Page 1

Newspaper of the Toledo Chapter of the Belize Tourism Industry Association SPRING/SUMMER—2015


TIDE’s Cultural Trail in Toledo INSIDE THIS ISSUE TIDE’s Cultural Trail in Toledo


The Way We Lived Then PT2


This amazing planet we named “Earth”


Toledo Cave and Adventure Tours


Calendar of Events


Christmas Bird Count 5 2014 Map fo PG Town


Blue Creek Canopy Course


Registered Tour Operators


Transport Schedule and Emergency Numbers


New craft markets in Toledo


9th Chocolate Festival of Belize


Advanced Skills Training for TTGA


BTIA Toledo Members 2014


Wat’s Cookin?


Review: How to cook a Tapir


The Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), a nongovernmental organization, was founded in 1997 to meet the growing environmental and development needs of Toledo District, the southernmost district of Belize. In 1999 its subsidiary TIDE Tours was formed to promote eco-tourism opportunities and alternative livelihood programs for the Toledo District. With such rich and diverse cultures to highlight here in Toledo, TIDE Tours partnered with the Belize Tourism Board to develop a Toledo Cultural Trail which will provide for more cultural attractions for our visitors to enjoy. This trail program will allow for the continuation of cultural preservation for the five main cultural

ethnic groups in Toledo which are the Mestizo, Maya, East Indian, Creole and Garifuna. The trail will be marketed as a one day tour, which tourist will be able to purchase a package from a

The Creole Experience:

tour operator or just walk into the established culture houses at these families’ homes. They would spend one hour with each family, learning about

The Creoles of Belize played an instrumental role in the colonial days as logwood cutter and those that fought in the battle of St. George’s Caye. Stopping in at one of Belize’s most dynamic creole artist’s residence, Ms. Leela Vernon, visitors will be able to view several antiques, traditional musical instruments, learn about the history of Creoles to Belize, view the traditional clothing and listen to original creole songs. Continued on pg 4

The Way We Lived Then: Part 2 In this article we continue the remi- young children would learn the prayers

nel Baker did not like to fly in there at

niscences of Don Owen-Lewis about to say at planting and the conventions

all because he did not know what he

life in Toledo half a century ago.

attached to it. The first thing we did was was going to be putting his foot into. It to get schools in every village. (Don Ow- was a shaky deal. It was made by hand

Recreation and Leisure

en-Lewis played a central role in making with shovels and hoes and grazed by

In those days when people were not

this happen). We focused on two

working their farms they would spend

things: health and education. After I left taken a tractor down there; dismantled

their leisure time hunting and fishing.

nine years later in 1962 some of the

it and put it in a dory and then we could

They were good at both. They would

things fell apart within six months be-

have maintained and mown it. Looking

paddle a dory down the river to look for cause there was no continuity. We had an airstrip in Crique Sarco and a village gibnut. Perhaps they had a football from time to time but they would not

boat that used to go up to Punta Gorda every two or three weeks but that thing

Herbs: Zedoary Curcuma Zedoaria


last long. There wasn’t even any radio

Developing local artisans in Toledo


much. Perhaps one or two people in the sank; partly my fault for not delegating responsibility for it. The airstrip probavillage would have a little radio on

BTIA Welcomes: New 19 Members Toledo Map

the history, food, dances and all other aspects associate with their culture, including some interactive traditional activities. Here is a description of how what can be done on the trail at the different cultural stops:


cattle. Looking back we should have

back there were many things I would have done differently.

1959 Moving to Machaca Eventually the base in Crique Sarco became too remote and in 1959 Don

which they would pick up Radio Belize

bly had no more than about twenty

moved to what he considered then the

and it was very good; far better then

flights come in.

centre of Toledo district at Machaca.

than now.

The governor would occasionally visit

In the absence of formal education the

me and he would fly in. The pilot Colo-

What is now the Forest Department office near the Laguna junction was Continued on pg17


This amazing planet we named “Earth” Imagine a dream where you are walking

rupt critical ecological functions and

through the most beautiful garden full

impede growth, reproduction, and lar-

of colour and wildlife. You are smiling

val settlement.

and feeling happy. Then, with every

Other threats to corals that have been

step that you take something dies, the

deemed important and relevant in-

colour starts to fade, the leaves turn

clude: coral disease; tropical storms;

brown, the flowers disappear and the

tourism and recreation; vessel damage;

wildlife is gone. The dream has turned

marine debris and pollution; and

into a nightmare.

aquatic invasive species such as the

Now imagine a beautiful coral garden,

invasive Lionfish in the Caribbean and

full of life. Much more life and colour

Atlantic belt.

than that garden. There are colourful

What if we do nothing and

corals and sponges, an abundance of gorgeous tropical fish, turtles, moray eels, dol-

Commercial Overfishing

what can you do to help?

phins playing and rays gliding past. If we do

Bottom trawling is considered the major threat

The ocean is at a tipping point. Oceanographer

not protect our marine environment, this

in most US regions where such fishing is al-

Sylvia Earle says our actions over the next ten

beautiful coral garden will become our night-


mare. Here in Belize we are lucky to be located on the second biggest barrier reef in our planet and the largest in the northern hemisphere.

Now imagine going to a farm and wanting to purchase just one sheep. But, in order to get your one sheep

Our coral seas are a makeup of a fragile ecosys-

you need to kill all the lambs, all the

tem where different elements and species rely

cows, all the chickens, all the hors-

on each other for survival. Everyone, every-

es, the farmer, the farmer’s wife,

where depends upon a healthy sea.

their kids. You also need to destroy

71% of our planet is made up of ocean. So

the barn, all outbuildings and the

why is it called earth? Of that 71% only .02% is

farmer’s house. Bottom trawling

coral reef. Within that .02%, 25% of marine

destroys sea grass and its inhabit-

species live.50-70% of our oxygen comes from

ants and important eco-systems

the sea, which is more than all of the rainfor-

such as mangroves. It destroys eve-

ests combined.


