Belize Glossary

Overview of Belize Information


Belize - an independent, sovereign and democratic country located on the Caribbean coast of Central America, bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and south, and by the Caribbean Sea to the east. This former British colony is approximately 2 hours by air from the United States. The local currency is the Belize dollar (BZ$), fixed at a rate of US$1.00 to BZ$2.00. The climate is subtropical with an average temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Belize Barrier Reef  is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize, roughly 300 meters (1,000 ft) offshore in the north and 40 kilometers (25 mi) in the south within the country limits. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300 kilometers (186 mi) long section of the 900 kilometers (560 mi) long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is continuous from Cancun on the northeast tip of the Yucatan through the Riviera Maya up to Honduras, making it the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, popular for scuba diving and snorkeling. It is Belize's top tourist destination, attracting almost half of its 260,000 visitors, and vital to its fishing industry. Charles Darwin described it as "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies" in 1842.

Belize Blue Hole –  is a large underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize. It lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 100 kilometers from the mainland and Belize City. The hole is circular in shape, over 300 meters across and 125 meters deep. It was formed as a limestone cave system during the last glacier period when sea levels were much lower. As the ocean began to rise again, the caves flooded and the roof collapsed. Believed to be the world’s largest feature of its kind, the Great Blue Hole is part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef System, a World Heritage Site of the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Belize City –  is the largest city in the Central American nation Belize. Unofficial estimates place the population of Belize City at 70,800 or more people. It is located at the mouth of the Belize River on the coast of the Caribbean. The city was almost entirely destroyed in 1961 when Hurricane Hattie swept ashore on October 31. It was the capital of British Honduras (as Belize was then named) until the government was moved to the new capital of Belmopan in 1970.

Belize Zoo – is a zoo in Belize, located 31 miles west of Belize City. Set on 29 acres, the zoo was founded in 1983 by Sharon Matola. It currently possessed over 125 animals, all native to Belize.  The Belize Zoo receives almost 15,000 school children every year and was the recipient of Belize Tourism Board's 9th National Tourism Award, "Educational Award of the Year" in 2009.

Cayo District – is the second largest district and the main destination for nature-based tourism in Belize

Placencia Belize – Placencia is a peninsula (and a village of the same name) located on the Caribbean coast of the Stan Creek District in Belize.

Ambergris Caye Belize – Ambergris Caye, pronounced "am-BER-gris", is the largest island of Belize located northeast of the country in the Caribbean Sea. Though administered as part of the Belize District, the closest point on the mainland is part of the Corozal District. The Caye (pronounced as "key", meaning an island, derived from Spanish: cayo) is about 40 kilometers (25 mi) long from north to south, and about 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) wide. It was named after large lumps of ambergris which washed ashore here.

Caye Caulker Belize – Caye Caulker is a small limestone coral island off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean Sea measuring about 5 miles (north to south) by less than 1 mile (east to west). The town on the island is known by the name Caye Caulker Village. Some have said the island's name is derived from the practice of caulking or sealing the seams in wooden boats to make them watertight, due to the high number of shipwrights on the island.

Chaa Creek – A  private 365-acre nature reserve set along the banks of the Macal River in the foothills of the Maya Mountains that provides a unique rainforest experience for thousands of people while maintaining an unspoiled ambience. Chaa Creek Inland Expeditions caters to the traveler looking for both physical and intellectual challenges, and our range of programs and activities has been designed to stimulate interest in the environment, culture, natural history, and archaeology of Belize.

Natural History Museum –The Chaa Creek Natural History Centre, situated at the top of the hill behind the cottages, takes students and visitors along a fascinating timeline, which begins with prehistoric land formation through to the shifting of the continents

Scuba diving in Belize – Belize offers all ranges of diving from shore diving in shallow water to the Great Blue Hole that is over 200 feet deep. In addition, the barrier reefs offer excellent diving for beginners like the Hol Chan Marine Park a few miles south of Ambergris Caye. Many dive sites offer a range of dives from beginning to experience.

