04:30 Coc 12:00 San Antonio Dump, Mafredi Mon to Sat 06:30 Coc 12:00 San Antonio Dump, Mafredi Mon to Sat 13:30 Choc 12:00 San Jose Dump, Mafredi, Crique Jute, Nah Lum Cah Mon/Fri 05:00 Shol 12:00 Laguna Elridgeville Wed/Fri/Sat Pop 13:00 Golden Stream Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee, Indian Creek (for Nim Li Punit) Mon to Sat 07:30 Cal04:30 Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel Mon to Sat 13:00 Bol 16:00 Jalacte Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz (for Rio Blanco), Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 15:00 Cucul 16:00 Silver Creek Dump, San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel Mon to Sat 12:30 Chen 05:30 San Vicente Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 14:00 Pop 17:00 Indian Creek Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee Mon to Sat 12:00 Bol 06:00 Jalacte Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo Mon to Sun 05:00 Cucul 21:00 Silver Creek San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel Mon to Thurs 16:00 Pop 21:00 Indian Creek Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee Mon to Thurs 15:30 Garcia11:00 Big Falls Dump, Jacintoville, Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat 08:00 TOLEDO VILLAGE BUSSES Slow travel how to get around by bus One of the defining elements of slow travel is the opportunity to become part of local life and to connect to a place and its people. Slow travel is about connection to culture, and what better way than taking a local village bus! But, with such a complex network of village busses it can sometimes be difficult for visitors to figure out how they can get to various sites. Weve in cluded our full list of the village busses, so work through it and youll see that you are able to visit many inland destinations on these retir ed US school busses. For example, if you wanted to visit Lubaantun then you could take a late morning bus to Silver Creek from PG Town (busses leave from Jose Maria Nunez Street, near Tates Guest House), ask the driver to drop you at the driveway to Lubaantun. The Silver Creek bu s then returns to PG Town at 4pm, passing the Lubaantun driveway around 4.20pm. Nim Li Punit, Golden Stream Spice Farm, and Golden Stream Corridor Preserve (for Yaaxches Ranger for a Day patrol hike) are all easy to reach by both village bus, or James Bus. There are many busses which head towards the Guatemalan border which stop in Santa Cruz to allow you to visit Rio Blanco National Park. Its a great way to travel, seeing a real slice of local life, and the fares cannot be beaten! The Deer Dance will be performed in Crique Jute from 19 to 21 December. Visit Crique Jute by bus! The Choc bus andSho bus pass through Crique Jute on their way to and from San Jose


11 Flights Depart Punta Gorda Arrives Belize City Service Provider Depart Belize Intl. Arrive In Punta Gorda Service Provider 06:45 07:55 Maya Island Air 08:10 09:15 Maya Island Air 06:30 07:30 Tropic Air 07:50 09:00 Tropic Air 09:30 10:35 Maya Island Air 10:10 11:15 Maya Island Air 09:20 10:20 Tropic Air 10:20 11:30 Tropic Air 11:30 12:35 Maya Island Air 12:20 13:30 Tropic Air 11:35 12:35 Tropic Air 14:20 15:30 Trop ic Air 13:35 14:35 Tropic Air 14:40 15:45 Maya Island Air 16:00 17:05 Maya Island Air 16:40 17:45 Maya Island Air 16:00 17:10 Tropic Air 16:40 17:40 Tropic Air James Bus Line Schedule Departs P.G. Arrives Belize City Departs Belize City Arrives P.G. 03:50 10:30 05:15 Express (except Sun) 10:30 04:50 11:30 06:15 12:45 05:50 12:30 07:15 13:45 06:00 Express 10:45 08:15 14:45 07:50 14:30 09:15 15:45 09:50 16:30 10:15 16:45 11:50 18:30 12:15 18:45 13:50 20:30 13:45 19:45 14:50 21:30 15:15 21:45 15:50 (except Sat) 21:15 15:45 Express 20:30 Boats To & From Puerto Barrios GuatemalaService Provider Dep Punta Gorda Arrive Puerto Barrios Depart Puerto Barrios Arrive Punta Gorda Requenas Charter Service 09:30 10:30 14:00 15:00 Pichilingo 14:00 15:00 10:00 11:00 Memos 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 Boats to Livingston depart on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. Marisol 16:00 17:00 13:00 15:00 TRANSPORT SCHEDULES Where to get your copy of The Toledo Howler Distribution points include: Tourism Information Centres throughout Belize Tropic Air and Maya Island Air terminals BTIA Toledo members Requenas Charters, Puerto Barrios Major gas stations As well as a wide online presence in electronic format Please contact the Toledo Howler team at 722 2531 if you would like to become a distributor for the voice of tourism development in Belizes deep south!


