Lodge at Chaa Creek

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Belize Tours from Chaa Creek

Carefully designed tours open up the fascinating world of Belize, from inland Maya archaeological treasures to the stunning Barrier Reef, beautiful cayes and coastal resorts and villages. As one of the largest and most experienced tour operators in Belize, the lodge can arrange an itinerary to any part of Belize, including the coast and cayes, as well as to Peten, Guatemala, to suit a wide variety of individual interests. The combination of on-site familiarization programs, activities and comprehensive knowledge of Belize makes Chaa Creek the perfect choice for experiencing this fascinating part of the world.

MOUNTAIN PINE RIDGE
Your full day experience in one of Belize's nature reserves will amaze you when you see the drastic change from Broad-Leaf Forest to Pine Forest. The granite base and limestone overlay of the Maya Mountains form the oldest landmass in Central America and contain the cool pine forests (Pinus caribaea) of the Mountain Pine Ridge. Within this 300 square mile forest reserve you will encounter an entirely different tropical ecosystem along with its unique flora and fauna. Your adventure starts from Chaa Creek at 8:00 a.m. and in only 90 minutes you will be admiring the 1000-ft. Waterfall. You will then drive down to the Rio Frio Cave where you can marvel at the awesome corrosive power that water has on Karst Limestone. However, this is not the only attraction at this cave; there is also evidence of Mayan visitation inside! At the end of the day's trek, refreshing swims in the cascading waters of the Rio On pools will sooth tired muscles and rejuvenate the spirit.
Departures: 8:00am
Duration: Full day
Fitness: Moderate

BELIZE SNORKELING
Many people enjoy the ease and freedom of snorkeling in the warm clear tropical waters of Belize’s Caribbean reef and seacoast, where some of the most beautiful underwater scenes are to be found in the better lit and more abundant shallower waters. The world heritage listed Belize barrier reef as one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, made up of over 100 coral species and home to some 500 species of fish and hundreds of invertebrates. As far back as 1842 Charles Darwin called it, "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies", and it is no less stunning today.

This one day snorkeling adventure takes visitors on a drive along the lovely Hummingbird Highway over the Maya Mountains and down to Belize's southern coast to the traditional Garifuna town of Dangriga, where a boat ferries guests to picturesque and unspoilt South Water Caye for a full day of snorkeling, swimming, beach combing and delicious island food. Optional bottom fishing may also be added to this day tour.
Departures: 6:00am
Duration: Full day, return to the lodge approximately 7pm
Fitness: Moderate

BELIZE ZOO
The Zoo began in 1983 when Sharon Matola started caring for animals that were left here after a movie and soon unwanted pets and injured animals were also donated to the Zoo. Many of the residents are endangered species such as the Jaribu Stork, Scarlet Macaw, Jaguar, Margay, and black Howler Monkey. Shortly after the “backyard zoo” began, it was quickly realized that Belizean visitors were unfamiliar with the different species of wildlife in their country. This very aspect enkindled the commitment to develop the little zoo into a dynamic wildlife education center. Today, the Belize Zoo is settled upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 125 animals all natives to Belize. A visit to the zoo is the best way to get an introduction to the animals of Belize, and to understand why it is important to protect the habitats that sustain them.
Departures: Can be combined with transfers to or from Chaa Creek or several tours
Duration: 2 hours
Fitness: Basic

ACTUN TUNICHIL MUKNAL
Actun Tunichil Muknal is one of the most impressive and artifact-rich Maya ceremonial caves ever found, containing rare bloodletting altars used in sacrifices by Maya royalty and over 1400 catalogued artefacts as well as sacrificial human remains. The ATM Cave is home to the famous “Crystal Maiden” the intact skeleton of a young female that, due to a covering of calcium carbonate, sparkles eerily in the lamp light.

Actun Tunichil Muknal is one of Belize’s most impressive adventure experiences. After an hour and fifteen minute drive from Chaa Creek Resort there is a 45 minute hike that includes three stream crossings before you arrive at Actun Camp for lunch.

Swim into the mouth and then wade through ankle to chest high water before climbing to a labyrinth of dry chambers which lead to the cathedral-like main hall, a towering chamber 350 metres in length and 50mteres wide and filled with artefacts and sacrificial remains. After this another climb takes you to the stone sepulchre (after which the cave is named) where the Crystal Maiden lies. This is an extraordinary Belize adventure and a rare opportunity to see ancient Maya ceremonial sites and altars as they were and virtually untouched for centuries.
Departures: 8:00am
Duration: Full day
Fitness: Moderate to Good
Note: Children under 12 are not permitted to do this tour

BARTON CREEK CAVE TOUR
Glide through a remote underground water cave system in a canoe equipped with powerful spotlights. It is believed that the Maya once used this cave for ritual burials. Access to this cave is through a picturesque Mennonite farm community. While canoeing through the cave see large and colorful formations, skeletal remains and other cultural artifacts left behind by the Maya centuries ago. Swim in its cool waters by a small waterfall inside the cave. From the cave's entrance it's about a mile through the cave to the stopping point.
Departures: 8:00am and 1:00pm
Duration: Half day
Fitness: Basic to Moderate

CAVES BRANCH RIVING TUBING TOUR
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. Combine river cave tubing and cave exploration on this adventure where you explore spectacular crystal formations over 5,000,000 years old that cast eerie shadows into the black abyss as you explore and experience the most sacred area of the ancient Maya.
Departures: 7:30am
Duration: Full day
Fitness: Moderate

EL PILAR TOUR
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.