Snorkelling in Belize –  Belize is perfect for tropical snorkeling. The clear warm waters of the Caribbean are saltier than in temperate region which creates extra buoyancy for swimmers and allows anyone to feel comfortable while exploring the reefs with a mask and snorkel.

The Macal River camp –  The river camp has been designed for outdoors people who enjoy rustic accommodations in a remote setting and does not provide electricity. Comfortable beds with clean linens, pillows, towels and blankets assure a good night's rest after a day bushwalking, canoeing, or other rainforest activities.

The Macal River –  The Macal River is a river running through Cayo District in western Belize.  The size of the Macal River catchment basin is approximately 1492 square kilometers. The Macal River rises in a rugged portion of the Maya Mountains and flows in a northerly direction where it joins with the Mopan River to form the Belize River.

Chaa Creek Butterfly Farm – The Blue Morpho Butterfly Farm continues to be a major attraction as people marvel at the splendid iridescent wings of these magnificent butterflies. The "Belizean Blue" can be observed during every stage of their life cycle.  

Creature of the Night Walk –A night tour where experienced and knowledgeable naturalist guides will take you through trails populated by Ocelots, Howler Monkeys, Tarantulas, Patoos, Jaguarundis and many more intriguing rainforest residents.

The Maya - American Indian people of who were the first inhabitants of Belize and had a culture characterized by outstanding architecture, pottery and astronomy.

Tikal Maya Temple –  Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya Civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala.

Xunantunich Maya Temple –  Xunantunich (shoo-NAHN-too-nich) is a Maya archaeological site in western Belize, about 80 miles (130 km) west of Belize City (Latitude : 17.083 , Longitude : -89.133), in the Cayo District Xunantunich is located atop a ridge above the Mopan River, within sight of the Guatemala border. Its name means "Stone Woman" in the Maya language ( Mopan and Yucatec combination name), and, like many names given to Maya archaeological sites, is a modern name; the ancient name is currently unknown. The "Stone Woman" refers to the ghost of a woman claimed by several people to inhabit the site, beginning in 1892. She is dressed completely in white, and has fire-red glowing eyes. She generally appears in front of El Castillo; ascends the stone stairs and disappears into a stone wall.

Caracol Maya Temple – Caracol is the largest known Maya site in Belize and one of the biggest in the Maya world.  Caracol was a Classic Period urban center that spread out over 55 square miles with an estimated population of 180,000 people.  Caracol's enormous central core area covered 15 square miles and was linked together by more than 20 miles of "sacbeobs" (causeways) that radiated outward from its epicenter.  The temple "Caana" rises 42 meters above plaza level and to this day is the largest man-made structure in Belize.  Over 70 formal tombs have been excavated and many hieroglyphic texts have been found on stelea, altars, and ball court markers, capstones and wall facades. Ocellated Turkeys are one of the many wildlife species that you will find in this area. This region is also known as an excellent location for birding.

Cahal Pech Maya Temple – The Cahal Pech Maya site and Visitor Center are located in the Cayo District on a hill overlooking the beautiful town of San Ignacio. Its closeness to town and the vast contrast from town life to rich jungle environment make Cahal Pech a unique place to visit.

El Pilar Maya Temple – El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna is located north of Bullet Tree Falls in the Cayo District, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from San Ignacio. El Pilar means, "pillara" in Spanish, and it was named after an army camp in the area. El Pilar lies in an area that had been cultivated for many years with numerous farms. The site is located on high terrain, giving the visitor a beautiful view across the Belize River Valley.

Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave – Actun Tunichil Muknal (Cave of the Stone Sepulchre) is one of the most impressive caves in the Maya region that is named after a sacrificial chamber deep within the cave. It has rare altars in front of which the Maya elite collected and offered their blood.  This wet cave is located within the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve near Teakettle village in the Cayo district. It is an hour and fifteen-minute drive from Chaa Creek, after which there is a 45-minute hike. The hike includes three stream crossings and takes you through the 6,700 acre. The trail is flat, clean and shaded. At the end of the hike you arrive at the Actun Camp where you will have a picnic lunch before entering the cave.

