November 16th, 2012
Swim with Whale Sharks in Belize!
The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, and one of the largest creature of any kind alive today. They are most often seen in Belize from Placencia or Hopkins. Unfortunately, since whale sharks are night feeders, there really are no guarantees as to when they show up.
3 or 4 days before and after the full and new moons in April and May are the best times to interact with the sharks, they are often sighted through the summer months as well. They roam up and down the coast, the Gladden Spit area about 26 miles off the coast of Placencia is known to host large concentrations of whale sharks during April and May when Mutton and Dog Snappers are spawning (the whales ingest the spawn as food).
Despite their size, whale sharks are a remarkably gentle and curious creature. The whale shark’s gentle natures makes swimming with them a special treat for divers and snorkelers. The whale shark’s curiosity even pulls fishing parties into its thrall. We have sometimes had whale sharks seem to be asking to be petted as they glide alongside our fishing boats.
An opportunity to share the water with a creature larger than a school bus does not come often in life – and is definitely not soon forgotten!
November 14th, 2012
King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)
Called the “King”, either because of his Royal coloring or demeanor, this magnificent bird is one of the four species of vultures that call Belize home. Known to locals as “King Jan-Kro” or “King John Crow”, he is the largest vulture, hence all other birds make way for him once he lands.
He has an extremely thick and strong bill, well adapted for tearing, and the long, thick claws for holding the meat. A scavenger by nature, his keen eyesight and sense of smell allows him to locate potential food sources (carrion) easily as he scours over the savannas and forested lowlands he normally inhabits.
Although on the decline due to habitat destruction in the Central American Region, Belize still has large healthy populations. Go bird-watching with us, perhaps you just might spot one!
November 13th, 2012
Hiking on Victoria Peak, Belize.
Climbing Victoria Peak is an adventure few Belizeans or visitors get to experience. It’s 3,675 feet high but the going is mostly through tropical rainforest. The entire trip is approximately 40 miles and doing the hike usually takes about 4 nights and 5 days.
Ensure your backpack is fully equipped with all your necessary gear and equipment and your on your way to triumph when you hit the summit! No easy feat – it is said that less than 300 people have actually made it all the way to the top. Will you be one?
Photo Credit: mybelizeexperience.com
November 9th, 2012
If you are one of those folks who likes spicy food, Belize is one of the Meccas for getting as much (read: mouth on fire!) or as little heat as you can handle. One of our favorite hot sauces here at Ka’ana is Marie Sharp’s.
Well known, and loved all over Belize, these habanero sauces have made their way to International fame for their flavor and heat. They come in different levels – for amateurs (mild) all the way to one whose name could only be its own warning label – “BEWARE!”
It’s a crowd favorite here at Ka’ana on dishes that beg for additional heat. Come try them on our Pibil Tacos, Salbutes or Empanadas; they even add some kick to our signature Bloody Mary’s – do you dare?
November 5th, 2012
“Friends and family stayed here for my mother’s birthday. The place was simply THE best. The staff was amazing. Above and beyond anything we could have imagined. They created a special dinner for our group for her birthday evening (without us asking) and I do mean created. They made dishes they had never made before for us and it was outstanding. Not only that but we asked them if they could make her a birthday dessert, she is not a cake fan so I left it up to them, telling them only that she didn’t like cake but loved fruit. They made the most wonderful fruit tart, it was really a work of art. We almost hated to eat it…almost.
They do have spa, but we didn’t have time to make use of it but given everything else, I’m sure its awesome. The grounds are lovely and serene. The pool is nestled in the middle of the property surrounded by flora and fauna… Okay, I wanna go back…”
October 16, 2012 Review by Beth B. from Huntington Woods, Michigan.
November 2nd, 2012
The tradition of celebrating the life and death of lost loved relatives dates back to the ancient Maya, an indigenous culture of Belize and Mesoamerica. November 2nd is the Day of the Dead for the departed spirits who passed on beyond the age of 12 while on earth and through adulthood and into elderly age
Families always make sure they have delicious traditional Belizean foods such as Bollos, Caldo de Gallina local, Chirmole and Ishpasha Atole. Here in the Cayo District, Tamales are called Bollos. While many may argue that there is a distinction between a Bollo and a tamale, what they will not argue about is that it is definitely an all around favourite throughout Belize and the world for that matter!
