Belize’s Chaa Creek Joins Travel+Leisure in Promoting Placencia

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Is it unusual for an eco-resort to promote what people may see as their competitors? Not in Belize, apparently, where The Lodge at Chaa Creek has applauded Travel+Leisure’s inclusion of Placencia, on Belize’s Caribbean coast, as a top travel destination for 2016.

Chaa Creek's Caribbean partners share the same emphasis on casual luxury and Green, responsible tourism

I think the fact that we do things differently here is another one of Belize’s attractions

The former sleepy fishing village of Placencia recently made Travel+Leisure’s list of “Best Places to Travel in 2016”. And, in an unusual move, The Lodge at Chaa Creek, located in what could be considered as the competing destination of inland Belize, applauded the choice.

“It may seem strange that an eco-resort would be promoting a destination on the other side of the country, but this is, after all, Belize,” Chaa Creek’s Marketing Administrator, Roberto Harrison said.

“I think the fact that we do things differently here is another one of Belize’s attractions,” he added.

A December 2015 Travel+Leisure feature,“Best Places to Travel in 2016”, compiled by the authoritative travel guide’s staff, highlighted Placencia, Belize along with other destinations ranging from the Andaman Islands to Zimbabwe.

In creating the list, the magazine’s editors “thoroughly and meticulously” considered a range of factors that included “which under-the-radar gems are most exciting,” which destinations receive the most requests from travel specialists, and other criteria, according to the article’s introduction.

Describing Placencia, situated on a long sandy peninsula running along Belize’s southern Caribbean coast, the editors point out that, “Belize is still great for backpackers—much like Costa Rica in the 1980s—but certain areas have also become bona fide retreats for the well-heeled.”

Mr Harrison said that was an apt description of Belize and, especially, The Lodge at Chaa Creek, which Travel+Leisure has highlighted in the past.

“Chaa Creek started as Mick and Lucy Fleming’s family farm that began taking in backpackers, some of whom worked for their dinner. Over the years it grew from a few simple thatched-roof cabins to become Belize’s premier eco-resort. The development evolved slowly and carefully with as little disruption to the natural surroundings as possible, which is why it has the ‘Garden of Eden’ ambience it does.

“Another thing that sets Chaa Creek apart is the fact we have lodgings fit for a king - or at least England’s Prince Harry, who has been a guest- as well as the more rustic Macal River Camp. This range of accommodations, which also includes our signature cottage-style rooms and luxury Tree-Top, Spa Villa and private Jacuzzi Suites, reflects the diversity of the people who are attracted to Belize,” he said.

Mr Harrison also said that due to Belize’s small size, the relative youth of its tourism industry (which took off in 1981 when the country became independent from Great Britain), and the unique multi-cultural makeup of the populace, Belize is by nature cooperative, as shown by the common saying “hand wash hand”.

He also pointed out that some of Chaa Creek’s popular all-inclusive Belize vacation packages have for years partnered Placencia with Chaa Creek.

“Rainforest to Reef” packages, for example, allow travellers to split their holidays between inland Chaa Creek, surrounded by huge swaths of pristine rainforest dotted with ancient Maya temples, and sister resorts on Belize’s Caribbean seacoast for one set price that includes accommodation, all meals, transfers and activities at both resorts, Mr Harrison explained.

“Chaa Creek’s ‘Jungle and Sea,’ ‘Swim Suits and Hiking Boots’ and other all-inclusive Belize vacation packages offer an easy, seamless and surprisingly affordable way for travellers to experience the inland jungles and Caribbean coast in carefree casual luxury. Our Placencia partner resorts all share our award-winning Green ethos and responsible tourism philosophy, so guests can be sure that their stay actually contributes to, rather than degrades, Belize’s pristine environment and vibrant communities,” he said.

And with local air carrier Tropic Air maintaining airstrips at nearby Maya Flats and at Placencia, guests will find it easy to travel between both destinations whether they’re on an all-inclusive vacation package or not, he added.

“We couldn’t be happier to see that Placencia made Travel+Leisure’s top travel destinations for 2016, and are more than happy to help our guests experience this beautiful part of Belize, either through one of our vacation packages, or by just providing advice or help with arranging travel and accommodation.

“It’s all just part of Belize’s ‘hand wash hand’ culture,” Mr Harrison said.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a multi award winning eco resort set within a 365-acre private nature reserve along the banks of the Macal River in Belize.


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Mark Langan

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