The ocean provides the number one source of

Additional threats include: other bottom-

years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years. Many popular seafood

contact fishing gear e.g. traps

species will likely be wiped out within forty

and bottom-set gillnets and

years with current commercial fishing practic-

long lines. In 2010, Belize was


one of the first countries to ban all forms of trawling.

Other impacts Climate change impacts have

Unless we change our rate of consumption, we’re within a century — possibly even less — of a world where jellyfish are the only wild seafood option left.

been identified as one of the

Find out what seafood is sustainable and in

greatest global threats to coral

season where you live. Do not support com-

reef ecosystems. As tempera-

mercial unsustainable fishing practices. Sup-

tures rise, mass bleaching and

port local, sustainable fishing practises. Book a

infectious disease outbreaks

trip where you can help remove Lionfish. Order

are likely to become more fre-

Lionfish at local restaurants that serve it. If

protein for more than one billion people. Thirty


million people totally rely on coral reefs for

Additional impacts on coral reef ecosystems

income and food. More than 60% of the world

are from land-based sources of pollution e.g.

population lives on or near the coast. The

agriculture, deforestation, storm water, imper-

ocean provides a livelihood, recreation, beau-

vious surfaces, coastal de-

ty, wonder, and untapped scientific discovery,

velopment, road construc-

leading to new medications, foods, and ad-

tion, and oil and chemical

vanced technologies. But the ocean is in trou-

spills. Also, increased sedi-


mentation, nutrient en-

Threats to the coral reefs

richment, toxins, and pathogen introduction. These

Coral reefs are threatened by an increasing

pollutants and related syn-

array of impacts, primarily from unsustainable

ergistic effects can cause

fishing, global climate change and pollution.

disease and mortality in sensitive species and dis-

they do not show it on the menu, help create a demand and ask them if they have it. By Polly Alford – Founder & Director, ReefCI


Toledo Cave and Adventure Tours The Howler spoke to Bruno Kuppinger about Toledo Cave and Adventure Tours, his tour company. Here he gives an overview of the business and his passion for developing tours to excite visitors and give them an insight in to the Mayan culture and way of life. “We changed the name in 2011 from IBTM to Toledo Cave and Adventure Tours. IBTM had been established in 1999. Since that time we have done a lot more product development. We run tours for guests staying in Punta Gorda and elsewhere in Toledo and work with regional tour companies in Antigua Guatemala and Playa del Carmen in Mexico. These companies bring in a significant number of visitors from Europe especially. We are included in a number of established itineraries run by European tour operators and do countrywide tours with fixed dates of departure each month usually lasting for a week each. We take them all over; to Lamanai and Altun Ha as well as down here in Toledo. “I think we were also the first company to develop the cacao trail tours around 2007 when the Toledo Cacao Festival was being run for the first time. “We are happy to work with the cruise lines that are beginning to operate down here although not without a good deal of controversy. We made a good contact with Hapag a German company last year and I have just come back from taking a cruise director on a ten-day tour. He is someone who comes to Belize already with smaller cruise

ness but we cannot provide the language services required.

ships. And the good news is that they will continue bringing these small cruise ships down here and they will guarantee an overnight stay for their passengers in small properties around Toledo. They have five or six ships including the Ms Deutschland. They are concerned about protecting the environment. We went together to Lamanai and they wanted to be sure there were not five or six hundred in front of us and so we would always schedule our arrivals around that.

“Locally, the cacao trail tour offered by Eladio Pop at Agouti Farm is one of our most popular tours and often combined with other visits to Lubaantun Nim Li Punit and elsewhere. Eladio just loves what he does, is willing to share and always has a smile on his face even though he has done the tour five hundred times before. I think guides accompanying their guests at Eladio’s farm can all learn a great deal from him. I have taken guests there many times and I learn something new on each visit. I think all guides should realize that they will learn from these experiences in the field much more than from reading. And that is what I love to do and love to share with others.

“So in short we are reaching local, regional and international markets. “We are a small operation but have English speaking guides in Cayo who we contract out work to for our countrywide tours but we have more and more requests for German speaking guides for our German and Swiss clients. I hope that the Belize Tourism Board will start to offer more language training for guides. Visitors to Tikal can choose a French, Spanish, English or German speaking guide and we need to foster those same language skills as the European market develops. Here in Belize we could do more busi-

“As well as the soft adventure we also offer tours to Yok Balum cave where the visitors definitely have to be physically fit. We also visit Tiger Cave upstream from San Miguel village. We swim inside Hokeb Ha cave and hike the trail from Blue Creek to Santa Cruz stopping to see the point where the Rio Blanco disappears into a sinkhole in the mountainside. Whenever the archaeologists are here in the spring we are able to offer visitors the opportunity to be part of the excavation at Uxbenka or pay a visit if the team makes a find at the site. continued on pg 12


Calendar of Events Date



Other Info

April 3rd

Good Friday

More information on activities in Town closer to date

April 4th

Holy Saturday

More information on activities in Town closer to date

April 6th

Easter Monday

More information on activities in Town closer to date

May 1st

Labour Day

Public and Bank Holiday

May 22nd

Friday Night Gala - 1st day of Chocolate Festival Garbutts Marine from 6pm to 11pm of Belize

More info contact or 722-2531

May 23rd

Taste of Toledo - 2nd day of Chocolate Festival of Front Street, Punta Gorda town - Cultural food and Belize entertainment from 9am to 6pm

More info contact or call 722-2531

Grand Finale - 3rd day of the Chocolate Festival of Belize Sovereign’s Day/Commonwealth Day (in lieu of Public and Bank Holiday 24th May)

More info contact or call 722-2531

May 24th May 25th September 10th

St. George’s Caye Day

Celebrated within the country of Belize!

September 21st

Independence Day

Celebrated within the country of Belize!

