Chaa Creek, Victoria House on Ambergris Key
8 days /
From $2,990 per person, double occupancy for 2013
Day 1: Belize City – Chaa Creek
Upon arrival at Belize International Airport, clear customs and immigrations. After claiming your luggage, you will be met by Chaa Creek representatives and transferred approximately 2 hours to San Ignacio and Chaa Creek Cottages in the foothills of the Maya Mountain range. Enroute to Chaa Creek you'll stop at the Belize Zoo and the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich. In the late afternoon, continue to The Lodge at Chaa Creek, in the foothills of the Maya Mountain range. Accommodations are in comfortable cottages with thatched or tiled roofs, and private bathrooms with hot water. Your time at Chaa Creek is free to enjoy as you wish. Meals are included. Entry into the 340-acre Rainforest Reserve and selected "Activities" are included in your stay and can be booked at the front desk. The included "Activities" are: hiking, canoeing on the Macal River, swimming, mountain biking, horseback riding, guided tours of the Natural History Museum and Butterfly Farm, access to the Ruta Maya Trail System, early morning Bird Walk with one of the naturalist guides, guided interpretive tour of our newly acquired Rainforest Medicine Trail at Ixchel Farm. MOUNTAIN BIKING You may wish to encounter Belize's diverse terrain and colorful cultures on a Mountain bike. Chaa Creek has a rental fleet of well maintained mountain bikes. Venture out on your own or join a guided tour and interact with an exotic tropical environment. Mayan ruins, rural villages and jungle trails make your experience both educational and fulfilling. HORSEBACK RIDING Riding is offered in the morning and afternoons. Organized trail rides through the Chaa Creek Preserve can be arranged at the front desk. The ride is approximately two and a half hours long and is accompanied by a guide. We suggest long pants, a hat, insect repellent and sunscreen. HIKING Chaa Creek has a picturesque trail network that will take you to many different areas of the 330 acre forest reserve. All of the trails are numbered, and you can obtain a trail map at the front desk. NATURE CENTER AND BUTTERFLY FARM Educational tours are offered every hour by trained naturalist guides. These tours are very popular with students and visitors alike. Guided Archaeological, Ornithological and Natural History tours are available. SWIMMING You may like to cool off by swimming in the Macal River. There are no dangerous animals in the river. After the rains the current may be a little swifter and the water muddy. CANOEING ON MACAL RIVER You may rent a canoe for exploring the Macal River. Two options are available. Upstream - Paddle up as far as you wish and leisurely float back to Chaa Creek. Downstream - Paddle and float to San Ignacio for approximately two hours. Remember to bring along your sunscreen. NATURE WALKS Guided birdwatching tours and thematic nature walks are offered every morning and evening by resident naturalist guides. In addition to the activities included in your packages, Chaa Creek Cottages also offer "Inland Expeditions" that can be purchased for an additional cost, depending on the number of travelers participating. You will find a brief description of our more popular destinations below. * Chimpiata Caves and Vaca Falls - Take a short van trip (30 min.) to the Vaca Plateau where local Mayan residents, William and Antonio Moralez, lead a hike through the rain forest to the Chumpiate Cave sharing their home-grown knowledge of flora and fauna along the way. Bring your headlamps or flashlights. Antonio and William discovered the cave several years ago. An easy descent into the dry cave opens to a ceremonial chamber with an 80' high ceiling dominated by stalactites and stalagmites containing numerous pieces of ancient Maya pottery representing 2000 years of Maya history. We enjoy a relaxed Maya-style meal at the Moralez family home. In the afternoon, we can choose to hike down (20 minutes) to the Macal River for a refreshing swim under Vaca Falls. Mountain Pine Ridge -- The Mountain Pine Ridge is a spectacular range of undulating pine clad hills less than ninety minutes drive from Chaa Creek Cottages. The reserve acts as a refuge for protected species such as white tailed and brocket deer and is rich in unusual flora such as bromeliads and orchids. Famous landmarks include the massive cathedral-like vault of the Rio Frio Cave, the natural swimming pools and falls on the Rio On and the spectacular Hidden Valley Falls where the water plummets 1000 feet to the jungle below. Xunantunich -- "The Maiden of the Rock," is Belize's second tallest structure. Of the later classic period, it is believed to have been an ancient ceremonial center. It commands an unrivaled vista of the Macal River Valley, once a thriving metropolis of the Maya. Tikal -- This most famous classic period Maya site is incorporated into many of our programs either as a full day or overnight excursion. Tikal is located in the Peten Lowlands of Guatemala approximately three hours drive overland from Chaa Creek Cottage. Hidden deep within the rainforest Tikal is a huge, intriguing archaeological site and a vast biosphere reserve rich in wildlife. The site covers over twenty-five square miles, containing 3000 separate structures. The monolithic architecture will overwhelm you with its scale and its intricate detail. We can arrange both full day and overnight stays.
Days 2, 3, 4: Chaa Creek
Day at leisure to explore the area on guided excursions or selected activities. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Chaa Creek - Belize City - San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
You will be transferred (Chaa Creek) back to Belize City.
Flight to Amergris Caye to be advised
Upon arrival in Ambergris Caye you will be transferred (Victoria House) to the Victoria House.
