Category: Featured

Who is Baron Bliss?

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 1067

March 9th is a National Holiday in Belize.  Formerly Baron Bliss Day, it is now known as National Heroes and Benefactors Day to honor all those who have contributed to the greatness that is Belize. So, who was Baron Bliss and what makes him so special?

BaronBliss

Baron Bliss is widely considered to be Belize’s biggest benefactor. Born Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss in England in 1869, he inherited the title 4th Baron Bliss of the Kingdom of Portugal.  Bliss was an avid traveller and sailor with a significant fortune. At the age of 42 he is thought to have contracted polio which led to his paralysis. This didn’t restrict him from sailing his yacht Sea King II to the Bahamas in 1920 where he lived for 5 years.  From here he sailed to Trinidad before arriving in Belize or British Honduras as it was known then, in 1926.  At this time Baron Bliss was in a poor state of health, having contracted food poisoning in Trinidad.  He spent the next few weeks aboard his yacht fishing the tranquil and abundant waters of Belize and his health seemed to improve. Nevertheless, a few days before his 57th birthday he was informed by physicians that he was in fact dying. Although he hadn’t actually set foot on mainland Belize, so impressed had he been with the country and its people who he had met whilst fishing the waters and visiting the Cayes, that he summoned Sir John Burdon the then, Governor of Belize to board his yacht, to inform him of his wishes to leave the majority of his estate to Belize. In his will he asked that a trust be formed and the money invested for the benefit of the country and its citizens.

©JCCUELLAR.COM

The estate was estimated at 1.8million Belize dollars.  Baron Bliss died 9th March 1926 and was subsequently buried as per his wishes near the sea in a granite tomb with a lighthouse erected nearby. This lighthouse still stands and a restored Sea King II is resident in the grounds of Government House.  The Bliss Trust has over the ensuing years used this money for various projects across Belize including The Bliss Institute, The Bliss School of Nursing ,a library in Santa Elena and a leisure centre in Punta Gorda.

Sailing was such an integral part of Baron Bliss’s life that he also specified a sum of 100 pounds be used annually to set up regattas in towns within Belize.  Countrywide this holiday which this year is held on Monday 7th is celebrated with regattas and other events to honor Baron Bliss and other heroes of Belize. The 88th Baron Bliss Regatta takes place in Belize City harbor on March 6th this year.

TropicAirBelikinLaRutaMaya
©JCCUELLAR.COM

In San Ignacio, on March 4th, La Ruta Maya River Challenge is an annual 180 mile long ,4 day canoe race finishing in Belize City.   Where ever you decide to honor Belize’s biggest benefactor, this year, let Tropic Air take you there.

Come fly with Tropic Air

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 1253

Ever dreamt of being a pilot?  Well with Tropic Air’s Redbird CRV flight simulator, your dreams can come true.

TropicAir-RedBird
Tropic Air’s Redbird CRV flight simulator

In October 2013 Tropic Air, the airline of Belize introduced The Redbird CRV flight simulator to Belize upstairs in its San Pedro terminal.  This Advanced Aircraft Training Device (AATD) is the first of its kind in the region and is a complete replica of the Cessna Grand caravan.  The computer generated 220 degree screens are a true likeness to the landscape of Belize both on the ground and in the air and the simulator offers a fully lifelike range of motion.

TropicAir-RedBird2
Inside Tropic Air’s Redbird CRV flight simulator with Captain Ancona

The main aim of the flight simulator is to aid in the ongoing training of all Tropic Air pilots.   Every Tropic Air pilot takes part in a mandatory 3 hour training session every 6 months as part of Tropic Air’s Safety Management Program. The simulator enables all pilots to get practical experience in emergency procedures, system failures, unfavorable weather conditions and familiarization with the airports to which Tropic Air flies.  The session culminates in a one hour flight test on the simulator.

Tropic Air’s Pilot Training Program, a turbine hour building program now available for student pilots also takes full advantage of the opportunities offered by the Redbird. Each hour of simulator time counts as actual flying time.

We are very pleased to be able to offer the simulator to the general public to try their hand at flying the skies of Belize.  For the real flight enthusiast or those seriously considering a flying career the cost is $295Bz per hour.  The session is given by one of our experienced training officers. If you are a licensed pilot on holiday in Belize an hour simulator session will build your flying time. For those who just want to get an idea of what it’s like to fly a plane a 15 minute session is normally sufficient. A 15 minute flying session is available for $75Bz (37.50US).  During your “flight” you will be taught how to switch on the aircraft, going through a checklist before embarking, how to taxi on the runway, how to take off (normally from the International airport) how to fly midair, bank, turn around and finally how to land.  It’s a really fun and informative experience for young and old. We look forward to welcoming you aboard. Come fly with Tropic Air, the airline of Belize.

