I swore that I was not a resort girl. I was fighting them tooth and nail. I wanted to prove to myself that, somehow, I was a “true” traveler. I didn’t need the luxury. We’re hardcore right?
My world was turned upside down when we were invited to Chaa Creek in San Ignacio, Belize.
Situated in the heart of the Belizean rainforest, they brought everything I could imagine to the table. One of the big things that really drew me to Chaa Creek was their social responsibility as a company to keep their resort green and sustainable. How many other places put 10% of their room revenue back into the community – supporting environmental, educational, and community programs? This is something that we care deeply about it and I am proud to be able to support Chaa Creek in this endeavor.
We arrived dusty, hot, and sunburned after making our way on a ferry, 2 chicken buses, and a taxi over a period of 10 hours. As we fumbled up to the front desk we were greeted with a hearty hello, a complimentary cup of jamaica juice, and a cold towel that smelled phenomenal. We quickly gulped down the deliciousness and took a moment to bury our scorched faces into the towel. Little did I know that this would set the precedent for the rest of our stay.
We were taken through a quick tour of the property that carried a calm and ethereal ambiance. Tiki torches, candles, and lights lit the paths, bar, restaurant, and the pool. Everything gave off a glow that was welcoming and warm.
Our guide left us at our personal bungalow complete with robes, hammocks, bottled water, enough towels to be able to clean a small army, and an incredibly comfortable bed. After being in hostels and on the boat, we quickly jumped in and made ourselves a comforter burrito… but not before the solar shower – with HOT water. *swoon* With the distant cry of the howlers in the morning, we found ourselves in a small slice of heaven. There is nothing in the world quite like the sounds of a rainforest.
I think I gained all the weight I had managed to lose during the course of our trip due to the meals. I like to eat. *pokes stomach* The restaurant didn’t disappoint. During our stay we had a traditional Belizean breakfast, french toast, a breakfast burrito, fresh coffee, ceviche, corn fritters, beet tostadas, thai salad, jicama salad, steak with a pesto sauce, fish chowder, chicken kabobs, coconut shrimp, and a rich chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream on top. Obviously not all at once but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have given it a go if I had the opportunity. Everything was artfully put together and I just barely remembered to take pictures of the food before I shoved it into my mouth.
There are so many free things you can do there that are part of the Chaa Creek eco resort as well. Here are a few things that we did:
Natural History Museum:
From the history of the Maya to the flora and fauna of the area, Shaun and I were able to geek out at all the information and specimens presented. My favorite part of this area? The Blue Morpho Butterfly Farm. Those pretty blue butterflies you see everywhere are kept in a hands on area where you can experience these beauties landing all over you. (I just hope you’re not creeped out by bugs.) I can’t even fully express the glee I had when interacting with the Blue Morphos.
Take a canoe and head up the Macal River. If you can make it up the third set of rapids, there are some awesome areas to picnic, a botanical garden, and ruins. Shaun and I only made it up the second set before giving up. I’m not sure if it was because we were lazy or that another argument on how to steer the canoe was going to end up in WWIII.
Regardless, the moments of serenity afforded you views like this.
…and our very popular picture of canoeing with our feet in (I swear Shaun was helping too. I’m not his pack mule.).
The hike there is beautiful as well:
The Rainforest Medicine Trail
If you’re into plants, this hike covers quite a bit. If you show up on the hour, you get a free tour of the area. Many trees and bushes are labeled with descriptions of the genus and overall makes a very scenic hike as you make your way next to the Macal River.
The Salt Water Swimming Pool
As a kid growing up in Arizona, Shaun always had a pool in his backyard. In the 15 years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him so excited about a pool. We took the opportunity to take both day swims and night swims (to peek at the nearly full moon in the rainforest). Although I think people get annoyed with how playful we are in the pool. 😛
If you’re looking for something a little more budget friendly, they also offer the opportunity to stay in the Camp Casitas at the end of the Medicine Trail. This campground is super cute! With a bonfire ring, a kitchen that serves breakfast and dinner, along with all the activities mentioned above, you have everything at your fingertips!
To say the least, we were impressed and I may have been converted. Dare I say that Shaun and I are considering making a resort stay part of our yearly itinerary? Chaa Creek showed us that all inclusives can also line with our ecological ethics. As we found ourselves wrapped in the lap of luxury, I realized that occasionally, even the most hardcore traveler just needs to splurge for a couple of days. We not only rested our bodies, but our minds. If it is good enough for Prince Harry, it is good enough for us!
If you’re looking to make your way to Belize this summer, make sure to make your reservations at Chaa Creek as they are celebrating the 2013 Summer of Love sale. Until June 14, 2013, they are offering 20% off of all accommodation – and in the month of May, you can also receive 10% off the “Belize Swim Suits and Hiking Boots” tour package which takes you from the the amazing beaches of Placencia to the Mayan ruins of Tikal. You really can’t beat that!
Make sure to include them in your summer vacation plans!
Disclosure: We were guests of Chaa Creek, however all opinions are our own. I mean, come on, look at those pictures. We can’t lie about dreamy!