Jungle Adventures at Chaa Creek in the Cayo District of Belize
After spending a few days exploring the Mayan temples in Tikal National Park, our travels took us to the Lodge at Chaa Creek, an award winning eco-lodge located in the Cayo District of western Belize.
Since its inception in 1981, the 365 acre private nature reserve has steadily become a tourist destination all on its own. Our guide books and online research had good things to say about Chaa Creek, so we were excited to be invited to check out the jungle lodge for ourselves.
While being escorted to our room, our host pointed out all of the onsite activities that were available to guests. We quickly realized our first mistake – one night was not going to be enough!
Belize’s well-traveled Cayo District is loaded with outdoor adventures – cave tubing, zip lining, mountain biking, jungle hiking, horseback riding, river canoeing, bird watching, temple exploration, and the list goes on. What we really liked about staying at Chaa Creek was that we could do most activities within the nature reserve.
One could easily spend a week playing in the jungle, yet never leave the resort grounds.
Here are some of the things to do at Chaa Creek:
- The Spa – this jungle oasis captures the essence of tranquility. Have a massage outdoors by the infinity pool, the relaxed atmosphere forces you to unwind with the soft sounds of nature
- Natural History Centre – Chaa Creek has pioneered sustainable tourism in Belize, providing natural and cultural history for both local and international visitors. Guided tours run hourly
- Butterfly Farm – specializing in the breeding of the Belizean Blue, one of the world’s largest butterflies, the farm allows visitors to observe the stages of transformation from pupae to adult. We visited the farm on our own but guided tours are available
- Rainforest Medicine Trail, Naturalist Hikes and Maya Organic Farm – the 365 acre nature reserve is home to numerous species of mammals, reptiles, flora, fauna, herbs, vegetables, fruit trees and over 70 ancient Maya sites
- Bird Watching – over 300 resident and migratory birds live in the area, making it an excellent spot for bird watching. Professional guides are available throughout the day
- Horseback Riding – Chaa Creek has horses for all skill levels, which was ideal because Cameron has only been on the back of a horse a couple times. Check out the video of our horseback ride through the nature reserve
- Mountain Biking – with over 6 miles of biking trails, there is enough terrain for all levels of experience
- Canoeing the Macal River – although guided trips are available, we decided to go downstream to San Ignacio on our own (which took 2.5 hours at avg pace). A jeep from Chaa Creek can pick you up in San Ignacio and bring you back to lodge after you spend some time discovering the town. You can also go upstream and stop at the Belize Botanic Gardens
- Creatures of the Night Walk – each night brings different creatures, so it’s always a mystery as to what might be seen. Our hope was to see a Kinkajou and tarantula spider, but we came up short that night. We did see a couple scorpions, tree frogs, cutter ants and tarantula holes. It’s always a little creepy hiking in the jungle at night, especially when you get right into the thick bush
Our guide showing us a scorpion on the night walk
Before arriving to Belize we assumed all of the jungles in Central America were similar, but that’s not the case. The jungles of Belize are quite different from the jungles in Costa Rica and Panama, which tend to experience more rain and different climates. We found the jungles in Belize to be more dry and hot, but we were also visiting during the hottest time of year.
When we think of the word “eco-lodge”, we have visions of rustic outdoor conditions that are one step above camping. Although the award winning eco-lodge is located deep within the nature reserve, 5-star travelers will feel right at home at the luxurious jungle resort.
After a fun day of horseback riding through the jungle, we thoroughly enjoyed soaking in the romantic infinity pool, surrounded by dozens of colourful birds and thick forest. The accommodations were very spacious and comfortable, and we especially loved our private outdoor shower.
Here are Twitpics of our jungle lodge and our private outdoor shower.
The Chaa Creek infinity pool at sunset
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