November 1st, 2012
November first begins the Dia de los Muertos (also known as “Day of the Dead”) festivities with All Saints Day in which the deceased children are honored and remembered. November second All Souls Day is for the remembrance of the adult dead. Dia de los Muertos combines these days to celebrate the the deceased and enjoy their memories.
A hot cup of masa gruel known as Ix-pa-xa (pronounced Ish-pa-sha), otherwise known as Atole made from purple corn is used to nourish and warm the spirits when they return and/or when they leave on these special days.
Here’s the recipe for this tasty Maya treat: Ixpaxa
3lbs purple corn (not on the cob) – this is to be left 1-2 days to “spoil” while being softened in the water.
1 tin condensed milk
1 habanero pepper
Blend corn and some of the water with condensed milk and habanero pepper.
Strain to remove husks,
Boil and add sugar to taste.
Historical note: Before the invention of condensed milk, ripe plantains were used to sweeten this dish. Hence for authentic taste substitute ripe plantains for condensed milk.
November 1st, 2012
Here’s an insight into the real cross-culture Maya Halloween thats celebrated November 1st and 2nd here in Belize. Inspired by Latin tradition of the entire Central American Maya region, “El Dia de los Muertos” is a day to celebrate, remember and prepare special foods in honor of those who have departed. It is believed that the spirit of the dead visit their families on October 31 and leave on November 2
In order to celebrate, the families make altars and place ofrendas (offerings) of the traditional and favorite food of the departed, candles, incense, fruits, candy and most importantly a photo of the departed soul is placed on the altar.
October 31st, 2012
Tata Duende translates to grandfather demon. He is depicted as an old mischievous character that is very short, with backward feet, wears a tall pointy hat and has both of his thumbs missing. If you ever saw him you couldn’t show him your hands as he’d surely cut off your thumbs. Parents also warned their children that if they skipped classes, Tata Duende would lure them into the jungle and they would never be seen again.
Tata Duende was also to blame when weird things happened around farms. He was to blame for destroying the neighbour’s crops. And once in a while he would braid a horse’s hair and it would have to be cut completely as it couldn’t be loosened.
Sisemite or Sisimito is a tall hairy monster-like creature equivalent to Big Foot. Usually depicted as being a male, the Sisemite lived in Caves and survived by eating raw game meat. What he was commonly known for was kidnapping women and taking them to live with him. He would then force them to be his partner and bear children.
The Sisemite was said to commonly roam the river banks at dusk, therefore women were always warned by their mothers never to stay out late when they went to wash clothes at the river (a common practice in the old times).
La Llorona (pronounced la Yo-ro-na)
La Llorona translates to weeping woman. She is depicted as a tall and slender gorgeous woman with long black hair that reached her waist. No one could ever see her face unless they caught up to her.
There are several variations of what she did; one of the most popular versions was that she lured children to rivers found deep in the jungle, hoping they got lost. Legend says that she lost her children near a river and she did the same to others as a way of revenge.
La Llorona was also known for luring young men on their way home late from bars. Young men were warned by their parents not to stay out late drinking since if La Llorona caught up with them, they would never be seen again. La Llorona would charm drunk men into the forest and when they were far away from the town, she would show them her ugly and distorted face as she let off a shrieking cry. The men would either immediately die or fall terribly sick for weeks.
Info credit: http://www.belizeadventure.ca/get-to-know-belizean-folklore
October 29th, 2012
As we continue our Countdown of the Maya End of the World (53 days to go!), what better way to start off this week’s bang than with this scrumptious Maya-inspired dish:
Corn Salbutes topped with Chicken (Shredded), Escabeche Onions (Pickled), lettuce-lime Chiffonade, tomato Concasse and queso Blanco (Crumbled).