Last week, to celebrate Belize’s 40th year of independence (on September 21st), Jeff and I headed out to western Belize for a magical two day and two night stay at the absolutely impeccable, over-the-top impressive, paragon of all the best-of-Belize, I wish everyone could experience it just once…The Lodge at Chaa Creek.
The Lodge is also 40 years old this year – the very first jungle lodge in Belize – and the IDEAL place to spend the holiday. In awe of the beauty of Belize.
If you have a moment, read the story of the owners and founders, Mick and Lucy Fleming. To imagine them cutting into the jungle in the late 1970s…and building all of this from scratch is pretty incredible.
And for this Royal Lover, I had to ask which unit Prince Harry stayed in while he was in Belize. When I learned that we were sleeping in the same villa where he laid his ginger head less than 10 years ago?! Unbelievable.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek has 30 suites, cottages, cabanas and villas, each so different and special and LUXURIOUS, set on 400 acres of gorgeous flowers and plants, butterflies and toucans. A large beautiful spa, a small museum, a restaurant with really great food, a relaxing bar and outside lounge, some of the world’s best staff…
I couldn’t help but wonder: Does The Lodge at Chaa Creek need an onsite blogger? I mean seriously. A few months of each year…I could come, stay, explore and take photos…sample all the different accommodations…give everyone the inside scoop on the spa and the excursions and the spa? Maybe work in the vegetable gardens, tend to (ie, pet) the horses…I really wouldn’t be too much trouble…
Let me just get to my trip and my photos.
Our delicious sorrel drinks and peppermint iced wash cloths when we first arrived.
Freed of our bags and our road dust, we were escorted to our Tree Top Villa.
The paths around the resort are lined with lights that glow so beautifully in the evening.
And passing the gorgeous infinity pool…
And the pretty cottage just above the pool…all the rest of the accommodations are quite hidden. Tucked away for privacy.
Ours. Set on a hillside sloping down to the Macal River, the villa has a wrap around porch, our own hidden plunge pool, a beautiful sitting area in the bamboo to enjoy our morning coffee, an impossible comfortable bed…
And the view from our pool.
Click around on some of their accommodation options – and the beautiful photos of each. 40 years of collecting art and choosing beautiful antiques and fabrics – you can see how much LOVE and care has gone into the creation of Chaa Creek.
I could EASILY stay in this pool/bed/lounger all day – for my entire stay in fact. (Jeff did not want to leave the “largest shower he’s ever seen” with the “most incredible water pressure he’s ever felt” but there are lots of on-site activities (many of them complimentary) And we needed to get started.
We headed up the hill to visit the Natural History museum and the Blue Morpho Butterfly exhibit.
Here is one of 100s we saw. You’d be surprised how hard it is to take photos of moving butterflies.
We saw some of the artifacts found at the over 70 Maya sites on the 400 acre property – and read up on the animals living in the area. And then to the butterfly house! Butterflies at all stages of life – from their glossy little eggs laid on just the right type of leaf – to pretty piles of papaya and watermelon covered in the full grown Blue Morpho Butterflies and two other kinds.
Have you ever pictured yourself surrounded by neon colored butterflies -a bit like Snow White? This is your spot…they are absolutely beautiful.
As we were heading down the hill, I heard CRICK CRICK…CRICK CRICK! The only bird I know by its call…the KEEL BILLED TOUCAN!
Three of Belize’s national bird flitting about right over our heads! On Independence Day! And we heard and then saw more over the next few days.
The next morning, we set out early, before the sun got too hot, on a guided RTV tour of the property. Twisting and turning up and down some of the trails around the property.
Chaa Creek has 24 gorgeous horses that you can also take out to explore.
We stopped at this pretty lookout where you can spot the Maya site of Xunantunich on a neighboring hilltop.
And a fallen log covered with our national flower – the Black Orchid.
We stopped at the organic farm where I asked 101 questions, gathered callaloo seeds, basil, local lime and some excellent gardening types that I hope translate to my garden.
We visited the immense woodworking shop where they hand craft all of the beautiful furniture at Chaa Creek. Some from fallen trees on the property and hardwood salvaged from the river. This is no small operation!
I love the signs for speed bumps below – the sleeping policeman. We also woke a sleeping dog on our way back to the lodge. I had to take his picture.
Our lunch that day? We were helping to prepare it. Chaa Creek has an onsite cooking hearth- where each day they teach a small group of guests how to make some Belizean favorites.
They offer: Creole food, Garifuna, Mestizo, East Indian and Maya.
We were preparing Creole food – over an open fire. A traditional fogon.
The menu? Shrimp Ceviche and Stew Chicken with Rice and Beans.
The recipes and the spices to bring home!
Ms Mariela showed us how to make the most delicious food…with the smoky taste of the open fire. AND…the very best part. I really feel like I can do this myself. Stewed chicken and rice & beans is not so mysterious. It does not take all day to prepare.
But I will leave that to another blog. To make sure I can crack the code at home.
And then…THEN perhaps my favorite activity of all. The spa.
How gorgeous are these stone bowls filled with flowers?
I melted into the table…overlooking the jungle and surrounded by the calls of birds. Heaven.
Everyone, all the staff, was so helpful and knowledgeable and so rightly proud of Chaa Creek. Many have worked here for decades and you can feel it. Jeff and I were always greeted by name (magic!) and with a smile…around every turn. It just FEELS good to be here.
This lovely art display just down the hill from the restaurant.
I’m going to force myself to wrap this up but I…can not say enough about The Lodge at Chaa Creek. It really is a one-of-a-kind experience and showcases the very best of Belize. From the the lovely staff and the beautiful craftsmanship on display everywhere, to the unique feel of each room and the privacy to the incredibly flora and fauna, Chaa Creek really embodies so much of what is unique and amazing about Belize.
I can’t wait to come back!
You are gonna want to save this one on Pinterest.