Check out the short video below:

Come take a flight in Tropic Air’s flight simulator from Tropic Air on Vimeo.

Christmas in Belize

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 1175

Belize is a veritable melting pot of different races and cultures. At no time of the year is this more visible than at Christmas. Whilst the decorating of Christmas trees, lights and giving of presents is a countrywide occurrence, other traditions handed down from one culture and generation to another have been adopted, diluted and adapted over the years.

Amongst all Belizeans, Christmas is a time to clean house.  In preparation for expected or unexpected family and friends, the house is tidied, new curtains hung and often new flooring laid.  Albert Street in Belize City was traditionally the place to shop for new material, decorations and tiles. Today most towns stock these products.

TreeLighting

In most major towns of each area the season kicks off with the lighting of the town Christmas tree in the town square, an event often accompanied by carol singing and other celebrations.  Already by this stage most shops have already put up their Christmas decorations and Christmas music in both Spanish,English and reggae versions can be heard belting merrily through the streets.

©SanPedroScoop.com
©SanPedroScoop.com

On Ambergris Caye, one of the highlights of Christmas is The lighted boat parade which usually takes place on the first Saturday of December.  This is a beautiful sight to behold as the local community pull together and an array of fishing boats, catamarans, tour boats, water taxis and barges take to the water lit up with Christmas lights and parade from north to south of the island.  It’s a great opportunity to grab a beachside seat in one of the many restaurants and bars and enjoy this festive seaside tradition.

In Dangriga in Southern Belize there is a strong Garifuna community and on Christmas afternoon it is traditional to watch or indeed take part in the Joncunu a colorful masquerade dance.  The performance is an imitation of the European slave masters as seen by the pink painted masks that the dancers wear and the white shirts and often skirts which parody Scottish kilts that the British used to wear. The dance is often accompanied by garifuna drumming.

©JCCuellar.com
©JCCuellar.com

Another grand tradition of Dangriga is The Grand Ball, an occasion which dates back to 1914 where dancers performed traditional ballroom dance steps such as the Fox Trot, Quadrille and the Waltz. This event continues today every Christmas and New Year’s Eve, largely attended by an older crowd.

Las Posadas is a mestizo tradition which occurs throughout communities in Belize but is strongly observed in Benque Viejo del Carmen.  The 9 day custom starts on 16th December with the statues of Mary and Joseph being taken from Church to someones home which is locked. This procession is usually accompanied by marimba music, candles and firecrackers.  Eventually after prayers and a reenactment of the nativity the doors are opened and the statues remain at the house for the evening.  The following few nights the statues are taken to other families.

In the Toledo district where the Maya influence is strong, the ancient ceremony known as Deer Dance is often performed traditionally at Christmas and other special occasions. The Dance is performed by 24 dancers in masks including a jaguar, deer, a hunter among other characters.

©JCCUELLAR.COM
©JCCUELLAR.COM

Belizeans love their turkey and ham for Christmas dinner and this is usually served with trimmings including stuffing and of course the Belizean favorite of rice and beans.  In certain cultures, tamales or relleno are served instead or in concert with the traditional Christmas dinner. Black fruit cake is a favorite Belizean dessert at this time.

Christmas is a really wonderful time to visit Belize.  The weather is warm , the welcome is warm and you will feel like family. And don’t forget to try the Rumpope!

Belize Navidad

November in Belize

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 807

Belize is a country of celebrations or jump ups as we call them and Belizeans love to party. Most months of the year have at least one holiday or anniversary commemorating or celebrating something of national significance.  In November, all of Belize celebrates Garifuna Settlement Day on the 19th of the month.  This holiday commenced in 1943 in the Stann Creek and Toledo districts of the country and in 1977 it became a national Holiday throughout Belize.

The Garinagu (plural of Garifuna) or Black Caribs first arrived in Belize, then British Honduras on November 19, 1802. They were the descendants of Carib Indians and Black Africans from St Vincent.  According to history, they arrived in dug out canoes or dories and the re- enactment, called Yurumei, has become part of the Garifuna cultural ritual that occurs every morning on November 19th.

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Belize has Garifuna communities living throughout Belize with approximately 15,000 people making up 7% of the population. The highest concentration can be found in the Stann Creek district and in particular Dangriga.  The word Dangriga is from the Garifuna language meaning “sweet water”. Here the celebration lasts all week with parades, drumming, live music, dancing and much fun.  The women and men dress in their traditional and colorful clothes and a Miss Garifuna pageant is held where young ladies showcase their knowledge of traditional dancing and language. In nearby Hopkins, traditionally a small fishing village, the children still learn and speak the Garifuna language .