Barton Creek Cave –  Barton Creek Cave is one of the most famous caves in all of Belize, one of the largest in the world, being estimated more than 4.5 miles long. It is located near San Ignacio in the Cayo District.

Caves Branch – Caves tell the history of Belize, having been an intricate part of the Maya religion and culture. The Maya used caves as ceremonial sites and evidence of these activities can be found for substantial distances inside these caves. Relics, principally in the form of shards of pottery, are very common.

Jaguar Paw Cave system – Cave tubing down the river at Jaguar Paw provides an opportunity to experience the fascinating underworld in a fun, unique way. Belize boasts one of the most extensive cave systems in Central America which the ancient Maya utilized for shelter and ceremonial purposes. Here is an opportunity to experience this fascinating underworld in a fun, unique way.  Your tour will follow a choice of trails through a forest with an abundance of flora and fauna.

Mountain Pine Ridge – Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is a nature reserve in the Cayo District of southern central Belize. It was established in 1944 to protect and manage the native pine forest. Its boundaries are poorly defined, but it is estimated to cover an area of 106,352.5 acres (430 km²), although much of the reserve has been leased.

The Maya Gold all-inclusive Vacation Package – is a 7 night Belize Vacation that offers an exceptional and exciting potpourri of specialized Maya Temple exploration and reef snorkeling tours to pick and choose from. With this package, you can design your own holiday experience from start to finish.

The Belize Barrier Reef Vacation – is a 7 Night Belize Vacation Package with your choice of 3 and/or 4 nights stays at either Portofino resort or Chaa Creek.

Bird watching Vacation packages – is a five night/six days birding expedition package that offers both the expert and casual bird watcher an exciting opportunity to view toucans, trogons, humming birds, parrots and numerous other baby fledglings as they hatch from their eggs to become the newest residents of the Belizean rainforests.

Belize Eco Kids Summer Camp – A week long summer camp program to educate children about biodiversity, natural resource conservation, the ancient Maya, traditional healing, and the three "R's" Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Belize Inland Vacation Package – is a wildly civilized Belize Vacation  where you relax in charming palm-thatched cottage accommodations and dine on tropical fare in our candlelit dinning room. It also includes a canoe trip on the Macal River, horseback riding and mountain biking through jungle trails, guided visits to Maya Temple Sites and caves, nature walks and visits to the butterfly farm.

Inland/Island Adventure Package – A 7 Night All Inclusive Vacation Package with your choice of 3 and/ or 4 nights stays at either Turneff Flats Resort or Chaa Creek. Start on either a Wednesday or a Saturday:

Belize Wedding Package – wedding packages that create once in a lifetime experiences, leaving memories that will be cherished forever.

Maya Rainforest Wellness Retreat – a muti-day package that incorporates Maya temple sites, eco-adventure, jungle spa treatments, guided-naturalist experiences, organic food, and luxurious accommodations in a tranquil, rain forest atmosphere which promotes the healing and healthy aspects of Chaa Creek's pristine eco-system.

Christmas Vacation Package – a unique Christmas holiday experience that will transport you to a bright new world set within Chaa Creek’s 365 acre nature conservancy reserve along the banks of the Macal River in the verdant foothills of Belize’s Maya Mountains.

Family Adventure Travel – a vacation package where visitors can enjoy a wide rage of activities like horseback riding through jungle trails, canoeing, bird watching, visiting Maya temple sites or the resort’s own Blue Morpho butterfly farm or being pampered with Belize spa treatments in our beautiful world class spa.

Affordable Family Vacations – one of the best available family packages available. See the exciting itinerary. Day 1:  Transfer Int'l Airport to Chaa Creek.  Orientation and gift package upon arrival. Day 2:  Natural History Centre/Butterfly Farm.  Nature Rules Treasure Hunt. Creatures of the Night Hike. Day 3:  Canoe Trip to Cristo Rey Village.  Village tour. Canoeing to San Ignacio and Lunch in Town. Day 4:  Horseback riding to Maya Site. Tour of Xunantunich Maya Ceremonial Temple. Day 5:  Return to Belize City. *(Other Arts and crafts projects available throughout the program).