12 Backyard Birding for Science and Recreation In 1987, researchers at Cornell University in New York started a program for backyard birders called Citizen Science. The purpose of this program is to encourage non scientists to participate in nation wide programs to help scientists learn more about avian distribution, seasonality, behavior, and long term population trends, simply by observing the birds in their yard, i.e. birding with a purpose. These are the sorts of things ornithologists study. But there are only so many ornithologists to go around. Imagine hundreds, or even thousands, of ordinary people gathering small bits of data on these four parameters simply by becoming more aware of the birds in their own yard. To a scientist, every yard represents a small sam ple plot from which much valuable information can be collected. If you consider yourself a casual birder, you can contribute to large scale studies like these by keeping records on the common birds in your yard. How many Kiskadees reside in your yard? Does this number change over time? Is there a seasonal pattern? A long term decline or increase? Random fluctuations? A steady number of birds throughout the year? What about other species in your yard that you can identify? Do you see the same patterns or different patterns? You may recognize that a few species are not present year round but are migratory Those that are not here year round include Yellow Warbler, American Redstart, Gray Catbird, Wood Thrush, and Summer Tanager. All of these birds have specific times that they arrive in fall and leave in spring. In North America, ornithologists are lea rning that many species are arriving earlier in spring than formerly and leaving later in fall, one indicator that the planet is gradually warming. Presumably the reverse of this is true in Central America. These same species that spend the winter in Belize should be arriving in fall on average a li ttle bit later each year and leaving a little bit later each spring. But if data on redstarts from hundreds of birders, each keeping track of the birds in their own yard, shows that on average redstarts are arriving later in fall than they did ten or twenty years ago, then we would ha ve a much stronger case for conclud ing that redstarts are migrating south later in the fall than they did a decade or two ago. August is the month that many of the North American warblers begin arriving in Belize. By mid September fall migration is in full swing. In early March, species like Swallow tailed Kite, Yellow green Vireo, and Sulphur bellied Flycatcher return from wintering grounds in South America to nest in Belize. And so on. After a year or two, new spe cies may be harder to add, but you will never reach the end of the list. Th ere will always be new species to add. But more importantly, you will begin to see trends. You will learn that different species have different patterns of occurrence. The Louisiana Waterthrush arrives like clockwork every July, but its close cousin, the Northern Waterthrush, does not arrive until a full mon th later. Yellow Warblers arrive in August, Summer Tanagers in September, Gray Cat birds in October. September is also the month that Eastern Kingbirds can be seen passing over head by the hundreds, following the coastline as they head to South America for the winter. In Oc tober, it will be Hook bil led Kites. In November, Tree Swallows. October and April are the months to look for Scarlet Tanagers as they head south, then north, commuting to and from wintering grounds in South America and breeding grounds in North America. In addition to these predictable annual events are a seemingly endless number of rarer species that might turn up only a few times in a decade or once in a lifetime. I know someone in Belize who has amassed 247 species on his yard list. Granted, he lives in a very birdy area and has lived in the same hou se for al most 20 years, but that is still quite an accomplish ment. What is even more impressive to me is that 20 years ago he wasnt even a birder. Now he is an expert, and much of that learning curve was ac complished within the confines of his own yard. But the most impressive thing of all? He has kep t daily notes on the birds in his yard and now has an invaluable set of data on you guessed it distri bution, seasonality, behavior, and long term popu lation trends that could not have been achieved otherwise. The Ci tizen Science program begun by Cornell Uni versity 25 years ago now has more than 15,000 people participating annually the United States and Canada. We could do the same thing here in Belize, albeit on a smaller scale. If you are interested in keeping tabs on the birds that reside in your yard, drop by for an occasional visit, or use the aerial skyways above your yard, contact me at and I will help you get started. H. Lee Jones White collared Seedeater Black cowled Oriole Record Your Sightings at A real time, online checklist program, eBird has revolutionized the way that the birding community re ports and accesses information about birds. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Na tional Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and dis tribution at a variety of spa tial and temporal scales. eBird's goal is to maximize the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of bird observations made each year by recreational and professional bird watchers. It is amassing one of the largest and fastest growing biodiversity data resources in existence. For example, in March 2012, partici pants reported more than 3.1 million bird observations across North America! Each year Lee Jones organizes a Christmas bird count in different areas of Belize. This years bird count in Toledo will take place on Saturday 5th January During the day we count the number of species as well as counting or estimating the num ber of individuals of each species. You dont have to be an advanced birder to join in although each group will be led by an expert. If you are interested then get in touch with Lee at his e mail address above. The area of our count is within a radius of 19 miles from Punta Gorda. Belize Christmas Bird Count


13 Restaurant Guide Name Address Cuisine Phone Opening Hours Colemans Cafe Big Falls Village, near the rice mill Belizean 720-2017 Daily: 11:30-16:00 & 18: 00-21:00 (Reservations Preferred) Earth Runnins Caf and Bukut Bar Main Middle Street, PG Belizean/International 702-2007 600-9026 Wed-Sun: 07:0014:00 & 17:00-23:00 Fajina Firehearth Food Front St, PG Local Mayan Food 666-6144 Mon-Sat: 07:00-19:30. Closed on Sundays Gomiers Restaurant and Soy Centre Alejandro Vernon St, near PG Welcome sign Local & international vegetarian / Seafood 722-2929 Mon-Sat: 08:00-14:00 & 18:00-21:00. Closed Sundays Graces Restaurant Main St. PG Belizean/ International 702-2414 Daily: 06:00-22:00, including holidays Hang Cheong Restaurant Main St, PG Chinese 722-2064 Daily: 10:00-14:00 & 17:00 -midnight The Lodge at Big Falls Big Falls Village, near the rice mill International/ Belizean/ Middle Eastern 732-4444 Daily: 11:304:00 & 18:3021:00 (Reservations Required) Machaca Hill Lodge Wilsons Road Pan Central American and International 722-0050 Lunch: noon-14:30. Dinner: 19:30-22:00. (Reservations preferred) Mangrove Restaurant Cattle Landing, by the curve Belizean / International 722-2270 Daily: 17:00-22:00. (Reservations preferred) Marians Bay View Restaurant Front St, south of the market by the sea East Indian/ Belizean 722-0129 Mon-Sat: 11:00-14:00 & 18:00-22:00 Sun & Hols: noon 14:00 & 19:00-21:00 Martinas Kitchen BTL parking lot, PG Belizean 623-3330 MonSat: 07:00-15:00. Closed on Sundays Moms Restaurant Queen St, PG, by the park Belizean 620-1607 661-1359 Mon-Sat: 06:00-14:00 & 16:00-21:00 Closed Sundays Rainbow Cafe Queen St, PG, by the park Belizean 631-2309 Mon-Sat: 70:00-14:00. Closed on Sundays Rainforest Cafe Big Falls Village, just south of the bridge Belizean 669-0080 Daily: 10:00-22:00 Reef Bar & Restaurant Front St, upstairs by the mark et International/Belizean 625-8652 Daily: 10:00-14:00 & 16: 00-midnight. Closed on Tuesdays Shos Local Restaurant Entrance to Blue Creek Village Belizean/ Catering 668-6540 Mon-Sat: 07:00:00. Closed Sundays. Group reservations required The Snack Shack BTL parking lot, PG Breakfast & lunch/ Snacks, shakes, juices & pastries 702-0020 Mon-Sat: 07:00:00. Closed Sundays Walucos Opposite TIDE pier in Hopeville Belizean/East Indian/ Seafood/Catering 670-3672 Mon-Thurs: 07:00-14:00 & 17:00-22. Weekends: 07:00-late Asha's Culture Kitchen 80 Front Street, south of market, only building over the sea Creole/Seafood/BBQ 632-8025 Daily from 11:00-14:00 (l unch only during high season) 16:00-24:00 (dinner/bar year-round), closed on Thursdays. Wat dat smell? Wats Cookin? I hungry... Lionfish Ceviche 2 large lionfish, cleaned and filleted and diced into small pieces 3 limes 1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped 2 tomatoes, diced 1 medium onion, diced 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 1 habanero pepper, de seeded and finely chopped Salt and pepper to taste Put the lionfish in a mixing bowl & squeeze the juice from the limes until all the fish is covered. While the lionfish is marinating, chop the rest of the vegetables. Mix the onion, garlic, tomatoes, habanero & cilantro (coriander) together. Stir all the ingredients into the lionfish and lime juice. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Put into a refrigerator for about 4 hours. Serve with tortilla chips. Thanks to ReefCI for their lionfish ceviche recipe! ReefCI offers volunteer dive conservation trips to the Sapodilla Cayes. You can read more about the Sapodilla Cayes and whale sharks in the next edition of the Toledo Howler published in February 2013, and visit to learn more about their conservation work. Eat em to beat em! Lionfish have been multiplying in the Caribbean for more than a decade, and have few natural predators outside their native habitat in the Pacific around Australia and Indonesia. Belize has never seen a mass marine invasion of this kind before, and many people are concerned that it will set off a cascade of ecological damage to native fis h, coral reefs, and their delicate habitat, as well as threatening our fisheries industry. Belize has declared war on lionfish, and is making a concerted effort to rid our waters of these invaders. What better way than to catch them and eat them!


