Breathtakingly beautiful 175 acre property nestled in an open valley of sunshine in the Maya Mountains. Surrounding tropical jungle and perfectly centralized location for all Cayo activities. Convenience of on-site manager and licensed tour guide.
Chiquibul Ranch, pronounced Chickee-Bull, and previously known as Casa Amarillo, is nestled in a beautiful sunny valley of tropical jungle rainforest in the foothills of the Mayan Mountains. The surrounding area is covered with mountain streams, waterfalls, swimming holes, jungle, caves, sink holes, and Mayan ruins. You will have your own personal tour guide which provides ultimate flexibility since no advance booking is required. Ideal for choosing activities on the spot to match the weather conditions. On-site manager, Hugo, is a free lance licensed tour guide. He is certified for all tours except Tikal and ATM caves, but he can help you find the best value guides for those tours. Hugo does tours for other resorts in the area, including the luxury resort, Blancaneaux. So you get the same tour, without the resort surcharge. He also charges less than tour guides in San Pedro. Activities within 30 minute drive or less of Chiquibul Ranch: horseback riding, zip-line, Barton Creek Caves, butterfly farm, Big Rock falls, bird-watching, jungle hikes, river tubing, Mayan ruins, Blancaneaux. Hard to find this much variety of tours all within 30 minutes of your home-away-from-home.
Chiquibul Ranch is a working ranch of 175 acres. The home itself is built among ancient Mayan house mounds. 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. The interior includes: Master Bedroom with one queen, Bathroom with shower, Loft with one double and two 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 and the manager's home reside. 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. I have personally seen the following animals on my property: gray fox, ocelot, agouti, gibnut, coatimundi, green parrot, chachalaca, iguana, boa constrictor, peccary, tarantula, giant toad, scorpion, mice, bats and many varieties of butterflies and birds, including the Blue Morpho. One guest saw 65 varieties of birds during her stay, most from the veranda.
Hugo (see his picture in the posted pictures) will welcome you and introduce you to the home. Hugo is charming, personable, funny, and knowledgeable. If you're lucky, his adorable young son, Wesley, or beautiful wife, Jenny, will assist him in showing you around.
- Turkish towels
- Abundant towel racks and luggage racks
- Egyptian cotton sheets in Master Bedroom
- High quality mattress pads for comfort
- Down blankets for those nights that can be cool in the foothills of the mountains in the winter.
- Beach towels and a cooler available for your use.
- Well appointed kitchen. Dish towels, paper towels, dish detergent provided.
- Bottled water in 5 gallon jugs
- Quality Hunter brand ceiling fan in the Master
- 4 ceiling fans in the open living area
- Floor fans
- Master bedroom has 1 queen bed
- Loft has 1 double bed and 2 twin beds. The loft is under the thatch roof. Mosquito nets are available for the loft beds, if desired, ask Hugo
- Custom Mahogany dining table and 6 chairs hand crafted by Chaa Creek's wood furniture shop
- Wrap around veranda with 2 hammocks and outdoor table and seating for 4
-Artisan craftsmen built thatch roof.
-Self-sustaining off-grid electricity powered by gas generator and butane gas. Independent water supply. No dependency on unstable Belize electric and water infrastructure
- Screens on all windows and doors
- Track lighting in main living area
- 2 battery powered lanterns for use when you have the generator off, but bring flashlights too for navigating night tours and jungle treks
- TV monitor/screen and video/audio connection cables, known as a RCA connector. Bring your own portable DVD or hard drive and content
- Daily, bi-daily, weekly, bi-weekly maid service if desired, using on-site cash payment
- IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Belize Tourism Board requires 9% accommodation tax on every room rented in Belize. This 9% will be collected from you while staying at Chiquibul Ranch by Hugo. Airbnb does not facilitate local tax collection and payment for any of their listings, and as a result its site doesn't provide a place to list this ADDITIONAL charge. The 9% is calculated on the room charge only, not the housekeeping fee.
