The Best Off-Grid Activities In Belize For Nature-Lovers
While forest-bathing is an ancient Japanese art to those versed in the intersection of nature and wellness, it may be novel to ones searching for deeper meaning in their travels. More travelers are ditching their screens after being glued to them for the past decade. Now, it’s all about soul searching in nature. Many scientists agree that spending time in forests can reduce the body’s production of cortisol, the stress hormone. And we know too much stress can lead to health issues – mental and physical – like depression and high blood pressure. As we aim to make self-care more than just a trendy term, it’s time to gift ourselves the privilege of Mother Nature’s whims.
With this in mind, it’s nice to see that Instagram itineraries are out, digital detoxing is in. Many destinations are leaning into this paradigm shift, too. Funnily enough, Belize has always been at the forefront of nature-first vacations.
In fact, The Lodge at Chaa Creek was an eco-friendly resort before the term was even coined. Since then, the Lodge has dedicated decades of the most enriching experiences to nature-lovers from all walks of life. As you look to plan your own digital-detox itinerary this fall, be sure to add the below best off-the-grid activities to your list.
Pontoon at the Vaca Lake
This experience can be a tad ironic since you’ll want to reach for your phone camera the moment you lay eyes on the waterfalls. But there’s arguably no better way to experience the pontoon ride than being in the present. Vaca Lake is a six-mile-long man-made waterhole just a few miles upstream from Chaa Creek and is an underrated adventure. You’ll forget about your worldly duties as you sit atop the curious-looking open-concept boat, surrounded by the jungles of Belize. Instead of looking at multi-colored Scarlet Macaws, green iguanas, and howler monkeys through a screen, you’ll face them IRL. By the time you arrive at the three stunning waterfalls, the urge to check your Twitter feed will melt away. All you’ll want to do is bask in the nature of Belize. Whether that’s taking a swim at the waterfall, having a picnic on the banks of the lake, or an exploratory hike in the jungle.
Canoeing Down the Macal River
Mere steps outside your room at the Lodge at Chaa Creek is the historic Macal River. Used as a water highway by the Mayas a millennia ago, the Macal holds thriving flora and fauna which you can see via canoe (complimentary to Chaa Creek guests.) You’ll want to leave your electronics in your room before setting sail on a small, wooden canoe. Strap on a life vest and start paddling – you can either leisurely paddle for a bit or work out those arm muscles by paddling all the way downstream into downtown San Ignacio. Like any nature activity in Belize, native wildlife and surprising critters will make cameos along the banks of the river.
Exploring a Nature Reserve on Horseback
A 400-acre reserve sure makes it easy to explore the intricacies of a tropical jungle – especially if you’re on horseback. At Chaa Creek, our stable caretakers ensure both you and your beloved four-legged ride are happy before setting off into the wildness of Chaa Creek. The experience, which lasts for about a couple of hours, takes you through jungle trails at a languid pace. This way, you can appreciate every minuscule detail crafted by Mother Nature herself. Each speck in a Blue Morpho’s wings, each yelp erupting from spider monkeys’ lungs, each dash made by a coatimundi. You won’t feel this experience no matter how many articles you read online.
Early Morning Bird Watching
At Chaa Creek, the well-known idiom “the early bird catches the worm” takes on a literal meaning, as the best bird sightings are at dawn. Each Chaa Creek guest is loaned binoculars along with one of our knowledgeable nature guides. With the dew still sitting comfortably atop our lush lawns, the group will set off on exploring the skies and high branches for feathered friends. Green-headed parrots hide behind leaves, woodpeckers gleefully awaken their slumbering neighbors, and brown jays swoop low to say hello. In this moment, nothing matters except you and the connection with the various zest-filled surroundings at Chaa Creek. For the better part of an hour, you’ll be learning new bird calls, excitedly pointing out target species, and making new nature-loving friends.
Chaa Creek as your Escape Base
Doing off-grid activities may instill images of boredom or isolation from the outside world, but it doesn’t have to be. The above activities are proof you can leave your devices and still make the greatest connections known to mankind. To help you get started, send us an email at reservations[at]chaacreek.com.