The Lodge at Chaa Creek

San Ignacio

Aug 22, 2006
Outside Magazine
Chaa Creek

WOOD WORK: Chaa Creek's treetop Jacuzzi suite    Photo: courtesy, Chaa Creek

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE LODGE at Chaa Creek from humble riverside backpacker haven to award-winning "adventure center, rainforest reserve, and spa" has been a 24-year odyssey for owners Mick and Lucy Fleming. The American-British couple discovered their plot of paradise while traveling in the late 1970s and opened the country's first jungle lodge in 1981. The grounds are now crisply manicured, and a handsome, uniformed staff serves a year-round stream of guests. Chaa Creek's 23 thatch-roofed cottage rooms, including a handful of luxury suites, have Mexican-tile or hardwood floors, rich Guatemalan fabrics, and Maya masks on the walls; two "treetop Jacuzzi suites" put you at eye level with massive orange iguanas lazing in the surrounding branches. For a taste of the old days, the Macal River Jungle Camp consists of ten canvas-roofed, screened casitas on stilts, about a ten-minute walk from the main lodge along the Ix Chel Medicine Trail. Sign on for a custom mountain-bike tour to the nearby Xunantunich ruins; you'll have access to a modern fleet of high-end Specialized bikes and a skilled posse of local guides. Doubles, $85–$125; treetop Jacuzzi suites, $255–$320 (for four); camp casitas, $55 per person, including breakfast and dinner; 011-501-824-2037,

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