October 9th

Seafood Gala - 1st day of TIDE Fish Fest

Venue to be mentioned later

October 10th

Youth Conservation Competition - 2nd day of TIDE Fish Fest

Venue to be mentioned later

October 11th

Fish Fest - 3rd day of TIDE Fish Fest

TIDE Headquarters, Cattle Landing Village

October 12th

Pan American Day


Tide Tours - or call 2129


Tide Tours - or call 2129 Tide Tours - or call 2129


Public and Bank Holiday

TIDE’s Cultural Trail in Toledo Continued from pg1

The East Indian Experience:

The Mestizo Experience:

The East Indian Experience- A fifteen minute drive from Big Falls will take you to a small historic community of Forest Home, home to a vast majority of East Indians who first came to Belize as indentured workers to work on the sugar plantations in the 1800’s. A replica of a traditional East Indian home has been well preserved by one family who has many tools and antiques from generations ago. Learn about the history, traditional beliefs and how the East Indians have contributed to the growth of Belize’s economy.

The Mestizos of Belize have significantly contributed to our economy with their skills in agriculture and clothing and textile among others. Visitors will be able to try their hand at embroidery, weaving bags, making earrings and other crafts by “upcycling” plastics and tires. Ms. Mendez will enlighten you about other aspects of the Mestizo culture including its history, food, clothing and traditional beliefs.

Contacts: Creole — France Vernon 665-5024 Mestizo — Mirta Mendez 666-3229 Maya — Anita Cal 627-7408

The Garifuna Experience:

The Living Maya Experience: A scenic twenty minutes’ drive will take you to Big Falls Village where the Cal Family warmly welcomes visitors to immerse themselves in the authenticity of the Maya Culture. Here you will view the different tools which the Maya used for daily survival, their musical instruments, learn about the history and traditional beliefs of the Mayas and tour short medicinal trail. You also get a once in a lifetime experience to prepare a tasty Maya lunch from corn and other vegetables. The Living Maya Experience is also part of the Toledo Adventure Trail.

Punta Gorda is home to a large and vibrant population of Garinagu people. Ronald McDonald is well versed with playing the Garifuna drums and will have you dancing ‘Punta’ by the end of your session at the Warasa Garifuna Drum School. Well identified with the upbeat music from the Garifuna drums, you will learn how the Garinagus settled in Belize, their traditions, language and also spend quality time learning to play these drums in all forms of musical rhythms within its culture. View traditional gift items for sale at the Warasa Drum School.

East Indian — Elenor Tillet 664-4068 Garifuna — Ronald McDonald 632-7701 TIDE Tours—722-2129



Christmas Bird Count 2014 The Punta Gorda Christmas Bird Count this year tallied its lowest total (212 species) and lowest turnout (12 participants in four groups) in its fourteen-year history. This compares with an average of 245 species and twenty to twenty five people in the previous thirteen years. But we made up for the lack of species “Broad-winged Hawk” with four nevPhoto by Victor Bonilla er before rec-

orded on hicle trouble. Philip Balderamos, who has never the count: before missed a count, and each year brings down Broada contingent of top-notch birders from Belmopan, winged had his vehicle in the shop this year for repairs. Hawk, WilBut the weather cooperated, the birding was exlet, Forcellent, and ster's Tern, everyone and Great who partici“Forster's Tern” Photo by Alex Potoo pated had a Lamoreaux (pictures great day! attached). The turnout was low for two reasons, one good, and one not so good. The good news is that many of our past participants are now fully employed tour guides who have other respon“Great Potoo” sibilities -- like catering to the ever increasing Photo by number of tourists who are visiting Toledo at this time of year. The not-so-good news is veMario Muschamp


Sketch map of PG Town


Welcome to BTIA: Blue Creek Canopy Course In the heart of the jungle of Toledo, in the beauti-

logical Expedition (IZE) and is being used as a re-

ful village of Blue Creek, sit nine zip lines, fifteen

search centre for universities across the USA.

decks and a ninety-five foot suspended bridge

30,000 board feet of lumber and 14,000 feet of

owned and operated by Blue Creek Canopy

cable were used to construct the lines, decks and

Course (BCCC). The construction started January

the ninety-five foot suspended bridge which

18, 2014 with the course completed by the 1st of

brings you over two miles into the rainforest

June. All the construction work, surveys, and

treetops. They also offer tours to the Hokeb Ha

building on the property were done by a Belize

Cave, birding, medicinal trails and kayaking to

team of seven led by the manager Cesar Godinez


from Valley of Peace, Stann Creek district.

All of these tours are being guided by fully li-

Titanic Explorer, Bob Ballard and the Jason Pro-

censed and experienced tour guides and profes-

ject built a canopy walk on the same site in 1994

sionals who have been in the industry for over

which was enjoyed by thousands until it was de-

ten years. They make you feel very comfortable

stroyed by Hurricane Iris in 2001. The course is

and by the time you get to the third line you feel

built on a property owned by International Zoo-

like a professional. They have trained eleven villagers including three females that were selected by village leaders for ropes and harness training which also included Site Specific Guide

has been damaged in the process of building the

Training in September and October of

canopy course.