The Eco Kids Adventure Program – an amazing learning course for children between the ages of 6-10 and 11-15, steeped in active fun and adjusted to match the educational level, physical ability, and curiosity of individual participants. 

Chaa Creek’s Honeymoon Vacation – a vacation package where you will  enjoy a bottle of fine champagne in your private Jacuzzi, share a candlelit dinner under the huge thatched canopy of our well appointed dining room, and relax with a wide assortment of professional treatments in our hill top Spa. Whatever your choice may be you can be assured of a quality experience you’ll remember for life.

Go Green Belize Eco-Package –  an all Inclusive Green Vacation package that offers discerning guests itineraries that focus on local culture, environmental conservation, sustainable development, traditional healing, the ancient Maya, and social and environmental stewardship.

Jungle and Sea Package – A 7 Night Belize Inland & Beach Package with your choice of 3 and/or 4 night stays at either Roberts Grove Resort in Placencia or Chaa Creek in the Cayo District. 

Los Dos Cayos Package – A 7 night Belize inland & island vacation package with your choice of 3 and/or 4 nights stays at either Victoria House Resort in Ambergris Caye or Chaa Creek Resort in the Cayo District. 

Surf and Turf Vacation Package – A 7 Night Belize Vacation Package with your choice of 3 and/or 4 nights stays at either Mata Chic Beach Resort in Ambergris Caye or Chaa Creek Resort in the Cayo District. 

Swim suits and Hiking boots – A 7 Night Belize Vacation Package with your choice of 3 and/or 4 night stays at either Chabil Mar Villas in Placencia Belize Chaa Creek Resort in the Cayo District. 

Chaa Creek’s Tree top Jacuzzi Suite -  are large and airy suites that combine elegance with a unique sense of adventurous design as they compete with nature for a panoramic birds-eye view of the encircling jungle landscape.

Chaa Creek’s Garden Jacuzzi Suite – A spacious thatched roof cottage surrounded by private tropical gardens, affording an extra measure of comfort and a beautiful, quiet ambience.

1. The Garden Jacuzzi Suite is furnished with a four-poster mahogany bed, fine linens, Guatemalan antique armoire, a spacious bath with Jacuzzi and a private screened verandah with jungle garden.

2. The Garden Suite is furnished with a queen-size bed and a day bed that converts from a couch into a single bed. This room also has a private, screened verandah and lovely views.

Chaa Creek’s Orchard Villa – a Villa that was designed with families in mind but it can comfortably accommodate two couples be they relatives or friends, or simply individuals that are looking for a lot of space within a tropical setting. This large thatched building transforms into a comfortable sleeping and lounge area with the potential to accommodate a family of six. 

Chaa Creek’s Cottage Collection – Individually designed thatched cottages reflect an atmosphere of elegance where charmingly decorated rooms and suites offer fine fabrics, furnishings and antiques. The spacious accommodations include private sun deck verandahs for viewing wildlife and interacting with nature.

Chaa Creek’s Macal Cottage – Perched on the edge of a grassy knoll overlooking the sleepy Macal River, the cottage blends stylish simplicity and elegant furnishings to create a romantic ambiance in a stunning rainforest backdrop. 

Chaa Creek’s Spa Villa –a three bedroom Villa that is set within a tropical hillside garden in the foothills of the Maya Mountains and features a master bedroom with a king size bed and en suite bathroom. A second bedroom with a queen and single bed and a third bedroom with a queen canopy bed share a full bathroom.

our staff

Theodoso Juarez, Camp Supervisor

The personal attention is spectacular - never lose that touch - it is what makes this place so special. Raul & Miguel were especially kind & attentive.
- Kimberly & Salvador
Illinois, USA