The SpaceChiquibul Ranch, pronounced Chickee-Bull, is nestled in a beautiful sunny valley of tropical jungle rainforest in the foothills of the Mayan Mountains. The surrounding area is remote and off the grid. It is my jungle home, not a resort or lodge. My full-time manager, Hugo, is also a tour guide. This allows you to have your own personal tour guide which provides ultimate flexibility since no advance booking is required. As a free lance licensed tour guide, Hugo is certified for all tours except Tikal (Guatemala) and ATM caves. If you stay at Chiquibul and use Hugo, you will get the BEST PRICING possible because there is no lodge owner adding their surcharge. If you're planning any of the following activites they're all within a 30 minute drive or less of Chiquibul, making this a perfect location for these adventures: horseback riding at MET, zip-lines at Calico Jack's or Mike's, Barton Creek Caves, Green Hill butterfly farm, Big Rock falls, bird-watching, jungle hikes, Macal river tubing, Cahal Pech or Xunantunich Mayan ruins, Blancaneaux.
Chiquibul Ranch is a working ranch of 175 acres. The home itself is built among ancient Mayan house mounds. Nearest grocery stores and restaurants are in San Ignacio/Santa Elena, a 30 minute drive away (13 miles away but 6 miles of this is on rough mountain road.) As a result, you will want to cook while staying at the house. The house is a large, airy, 55ft. x 32.5 ft. elevated hardwood home with an artisan thatch roof, a veranda running along 3 sides, mahogany floors and ceramic-tiled bathroom and kitchen floors. There is hot and cold running water, full size gas range and oven, full size refrigerator with small freezer. The interior includes: Master Bedroom with 1 queen, Bathroom with shower, Loft with 1 double and 2 twins, and Open Living Area of Kitchen, Dining, and Living Space. The master bedroom and bathroom are fully enclosed rooms, while the rest of the space is exposed to the beauty of the hand-crafted thatch roof. The beautiful entrance to the property includes teak and mahogany crops on both sides of the gated driveway, with coconut, royal palm trees, and hibiscus lining the driveway up to the base of the valley where the main home resides. The groomed grounds have mango, sour sap, coconut, orange and cashew trees along with smaller flowering trees and shrubs such as flamboyant, copper, ginger and birds-of-paradise.
Surrounding the groomed grounds is high jungle vegetation, which provides for a wide and abundant variety of birds and animals of the Mesoamerican Biological Corrider. Belize is a birders' paradise. One guest saw 65 varieties of birds on the property during her stay.
Hugo will welcome you and introduce you to the home. Hugo is charming, personable, funny, and knowledgeable. If you're lucky, Hugo's adorable young son, Wesley, or beautiful wife, Jenny, will assist Hugo in showing you around.
- Bedding, Linens, beach towels
- Fully equipped, well appointed kitchen, full size stove and refrigerator
- Bottled water in 5 gallon jugs
- Mosquito nets for the loft beds which have the thatch roof overhead
- Self-sustaining off-grid. Independent water and power supply.
- Battery powered lanterns
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Chiquibul Ranch is NOT A RESORT/LODGE, it is MY HOME IN THE JUNGLE, which I have opened up to you after 7 years of keeping it to myself! Please align your expectations with this and note the following: (a) The ranch is off the grid, so there is no air conditioner, no dishwasher, no microwave, no internet, no TV, no blender, no clothes washer or dryer, no hairdryer. (b) Cell coverage is spotty since it's in the mountains (c) The loft is preferred by bigger kids because it's adventurous. Young kids and adults aren't as comfortable with the loft because the pitched, natural thatch roof is close to the beds. The pictures show this clearly. (d) If you hear a gecko or small jungle creature at night, be pleasantly surprised that you were privileged to hear one! Instead of horrified that there was a jungle critter skittering around. (e) the final 6 mile road to Chiquibul is rough limestone mountain road and very bumpy. Logging trucks and orange harvesting trucks travel this road.
One of my favorite things to do is spend a morning at Big Rock, swimming under the waterfall, then stopping at luxury resort Blancaneaux (9 miles away) to have ceviche for lunch. Blancaneaux was built by Francis Ford Coppola (Hollywood Academy award winning director, producer, and screen-writer) as a private residence which he subsequently expanded into a luxury resort.
The distance from the airport is a 2 1/2 hour (or less) drive. It is all paved except for the final 6 miles, when you turn off the Western Highway onto the Mountain Pine Ridge/Georgeville Road. The distance to the twin towns of Santa Elena/San Ignacio is a 30 minute drive (13 miles) to San Ignacio.
I use 3 car rental companies when I visit: Crystal, Panchos, or Hertz. They are all great to work with, honest, and fair, considering the extreme wear and tear vehicles are exposed to on the rough roads in mountain and jungle territory. Guest AccessThe whole property is available for you to explore. There is a road on the property that extends through the first 100 acres, concluding at the orange grove. You can see the teak and mahogany crops in addition to the orange grove. Pick some oranges yourself if they're ripe (they are juicing oranges.) All fruit you pick and eat from my property while at the ranch is free. The road on the property goes past a Cohune Palm forest which is a sight unto itself. You probably wouldn't be surprised to see a Tyrannosauras Rex crashing through it. Interaction with GuestsI will not be there. Manager, Hugo, will be there to meet you and show you the property. He checks in on you daily and is available for all questions and company or conversation! Hugo is a great conversationalist and always up to speed on world events, Belize politics, and local goings-on. Hugo is also the Vice-Chairman of 7 Mile village, the nearby village. If you're a soccer player, join in with Hugo and friends on their nightly soccer games. Talk with Hugo each evening about what tours you'd like to do the next day. Hugo also collects the 9% accommodation tax, to be paid in cash, and information required by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) during your stay. The NeighborhoodChiquibul Ranch is on 175 acres in the most beautiful valley of the Mayan mountain pine ridge where medium and heavy jungle are still prevalent. It is located several miles before the higher mountain altitudes transform the landscape into principally pine forest. 7 Mile Village, or El Progresso, is 2 miles away (residential village only, there is no commerce or restaurants in the village) and the twin towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio are 13 miles away. You must go into the twin towns for groceries, gas, and other needs. Some of the most desired tour activities are within the immediate vicinity of Chiquibul Ranch. Getting AroundRent a truck or SUV, not a car. Most of the Cayo's star attractions are on the unpaved rough limestone roads. Buses and taxis are available on main highways and in San Ignacio, but not on the Mountain Pine Ridge Road where adventure country is. After all, isn't that why you're coming to the Cayo district? Other Things to NotePLEASE NOTE: Belize charges 9% tax on every type of accommodation rental, even hostels for missionary housing. You will need to pay cash to Hugo when you're there. Airbnb does not facilitate the collection of local taxes. This 9% is charged on the room rate only (excludes housekeeping) and is an ADDITIONAL cost above the Airbnb listing.