2014. They also did some apprentice training in December with selected candidates.

When you arrive at the entrance of the BCCC, you

Blue Creek Canopy Cours has been very

will then hike in for three minutes to the office,

active with the Blue Creek R.C School , one

where you will sign up and prepare for the lines.

of which is putting lights in the school,

You will then take a little hike up the side of the

working towards getting school supplies for

hill to the first line and from there the adventure

them and they continue to provide as much

continues. After which you could take a swim in

help where they could to the community.

the refreshing blue chilled pool of water. It is a family experience and one that you will not re-

The managers and owners of BCCC are very


protective of the natural beauty of the rainforest and have built around and through it. Old fallen trees have been used around the property and it allows access to the

Reservations contact: Ticket Agent:: PGTours 629-4266 Front St. Punta Gorda Town

highest points of the rainforest while minimizing the impact on the ecology. Nothing

Registered Tour Operators in Toledo District 2015 Always book your trip with a registered tour operator to ensure your guide has been trained & licensed and vehicles are properly insured

Tour Operator

Local Phone Number

Belcampo Lodge Big Falls Extreme Adventures Blue Creek Rainforest Lodge Cotton Tree Lodge The Farm Inn Garbutt’s Marine Investment Co. The Lodge at Big Falls Natural Adventure Tours PG Tours Reef Conservation International TIDE Tours Toledo Cave & Adventure Tours Wild Encounters

722-0050 634-6979 653-6533 670-0557 732-4781 722-0070 732-4444 533-3028 629-4266 702-0229 722-2129 604-2124 636-1028

Location Punta Gorda Big Falls Blue Creek San Felipe San Antonio Punta Gorda Big Falls Monkey River Punta Gorda Punta Gorda Punta Gorda Sun Creek Punta Gorda



Depart PG


Calling at...


Return to PG




Dump, Mafredi, Blue Creek

Mon /Wed/Fri/Sat


J ‘n’ L



San Felipe (for Ixcacao), Santa Ana, Midway





Big Falls

Dump, Jacintoville,





Crique Sarco

San Felipe, Santa Ana, Midway, Conejo, Sunday Wood










Golden Stream

Dump, Big Falls, Indian Creek





Golden Stream

Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee, Indian Creek (for Nim Li Punit)

Mon to Sat




Indian Creek

Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee

Mon to Sat




Indian Creek

Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee

Mon to Thurs





Mon to Sun





Mon to Sat













Medina Bank

Dump, Big Falls, Hicatee, Indian Creek (for Nim Li Punit)

Mon to Sat




San Antonio

Dump, Mafredi

Mon to Sat




San Antonio

Dump, Mafredi

Mon to Sat




San Antonio

Dump, Mafredi

Mon to Sat




San Benito Poite

Dump, Mafredi, Blue Creek (for Hokeb Ha), Santa Teresa





San Jose

Jacintoville, Dump, Mafredi, Crique Jute, Nah Lum Ca





San Jose

Dump, Mafredi, Crique Jute, Nah Lum Cah





San Vicente





San Vicente





Santa Ana

San Felipe (for Ixcacao)





Silver Creek

Dump, San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel

Mon to Sat




Silver Creek

Dump, San Pedro Columbia (for Lubaantun), San Miguel

Mon to Sat




Silver Creek

Dump, San Pedro Columbia (for Lubaantun), San Miguel

Mon to Sat




Silver Creek

Dump, San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel

Mon to Sat




Silver Creek

San Pedro Columbia, San Miguel

Mon to Thurs


Dump, Mafredi, Jordon, Santa Teresa, Mabilha, San Lucas, Corazon Creek, Otoxha

Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz (for Rio Blanco), Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte


Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz (for Rio Blanco), Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte

Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz (for Rio Blanco), Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte Dump, Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena, Pueblo Viejo, Jalacte

Emergency Numbers PG Police station: 722-2022 PG Hospital: 722-2026 / 722-2161 / 722-2145 PG Fire Department: 722-2032 National Emergencies (NEMO): 822-0153 Belize Tourism Board: 227-2420 / 227-2417 BTIA Main Office Belize City: 227-1144


TRANSPORT SCHEDULES Flights Depart Punta Gorda

Arrives Belize City

Service Provider

Depart Belize Intl.

Arrive In Punta Gorda

Service Provider



Maya Island Air



Maya Island Air



Tropic Air



Tropic Air



Maya Island Air



Maya Island Air



Tropic Air



Tropic Air



Maya Island Air



Tropic Air



Tropic Air



Tropic Air



Tropic Air



Maya Island Air



Maya Island Air



Maya Island Air



Tropic Air



Tropic Air

James Bus Line Schedule Departs P.G.

Arrives Belize City

Departs Belize City

Arrives P.G.



05:15am Express (except Sun)






06:00am (express)






























03:45pm Express


Boats To & From Puerto Barrios , Guatemala Service Provider

Dep Punta Gorda

Arrive Puerto Barrios

Depart Puerto Barrios

Arrive Punta Gorda

Requena’s Charter Service




















*Boats to Livingston depart on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 a.m. *Memos depart everyday to Livingston @ 1pm. (prices vary depending on quantity)

BTIA Toledo and The Toledo Howler How Do I Join BTIA?

Together we’re 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.

Visit to read about BTIA and all the membership benefits and to download an application form. Complete the form and hand it in at the Tourism Information Center on Front St.

Toledo Tourism Information Centre Front Street, Punta Gorda Town Mon to Fri 8am to 5pm Tel: 722-2531 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  Requena’s 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 Belize’s deep south!


New craft markets in Toledo There were around fifty people in attendance

The newly constructed vendor’s stall and the new

from surrounding villages of Indian Creek, San

walking trail at the archaeological sites will allow

Pedro Columbia and Blue Creek. The ceremony

visitors to enjoy their time and will give the locals

was addressed by Melissa Badillo, Archaeologist

a weather proof area to showcase and sell their

Institute of Archaeology/NICH, Kevin Gonzalez,


Director, Destination Planning Belize Tourism Board and Ambassador Paula Amadei, European Union. The inauguration of the stalls at the arCraft Market Blue Creek Village On January 21st 2015, A ceremony was held at Nim Li Punit to inaugurate new pathways and vendor stalls that have been built at the three archaeological sites of Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun and Blue

chaeological sites were part of a project funded by the European Union in conjunction with Belize Tourism Belize. The Project’s name was Making Tourism Benefit Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites (MTBCAAS).

