Chaa Creek Luxury Resort

San Ignacio, Chaa Creek Road, Belize

Often referred to as Belize‘s original eco-lodge, Chaa Creek opened in 1981 as a simple rain forest hotel. In the decades since, it has become one of the country’s most popular options for upscale jungle accommodations, winning awards for its hospitality and its practices emphasizing environmental sustainability. Guests have two main options in terms of room types and price points. Luxurious rooms and suites are in the main lodge, featuring polished wood or tile floors and locally made furniture; the simpler, more budget-friendly casitas sit along the Macal River. The latter are sparsely furnished and offer few distractions. Guests of either room type have access to the property’s amenities and grounds, which include a natural history center and butterfly exhibit, a rain forest medicine trail, binoculars for bird-watching, and canoes for paddling along the river.

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Luxury in the Jungle

If you want to spoil yourself in between climbing Maya ruins or exploring the depths of the Maya underworld, the Lodge at Chaa Creek is the place. Even Prince Harry and Bill Gates think so, as they both stopped by during visits to Belize recently. Rooms are decorated with local Belizean and Guatemalan furniture, and there is nothing the staff won’t do for you. The infinity edge pool is a beautiful respite from the midday heat.

Sacred chocolate at primisima ceremony

At sunset, from a lesser Maya archaeological mound near the Lodge at Chaa Creek, we drank sacred chocolate and prayed to the four directions. Ceremony was led by Rosita Arvigo, author of “Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer.”

Visit the Butterfly Farm at Chaa Creek

Chaa Creek is a private nature reserve and resort located on 365 acres close to the Maya Mountains, near the Macal River. Since 1981, owners Mick and Lucy Fleming have been welcoming visitors who want to learn more about the land, the history and the culture of Belize with a focus on sustainable, green practices. They have now opened a nature center in addition to the spa and resort. A main building divided into two exhibits showcases Maya history and information about the animals and insects that are native to the country. A short walk away from that building is the butterfly farm and outdoor classroom where rangers allowed me to see Blue Morpho butterflies up close. I was also able to observe them in the varying stages of their life cycles, and I learned how long it takes them about 115 days to go from a pale green egg, to a hungry caterpillar, eventually culminating in a full grown butterfly.

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