Dog Care in Belize

dogs in belize

Belize is very devoted to its dogs, and animal care is a priority for the SAGA Humane Society. Katia Marin and Heather Beck are the directors of the SAGA HS and bring a wealth of training and experience to their positions.

Katia Marin owns Pampered Paws, a leading pet grooming facility in Belize. She trained as a groomer in Texas. But in 2003, after getting her Masters in Dog Training in New York, Katia and Pampered Paws was able to offer overnight care, daycare, and dog training.

Katia has gone to several conferences on animal welfare and this year came to the US to workshop with some of the country’s leading dog experts. She trained at the Cesar Millan’s Dog Psychology Center where she was a workshop volunteer and learned about things such as E collar training, animal behavior, dog herding, and pack walks.

Heather Beck is owner of Utah’s K-9 Lifeline, and gave a workshop on coping with difficult dogs, which was both lecture and hands on training.  With Heather, Katia learned many techniques including dealing with socializing dogs, difficult dogs, collar and leash training.

Katia and Heather have a great concern for the dogs on Ambergris Caye. This year they will offer to train an officer to be Ambergris Cay’s official dog catcher. They will also continue to attend seminars, lectures and workshops to increase their skills and knowledge, and improve their awareness. It is their great desire to be good advocates for the dogs on Ambergris Caye, to improve care and medical services, and to work to find “furever” homes for the homeless dogs on the island.

Check out the original Ambergris Today article here.

The Eclectic Music of Belize

music in belizeBelize may be a small country but it has had some big influences. From the impact of the Maya, to influences from both Europe and Africa, Belize has had many different styles of music over history, and integrated all of them into styles unique to Belize itself.

The musical influences of Europe and Africa were at odds, with European music being much more structured and not percussive like the African styles. The quadrilles, waltzes, and other more rigid forms of music and dance found in Europe were nothing like the free and more overt ones of Africa. The African influence encouraged musicians to take up instruments like the marimba, which is similar to the xylophone.

The four main styles of music in Belize now are Kriol, Metizo, Garifuna and Maya. These were the cultures of the greatest influence.

Kriol is the most common music to be heard in Belizean homes. It is the result of the coming together of African and Central American cultures, and is characterized by brukdown, which uses instruments such as guitars, accordions, steel drums, the jawbone of an ass, shells, and banjos.

The Metizo culture’s music is centered around the marimba a percussive instrument, which is known to have come from West Africa., and helps to provide the basis of the Metizo sound.

As for the Garifuna, according to Lorenzo Gonzalez whose article for Belize Adventure was published in Culture and Heritage, Things to See and Do, “The Garinagu proudly showcase their culture and music is a very important part of it. Their most popular music is called Punta: an upbeat dance style tune that revolves around the beating of drums and the movement of your hips. One artist who has done a great deal for Belizean music in the international music scene is Andy Palacio…he tapped into the soulful side of Garifuna music and got people listening instead of only dancing.”

The Maya influence is also very rhythmic, and characterized by the use of the percussive marimba; but another traditional Maya instrument is the Maya harp, which is made using wood from the rainforest.

While other music, such as rap, hip-hop, rock, and metal can be heard in Belize, the more traditional influences are the most popular, even amongst the younger set.

Belizean music is full, rhythmic, and has a rich history. It is wonderful that the inhabitants of Belize have integrated all these various influences into its musical tapestry.


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The Many Flavors of Belizean Food

Belize FoodBelizean cuisine is, quite literally, a melting pot of cultures, including Caribbean, African, Spanish, Mayan, Mexican, and even American flavors. However, those scared off by exotic and unfamiliar foods need not fear. With so many influences, you’re sure to find plenty to enjoy. Belize also shares a similar meal schedule with the United States (although their lunch can be slightly heavier). Mealtime is mostly informal, a fun and enjoyable chance for families to gather and share delicious food.

As with many cultures around the world, both beans and rice are major parts of the Belizean diet. Be careful not to confuse “rice and beans”, cooked in coconut milk together, with “beans and rice”, where beans are cooked separately and served over rice. Most of the beans you’ll come across in Belize will be of the red variety, but black beans are used as well.

A Belizean breakfast might include a plate of red beans with eggs. It’s often accompanied by baked “johnny cakes” or fried “fry jacks”, two fluffy, biscuit-like creations. For lunch and dinner, dishes are likely to revolve around Belize’s strong seafood offerings. Fresh fish like grouper, snapper, and mahi-mahi, as well as lobster, shrimp and conch, are a few favorites. Chicken and beef are also widely served. For the more adventurous palate, a unique selection of wild game can also be tried. Common in Belize are gibnut, a large, rabbit-like rodent, and iguana, which, many claim, “tastes like chicken”.

Many times, meat is served in stews. There are dark and spicy, gumbo-like stews inspired by Belize’s Creole population. Others are made with coconut broth, including hudut, often served with mashed plantains, and sere. Both hudut and sere are fish stews.

Much of Belize’s cuisine that is more familiar to American tourists is a result of the country’s Mexican-American influence. Carts on the street sell tacos, meat pies, and Belizean takes on tostados and empanadas. And if there’s one thing no Belizean restaurant or household can do without, it’s hot sauce. Marie Sharp’s, a habanero based hot sauce, is the most popular brand in the country. Sometimes, a simple concoction of habaneros, onions, and vinegar is enjoyed with meals.             

In addition to the main course, Belize has some terrific snacks. You might munch on some conch fritters, or enjoy ceviche, a Belizean take on salsa with chopped raw fish, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro marinating in lime juice. Belize is also home to a wide variety of refreshing tropical fruit, including mangoes, papayas, pineapples, melons, star fruit, and bananas. For a different type of refreshment, there’s plenty of beer in Belize, including brews from their own Belize Brewing Company. Rum, the common Caribbean pleasure, is the most popular liquor in Belize.

The vibrant cuisine of Belize is just one of many reasons why more and more people are visiting the country. Consider taking advantage of the excitement by investing in commercial property with Belize Shores Realty, bringing you the best in Belize.


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