Chan Chich Lodge – Orangewalk, Belize
Sleep Where the Ancient Maya Slept
Spending a night in this one-of-a-kind jungle-enveloped lodge is like being a guest of the Mayan spirits in an ancient world. Set within a Mayan plaza dating to the Classic Period (A.D. 300-900), itself surrounded by the pristine vine-tangled wilderness of the 250,000-acre Rio Bravo Conservation area, the Chan Chich Lodge gives new meaning to the expression “off the beaten track.”
The ruin-studded location teems with birds and howler monkeys, while well-tended trails snake around grass-covered mounds concealing temples, pyramids, tombs, and residences dating back more than 1,500 years. Organized jeep and horseback trips to neighboring, less-excavated cities provide further insight into the rich Mayan heritage. The lodge’s thatched-roof bungalows, built of local woods, resemble Mayan homes, but are elegant and luxurious inside, although TV- and telephone-free. Wraparound verandas strung with hammocks invite low-impact afternoons, when listening to the tropical birds may be all the gods meant for their guests to do.