Creek. At Nim Li Punit, a 250 foot gravel trail and

Villagers and Paula Amadei, EU

steps were installed and also a vendors’ stall. At Lubaantun, a vendors’ stall and a concrete and gravel stairway with safety rails leading to the visitor centre was built. Blue Creek now has a vendors’ stall as well. Other improvements at all three sites were the installation of directional, interpretative, warning signs and benches in designated rest areas. The new gravel pathways has made access to all three sites easier and safer. Craft Market Nim Li Punit, Indian Creek village

Craft Market Lubaantun, San Pedro Columbia Village



Advanced Skills Training for Toledo Tour Guides Association The Toledo Tour Guide Association (TTGA) through

know more and felt they had learned a lot. The

Community Management of Protected Areas for

instructor for this course was Mr. Christopher L

Conservation (COMPACT) funding, has joined


efforts to demonstrate how community based pro-

As a part of the project the staff and executive

jects can help alleviate stressors on the Belize Bar-

body of the Toledo Tour Guide Association did a

rier Reef System (BBRS)— World Heritage Sight

workshop on Marketing and Communications . The

(WHS), through educational programs that will

workshop was to equip the TTGA with some of the

prove beneficial to the system’s long term survival.

necessary information to better market them-

Development and conservation can coexist in har-

selves to tour operators and stakeholder partners.

mony. We should use the environment in ways that ensure we have resources for the future ,so that gen-

The marketing and communications workshop satisfied with the outcome.

covered various aspects such as educating tourists on their ecological footprint, appropriate codes of

erations can continue to enjoy them the same way

A navigation course was designed for one day for

conduct, cultural sensitivity, importance of conser-

we do today. There are many different resources

tour guides on the basics of Coastwise Navigation.

vation and protection of critical marine habitats

we need to conserve in order to live sustainably.

Each topic was covered by instructor in a class

(Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Sapodilla Caye

As part of the project the participants were taught

room setting using audio visual tools, basic naviga-

Marine Reserve), supporting local conservation

the importance of the BBRS-WHS.

tion equipment traditional and modern. The class

groups such as Toledo Institute for Development

was held in two sessions, first with only five partic-

and Environment (TIDE) and the Fisheries Depart-

ipants and the second session had nineteen par-

ment in park management, surveillance and com-

ticipants. Each session participants were given a

municating with tourists effectively.

The workshops on the Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage Site was done on two separate days with a total attendance of 65 members. The first workshop was held on October 31st and was given by

short overview of materials to be covered in class.

Ms. Denise Garcia of the Belize Fisheries Depart-

The information was presented in 6 sec-

ment. The second was held on November 26th and

tions highlighting each topic of out-

was given by Ms. Patricia Nightingale. Both work-

line .Audio visual materials were used,

shops stressed the importance of the Belize Barrier

maps, books, and hand outs. Examples of navigation tools were presented and talked about the importance of a good navigator having tools. Compass basics and how to use it were taught and an introduction to using a GPS was Presented along with other modern methods of navigation. Most Participants had knowledge of reading maps so the concepts of chart reading navigation was unknown. Emphasis was

Reef and its major role in Marine and Terrestrial Tourism. Ways to prevent more pollution of the BBR and how to protect it. Both workshops were successful and members of the TTGA were very

placed on the importance of local knowledge and safety when guiding with people. Overall the course was a success and the guides were eager to

Toledo Cave and Adventure Tours continued from pg3 “Culture is also part of our offering and we have recently added the Living Maya Experience in Big Falls and the feedback from guests is very positive. “I think we probably have the greatest variety of tours down here with about thirty different tour offerings but we could still be more imaginative in creating new tour options. For example, what about a tropical fruit adventure? We have so many fruit and Europeans especially want to see them and harvest them and taste them and see how they can be incorporated into recipes. A visit to the spice farm in Golden Stream followed by a tour of Eladio Pop’s farm already offers a wide variety of fruits and food. But long term the prospects for tourism in Toledo are excellent” Contact Tel: +501-604-2124



Contact Person




Shirleymae Parham


Beya Suites

Lisa Avila


Big Falls Cottages

Fransisca Bardalez


Canopy Course & Jungle Tours

Cesar Godinez


Catarina Choco

Catarina Choco


Coleman's CafĂŠ

Thomas & Pearleen Coleman

630-4069 /630-4432

Coral House Inn

Darla & Rick Mallory


Cuxlin Ha Resort

Dona Scafe


Eladio's Chocolate Adventure

Eladio Pop


Garbutt's Fishing Lodge

Dennis Garbutt

722-0070 /604-3548

Golden Stream Plantation

Thomas & Tessy Mathew


Grace Restaurant and Hotel

Pallavi Mahung


Hickatee Cottages

Ian & Kate Morton


Ixcacao Maya Belizean Chocolates

Juan Cho


Ixchel Women's Group

Tecla Acal


Indian Creek Village

Living Maya Experience

Anita Cal & Marta Chiac


Marigold Womens Group

Sarah Shol


Maroon Creole Drum School

Emmeth & Jill Young


Maya Bags Belize Crafts Ltd.

Desiree Arnold


Mountain Spirit Wellness Community Dr. Ana Arzu


ProWorld Belize

Nicole Andrewin


Prudencio Cucul

Prudencio Cucul



Polly Alford


Requena's Charter Service

Julio Requena


The Farm Inn

Renee Brown


The Lodge at Big Falls

Rob Hirons

732-4444 /610-0126

Tide Tours

Delonie Forman


Toledo Cave & Adventure Tours

Bruno Kuppinger


Toledo Tour Guide Association

BTIA Office


Warasa Garifuna Drumming School

Ruth & Ronald McDonald


Yum Kax Women's Group

Concepciona Coc


Robert Pennell


Wat’s Cookin? Dat smell gud! Banana Cream Pie



5 tbsp. flour

2 cups flour

¾ cup Brown Sugar

1 tsp salt

2 cups milk

2/3 cup chilled shortening

2 egg yolks

5 tblsp cold water

2 tsp vanilla

**Optional: you could use Gram Cracker Crust

1 tbsp. butter 2 – 3 sliced bananas Courtesy Of: Mrs. Barbara Nightingale

Directions: 1. Mix flour and sugar together, then add milk slowly, making a paste (no lumps), then add remaining milk. 2. Separate yolks and beat until lemony color. Set aside. 3. Cook #1 ingredients in sauce pan, place over a pot of boiling water, until slightly thickened. 4. Add small amount of mixtures to yolks, stirring constantly, then add yolks to rest of mixture. Cook another 3 – 5 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. 5. (Pour small amount into baked pie shell) then arrange banana slices over it, alternating banana slices with mixture, ending with mixture covering bananas.

