Belize's Macal River Camp: Top Glamping Spot
The Lodge at Chaa Creek’s Macal River Camp in Belize has been named by The Daily Beast as one of the world’s top five places to "glamp."
To the uninitiated, glamping is short for glam or glamorous camping, a more luxurious or even glamorous take on the traditional approach to camping, eschewing the often tedious elements such as the setting up and taking down of tents, building fires, cooking outdoors with often questionable results and other attempts to enjoy the great outdoors, according to a news release.
With glamping, those services are usually provided by professionals in comfortable surroundings, giving campers more time to commune with nature.
Or, according to The Daily Beast’s feature titled “Do you want to Glamp like a Champ?”
“Some people can handle the sleeping bag and zippered tent, but not all. So what to do if you love the great outdoors but want to rough it without, well, really roughing it? The answer: glamping, or glam camping. Not all glamping is created equal, and there’s a range, from a simple tented cabin in the woods to a luxury safari tent. We’ve selected five of our favourite glamping spots where you can get up close with nature — but you know, not too close.”
The Newsweek affiliate went on to list their pick of the top five glamping locations in the world, with Chaa Creek's Macal River Camp in Belize joining Washington State’s San Juan Islands, Yosemite National Park in the U.S. and two locations in Botswana.
The article described the Macal River Camp as; “This collection of canvas-roofed tents is located on the grounds of the luxurious Lodge at Chaa Creek and guests at the camp are welcome to use the lodge facilities, such as the swimming pool. But the tents allow guests to truly feel alone in the jungle. There is no electricity, and after dark, the tents are lit by the glow of flickering gas lamps. At night, guests can fall asleep listening to the cicadas and the chorus of howler monkeys. Bathrooms and showers are shared, excellent meals are served in the thatched-roof dining area, and campfires are lit on chilly evenings.
Bryony Fleming Bradley, Chaa Creek’s assistant general manager, pointed out that the “tents” the article refers to are actually raised bungalow style “casitas” a local Spanish term meaning “small house,” with timber walls, floors and individual verandas with hammocks and jungle views. Ten casitas are arranged to accommodate the natural landscape and trees, with an airy communal dining and recreation spot lit with kerosene lamps, and hygienic, environmentally friendly restrooms and showers.
“When you approach the camp by trail or canoe, it’s almost like coming upon a charming little village in the middle of the forest. The camp is removed enough from the main lodge area to feel remote, but is a pleasant walk or paddle to the pool, Natural History Center, butterfly farm, Hilltop Spa, restaurant, Jungle Lounge and other amenities. Some guests enjoy walking a scenic path along the river through the Maya Medicinal Plant Trail and there are also trails for horseback or mountain bike riding as well,” Fleming Bradley said.
In addition to individuals, families and groups, the Macal River Camp is also used to accommodate groups, conferences and activities such as the annual Eco Kids Educational Summer camp the Belizean Eco resort sponsors under its Chaa Creek Cares program, which also sees ten percent of all room revenue go directly towards social and environmental initiatives.
The Daily Beast’s other selections for the world’s top five glamping spots were:
- Beyond Nxabego Okavango Tented Camp – Botswana.
- Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes -San Juan Islands.
- Curry Village -Yosemite National Park.
- Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp – Botswana.
Fleming Bradley said it was gratifying to see that The Daily Beast selected The Macal River Camp from such a varied shortlist of glamping spots from around the world. “Glamping is a trend that is growing in popularity each year, and I’m sure the global competition was strong. So to be chosen as one of the top five by the Daily Beast, which has some three million viewers, is really quite an honour. The family who has for years been doing the cooking and looking after the camp were ecstatic to hear the news,” she said.
“I guess you could say we’re all happy glampers,” she added.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek is an award winning eco resort set within a 365 acre private nature reserve in Belize.