HudutInTheCity

The Garifuna culture is a strong and proud one.  They have their own yellow, white and black flag symbolizing the sun, peace and the people.  The food is also different from the ubiquitous rice and beans with Hudut, bundiga and cassava bread being just some of the delicacies to be found.

Let Tropic Air fly you to experience the Garifuna culture.

Romantic Islands of Belize

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 721

There are many reason couples choose Belize as their destination to get engaged or tie the knot. Belize is simply romantic and our destinations, especially our islands, offer not only the perfect setting, but an array of places to stay and dine.

Whether you prefer a high end experience with your loved one or prefer, seclusion and the basics, Belize has many options to choose from. From our largest and most northern destination, Ambergris Caye, to the small secluded beaches of the Silk Cayes, you can find just the right location to propose or simply fall in love all over again.

TropicAC

The best part is that getting to your island getaway is easy and simple with Tropic Air. We fly to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker as well as numerous destinations on the mainland, where getting to your romantic island is then a short boat ride away. Need some options? Then check out the following article on Belize’s Most Romantic Islands and let Tropic Air take you and your loved one on a romantic escape.

LINK: http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/belize/articles/belizes-most-romantic-islands

Let’s go visit Toledo!

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 959

Toledo the southernmost district of Belize is arguably one of the richest areas of our country in terms of culture and topography.  Cradled by high mountains, dense jungle and the blue Caribbean sea, the area is abundant in nature reserves, pristine rainforests, extensive cave systems and some of the best off shore cayes and yet historically it is one of the least populated and visited.  Formerly frequented by the hardier eco traveler and backpacker,  Tropic Air’s daily scheduled flights from almost anywhere in Belize including the International airport, to Punta Gorda the areas capital ,coupled with the increase in a variety of accommodation ranging from luxury lodges to bed and breakfast inns has opened up this diverse area to the mainstream traveler. Visitors can even stay in a traditional Maya home in a thatched cottage in one of the many Maya villages.  This homestay project offers the chance to experience the Maya way of life. Food is authentic Maya fare of corn tortillas made on the fire, with corn ground on a traditional metate handed down over the centuries from family to family. This is served with caldo a tasty chicken stew with potatoes and vegetables grown on the family farm.

Deer Dance

Whilst the Toledo district like the rest of Belize, is culturally diverse, the Maya culture dominates here, more than any other area of Belize.  Some 30 villages inhabited by the Kekchi and the Mopan Maya dot the surrounding countryside. San Antonio located 25 miles outside of PG has one of the largest Mopan Maya communities in Central America and one of the centers for the annual deer dance.  Villagers wear colorful costumes and dance to marimba music.  The dance symbolizes the relationship between man and nature.  The Maya maintain a strong link to the past through rituals, folklore and family.  Fiestas dancing and traditional music remain important as several festivals and celebrations occur throughout the year.

Belize Chocolate Fetival - Wine & Chocolate NightThe most recent annual event is the Toledo Cacao Festival held in May in Punta Gorda and throughout the district.  Activities range from a wine and chocolate tasting evening to cookery competitions and a craft fair, trips to the outer Cayes and a cacao trail tour in Toledo’s chocolate country.
Other festivals in the district include the feast of San Luis during Easter, Garifuna settlement Day and the East Indian Festivals.  In October The Tide fish fest is a weekend annual event dedicated to raising awareness of environmental issues.  The weekend consists of a seafood gala with delicious food on offer, a youth conservation competition and a fishing tournament.

Annual TIDE Fish Festival

In November the Battle of the drums showcases local musicians as they display their talents in 5 different categories of Garifuna drumming.

Tasty food in San Ignacio

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 802

Much of traveling has to do with finding great places to please your taste buds. In Belize the choices are wide and delightful and San Ignacio is certainly a destination that delivers on this.  Sure, San Ignacio a great destination for a range of tourist activities like spelunking, Maya Archaeological exploration, horse back riding, canoeing and more but doing all those wonderful activities work up an appetite.

Tropic Air is the only airline that can take you to experience these delights in San Ignacio. Book with us today and check out the following blog from Lorenzo Gonzalez on details about your food options that will have your mouth watering.

See you on the next flight ;).

BOOK NOW: Call our reservations at 226-2012, drop us an email at reservations@tropicair.com or do it right from our website on the left side.

BLOG: San Ignacio, Cayo’s best food spots.

Insider Tips to Belize from Tropic Air

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 956

Think outside the box. September and October are some of the best months of the year for diving. Fewer people visit and you are sure to find great deals on accommodation.

 

SCUBA Diving Belize - Tropic Air
©Belize Tourism Board

 

Put “visit at least one Maya site” on your to do list. There are sites in each of the 6 Belize districts.

 

Lamanai Tour with Tropic Air
@Belize Tourism Board

 

Snorkeling the 2nd largest barrier reef is a must, but be sure to wear a rashguard or t-shirt as the reflection of the water will increase the effect of the sun’s rays.

