Xunantunich & Macal River Canoeing
Explore the fascinating, riverfront site of Xunantunich, and climb its massive El Castillo temple, which soars 40 metres (130 feet) over the landscape. From the top, savour a panorama of ancient platforms and ceremonial sites bathed in lush greenery with the mountains of neighboring Guatemala visible in the distance. Meaning "stone woman" in Mayan, Xunantunich features six major plazas at its centre, surrounded by more than 25 temples and palaces. After checking out the ruins with your guide, head into the rainforest, grab a paddle and hop into a canoe for a guided river safari! Paddle and drift down the forest-draped Macal River for about two hours to reach San Ignacio. Keep an eye for tropical birds as well as giant green iguanas that thrive along the river's edge and in the foliage above. Go ashore near the historic Hawkesworth Bridge, where you'll be picked up for the ride to your hotel.
Rugged and remote, the Cayo District is a vast stretch of highland rainforests, cattle ranches, and pinelands. Located in western Belize and bordering on Guatemala's El Petén region, you'll find no beaches here, but you'll have countless opportunities to explore the great outdoors on foot, by horse, or via kayak, raft, or canoe. Belize's oldest and largest national park - Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve - offers caves to explore, cool rivers for swimming, and a seemingly endless forest that is home to myriad tropical birds. Cayo is also home to Chiquibul National Park, the largest intact tropical forest north of the Amazon. Here, you'll find endangered (and often elusive) animals like jaguars, Baird's tapirs, red-eyed tree frogs, and Morelet's crocodiles. Chiquibul also surrounds Belize's most expansive and popular archaeological site, Caracol. Belmopan, the country's capital, is also located in Cayo, although the real hub of the district is San Ignacio, a small town located 110 kilometers (68 miles) from Belize City. It features rustic, colonial-era streets, an eclectic mix of restaurants and shops, a lively weekly market, and Maya ruins like Cahal Pech, Xunantunich, and the caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal only a few kilometers away.
Located in the central Cayo District of Belize, Chaa Creek is a private 365-acre nature reserve set along the banks of the Macal River in the foothills of the Mayan Mountains. It offers a variety of luxury accommodations and has a top restaurant, bar and spa on the large, landscaped grounds. The lodge is famous for its medicinal plant trail and its unique Natural History Centre. The owners of the lodge are strong advocates and practitioners of sustainable tourism and the lodge has won many eco-tourism awards as well as being benchmarked by Green Globe. Its location offers excellent access to the many sights of the area and there are also a lot of on-site activities such as horseback riding, canoeing, biking, nature hikes and birdwatching that guests can enjoy. It's a very family friendly lodge with excellent packages for families.