14 The Living Maya Experience The Living Maya Experience is a set of three distinct cultural home visits in Big Falls and Hicatee that market themselves co operatively but operate independently. The Chiac family have made their living from sell ing crafts to other villagers and until now have not realized the potential for sale of their crafts to in ternational visitors. Juan Chiac makes large bas kets, hammocks, shoulder bags, palm fans and small rosewood carvings. His wife Hilaria weaves cuxtal bags. It is only when you visit th e family that you realize the amount of work that goes into making a bas ket from the taitai vine. First Juan must hike into the forest to collect the vines. He then strips the bark from the vine on the spot and packs the rolls of vine into his sack to bring home Back home the vines are stretched out and dried before use. To make hammocks he collects the long leaves of the henequen plant. Henequen is a member of the Agave family and its leaves which may be six or seven feet long are packed with strong fibers. He manually spins the fibres into a strong thread from which he makes hammocks and bags. This already sounds like a whole lot of work, and remem ber that he has yet to make any thing! Visitors to the Chiacs can all have a go at making th ese crafts under the tutelage of Juan, Hi laria and their daughter Marta. The visit lasts a couple of hours. The time really flies by and guests leave with their face mus cles aching from all the laughing they have done; mainly at them selves. Cristobal Cal and his wife Anita have often talked about the loss of traditional ways and knowl edge as the elders in the com munity pass on one by one. In order to stem this loss and give the younger generation pride in their past he and Anita have cre ated a Mayan home as it wou ld have looked before the advent of electricity, plastic and packag ing and other aspects of the modern world. They have a bed in which the mattress is made from the rolled out bark of the macapal or moho tree and a bench seat made from a balsa trunk They grow four different kinds of corn, white, yellow, red and black, have a mangle press for extracting the sugar from the raw cane and a sack of berries from the soapberry tree for guests to use to wash their hands before eating. Yes, they also prepare meals for their guests who can roll up their sleeves and get involved in the preparation with Anita and her daughters. Their guests also roast and grind cacao beans to make cocoa drunk from a calabash bowl. Pablo Rash is a farmer living close to the junction at Hickatee just north of Big Falls. He is also a Ma yan healer and uses a variety of her bs and plants in his treatments. He is developing a herbal medi cine garden around his house set on the top of a hill. In this way he will be able to show visitors which plants he uses for di fferent ailments and treatments and the garden will also aid his own practice since he will have more of the important plants close at hand. Together these three home visits give guests a fas cinating insight into the Mayan way of life. Each visit takes a couple of hours and visitors decide which they would like to experience or they can if they wish plan the time to visit all three. How to book your Living Maya experience: Anita Cal 627 7408 Marta Chiac 632 4585 Pablo Rash 636 5227 Craft making at the Chiacs. Young Alva gives Judy a lesson in tortilla making Mrs Basilia Cal grinding cocoa beans.