 

Hol Chan Marine Reserve Tour with Tropic Air
@Belize Tourism Board

 

Fly rather than drive. Tropic Air has flights to most destinations and also offer charters to more remote and exotic places.

 

Tropic Air - the airline of Belize
©JCCUELLAR.COM

 

Belizeans love to party and there are festivals and celebrations countrywide most months of the year. Check with the Belize Tourism Board www.travelbelize.org to find out what’s going on when you plan to visit.

Belize City Carnival - Tropic Air
©JCCUELLAR.COM

Talk to the locals and find out where they eat.

 

Local Food - Tropic Air
©JCCUELLAR.COM

 

Go visit the Belize Zoo -known as the coolest little zoo in the world, you will see an amazing selection of Belizean wildlife in their natural habitat.

 

Zipline & Belize Zoo Tour with Tropic Air
©JCCUELLAR.COM

 

Caving can be fun! Try a relaxing tubing trip through a cave system or for something more adventurous, visit one of the caves traditionally thought of as part of the Maya underworld.

Tropic Air Cave Tubing & Airboat Tour
 

You really cannot miss the famous Blue Hole if you come to Belize. If you don’t want to dive or snorkel it, then see it by air. Tropic Air can take you there. It’s on most peoples bucket list!

 

Blue Hole Tour with Tropic Air
©Jose Luis Zapata

 

If you are based on the mainland for your vacation, try to take at least one trip to the Cayes. Tropic Air flies to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker

 

Caye Caulker with Tropic Air
©JCCUELLAR.COM

 

If you are based on the Cayes try to take a trip to the mainland to experience all it has to offer. Tropic air can take you there. (link to Destinations page)

Belize City with Tropic Air
Make sure you try the national dish of Belize – stewed chicken, rice and beans with coleslaw at least once on your trip… and I bet you won’t be able to just have it once.

Merida – a city you should live and love

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 1113

This is a city rich in culture, shopping, amazing eats, art and architecture. Merida is the capital city of Yucatan and is considered the safest in Mexico. You can enjoy a scenic stroll where its avenues or the main boulevard called the Paseo consist of hidden gardens, boutique hotels, cafes and mansions dating to the mid-19th century. Getting around is very easy. You have access to taxis, bikes and if you’re looking something romantic, horse and carriage rides around the Paseo Montejo.

How to get there: it’s an hour and forty minute scenic flight from Belize on Tropic Air, who operate Cessna caravans on the route. They currently have a summer special starting at $355USD roundtrip (enter promo code MID when booking), see website for restrictions and conditions.

MORE ON MERIDA: http://www.sanpedroscoop.com/2014/03/merida-belize-culture-museums-food-shopping-best.html

Lobserfest in Belize

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 729

Belize is famous for its spiny lobster (called crayfish locally), whose harvest season begins annually on June 15th.  This date also marks the celebration of all things lobster including three festivals held in three Belizean communities.

The beach towns of Caye Caulker and Placencia have traditionally had lobsterfests and in recent years, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye has added one to its calendar as well. If you are lucky visit Belize in June, you will be able to experience at least one of these delicious events.

San Pedro Lobsterfest is a week-long event usually starting with a kick-off party and culminating in a grand fiesta in Central Park. During the week, there are events planned all over town including a lobster crawl that involves partaking in lobster delicacies and libations in a series of establishments on a given night.  One can obtain a “lobster passport”, where each day a different island establishment is represented and acquisition of a lobster “stamp” in this passport renders the holder eligible for the grand prize, drawn on the final night’s event in Central Park. The prize is usually vacation for the following year that includes tickets from Tropic Air. The final block party is a lobster lovers delight. Front Street is closed to traffic and most of the local restaurants have booths serving their rendition of the tasty crustacian. There is a competition for the best dish so culinary imagination knows no bounds. There is some serious deliciousness to be found here, all accompanied by local musicians to give the real party atmosphere.

Caye Caulker lobsterfest is a weekend event. This is a local Belizean favorite, and people flock here from all over the country.  Stalls and restaurants everywhere offer anything from lobster tacos to barbecued lobster.

Placencia’s festival is also a weekend event and, in their own words, promises  “a mega beach party like no other in Belize “ with live music, family games, a legendary raffle and of course more lobster than it is possible to eat.

If you want to enjoy lobster, then come during the open season because between February 15th and June 14th, the crustacean is off the menu. This means that fishermen are not allowed to catch it, restaurants are not allowed to sell it and it is illegal to have in your possession.  Whilst this is harsh for the many tourists and locals, it is necessary to preserve this valuable resource for the future.

If you are planning a trip to Belize and you love lobster then June is definitely the month to come visit. Book your travel with Tropic Air.