My Top Six Reasons for Visiting Belize's Chaa Creek
My Top Six Reasons for Visiting Belize's Chaa Creek
After our vacation at Belize’s Chaa Creek earlier this year, I rave about the place all the time and have confidently steered a few friends in that direction. I say confidently because I have no doubt that no matter what their ages or interests, anyone will find something there to please and even excite them.
Rather than keep repeating my mantra of good things about Chaa Creek, I thought I’d list my
Top Six Reasons for a Chaa Creek Vacation:
1. It’s breathtakingly beautiful
From the moment you arrive – check that, from the moment you are picked up at the airport by the friendly driver/ cum guide, you know that you’re someplace special. After a lovely, interesting ride in we were greeted by a the most welcoming, warm staff I’ve ever met. Just walking to our thatched roof rooms through tropical gardens we were immediately struck by what a paradise this place is. And that feeling only builds during canoe rides down the Macal River, horseback riding through miles of jungle trails, excursions to ancient Maya temples, nature walks… it goes on and on.
2. The amenities are excellent
The owners have got the balance between nature and built-in luxury down. Rather than appearing to be plonked down in the rainforest, this place really does harmonise with the surroundings, so that even while the accommodations are exquisite, the restaurant and lounge excellent, the Hilltop Spa gorgeous and professional and with everything else exuding an understated elegance, it all seems to fit. Where else can you go from absolute nature to lounging around an infinity pool and enjoying excellent dining?
3. The people are wonderful
I was reading some Trip Advisor comments and notice how many times they mention the staff. And no wonder. I’ve travelled quite a bit, and can honestly say that nowhere have I met a more friendly group of people than at Chaa Creek. They are extremely professional, but in a very human way, and seem to genuinely care that you’re having a good time. The barman told me that most people are local and that entire families work at Chaa Creek, some for over 20 years, and it shows. Show me another place where people seem so happy to be working there and I’ll go in a flash.
4. It’s flexible
Often with all-inclusive vacation packages, especially affordable ones, you’re locked into a rigid program. The Chaa Creek approach is different, and they seem to want you to get your money’s worth, no matter what your interests are. I wanted my wife to learn to ride a horse, so we included that in our program at the last minute. Not only was she riding the next day, but they had carefully selected the right horse, spent time letting them get to know each other, and then patiently got her confidently in the saddle.
Even though Chaa Creek is inland, set in a 365 acre private nature reserve surrounded my ancient Maya archaeological sites and abandoned cities, if you want to go visit Belize’s stunning Caribbean assets, such as the coastal villages, cayes (we tried Ambergris Caye – what a treat!), the world’s second largest barrier reef and that amazing great Blue Hole, no problema. There’s an airstrip close by with regularly scheduled flights, and Chaa Creek arranges everything for one set price.
Apparently the same goes for weddings and honeymoons. You describe what you want, they try to make it happen. It’s nice to know that some people still believe that the customer is always right!
5. There’s so much to do – or not to do
Our travel agent called Chaa Creek Belize’s “Destination within a Destination”, and now we know why. There’s too many tours and activities to list here but suffice to say you won’t get bored. We spent a day just wandering around, learning things at the Natural History Centre, having a swim, visiting the butterfly farm, the Maya organic farm where they grow much of the restaurant’s’ food, the Maya Medicinal Plant Trail, which I found particularly fascinating, having another swim, stopping for cold drinks at the lounge and then watching the day unwind from our own veranda before going over for dinner.
And that was before we got serious about excursions to nearby Xunantunich, the mind-blowing ceremonial cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal and doing day trips such as canoeing down the Macal River to San Ignacio town and enjoying a lovely ride around remote Vaca Lake on a motorised pontoon raft. Even the evenings were full with the after dark “Creatures of the Night” nature walks, socialising at the lounge and just having time to enjoy each other’s company in these beautiful, tranquil surroundings. Never once did we feel any pressure to get the most out of our holiday – it’s just all right there and we were like kids in the proverbial candy shop.
Four days of this casual luxury and you almost had to pry us out with a crowbar to catch the flight to Ambergris Caye for more swimming, snorkelling and a great Caribbean holiday that’s as good as anywhere else we’ve been in the Caribbean, but without the crowds and prices of some places. Again, everything was arranged by Chaa Creek and we were treated like royalty by their colleagues by the sea.
6. It’s Easy to get to
Sure, there are other great places in the world, but another thing I love about Belize is its proximity to North America, and the ease of getting there. And with three US airlines, Delta, American and United, now offering new direct routes into Belize City from major hubs including New Jersey's Newark Airport, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte and Los Angeles, it’s easier than it ever was to get there. And once you land at Belize’s international airport, Chaa Creek picks you up and can handle all in-country transfers, such as flights to the Caribbean, tours to nearby Guatemala and the like.
We went from cold grey New Jersey to swimming and enjoying tropical weather in one relaxed morning.
How easy is that?
I could go on, but you probably get the picture. We were very happy campers (oh yeah, there’s the more budget-priced Macal River Camp there as well, but that’s another story) and can’t say enough about the place, the people, the food and pretty much everything. Belize is an amazing country, and Chaa Creek, for my money, is the best way to experience it.
And you can take my word for it. My friends did, and they say they’re glad they did.