15 The biggest surprise to me, my first time on the zip line, was the high pitched zing ing sound as the metal trolleys glide over the steel cables. The second was that I managed to overcome my fear of heights and get to quite enjoy the feeling of launching myself off a wooden plat form high above the forest floor and glide ef fortlessly to the next landing platform. A bit like Tarzan without the liana vines to swing on, and no Jane eithe r. The zip line has six rides. That is six sections be tween landing platforms either up in the trees or down on the ground with four crossings of the Rio Grande along the way. The different sections range from 350 450 feet. At the end of each ride is a landing platf orm and take off plat form for the next ride. As soon as you arrive at each platform the guides hook guests to fixed points so that everyone is wellanchored to the platform. Safety of guests is the number one priority for Andrew Caliz, David Franco his partner an d their staff. David said, Everyday we are looking for things to improve. The line was designed with safety in mind. For this reason they have a dou ble cable, double carabiners and double trolleys with the rider harnessed at three points. And proper briefing and orientation are all part of the emphasis on the en joyment of guests in a safe environment. Rigorous staff training and certification as guides is also part of their pro fessional approach as well as their use of the highest quality equipment from North America and Europe. As well as the zip line they offer river tubing on a route that goes about a mile from just north of Big Falls village back down stream to disembark under the bridge. On the way guests can make a stop at the creek that enters the Rio Grande from a hot spring on the hillside half a mile away. W hile not hot, the water is still warm and getting back into the main river after a rest stop here is a chilly surprise. They use Canadian TubePro tubes which have the op tion of lashing a seat into the hole although most visitors prefer to float with their derriere in the water. The wh ole tube trip takes around an hour with a twenty minute stop to wal low in the creek. The seasonality of the tourism business in Belize affects Big Falls Extreme Adventures just like any other. Andrew says, There are days when it is tough but most days I totally enjoy what Im doing and I have a feeling that we will have a better season this year. And they have not finished developing. Andrew and David have plans to put in faster runs as well as a longer ride of 1200 1500 hun dred feet. As David comme nted, Everyday we are looking for things to improve. Next year they will be photo graphing guests on the line and printing photos for guests to take away with them and their res taurant that offers Belizean food will be extend ing their menu. This is a great day out for a reasonable pric e. You can find details on their web site and a great video of the experience on YouTube. It combines easily with a visit to the Living Maya Experience just across the river. Big Falls Extreme Adventures Getting ready, last minute checks. Gliding sixty feet over the river! Find out more Tel: +501 634 6979 or +501 631 3497 E mail: Facebook Big Falls Extreme Adventures You Tube Zip Line and River Tubing n Southern Belize 4:23 minute video Trip Advisor g2507140 d2484439 Reviews Big_Falls_Extreme_Adventures Big_Fall_Toledo.html


16 Arzu Mountain Spirit on Medicinal Plants: Piss-a-Bed Piss a bed ( Senna Alata) is a large evergreen leaf senna plant known also as candle bush, senna, candle stick, and ringworm bush. It is a beautiful wild flowering bush with a generous bright yellow bloom. This Belize rain forest native grows up to ten feet in height and is loved by bees, butterflies, birds, and nat ive healers. Everybody in Belize knows of Pissa bed use in purge and piss, but we have paid little homage to the other healing marvels this aptly named plant is capable of. I first became interested in the Pissa bed when my uncle gave an account of having used the juice and pulp of this plant to heal a skin discol oration disorder that affected his legs. The Pissa bed leaf juice treatment completely cleared the condition and it has never returned. Science finally lent credence to my uncles heal ing when, in 1994, after a tenyear human study in India, research found Pissa bed leaf juice in deed to be a reliable herbal treatment for skin discoloration. Findings revealed that Piss a bed leaf juice kills the fungus that prevents skin cells from producing color. The Garifuna name for Pissa bed is Ganibisi, and every Garifuna community has a revered Gani bisi bush somewhere in their lot. Medicinal tradition prescribes