Hamanasi, a Belizean beauty connected to community
Hamanasi understands the importance of preserving Belize’s tropical ecosystems and its biodiversity by taking continual steps to be more environmentally aware. In collaboration with its staff and guests, the resort actively makes a difference from the protection of tropical forests to the water of its world-renowned coral reefs.
General Manager Launce Roberts said, “Hamanasi is very proud to be re-certified by Green Globe. Being sustainable is critical to our success, as everything we offer requires a healthy ecosystem and thriving indigenous cultures. We try to look at areas of concern and identify holistic steps we can take to improve and protect, including educating our guests, employees and the community.”
Hamanasi has implemented a multi-pronged approach to minimize lionfish in Belize waters. Lionfish are an incredibly invasive species that are wreaking havoc throughout Caribbean waters. These voracious eaters will continue to eat regardless of whether they are hungry. With no natural predators in the area, they are decimating juvenile fish populations. First, Hamanasi educates guests about how the invasive lionfish is not welcomed. They offer a Lionfish Spearfishing adventure where guests receive instruction on how to spearfish and then are accompanied by a dive master to catch lionfish while scuba diving. Additionally, Hamanasi’s dive team conducts periodic hunts to catch the fish. All caught fish are recorded with the information being sent to the Belize Fisheries. The fish are then filleted and turned into delicious dishes by Hamanasi’s chefs. Finally, lionfish fins are made into beautiful jewelry, which is available in Hamanasi’s gift shop. Guests love doing their part to help reduce the lionfish population. Hamanasi has caught over 12,000 lionfish since 2012.
Hamanasi believes that preserving habitat is crucial to sustainability. Recently, Hamanasi began reforesting an adjacent parcel of denuded land that it had purchased. The goal is to restore the habitat to its original littoral forest state. To date, they have planted over 1,200 trees and shrubs, with at least a similar amount more to be planted. Already, wildlife, including various birds, lizards and agoutis are making use of the new habitat. Hamanasi is building three new deluxe treehouses in this area. Furthermore, the resort helped plant trees in surrounding communities, including mangroves and Hamans (Tropical Almond trees) with the Pan American Development Fund. These trees help to minimize erosion and provide habitat for juvenile fish.
Hamanasi’s Green Team led by Seleem Chan, Hamanasi’s Sustainability Manager, is an active force at Hamanasi and in Hopkins Village. The Green Team installed garbage bins on the compound of the Hopkins School. They helped educate children about the importance of keeping the environment clean. Moreover, the Green Team leads the Hopkins Eco Club, which gathers local kids each month and educates them about various sustainability topics. The kids are very eager to learn and participate. Each August, the Green Team hosts a Back to School Festival, where kids from the surrounding communities have an afternoon of fun with arts and crafts, games, learning about CPR, organic gardening and composting and sampling foods. Needy children receive backpacks filled with school supplies. Every week, the Green Team hosts a Green Happy Hour, where Hamanasi guests can learn about and sample the property’s various sustainability initiatives. Guests are always surprised about the amount of things the resort does and regularly comment how these efforts enhance their experience and that they will try some of the ideas at home.
Hamanasi has a detailed and intensive monitoring program for energy and water usage. Fuel, butane, water and electricity are measured each month to determine if there are any anomalies in usage and how they can reduce overall quantities. As monitoring is done at different locations, areas of concern are pin pointed and any problems are addressed quickly. For example, after Hamanasi made a concerted effort to convert to ever more efficient lighting they could accurately measure a decrease in electrical consumption.
Last year, Hamanasi implemented a workplace wellness program as healthy employees are happy and productive employees. A partnership was formed with Belize Family Life Association (BFLA), which visits monthly to address important health topics and provide free, confidential testing and education to all employees on a voluntary basis. Monthly testing includes blood pressure, weight, HIV status, pregnancy, etc. Employees have received breast, prostate, eye and dental exams among others. When eyes were tested, over 39 employees received glasses, which Hamanasi helped purchase through a payment plan. Most employees previously only visited a doctor when there was a problem. This program has allowed them to receive the regular care they need and take charge of their health. As they learn, they are sharing their newly gained knowledge with family and friends. This November Hamanasi is excited to expand this to include fitness and nutritional training.
About Hamanasi Adventure&Dive Resort, Belize
Nestled between the lush Maya Mountains and the turquoise Caribbean Sea, Hamanasi is a special place from which you can explore the best of Belize on and offshore. A secluded, intimate boutique resort located on the beach south of Hopkins, Hamanasi sits on hundreds of feet of Caribbean Sea beachfront surrounded by tropical flora on the finest stretch of beach in Belize. With a short flight from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New York, Panama City or San Salvador you may let the warm tropical breezes melt away your hectic life for the laid-back pace of Belize.
About Green Globe Certification
Green Globe is the worldwide sustainability system based on internationally accepted criteria for sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism businesses. Operating under a worldwide license, Green Globe is based in California, USA and is represented in over 83 countries. Green Globe is an Affiliate Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). For information, please visit www.greenglobe.com
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