Belize; easy to get to, affordable and offering an abundance of things to do, is becoming the holiday destination of choice for a growing number of travellers. And this year, more than ever, planning and early bookings are essential to getting the most out of a Belizean vacation, The Lodge at Chaa Creek advises.
Bryony Fleming Bradley, the popular Belizean eco-resort’s general manager, said people wishing to visit Belize next year should begin planning now, pointing out that while Belize is small – 170 miles (274km) long by 68 miles (109 km) wide – it packs such an extraordinary amount of experiences within its culturally diverse, varied geography that a Belizean vacation requires some foresight and preparation if travellers are to get the most out of their time there.
The good news, she said, is that Chaa Creek maintains a team of “adventure specialists” and even an “adventure romance team” to help visitors navigate the little country and the many possibilities it offers.
“Belize has huge tracts of pristine jungles filled with colourful tropical birds, exotic wildlife and ancient Maya temples and cities, as well as a long unspoiled Caribbean coastline sheltered by the world’s second largest barrier reef and dozens of tiny islands. In between are savannahs, rolling pastureland, tranquil rivers and the unique ecosystems like the Mountain Pine Ridge.
“Such a varied landscape encourages an almost unlimited number of activities, such as Maya temple exploration, canoeing, jungle horseback excursions, rainforest zip lining, caving, snorkelling, diving, sailing and more.
“There’s also a growing interest in cultural tours that highlight Belize’s distinctive cultures and the ways in which they blend together to form one of the most harmonious societies on the planet.
“Being faced with so much to see and do can be daunting, but with over thirty-five years of experience and a nationwide network of colleagues and friends, Chaa Creek’s adventure specialist work with our guests to help design personalised, bespoke vacations that cater to all interests, ages, levels of fitness and budgets. With a range of lodgings from bungalows at the Macal River Camp to luxury suites that now include our new Ix Chel Villas, we can design vacations to satisfy just about every traveller, ” Ms Bradley said.
While 2017 may seem a long way off, Ms Bradley said now is the time to start planning a vacation itinerary, and that, given Belize’s small size and growing popularity, early bookings are essential to avoid disappointment.
“Belize is still thankfully uncrowded and laidback, and it’s part of the Belizean culture to be welcoming and offer a more personal experience. But to ensure you get the accommodation, tours and experiences you want, it’s more important than ever to book early.”
Ms Bradley also said that Chaa Creek’s new offerings for 2017 are already attracting attention.
A new Belize Cultural Grand Tour weeklong all-inclusive vacation package takes visitors on an in-depth cultural journey throughout Belize, with hands-on experiences such as tortilla making and cooking in traditional Mestizo villages, excursions to ancient Maya temples and archaeological sites, a visit using a hand-cranked ferry to a pastoral, German speaking Mennonite community, and other stops and activities before finishing up at the Villa Verano Luxury Villa for a three day cultural immersion at the Garifuna seaside village of Hopkins.
“It’s a rare opportunity to see Belize from the inland jungles to the Caribbean coast while learning about our distinctive cultural makeup,” Ms Bradley said.
Also new for 2017 will be the opening of the Ix Chel Luxury Rainforest Villas, Chaa Creek’s latest addition to their wide range of accommodations. The Villas’ location; private yet still convenient to Chaa Creek’s amenities, allows for suites fronted with floor to ceiling glass walls offering spectacular 180° rainforest vistas from the rooms and expansive verandas complete with private Jacuzzi, plunge pool, al fresco shower and dining and lounging furniture. A personal butler with a dedicated pantry looks after guests and coordinates room service, in-room massage and spa treatments, laundry, tours, excursions and all other requirements, yet the resort’s restaurant, infinity pool, spa, stables, canoes, and other attractions and amenities are a short stroll away.
“The Ix Chel Villas are our most luxurious offerings to date, and are the result of over thirty-five years of experience in combining environmental sustainability and responsible travel with the highest quality lodgings, dining and service,” she said.
Ms Bradley also cited expanded, more competitive international and domestic air service, with Tropic Air’s Maya Flats airstrip adjacent to the eco-resort, as contributing to Belize’s growing popularity.
“Chaa Creek has been called Belize’s ‘Destination within a Destination’ for some time now, due to the number of things to do right within our 400-acre private nature reserve, our all-inclusive Belize vacation packages, and our nationwide network of colleagues that allows us to offer ‘Rainforest to Reef’ Caribbean Sea vacations and hassle free excursions to neighbouring Guatemala.
“Our new offerings, combined with Belize’s growing popularity, means that early bookings and planning are becoming increasingly more important, but once people contact us, either directly or though their travel agents, they can be assured that we’ll work with them to craft the vacation they’ve dreamed about.
“And then they can relax, knowing that from the moment we pick them up at Belize’s international airport, they’re completely looked after until we drop them back off,” Ms Bradley said.