Top with whipped cream and chill.

Review “How To Cook A Tapir” While The Howler itself is not known for publishing “breaking news” we are particularly late with this review for a book that appeared five years ago. Having said that, the author herself allowed the subject matter to mature for about forty years before committing her story to paper. The book chronicles the year she spent in Santa Elena village (referred to as Rio Blanco throughout the book) in 1962. She was newly married to a post-graduate student of anthropology. During the year in Santa Elena her husband was off visiting and interviewing people in almost every Mopan and Kek’chi Mayan community in the district while the author stayed home, became an entirely untrained primary school teacher and slowly forged friendships and became part of the village community. By the end of the year she had probably learnt far more than her anthropologist husband despite his copious note-taking. As the anthropologist, her husband was allowed to set the rules of behavior and he was anxious not to stand out in the community. So he imposed a no smoking rule on his wife, which she flaunted regularly when frustrated, and no hand holding or public expressions of affection. He might have overlooked the fact that they might stand out for other more obvious reasons. Each chapter of the book ends with a recipe from her time there and these get increasingly sophisticated as she learns to cook herself. Her first offering is described as “Convict Soup”. This consisted of one pack of Knorr dried soup mix with the advice to check that the cockroaches have not got to the soup before you and to make sure to boil it hard for twenty minutes to kill anything in the water. At the end of the book she is making a Chile

Verde pork caldo for feast days. And yes, on one occasion she is offered tapir meat and cooks a little of it having been starved of red meat for months but the critical reader should remember that this is more than fifty years ago. The recipes have been put together in more recent years with the assistance of Francisca Bardalez, Don OwenLewis’s daughter who runs Big Falls Cottages (see Howler 8.1) and include escabeche, calaloo, pumpkin soup and sesame coconut crunch among many others. For a book without too much drama, apart from almost being swept away in a flood, it is a compelling read populated by a cast of dozens of villagers who pass through her house to sit and stare or talk and listen while she slowly gets used to their ways, practices some recipes and learns that privacy is an unknown concept in Santa Elena. Another familiar presence throughout the narrative is Don Owen-Lewis (see Part II of The Howler’s Interview with Don on page 1) who becomes a mentor and friend to them both and who she visits to celebrate her twenty-first birthday during her husband absence to register for PhD studies in Guatemala City in order to defer the prospect of being drafted to fight in Vietnam. She is a perceptive observer and fairly nonjudgmental except where it comes to her husband, and the imminent demise of their new marriage is telegraphed by her wry asides and accounts of their clashes. She explains at the end the impact her time there had on her and why it took her so long to commit it to paper. “…Yes, it changed me, but I wrestled with the question for almost

fifty years before I could answer it. I brought my idealism to the Maya - my willingness to fall in love, and my desire to help - and they repaid me with their friendship. A fair trade all things considered. “But then I think about Cirila and Lucia and Maxiana and all the other women who accepted a white stranger into their lives and taught her how to cook, and I have to confess I got the best of the bargain.” Ref: ISBN 978-0-8032-1903-8 University of Nebraska Press 2009


Zedoary - Curcuma Zedoaria Zedoary, also known as white turmeric, is a

for food gardens and farmland. It is considered a

member of the Ginger Family (Zingiberaceae).

good “dynamic accumulator�: plants that accumu-

Other common names include Aruru, Zedoary

late nutrients necessary for plant growth and fruit

Root, and Angustura. It is a ginger-like root

development. They provide a friendly environment

with a thin brown skin and a hard, yellowish

for microbes that nourish the soil. Not to mention

interior. The aroma is similar to that of yellow

the fact that the blooming flowers are extremely

ginger, warm-spicy-woody-camphoraceous.

decorative, pleasing to the eye, and lift the human

Known publically as merely Turmeric. It is a

spirit. No farm or garden should be without a dy-

perennial herb. The large green oval leaves can

namic accumulator like Zedoary or White Turmeric

be 1 to 2 feet long and have a purple-colored

or Aruru or Zedoary Root or Angustura or ‌it

streak down their center.

matters not what you call it as long as you plant it.

Zedoary grows naturally in wet forest areas

Contributed by Arzu Mountain Spirit.

with tropical or sub-tropical climate conditions

like Belize. Being similar to ginger and turmeric, Zedoary is also a rhizome (underground

stem). The rhizome of Zedoary is large as well


as tuberous having numerous branches. The leaves of this herb are long and aromatic, while the

shredded root and used in a poultice to re-

seeds are oval or spear shaped. Zedoary produces

lieve inflammation, skin rashes, muscle

yellow hued blooms having green and red bracts.

pain, and to dress wounds. The freshly

The herb is propagated by planting small pieces of

shredded root can also be applied directly

its rhizome. It takes about two years for the plant

to the scalp to get rid of head lice.

to be ready for harvesting. Though it grows abundantly in Toledo Belize, it is native to India and Indonesia, where it is used as anti-venom for the Indian Cobra. Commercially, Zedoary is used in the manufacturing of liquors, stomach essences,