El Pilar is the largest Classical Maya sites in the Belize River Valley, with a well-defined ceremonial section, including both private and public areas. There are at least 15 courtyards or plazas covering an area of 50 acres. The center has one ball court in the south, a major palace in the north, and a sacbe (causeway) leading to Guatemala. Tikal in Guatemala is only 48 kilometers (32 miles) from El Pilar.
Departures: 8:00am and 1:00pm
Duration: Half day
Fitness: Moderate

TIKAL TOUR
Tikal, the crown jewel of Maya archaeological sites, has been fascinating visitors for over 100 years with its stunning beauty and sheer grandeur as it rises out of the lush jungle of Guatemala’s Petén district.

Once the sprawling capital of one of the greatest empires of the ancient Maya, Tikal was established well before the time of Christ. It flourished during the Maya Classic period of 200 to 900 AD and was the most important city state in the Maya region before suddenly falling into decline in the late 800s.

Today, Tikal is an UNESCO world heritage area and national park, with 222 sq mi (576 sq km) area of unspoiled natural beauty and home to many exotic animals, including tapir, jaguar, crocodile, cougars, monkeys, coati mundi and other species as well as a colourful assortment of birds. It is the largest excavated site in the American continent, containing over 3000 structures and massive, beautiful temples rising 70 meters (230 feet) out of the dense jungle. Tikal presents a rare opportunity to explore one of the world’s most interesting ancient cities in a relaxed, breathtaking setting.

Tours to Tikal from Chaa Creek include a lovely 2 ½ hour drive through rural Guatemala with knowledgeable guides on hand to point out interests and make history come alive. Full day and overnight tours are available to give visitor a well rounded, in depth experience of this fascinating, enigmatic culture.
Departures: 7:00am
Duration: Full day or overnight tours
Fitness: Moderate to Good

XUNANTUNICH TOUR
Xunantunich or Maiden of the Rock is situated on the Western Highway across the river from the village of San Jose Succotz. This major ceremonial center can be reached by ferry daily and it is only 1.5 Kilometer (one mile) from some lovely rapids of the Mopan River. This Classic Period site provides an impressive view of the entire river valley. El Castillo rises 40 meters above plaza level, making it one of the tallest buildings in Belize. On this structure there are two temples. The lower temple is famous for its large stucco frieze. A mask with larger ears probably represents the sun god. Next to this mask, there is a moon sign with a border of signs representing Venus.
Departures: Anytime between 8:00am and 3:00pm
Duration: Half day
Fitness: Moderate

CARACOL TEMPLES TOUR
Located deep within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, 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.
Departures: 7:30am
Duration: Full day (can be combined with Mountain Pine Ridge)
Fitness: Moderate

CAHAL PECH TEMPLES TOUR
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. The site center is made up of 34 structures located around several courtyards, including temple pyramids and residential buildings. The tallest structure here is 23.5 meters (77 feet) high. There are also 2 ballcourts, 8 stelae and 1 altar. Preliminary investigations carried out in 1988 revealed that Cahal Pech was settled by 1200 B.C. and abandoned around A.D. 850. This makes Cahal Pech one of the earliest Maya sites in the Belize region of the Maya lowlands, contemporaneous with Cuello in the north. A carved monument discovered at Cahal Pech is also the earliest carved stelae yet discovered in the eastern Maya lowlands.
Departures: 8:00am and 1:00pm
Duration: Half day (can be combined with Xunantunich)
Fitness: Moderate

BELIZE HELICOPTER TRANSFERS
What better way to get there to the lodge than by a thrilling sight-seeing helicopter excursion. There are two different routes to choose for the helicopter transfer from the Belize International Airport to the lodge.

Option 1: Direct Route to Chaa Creek
Your flight first takes you over Macklehanny and Cox Lagoons. Here you might find Black Howler Monkeys roaring from the trees and Jabiru Storks - the largest flying birds in the Americas - wading in the marshes. You then will find yourself gliding over the Belize River with its many twist and turns. As your journey in the sky continues allow your eyes to roam freely over the quaint villages, such as Camelote, Ontario and Cristo Rey, which dots the unspoiled mainland of the Cayo District. Your flight comes to end as you arrive at your final destination – The Lodge at Chaa Creek.

Option 2: Transfer via the Maya Mountains and 1000 ft Falls
Your flight first takes you over the winding Sibun River with its many twist and turns. Then it’s out to the green pastures of the beautiful forests of Belize. Fly over the small but famous bathing spots such as Freetown Sibun, Butcher Burns, Cedar Bank and Gracy Rock Bank. You then fly over Caves Branch, this area encompasses 58,000 acres that are situated beneath a 100 ft rainforest canopy and is bordered by the turquoise waters of Caves Branch River. Ahead of Caves Branch lays the deep forest of Mountain Pine Ridge.

Not long after your eyes start to dazzle at the sparkling water that runs from the largest waterfall in Belize and Central America; called 1000 ft falls. Even though the name suggest otherwise, this waterfall is closer to 1600 feet. You will get a view of the entire falls, which is totally unlike the ground tour where you never get to see the falls in its entirety while floating from above. Your flight then heads west as it glides over the lush unspoiled Mountain Pine Ridge where you will see up to 6 additional waterfalls before arriving to your final destination – The Lodge at Chaa Creek.