Tag: Orange Walk

A Game of Honor

Posted By : Tropic Air/ 430

Long before football and other team sports were played in Belize, the ancient Maya played a ball game called Pok ta Pok. Many Maya sites in the country boast traditional ball courts, Lamanai, Caracol and Xunantunich being among them. The game, which was heavily spiritual symbolizing good versus evil, consisted of two teams maneuvering a heavy rubber ball with their hips and thighs endeavoring to get the ball through the stone hoop attached to the wall on either side of the court.

Exhibition game in Yo Creek. ©Tropic Air

In an effort to retain the Maya culture, the sport was re- introduced to Belize in 2015 in particular to the small village of Yo Creek in the Orange Walk district. The Ek’ Balam team or Black Jaguars, were established and the coach Menalio Novelo (now co-manager) led them to victory in Guatemala in 2017 for the World Tournament Championship Games. During that tournament they never lost a single game!

On their victorious return, so as to get more players to join the sport, Ek’ Balam split to make two teams, some playing in the original team, under their Captain Didier Novelo, maintaining that name and others joining the newly created Sak Xikin. In the nearby village of Xaibe another group of young men established the Xaibe Subin K’in Pok ta Pok team and these three teams practice and play exhibition matches regularly. For these friendlies, a simpler version of the game called Ulama is usually played and there is no hoop. The ceremonial part is still observed and it is customary before the game starts, to bless all four corners of the court and cleanse both players and court with copal (a burning incense that is sacred to the Maya). Traditional costume is worn.

When playing an actual tournament today, the rules may be a little different from those of the ancient Maya. Each match consists of 2 x twenty minute sections with six minutes of half time and only 4 men in each team are allowed on court at a time. Points are gained for getting the ball over the baseline or the opponents goal/hoop line. Fouls are given for touching the ball with hands, feet or head. The game is immediately won if the ball gets through the hoop (not an easy feat!) In Ancient times, the winning team was sacrificed, the ultimate honor. Today thankfully they just come away with a trophy!



Facebook Page for Ek’ Balam Pok ta Pok Team

Facebook Page for Xaibe Subin K’in Pok ta Pok Team

Pok ta Pok Video Clip


Posted By : Tropic Air/ 659

San Pedro,
Ambergris Caye,
Monday, September 4, 2017

Tropic Air announced today a substantial investment for its Orange Walk customers as it it will be increasing air service between Orange Walk and San Pedro to three (3) times a day, effective November 15th, 2017. Currently, flights are scheduled at two times a day, and this will add an often requested evening service.

“When we launched scheduled Orange Walk service on December 15th, 2011, we also promised that we would grow the route. We are now doing so,” said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “Orange Walk (Tower Hill) is an integral part of the network for Tropic Air, and as we carry more passengers to, from, and within Belize, we feel it important that we expand locally to reflect our confidence in the growth of the domestic marketplace.”

The schedule for the the additional flight between San Pedro and Orange Walk is:

San Pedro (SPR) 4:00PM Orange Walk (ORZ) 4:20PM
Orange Walk (ORZ) 4:30PM San Pedro (SPR) 4:50PM


The new service bookable via the web at www.tropicair.com, via e-mail at reservations@tropicair.com, by phone at 226-2626, via Whatsapp at +501 622-5857, by contacting any of our stations, or by contacting our authorized sales office in Orange Walk Town.

About Tropic Air
Founded in 1979, by John Greif III, with just a single airplane and two employees, Tropic has steadily grown to become the largest and most experienced airline in Belize. It now employs over 350 staff, and offers over 200 daily scheduled flights with 15 aircraft to 15 destinations in Belize, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. Tropic Air joined IATA’s ISSA Registry in 2015. In 2016, it carried 280,000 passengers and moved 424,000 pieces of freight system wide.

Tropic believes in giving back. It supports the development of the communities its serves through health, sports, drug prevention, education and community projects. Tropic also supports the development and growth of the wider tourism industry of Belize and the destinations it serves through promotional initiatives locally and internationally.