A tea made from the roots serves as a body stimulant and purifies blood. The tea can also be used to improve digestion, improve liver condition and normalize body temperature in cases of cold and fever. The tea is very effective in treating respiratory disorders. Capsules made from Zedoary root powder are used to help regulate menstruation, alleviate amenorrhea, abdominal pain, and rheumatic pain. The juice expressed from the root is taken to treat urine-

bitters, perfumes and cosmetics. But it is primarily an aromatic intestinal stimulant used to treat flatulence, colic, and for strengthening the digestive system. Traditional healers prescribe a bitter tinc-

related disorders, bladder stones, and urinary tract infections.

ture of Zedoary to prevent ulcers, as a gastro-

Zedoary does not

intestinal stimulant to calm flatulence, colic, and

only heal the human

vomiting. The bitter tincture can be taken daily

body but it also

(used prophylactically) to build the immune system

heals the earth in

and prevent digestive disease recurrence; as it

more or less the

tones the digestive track and all its organs.

same ways. A Zedo-

Zedoary has many properties that warrant men-

ary plant in the

tion. It is known by natural healers as an anti-

ground provides

inflammatory. A paste can be made from the

good medicine for the land, especially



The Way We Lived Then: Part 2 Continued from pg 1

wards to San Antonio.

“Oh, no. I want to die in my village”

built in four months as headquarters for Don as

1963 Moving to Big Falls

The local bush doctor said he could not do any-

the Maya Liaison Office.

After working for the government for ten years I

“It was when I was still down in Crique Sarco

thought it would be difficult to go back to civili-

that the governor Sir Colin Thornley flew in to

zation again. I bought myself a piece of land up

visit and he stayed the night in my little bush

in Big Falls; the road of course wasn’t built then.

house. That evening I was swinging in my ham-

The only people living in Big Falls were four

mock and he was marching up and down and

Spanish families who had come from Honduras.

suddenly exclaimed, “This is not good enough! I

No Maya at all. I bought the piece of land from

have nowhere to sit.”

the Palmas a little bit further downstream from

I said, “Sir, take my hammock.”

where Big Falls is now. It was all high bush; full

“No, no, no. I’ll get you some furniture.”

of animals but no people and I invited three or

thing more so I went to Punta Gorda and spoke to the doctor who was a friend of mine and described the symptoms. He gave me half a dozen medicines for hook worm and malaria and I bought a bottle of a patent medicine called Parrishes Food that was an iron supplement for anaemia. I gave all this to the bush doctor in the village with instructions and told the old lady that she would be dancing when he next saw her.

four families from Crique Sarco who I got on

And the next time I called by the village she had

“But sir, there is nowhere to put it.”

well with to come and keep me company.

indeed been dancing and she was in fact just

“Oh, you want a better house do you?”

They came, they prospered and half of Crique

“Well it might be a good idea.”

Sarco followed. Many of the Maya families here

“I’ll get you one.” He replied. So next time he flew in with an architectural drawing rolled up under his arm and told me he had the money. But it wasn’t just a house it was a compound with five buildings and my own house that was

in Big Falls were originally from Crique Sarco. I used to take whatever I grew down to Punta Gorda to sell on a trailer pulled by my Massey Ferguson tractor. It would take three hours each way at no more than ten miles an hour.

forty foot wide and sixty foot long; two storeys

I met a man named Jackie Vasquez who had a

and made of concrete, an office building and

somewhat controversial history and mothers

separate clerk’s and visitors’ quarters. I just

with small children who misbehaved would tell

needed to find a location more central in the

them that Jackie Vasquez would get them. Any-

district and I saw Tony Thriff who was the head

way he had a jaguar caller that he showed me

of forestry and said, “Tony I need to build a

and I was able to copy. It was a long calabash

thirty-five although she had looked like an old lady. And the other women in the village mobbed me and demanded the same medicine. But the lesson was that in this instance the bush medicine had no cure. In those days anaemia, hookworm and, malaria were three big killers. Infant mortality was horrendous. I was once on leave in England in the late fifties just after San Miguel village had been founded by a migration of the whole village of Santa Teresa with the exception of the bush doctor. The rains began and the villagers were drinking water from the river and the children got sick with diarrhoea and dehydration and forty-two chil-

house. Give me a piece of land.” And

dren of pre-school age died in that

he told me to get lost and go and

one village: all totally preventable

bug someone else. I said, “Tony, lis-

these days with the right medi-

ten. I only have three years of my


contract to go and when I leave you will inherit it.” “Oh,” he paused.

What Has Been Lost?

“Build it wherever you want.”

Honesty seems to have been lost

I looked at the map of Toledo. There

with creeping civilization. One did

was no Southern Highway but

not need a padlock in those days.

Machaca was half way along the San

To me it was golden age.

Antonio Road and seemed quite cen-

The other thing that has been lost

tral so that was where we built it. It

is the soil fertility because the soil

was probably the best building in

was not over-cultivated and the

Toledo at the time and was designat-

bush wasn’t cut too often. When

ed a hurricane shelter.

you did cut the bush you got a

I went on leave to the UK for five months and when I came back the building was up. We did not build all the other buildings in the original plan but I was allowed to use the money saved to push a road from San Pedro Columbia to San Miguel. We opened it, cam-

with a three inch diameter hole at each end and across one end was pinned a piece of deerskin with a small hole in the centre through which he had threaded some long horse hairs he had plaited together

crop: now because the bush is depleted you can’t. I farmed my land for forty years. It was high bush, big trees, some of them mahogany. I cut it and made pasture and initially the soil was strong and fertile but little by little it lost it and the cattle lost condition and I

bered it, put up a hog fence and built the con-

Medicinal Healing

had to give up on cattle after about fifteen

crete bridge over the Columbia branch. We also

These days there is a lot of competition for a


used a bulldozer from the Phillips oil company

bush doctor with antibiotics and malaria drugs

I was just lucky that that was the time they had

close by to open a road all the way down to La-

and things like that. There was once an old lady

cold weather in Florida and citrus became

guna. The village did not exist then but was

lying in a hammock in Santa Teresa.

profitable. But you can’t even grow citrus now

I said “How are you feeling?” And she replied

because the fertility has gone and you can’t re-

“Oh, I want to die, I want to die.”

place it except by letting the trees come back.

founded a short while later by families who moved from San Miguel. San Felipe was founded by other families from the same village. During my time at Machaca we also put in a telephone line from PG to Machaca and on-

That’s what I see as the future. The future of I said “We can take you to PG. We’ll get a hammock to carry you”.

