Mick and Lucy Fleming, early days at Chaa Creek
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Wednesday February 12, 2020

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The early Chaa Creek community.

Mrs Lucy Fleming and daughter, Bryony almost 40 years ago.

Guest Katharina W washing outside of her cottage in early days at Chaa Creek.

First cottage built at Chaa Creek in 1981.

Website of the Day

Chaa Creek -a Pioneer In Natural History Travel To Belize Since 1981. The Lodge at Chaa Creek is a Belize resort in a Romantic Mayan Rainforest that’s also located near one of the world’s largest Barrier Reefs. Chaa Creek offers Horseback Riding, Canoeing, Hiking, Mountain Biking, tours of the on-site Butterfly Farm, Natural History Center, Rainforest Medicine Trail and one of the best Health Spas in Belize.
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Mick and Lucy Fleming, early days at Chaa Creek

Taking a well-deserved break!

Photographs courtesy Chaa Creek

For a great interview with Lucy, "Eco Tourism Pioneer Lucy Fleming on Belize & Life as a Spiritual Practice," click here.

When Mick and Lucy Fleming first moved to the little parcel of riverside jungle that was to become their home in Western Belize, they listened to newfound friends from neighboring farms who, over generations, learned to live with the rhythms of nature.

And the more the couple learned about the rainforest environment, the more they came to appreciate the benefits of coexisting with, rather than trying to “conquer” nature.

As they cut Bay Leaf Palm to thatch their roofs, they saw the need to regenerate the plants in the surrounding forest if they were to have a steady supply. Kitchen scraps went back into the garden, the chickens who foraged around the house naturally fertilized the area, replenishing the earth as they took from it, and so on.

By the time they began accommodating more visitors to the farm, it made sense to build around, rather than cut down big trees, and to generally develop sustainably.

By the time the farm evolved into Chaa Creek Cottages, the couple would famously realize that, "We were an Eco-resort before we even heard the term."

And so began the Fleming’s commitment to promoting ecotourism, sustainable travel, and now, as it is increasingly known, regenerative tourism.

One of the pillars of Chaa Creek’s approach to ecotourism has always been education – fostering an appreciation of the natural world for locals, students, and overseas visitors. This involved developing displays, interactive attractions, tours, and encouraging guests to get out and experience the surrounding environment first hand.

The 400-acre private nature reserve they established around the property, with miles of well-maintained, signposted trails, makes it easy to become immersed in pristine nature.

Hiking, strolling, horseback riding, birding, or taking guided walks with licensed naturalist guides are great ways to enjoy healthy exercise while developing a deeper appreciation of the wild beauty of Belize’s rainforests.

Canoeing down the Macal River is also a great way to commune with nature while traveling along that ancient waterway, just as people have for thousands of years – from the first Maya inhabitants, to early explorers and settlers, and the Flemings themselves when they first moved to Chaa Creek.

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Belize Slideshow

It is such a delight to be in the presence of Mick & Lucy Flemming, owners of the acclaimed The Lodge at Chaa Creek. Our intimate discussion with them features the growth of Tourism in Belize, what it took to establish the brand Chaa Creek. We just love their passion for the industry.

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