The chance to participate in an annual bird nest survey will be a new addition to this year’s Belize Easter Week celebrations at The Lodge at Chaa Creek, according to the Belizean eco resort’s owners.
Lucy Fleming, who with her husband Mick started Chaa Creek as a small family farm in the late 1970s, said that Easter has always been an important holiday in Belize, and their first Easter egg hunts were created for the couple’s children and friends.
The tradition continued as Chaa Creek evolved into one of Belize’s most popular eco resorts, first to accommodate guests’ children, and then as an Easter Sunday activity for people of all ages.
“We discovered that the parents and other adults were having as much fun as the kids as our Easter egg hunts expanded in range and scope,” Ms. Fleming said. “And as our Belize Easter vacations grew in popularity, we began offering various activities throughout Easter Week, as it’s now well known.
“The response has been so enthusiastic, we kept adding new elements,” she added.
This Easter Week, Chaa Creek will offer the traditional Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015, as well as a range of activities with Easter egg hunts as the theme.
Ms. Fleming said that licensed naturalist guides will conduct nature walks along the network of trails running throughout Chaa Creek’s 365 acre private nature reserve, where guests will learn about Belize’s birds, wildlife and flora while searching for decorated eggs
“It’s sort of an Easter egg hunt, but amply multiplied, where guests will become immersed in Belize’s natural world with the help of experienced guides who have a range of expertise in areas such as birding, Maya medicinal plants, the many exotic animals who inhabit the rainforest and other aspects of Belize’s fascinating natural world.
“It’s a fun way to discover some of the things that make Belize so extraordinary,” she said.
In addition to guided nature hunts, guests will have the opportunity to participate in an annual survey of nesting areas around Chaa Creek, trekking the forest with guides to identify and record the wide variety and number of birds’ nests in local forests.
“It’s sort of an Easter egg nest hunt, and a great way to contribute to an important environmental project that will leave people with a better appreciation of Belize’s natural beauty,” Ms. Fleming said.
A new Rainforest Safari has also been introduced this year as another way for visitors to explore areas of Belize not often seen by casual visitors.
The safari sees guests transported in a four wheel drive, all terrain vehicle along jungle trails to a cohune, palm-studded ridge and through broadleaf forests that are home to a wide variety of birds and wildlife such as tapirs, toucans, ocelots, monkeys, armadillos, agoutis and other tropical animals, Ms. Fleming said.
“We’re offering two safaris a day, in the morning and afternoon, in an ATV driven by highly experienced guides who really know the area and local wildlife, as well as the history of the ancient Maya who lived here. With a minimum of two and a maximum of four guests, it’s an intimate tour through a part of Belize many people don’t get to see, and a great opportunity to ask questions and learn from professionals with local experience,” Ms. Fleming said.
Other Easter egg themed activities during Easter week will include visits to a Maya chocolate making collective, where visitors can see the centuries old craft of processing local cacao, special chocolate themed treatments at Chaa Creek’s Hilltop Spa, and chocolate desserts and drinks at the Mariposa restaurant.
“Chocolate was one of the ancient Maya’s many gifts to the world, and we’ll certainly be celebrating that aspect of Belize over Easter,” Ms. Fleming said. “We’ll be speaking with our local Maya chocolate artisans and, hopefully, guests may even be able to make their own chocolate Easter eggs,” she added.
English speaking Belize, with a multicultural population that includes early British and Spanish settlers, has always had a strong Easter tradition, with Good Friday and Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday all considered public holidays.
“As with most holidays in Belize, Easter is a unique blend of the familiar and exotic because it combines elements from so many different cultures,” Ms. Fleming explained.
“It’s another one of those things that makes Belize so special, and we’re looking forward to another great Belizean Easter Week, with the Easter Agouti once again playing Easter Bunny this year,” she added.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek offers several tours to ancient Maya pyramids, including the ceremonial centre of Xunantunich and a sacred cave.