Toledo is trees.


Developing Local Artisans in Toledo Handmade products represent the earth, the

uct development.

natural materials and the mind of a country´s

During 2013 to 2014 “Making Tourism Benefit

people. They connect the visitors with a place

Communities Adjacent to Archaeological Sites

and allow them to take a tangible remem-

(MTBCAAS)” project (co-financed by the Euro-

brance of their experience. Handicrafts are life

pean Union, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB)

expressions and belonging, geographic spaces

and the National Institute of Culture and Histo-

and history.

ry (NICH)) worked with thirty artisans from all

In today´s global world, the need to make these

over Belize to develop their handmade prod-

appealing enough to visitors from all over the


world while retaining their cultural values and

The challenge was to keep their cultural identi-

interest is a challenge that needs to be ad-

ty and at the same time make them current

dressed through professional design and prod-

and appealing for a global market. This was done through product development with professional design guidance provided by a Crafts Specialist, Daniela Viscarra from Bolivia and a Local Coordinator, artisan Sharondale Humes. In Toledo the work was developed with three

selves in their culture and use of natural re-

women’s groups Ixchel, Yum Kax and Fajina

sources. The training also offered important

who produce basketry, embroidery and cala-

concepts for costing and pricing business devel-

bash works, the Chiac family from the Living

opment and sales. The Brand “Unique Belize”

Maya Experience and also with individual lime-

was created during the project to further sup-

stone carvers. The final products were the first

port the artisans’ sales.Due to the talent and

step for the Belizean artisans to raise the quali-

enthusiasm of the artisans the project exceed-

ty and perceived value of their work.

ed expectations. The launch event and exhibi-

The training also provided some tools for them

tion presented 227 new handmade authentic

to be innovative always bearing in mind the

Belizean products from four districts.

target market interests and to inspire them-

Association of Tour Guides In Toledo New Members 2015 Name Address Ananstacio Sho

Blue Creek

Anselmo Cholom

Indian Creek

Dolores Ack

San Miguel

Evarlina Coy

San Pedro Columbia

Edwin Sho

Blue Creek

Francisco Chub Jr.

Blue Creek

Francisco Sho

Blue Creek

Harry Lee Jones

Punta Gorda

Jose Vellos

Forest Home

Maria Ack

San Miguel

Marlon Cal

San Pedro Columbia

Petrona Chiac

Blue Creek

Rousana Romero

San Pedro Columbia

Vicente Ack

San Miguel

The Association of Tour Guides in Toledo would like to inform its members that we will be having our next meeting on May 29, 2015 and every two months after being August 28, 2015 and November 27, 2015.


Welcome to BTIA New Members! Robert Pennell Robert Pennell is a born Belizean and he is the seventh of twelve kids. His dad was an agent for Maya Airways and his mom was a full time mother. Robert grew up in Punta Gorda and has built his life here. After finishing school he started working as an agent for Maya Airways and later on transferred to Tropic Air where he has been the manager of the Punta Gorda station for fourteen years. While doing his regular duties Robert became involved in BTIA as a member and treasurer for three years. He served on the board of BTB as the southern representative and sat on the finance committee for two years. While on the board for BTIA, he is one of the founding members of the Chocolate Festival of Belize. He worked along with BTB to get the lease on a property that now brings income to the BTIA Toledo Chapter. After his position as treasurer for BTIA he focused on other things in life and has now decided that he would again like to be a part of BTIA Toledo and help to improve the growth of tourism within Southern Belize.

When asked what he would like to see happen for Toledo, he said “Tourism is growing in the country but not as fast in Toledo, so I would like to see more investments in restaurants, hotels, tours and properties etc. which will help the growth of tourism in the south. We also need more investment in marketing and more training of the sector's human resources. We should also become more cognizant of the National Sustainable Tourism Master Plan and develop our own strategic plans off it.” Welcome Mr. Robert Pennell! Marigold Women’s Co-operative The Marigold Women’s Co-operative is one of several similar groups in Indian Creek village on the Southern Highway. The group was established in 2011 by Ms Mariana Shol who with six other neighbors began selling home-made bread and cakes around Indian Creek village itself. The group is housed in nice new building painted green and yellow and set back but visible from the main southern highway that passes through Indian Creek. This building was made possible by a grant from a north American Presbyterian Mission “Self Development of People” While Indian Creek village still lacks electricity the house is powered by an array of

solar panels. Following this the group has also received assistance from the Belize Rural Development Fund administered by the YWCA and with this have bought two delivery bicycles and other kitchen equipment. The group can also do catering upon request and make tamales, caldo, bollos, shoot, cacao drinks and other items. They have entertained groups from local NGOs, demonstrating their craft making skills and Mayan cultural dances to the accompaniment of the marimba and Mayan harp. Their cultural presentations include demonstrations of making corn tortillas on a comal (cast iron hot plate) on their open fire hearth, using the metate (grinding stone) for grinding corn or cocoa beans and demonstrations of basket and cuxtal making (woven shoulder bags). To arrange a visit call 620-6084 and speak to Sarah Shol or e-mail


Profile for Belize Tourism Industry Association: Toledo Chapter

The Toledo Howler Volume 8 issue 2  

The Toledo Howler for spring and summer 2015 giving news and stories about the Toledo district of Belize and lots of reasons for travellers...

The Toledo Howler Volume 8 issue 2  

The Toledo Howler for spring and summer 2015 giving news and stories about the Toledo district of Belize and lots of reasons for travellers...