Ganibisi leaf tea for intestinal purging, blood cleansing, and for lowering blood sugar. The tea is also used to improve digestion, and can be doubled in strength to reduce excess wa ter in the body, alleviate swelling, and relieve pain. Pissa bed is recognized by science to contain a group of che micals that are known laxatives. In 2003 scientists produced evidence that Pissa bed leaves are not only anti inflammatory, but also have pain relieving, and hypoglycemic (lowering blood sugar) properties. More recent studies revealed that Piss a bed leaves also contain a ch emical with the ability to reduce sticky blood and dissolve arterial plaque (as in cholesterol). It is treasured by farmers who save on veterinary expenses by using the leaf pulp on their animals to treat skin afflictions like mange, fungus, removing ticks, mites, and other external parasites. As a topical treatment, it works for those who use it. Healers and non healers alike can mash the leaves of this plant into an all purpose skin salve and use it to treat insect bites, ringworm, syphilis sores, herpes ul cers, scabies, shingles, eczema, skin sores, ripen boils, even ou t skin tone/color, relieve itching, and any type of rash. Although this plant is an intelligent healer by de sign, it is not advisable to try internal Pissa bed treatment without consulting a qualified herbal ist. It is used by healers to treat incontinence and prevent bed wetting. Drinking Pissa be d tea in creases urination and, (hence the name) will make you piss any bed. It will also make you sweat. It is an excellent herbal remedy for detoxification as it helps clean, strengthen and tone the organs of both the uri nary and digestive system. Piss a bed is not taken for mo re than seven consecutive days. And it is NOT to be taken along with any diuretic medication or pharmaceuticals. Pissa bed is an easy to propagate low mainte nance plant. It grows from seeds, root balls, and cuttings. Allow for the pods to dry on the plants and break them open to collect the seeds. The seeds last a long time, can be stored, and can keep for up to a year. Once planted, it will self sow freely as long as it has full sun. It begins flowering from 4 feet and continues to do so every year. Pissa bed mak es a gorgeous addition to any garden. Contributed by Arzu Mountain Spirit (Lafurugu Wubu) Garifuna Herbalist and Traditional Healer Senna Alota, a Belizean rainforest native plant


17 BTIA Toledo, and the Toledo Howler Together were stronger!Become a part of BTIA and make a practical contribution to the economic development of Toledo District, and benefit from our promotional work. We meet monthly at the Tourism information Centre on Front Street. How Do I Join BTIA? Visit to read about BTIA and all the membership benefits and to download an appli ca tion form. Complete the form and hand it in at the Tourism Information Center on Front St. BTIA Toledo officers Chair: Dennis Garbutt Secretary: Rob Hirons Treasurer: Dona Scafe Marketing Officer: Dilma Yolanda Cano The Howler is written, edited and produced by: Dilma Cano:, 722 2531 Rob Hirons: Marta Hirons: Kate Morton:


18 Port Honduras Marine Reserve Mention Toledo to some people and you still run a small risk of their conjuring up an image of the wettest district, and Maya villages. Of course we get significant rainfall (most of it at night), and we have a sizeable Kekchi and Mopan Maya popu lation (alongside many other cultures), but dont forget our rainforest to reef repu tation, with two marine reserves the Sapodilla Cayes around 35 miles offshore, and Port Honduras just a few miles north of Punta Gorda town. The Port Honduras Marine Reserve was de clared a protected area in 2000 an area of over 160 square miles of high biodiversity, which provides a critical link between terres trial and marine ecosystems. That all sounds very commendable, but what does it mean for the visitor? The reality is that stringent management of the reserve, coupled with the many small cayes dotted throughout the Reserve, provides a great habitat not only for marine life, but also a great marine experi ence for tourists. The Reserve is a favourite area for world class fly fishermen, many of whom return year after year to attempt their grand slam catch of snook, tar pon, and permit, as well as bonefish, and PG boasts some extremely talented fly fishing guides. Snorkellers love the tranquility of West Snake Caye a two acre palm covered gem, boastin g sandy beaches and the occasional red boa snake in the interior and that they are often the only people in the area. A recent addition to the Toledo Tour ism portfolio are the introductory SCUBA diving courses taking advantage of the shallow waters