Casual elegance is the very essence of Victoria House, one of the premiere resort hideaways on beautiful Ambergris Caye. Set amongst mature stands of coconut trees and extensive gardens planted with hibiscus, bougainvillea and oleander, the resort offers an ideal mix of seclusion and easy accessibility to San Pedro and the rest of Beautiful Belize.
Home of the world's second-largest barrier reef (surpassed only be Australia's Great Barrier Reef), Ambergris Caye is world renowned for its superb Scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities, including the Hol Chan Marine Preserve. The town of San Pedro consists of 3 sandy streets lined with small shops and truly "laid-back" restaurants and bars, where you can sample the local specialty, seafood.
Overnight accommodations in an air-conditioned plantation room overlooking the ocean. Your days here are free to arrange for guided excursions or simply relax. – 3 nights. (B, L, D)
Your stay includes a welcome cocktail, accommodations, a bottle of wine in the room on arrival, all meals, one day golf cart, unlimited use of kayaks, two half days of snorkeling or one half day of diving with two tanks per person.
Definitely worth a visit is the Hol Chan Marine reserve, perhaps Belize's most famous snorkeling destination. Established in May of 1987, this entire area is literally a natural aquarium. In the Maya language, hol chan means small channel. The reserve consists of only 5 square miles and is adjacent to the Marco Gonzalez archaeological site. Diving or snorkeling this unique area will give you the opportunity to see myriad of colorful reef inhabitants going about their business seemingly oblivious to visitors.
Your are likely to observe huge Groupers, schools of Jacks, Red-yellow and black tail Snappers and Angelfish, Crabs, Lobsters, Moray Eels and hundreds more colorful species. Another fascinating attraction is Shark Ray Alley where you can swim with dozens of docile nurse sharks and sting rays that are always looking for a handout. Other near-by snorkeling spots include the aptly named coral gardens, Mexico Rocks, Tres Cocos and Tuff Cut.
Whether it's a full day on the water with a break for lunch at picturesque Caye Caulker, a secluded beach Bar-B-Q, or a two hour trip to get acquainted with some of the local sea life, the hotel staff can tailor trips to your individual needs. Many different means of water transport are available, according to your preference.
If sailing is more your style, just sit back, relax and let nature take its course on the spacious catamaran "Me Too" or the traditionally styled coastal lighter "Rum Punch II".
En route to Caye Caulker you'll enjoy a snorkel at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and after a leisurely lunch make your way back to San Pedro with a refreshing snorkel stop at Shark Ray Alley.
View the West Indian Manatee in its natural habitat. These endangered sea giants, while weighing up to 3000 pounds and ranging in length up to 13 feet, are harmless and non aggressive. At certain times of the year, the clear waters surrounding Goff's and Sergeants Caye are home to manatee and their young. These two beautiful islands sit on the reef giving you a unique experience to snorkel off the beach while your captain prepares a Belizean-style lunch.
Long before the "discovery" of the Americas by Europeans, the land now known as Belize was home to a thriving and advanced culture. The living descendants of this period are a proud part of the mosaic of modern Belize, while the remains of their cities and cultural centers are found literally all over the land. Many are recognized archaeological sites and others may remain undiscovered in a farmers' field or a townsman's backyard.
Belizean waters are justifiably world renowned for sportfishing. Whether your tastes run to landing dinner for your table after a day on the reef, the thrill of hooking a huge game-fish in deep water, or light tackle and fly-fishing for tarpon and bonefish on "The Flats", you'll find our guides are some of the best in the country. Many of our guests have returned year after year for the opportunity of fishing with their favorite guide. You may be back next year for the same reason.
Flat Fishing - Bonefish, Permits and Tarpon.
Reef Fishing - Snappers, Groupers, Jacks, Barracuda and many more.
Deep Sea Fishing - Sailfish, Marlin, Tuna, Wahoo and Shark.
Altun Ha, named for the incredibly engineered "Rockstone Pond", which gave the area life in ancient times, is where the largest solid jade head carving in the Maya world was found. The most extensively excavated Maya site in the country, Altun Ha covers an area of 25 square miles and had a population of 10,000 at different times over its 2000 year history.
Your trip to this mainland site begins with a boat ride from the Victoria House pier. After a short crossing to the mainland, you'll wind your way up the Monkey River to Bomba. Along the way, you'll have the chance to see crocodiles, exotic birds and other denizens of the jungle river environment. At Bomba transportation awaits for the short overland trip to the ruins. After exploring the site and learning more about the culture of the ancients, lunch at Maruba Jungle Lodge and a massage or dip in their freshwater pool will be a welcome experience. A short trip back to the cayes and you are home at Victoria House.
A wide variety of birds may be observed in the immediate vicinity of the hotel, but a 40 minute boat ride to the leeward side of Ambergris Caye will introduce you to many more of the rare and exotic birds indigenous to this area. Some species observed may include Herons, Roseate Spoonbills, Pink Ibis, Brown Pelican and the five foot tall Jabiru Stork. On your way back to the hotel for lunch you may choose to stop for a refreshing snorkel on the reef.
Days 6, 7: Victoria House
Days at leisure. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Ambergris Caye - Belize City - Int'l departure
Transfer to the San Pedro Airstrip for your flight to Belize City. Flight times to be advised. Pay Belize departure tax and check in for flight.(B)
This itinerary can be arranged with 3 nights at Chaa Creek and 4 nights at Victoria House. Upgrades available at both properties.
Child rate - $1671