Did you know that the Belize Black Howler Monkey is one of the top 10 loudest animals in the world? This is one of many things we learned and experienced at Chaa Creek.
In 1981, the Chaa Creek Experience was created by owners Mick and Lucy Fleming. This young couple were traveling through Belize in 1977 and met the owner of an overgrown 140 acre farm on the Macal River in the Cayo District. Soon, they moved to this property and before long, they were living off the land. They started to outgrow their small farm with more than home grown vegetables. The Flemings welcomed two children, and then guests, and the word spread….more travelers who heard about the farm, wanted to come visit and stay.
Inspired by the rich Belize culture and respect for diverse ecology, they pioneered sustainable, nature based tourism with Belize’s first jungle lodge. At the base of the Maya mountains, and in the heart of the rainforest, they have grown 365 acres of a private nature reserve into an award winning Belizean Rainforest eco lodge – Chaa Creek Lodge.
“Wildly Civilized” is their tagline and sums up their philosophy of how adventure travel can coexist with nature. For the past 30 years, they have set their roots in Belize, lived their dream, shared their passion. Mick and Lucy care. They live what they believe.
The result? With a team of 130 local Belizean professionals, they share their labor of love at Chaa Creek where their guests can enjoy the natural beauty and adventure of the jungle with the comforts of home.
Chaa Creek Lodge and its “Wildly Civilized” approach to adventure travel has been highly recognized throughout the World. In the Reception area, a wall displays numerous awards that are a testament to The Flemings. They raise the bar in the Caribbean region as one of the best examples of sustainable ecotourism.
Recognized by Conde Nast Magazine, Travel and Leisure Magazine as “Top Ten International Eco-Escape“, and Trip Advisor “World’s Top Hotels & Resorts“, rated the “Top Belize Resort” by the Belize Tourism Board, and “Best Adventure Destination for 2012” by National Geographic Adventure Magazine, rated by Caribbean Travel & Life Readers’ Poll as the “Best Eco Resort & Hotel” in the Caribbean for four years running.
After checking in, we were escorted to our cottage and excited to have the Chaa Creek Experience. The trails are lined with lush vegetation and some of the tallest trees I’ve ever seen. Hearing the howler monkeys and birds along the way to your jungle home is magical. Listen to the soundtrack of jungle noises on the Chaa Creek website at: www.chaacreek.com .
How are the Accommodations?
The family owned Chaa Creek Lodge focuses on comfort and wants their guests to have a good night’s slumber. There are 23 palm thatched cottage rooms to choose from – Complete Garden Suite, an Orchard and Spa Villa, Macal Cottage or Tree Top Suite.
For guests who want a off-the beaten-track experience, you can opt to stay in the inexpensive Camp Casita Package, and have the ultimate jungle experience in one of the small bungalows that stand on raised platforms with airy peak-roofs.
How’s the Cuisine?
Chaa Creek provides many options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast, you can have local Belize food with freshly made corn tortillas, black beans, eggs and salsa, or banana pancakes. You can either choose lunch and/or snacks at the Bar. We loved the Salbutes, a Belize staple – fried corn tortillas with chicken, onions on top.
For dinner, we enjoyed fresh vegetables from Chaa Creek’s organic garden, and Chef Mario Alejandro Mendez prepared an Argentinian Chimichurri sauce to marinate local meat and then grilled it to perfection. The flavors were amazing!
Chaa Creek Activities Concierge
So much to do at Chaa Creek….whether you are alone, with friends, family, children, there’s something for everyone! Chaa Creek has an Activities Concierge onsite to help you customize your eco tours and adventure activities that cater to all ages and interests.
Chaa Creek has its own stable with well groomed horses. Our guide Hilberto helped Jen and her 4 yr old daughter Cora, and myself mount our horses “Cinnamon”, “Chicita”, and “Romeo”, and led us on the reserve’s trails up to the highest point at Chaa Creek where a few of the 70 unexcavated ancient Maya archaeological sites on the reserve have been located.
Canoeing – canoeing on the Macal River was a blast! River guides can join you or help you with your canoe equipment, and direct you up and down the river. We climbed into our canoe and went down the river at dawn and then again at dusk. At times, the river was still and calm, and when the current picked up, we had to paddle a little harder. We quietly observed the life along the river, and spotted horses, iguanas and different species of birds.
Hilltop Spa at Chaa Creek check in at the Hilltop Spa at Chaa Creek set above the Macal River with a spectacular view of the mountains and rainforest. Bryony Fleming, Spa Owner, oversees a trained staff of professional therapists. There are many treatments to pamper you including one of the most popular massages called “The Coma”….90 minutes of relaxation! You can have your massage outside in a peaceful setting where you can listen to tropical birds sing and feel the Caribbean breeze – jungle luxury at its finest!
Enjoy the Infinite Pool – you can relax at the Lodge’s infinite pool that overlooks the Chaa Creek landscape.
Creature Night Walk – search for tarantulas and other crawling critters and possibly a jaguar sighting on a night walk with naturalist guide Allan Chan.
Early Morning Bird Watch – join naturalist guide Allan on nature walks along miles of trails where over 300 species of tropical and migratory birds have been recorded. We listened to the birds wake up the rainforest with their morning songs, and spotted toucans, parrots, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, chachalacas.
Onsite Natural History Museum Center, Butterfly Farm and Rainforest Mayan Medicine Trail – take some time to visit the onsite museum, and the Butterfly Farm where you can see the beautiful iridescent Blue Morpho peleides, known as Belizean Blue butterflies. Walk the Rainforest Medicine Trail dedicated to Don Elijio Panti, who died at 103 yrs old. Don was a traditional healer and regarded as the last Maya Shaman, master healer of Belize. Dr. Rosita Arvigo documented every ancient herbal remedy he shared, that has attracted modern medical scientists around the globe. Don’s efforts have provided over 500 plants for cancer and AIDS testing and research.
Enjoy the Chaa Creek Lodge pathways and lush vegetation, and visit the onsite organic farm.
US Toll Free Tel: 1-(877) 709-8708
UK Local Tel: 0-207 096-0329
Other Destinations in Belize:
Chaa Creek partners with premier tour & excursion providers throughout Belize and at island resorts like Ambergris Caye, Placencia and other Caribbean vacation destinations. Chaa Creek can work with you to plan the ultimate, all inclusive Belize beach and rainforest vacation packages.
To keep Belize green, Chaa Creek’s motto is“We Reduce, Re-use & Recycle!”
Mick and Lucy recognize the need to protect the “vibrant yet fragile” ecosystem that surround them, and take precautions to be sensitive with construction, materials, and find creative ways to recycle, and minimize impact on the environment.
They actively promote sustainable, socially responsible tourism practices and encourage cultural exchange.
The Flemings assure guests that “10% of all room revenue goes directly into environmental, educational and community programs, and in supporting worthy groups and causes. This and other initiatives under our long running Chaa Creek Cares program ensure that your stay provides tangible benefits to Belize and Belizeans.”
Global Adventuress thanks Mick, Lucy & Bryony Fleming and the family of Chaa Creek Lodge staff for hosting us during our stay!