around the Caye for diving instruction, leading to diving amongst the coral formations surrounding the island. Its obviously not guaranteed, but visitors often see pods of dolphins on their way out or back from Port Honduras, and manatees can be sighted near Deep River. The Marine Reserve is co managed by TIDE ( and the Fisheries Depart ment, who have introduced strict no take zon es in nursery areas, and who patrol the waters to en sure compliance with the regulations in force to protect the various ecosystems. Tours will usually involve a visit to the TIDE Ranger Station at Aba lone Caye to pay the US$10 Reserve entrance fee, but also to learn from the Rangers about TIDEs work. You are also welcome to climb the observa tion tower for some great 360 degree views of Port Honduras or, if youre not a fan of heights, one of the Rangers is usual ly happy to take photos on your behalf. Lesser known parts of the Reserve include Wild Cane Caye, an important Maya archeological site. Its natural harbor and proximity to Deep River made it a natural ancient trading post that re emerged in recent history in a different form as a port of call for the Heron H (the passe nger, mail and freight boat which acted as the main source of transportation between PG and Belize City until the mid70s) Archaeologist, Dr Heather McKillop conducted in depth research at Wild Cane Caye, but has more recently been working at Paynes Creek National Park, which li es to the north and east of Port Hon duras. Call in at the BTIA Toledo Tourism Informa tion Centre to view the exhibit! How to get there? Snorkelling and fishing trips are offered by TIDE Tours, Garbutts Marine, and Tibu ron Tours. Introductory SCUBA courses are avail able through Garbutts Marine. Cont act details: TIDE Tours ( tel 722 2129, email Garbutts Marine ( tel 722 0070, email Tiburon Tours tel 602 2483, email Paynes CreekNational Park andthe ancient Maya Paynes Creek National Park is home to the only known Classic Maya wooden structures whilst wood and other organic materials dont usually survive, the waterlogged environment at Paynes Creek created unique preservation condi tions, giving a rare glimpse of how the ancient Maya used timber. A three year project, led by Louisiana State Uni versity Professor, Heather McKillop, will see the construction of an observational platfor m in Paynes Creek National Park. Visitors will be able to observe the underwater archaeological site through a window in the platform without any risk of damaging the remains. As part of the project two exhibits were opened one at the Tourism Information Centre on Front Street, which includes a Maya canoe pa ddle, and the second at the TIDE Ranger Station in Paynes Creek. These exhibits, in conjunction with a series of workshops and talks, are designed to raise awareness of this unique Maya site, and will be expanded periodically, A website for ar chaeological tourism is also planned. When and where? Visit th e exhibit at the Toledo Tourism Infor mation Centre during opening hours, Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm, or visit Paynes Creek National Park through email or call 722 2129 Sketch plan of the proposed Underwater Maya observation platform in Paynes Creek National Park


19 Business Contact Person Phone Number Email Requena's Charter Service Julio Requena 722 2070 Hickatee Cottages Ian & Kate Morton 662 4475 Dreamlight Computer Center Timothy Dami 702 0113 Big Falls Extreme Adventures Andrew Caliz 634 6979 Coleman's Caf Thomas & Pearleen Coleman 630 4069, 630 4432 Coral House Inn Ale Cho 722 2878 The Lodge at Big Falls Rob & Marta Hirons 732 4444, 671 6677 Catarina Choco Catarina Choco 634 6772 Toledo Tour Guide Association BTIA Office 637 2000 Garbutt's Fishing Lodge Dennis Garbutt 722 0070, 604 3548 Yvonne and Alfredo Villoria Yvonne Villoria 632 7929 Belca mpo Lodge Shirleymae Parham 722 0050 Dwight Woodye Dwight Woodye Cyrila's Chocolate Juan Cho 742 4050 Cuxlin Ha Time Share Dona Scafe 732 4747 Sun Creek Lodge Bruno Kuppinger 665 6778, 604 2124 Beya Suit es Lisa Avila 722 2188 Tranquility Lodge Lee & Susan Oltmann 677 9921 Maya Ant and Bee Group Martha Cuz 663 2091 The Farm Inn Petro Steunenberg 732 4781, 604 4918 YumKax Womens' Group Concepciona Coc 662 8539 Belize Wood Works Ltd Bruno Kuppinger 665 6778, 604 2124 Asha's Culture Kitch en Ashton & Stacy Martin 632 8025 Warasa Garifuna Drum School Ruth & Ronald McDonald 632 7701 Golden Stream Plantation Thomas & Tessy Mathew 720 2014 Living Maya Experience Anita Cal& Marta Chiac 627 7408, 632 4585 CUXLIN HA RETIREMENT VILLAGE For Rent 2-Bedroom Cottages 1-Bedroom Condo Studio Apartments Assisted living care 011-501-732-4747 BTIA TOLEDO MEMBERS 2012