Conservation Is Our Passion and Purpose
Chaa Creek continues to be a leading example for ethical, eco-friendly tourism in the region, and we are proud of that fact. Our goal is to inspire our guests, staff, and partners to have an appreciation for wildlife, nature, and local communities.
Our Mission Statement:
"Founded by a love of nature and guided by the principles of responsible travel, Chaa Creek seeks to instill a sense of wonder and environmental responsibility in our guests through experiences that bring Belize's unique ecology, history, and culture alive.”
Our guiding principles of Eco Tourism has 3 objectives:
- Conservation of local environment (environmental) - Safeguard the environment, conserving natural resources, ecosystem processes, and biodiversity.
- Support of local community (economic) - Building linkages and reducing leakages – essential in keeping the money local.
- Education of tourists & locals (socio-cultural) - Minimizing negative impacts of tourism and focusing on more positive ones, such as promoting cultural exchange and preserving local traditions.
Conservation of Local Environment
Chaa Creek is fully committed to the implementation and utilization of environmentally sound and sustainable Best Management Practices.
Upon arrival guests receive an orientation by our reception staff explaining Chaa Creek environmental policies as well as suggestions to encourage each guest to participate in our conservation efforts.
We also encourage our industry partners to further develop their own sustainable practices by setting benchmarks and sharing information in Green development and responsible tourism programs. For example:
- October 2022 was the culmination of many months of work and the start of a new clean energy journey for Chaa Creek. We are proud to announce the completion of the installation of 156 solar panels. These panels will supply our property with solar energy during the day. After the sun has set, we will be powered by Belize's electricity grid, and alternating between these two power sources. This is the start of our journey towards converting to a fully renewable energy source and we are ecstatic to be able to reduce greenhouse emissions and do our part in mitigating climate change which is critical in protecting humans, wildlife, and ecosystems
- We adhere to the practice of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. All reusable and recyclable materials are separated from our waste stream
- We have transitioned to using eco-tank printers with heat-free technology, reducing ink cartridge waste by 90% and electricity consumption by 80%
- We have a written Chaa Creek Environmental Policy available which guides daily operations in a sustainable manner
- Our written Chaa Creek Purchasing Policy requires our suppliers to provide environmentally safe products in reduced or bulk packaging
- We produce our own water using state-of-the-art high filtration systems and provide guests with hygienic water refilling stations and souvenir aluminum water bottles in an effort to reduce the use of plastic bottles
- We use only energy-efficient compact florescent lamps combined with automatic timers, motion detectors and photovoltaic switches and maximize the use of natural lighting to reduce energy consumption
- Guests are politely asked to reuse their towels as much as possible so as to conserve water and energy
- We strictly enforce the protection of all wildlife in our 400-acres private nature reserve, minimize tree removal during construction and take all possible precautions and actions to preserve the local habitat
- Kitchen waste and other organic materials such as grass trimmings are composted and then used as fertilizers in our ornamental and vegetable gardens at the Maya Organic Farm
- Restaurant leftovers are given to a local farmer to use as pig feed
- Metal cans are crushed in a manual crusher that was designed for Chaa Creek. The crushed cans are then used as fill material in concrete building foundations
- All glass bottles and jars that are not returnable or reusable are crushed and used as additional aggregate when mixing cement
- In an effort to reduce our paper consumption, our administrative staff is encouraged to use both sides of paper when printing or copying and to use electronic media as much as possible
- We purchase recycled paper and our commercial printing is done on recycled paper
- Cardboard boxes are flattened and used as ground cover at our organic farm to control the growth of unwanted weeds around the vegetable plants. Remaining wastepaper and cardboard are sent to a commercial recycling facility
- Water consumption is minimized by low-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads. Rainwater is also collected to supplement water consumption
- Wastewater and sewage are treated with enzyme producing, digestive bacterium in properly designed septic tanks
Support of Local Community
- Chaa Creek Cares sees 5% of our room revenue invested into social & environmental initiatives
- Giving preference to employing Belizean nationals at all levels of operations. 99% of our staff is comprised of Belizeans
- Giving preference to and purchasing food and other operational supplies, goods, products and services that are produced locally and with minimal environmental impact
- Supporting the protection, conservation and sustainable use of the natural environment, historical sites, natural attractions and cultural assets of Belize
- Openly communicating our policies and practices to guests, interested parties, social groups and students
- Working with and supporting others in the tourism industry, in public associations, environmental groups, government departments and the broader community to foster wider environmental awareness and sustainability
- Providing all employees with the training and resources required to meet our objectives
Education of Tourists & Locals
- Guests at Chaa Creek have the opportunity to be educated on: culture, history, wildlife, nature, the 3 R’s (recycle, reuse, reduce), and more. Our Natural History Center gives guests an understanding of Belize’s topography, geography, culture, traditions and more. Visiting our organic Maya Farm provides an opportunity to learn about vermiculture, recycling, composting, and organic farming methods
- Guests learn about our Leave No Trace philosophy: Archeological sites and cultural artifacts are sacred to indigenous people. It is illegal to disturb or remove any artifacts. Travel quietly and observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them. Treat the animals you encounter with respect and give them the space they need to feel secure. Remember that you are a visitor and are traveling in their backyard. Never feed animals. Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, or raising young
- The staff at Chaa Creek are provided training. Our chefs receive training from international award-winning chefs, or by visiting chefs to Chaa Creek who compart their culinary knowledge. Our front of house staff receives training on service excellence, communication, and conflict resolution. Our staff are all trained in first aid, in case of a need to respond to an emergency whether on a tour or onsite at the lodge
- Our tour guides and naturalist guides share their knowledge on several aspects of Belize: flora & fauna, example talking about a specific plant that contains medicinal properties and its use, or revealing historical facts about Mayan cities like Xunantunich, or El Pilar
Over the years we have partnered with many local and international agencies, organizations and individuals in an effort to facilitate environmental conservation and research projects. Some of the more noteworthy projects are:
- Howler Monkey Reintroduction – in partnership with the Yerkes Primate Institute and the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation
- Birds Without Borders – conducts neotropical migratory bird research in partnership with the Zoological Society of Milwaukee County
- Vascular Plant Cataloguing – in partnership with the New York Botanical Gardens
- Agroforestry Research – in partnership with the New York Botanical Gardens
- Bay Palm Reforestation – an on-going Chaa Creek Natural History Centre project
- Archaeology Research – continuing research into the over 70 Maya sites within the Chaa Creek Nature Reserve assisted by Dr Samuel Connell of the University of California.
- Sustainable Green Developments and Environmental Tourism Projects
From our Founders
“Belize has offered us a delightful landscape in which to add our home-grown vision to the awesome canvas that nature has provided us. To live in a country where the people are as diverse and colorful as the unique environments they inhabit is truly inspirational. The natural world that sustains us, the dramatic flora and fauna that entertain us, and the colleagues who toil to advance and polish our efforts, all supply the dynamic bedrock that Chaa Creek has matured upon.”
Mick & Lucy Fleming