Due to its unique location inside a 130,000-acre private nature reserve in northwestern Belize, Chan Chich Lodge is blessed with a great abundance of wildlife.
"For over a decade I have brought friends and birding groups to Chan Chich Lodge," said John Karcher, author of A Neotropical Companion.
"It is clearly one of the premium ecotourist facilities in the world. With a focus on tropical forest conservation and hospitality second to none, Chan Chich is the ideal place to experience the extraordinary biodiversity of a tropical rainforest."
More than 350 species of birds have been recorded at Chan Chich (which means "little bird" in Mayan), making it one of the world's premier birding destinations. The resort's knowledgeable and friendly guides are constantly scouting new areas for birders to explore.
Long-time tropical birding enthusiast and nature tour operator Victor Emanuel once referred to Chan Chich as "one of the top 10 birding sites in the world."
"Nowhere else in Central America can such an abundance of wildlife be seen, including the larger birds and mammals such as curassows, monkeys and jaguars," Emanuel added, noting that Chan Chich was his "favorite place to visit."
All five cat species native to Belize, jaguar, puma, ocelot, margay and jaguarundi, are well represented in the jungle surrounding the lodge. Some recent guests even spotted a female jaguar with cub by her side, and Chan Chich's own Zander Bowen recently saw a puma accompanied by no fewer than three of her young!
"Jaguars, pumas, ocelots, peccaries and even tapir are commonly photographed by remote cameras placed on the trail system at the lodge," Bowen said. "It's a rare that we don't see monkeys on a daily basis."
Both white-lipped and collared peccary pigs, brocket and white-tailed deer can also be found in great quantities here, as well as smaller species like tayra, fox, agoutis and kinkajou.
With a stable full of well-trained and beautiful horses at Gallon Jug Farm, part of the 130,000-acre private nature reserve in which it is located, Chan Chich Lodge also has some of the best horseback tours to be found anywhere in Belize, as its guests will attest.
Fiona Elliot, who served as assistant manager at Chan Chich from 1993-95, said that it was "certainly the most beautiful place I've ever lived, with exotic animal sightings, canoeing at Laguna Verde and participating in the Christmas bird count. I even enjoyed all the rain. So peaceful hearing the water hit the leaves and trees."
Chan Chich Lodge, situated in the plaza of an ancient Maya city and surrounded by pristine forest, consists of 12 individual thatched-roof cabanas and one beautifully appointed two-bedroom villa. This past year, the resort was named as Conde Nast Johansen's "Most Excellent Lodge for Mexico & Central America," and was a finalist for Conde Nast's Best Eco-Resort award.
"It is unlike you'll leave Chan Chich without feeling humbled by the overwhelming supremacy and beauty of nature," wrote Journey Latin America.
Magnum Belize Report