Chaa Creek certainly has our vote
The world’s most carefree travel destination? That’s a pretty big claim, so let’s unpack it.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek sits within a 400-acre private nature reserve owners Mick and Lucy Fleming built over time – ever since they settled in a remote part of the former British Crown Colony back in the 1970s.
Originally intending to farm, the Flemings found their rustic little home was increasingly mentioned though backpackers’ word of mouth, aka the coconut telegraph, as a place in Western Belize where travellers could stay – a rarity at the time – often in exchange for helping with chores.
When their first child came along and the house became smaller, the Flemings built a simple hut out of materials sourced from the surrounding jungle. Soon BZE $8.00, or US $4.00, bought visitors a night’s lodgings and a plate of whatever Lucy rustled up for dinner that night – always rice and beans, with chicken or, when lucky, game meat or pork and homegrown veggies.
When Belize tourism exploded in the 80s and 90s, the Flemings employed or helped their neighbors to also get a slice of the tourism pie, creating a network of friends and a lot of lasting goodwill.
Today that friendship and support is apparent in the place Chaa Creek holds in Belizean hearts – mention that you’re staying there and people immediately smile. And in a small country like Belize, that goodwill goes a long way.
The other benefits to Chaa Creek’s slow, organic growth are equally apparent. The Flemings built around the environment, so that Chaa Creek blends in with, rather than dominates nature.
It’s a setting that goes a long way towards relaxing mind and body.
Adding to the carefree nature of a Chaa Creek idyll is the sense that, from the moment you’re picked up at Belize’s international airport until you’re dropped back off, you and your family or friends are their guests and completely looked after.
Chaa Creek’s naturalist guide drivers and the eco-resort’s 160 staff members are all Belizean locals who know and seem to love their jobs. Being surrounded by so many warm, friendly people and acres of pristine rainforest gives a sense of comfort and security that can’t help but put you at ease.
Even when canoeing down the Macal River to San Ignacio town – a highly recommended morning or afternoon trip – in the midst of pristine wilderness, you feel at ease. And when you get to town you’re greeted with the same courtesy and friendliness you find at the resort.
And there’s another reason why I consider Chaa Creek to be the most carefree destination on the planet – the number of things to do right at Chaa Creek means you don’t need to leave this little slice of paradise.
With an excellent restaurant and lounge serving farm-to-table meals, a generous infinity pool, canoeing, guided or self-guided birding, hiking and horseback riding along miles of well-maintained trails, the onsite Hilltop Spa, Belize Natural History Museum, Butterfly Breeding Farm, Maya Medicinal Plant Trail and Maya Organic Farm, it’s no wonder travel agents call Chaa Creek Belize’s “Destination Within The Destination.”
And if you want to see the rest of Belize, travelling with Chaa Creek Inland Expeditions’ fleet of air-conditioned vehicles, driven by experienced naturalist guides connected to nationwide network of colleagues and partner resorts on the Caribbean coast and cayes, gives that same sense of serene security.
With so much going on in the world these days, I’m looking forward to returning to Belize and Chaa Creek with my family. Sometimes it’s just good to get away and enjoy, what for my money, is the world’s most carefree vacation.
Thanks, Belize and Chaa Creek.