- ALSO NOTE: Chiquibul Ranch is in the jungle so align your expectations with the following: (a) electricity is powered with a gasoline generator, so there is no a/c, no dishwasher, no microwave, no internet, no TV signal, no blender, no washer/dryer. (b) Cell coverage is spotty since it's in the foothills of the mountains, but Hugo can show you a couple of locations on the property where you can receive good cell coverage. (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. There are mosquito nets, if desired (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 creature skittering around. (e) the final 6 mile road to Chiquibul is rough limestone stones and very bumpy
One of my favorite things to do is a day at Big Rock, swimming in the stream and under the waterfall. Then on the way back to the house, stopping at luxury resort Blancaneaux to have ceviche for lunch. Blancaneaux was built by Hollywood Academy award winning director, producer, and screen-writer Francis Ford Coppola as a private residence which he subsequently expanded into a luxury resort. Finally, the conclusion of a perfect day consists of lounging on the hammock with a drink and listening to the sounds of the jungle and watching the lightning bugs.
The distance from the airport is 2 1/2 hours. It is all paved except for the last 6 miles when you turn onto the Mountain Pine Ridge Road. It is a 30 minute drive 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 wear and tear vehicles get in mountain and jungle territory.
3 night minimum.
The whole property is available for you to explore. I have a road 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.) No charge for any and all fruit you pick and eat from my property while at the ranch. 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 Guests
I am not there. On site manager, Hugo, his wife, Jenny, and their 3 year old son, Wesley, live in a separate home on the property, far enough away from my home for complete privacy but close enough to be available for all questions and company or conversation. Hugo is always up to speed on world events, Belize politics, and local goings-on and is a great conversationalist. Talk with Hugo each evening about what tours you'd like to do the next day. ATM and Tikal would require a little more advance notice so he can round up a guide. Hugo also collects the 9% accommodation tax, to be paid in cash, and information required by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) during your stay.
Chiquibul 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. Seven Mile Village (or El Progresso) is 2 miles away and the twin towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio are 13 miles away. Many tour sites and activities are within the immediate vicinity of Chiquibul Ranch.
Rent a truck or SUV, not a car. Belize is adventure country. It's super easy to get anywhere, and impossible to get lost because there are only a few roads in the whole country. Buses and taxis are available, but not convenient for the adventurous activities of the Cayo district. No buses travel the Georgeville Road to Chiquibul Ranch. You'll miss out on a lot if you rely on transportation from others, buses or taxis, but it is possible if you don't want the high cost of the rental vehicle.
Other Things to Note
PLEASE NOTE: Belize charges 9% accommodation tax on every room rental, including missionary housing. You will need to pay cash to Hugo when you're there. Airbnb does not accommodate the collection of local taxes. The charge is only on the room rate, not housekeeping and is in ADDITION to fees shown by Airbnb.
1) No smoking, no candles, no outside fires. It's a thatch roof and wooden structure.
2) No food left out and accessible to jungle critters. Keep everything in the many plastic containers provided or the refrigerator.
3) Take care of everything as though it is your own.
4) Have the time of your life!
This really is the most wonderful place to stay. We had eight fantastic days here, and are only sorry we couldn't stay longer. Belize is so beautiful and so interesting, and this area is particularly fine. Karen was very conscientious about keeping in touch with us before our trip, sending us information and making sure our arrival was as smooth as possible. Hugo, who manages the property for her, is really friendly and helpful. He looked after us brilliantly but never intrusively, and we gained quite an insight into Belizean life through talking to him. You have to cope with some practical issues here - a good four-wheel drive is essential, and there's no point in economising on car hire, and you have to get used to starting an electricity generator each evening, and finding your way back to the house once you've turned it off for the night. But the house is great, really well equipped, and you can bird- watch, botanise or just chill just walking in the grounds. There are great places to visit nearby, and if you like outdoor life I think you are guaranteed to have a good time here.
A peaceful paradise! Karen & Hugo were an excellent duo in making our visit to Chiquibul Ranch perfect. Karen was extremely helpful prior to leaving answering all my questions, right up until we left. Hugo, Jenny and Welsley were all very welcoming, warm and friendly when we arrived and throughout our visit. A good mix of respecting our privacy at the same time as being there when we wanted to chat. Hugo's specialty is Mayan culture, so definitely recommend taking him up on one or more of his tours with that focus. We were interested in birding - and were happy to see 65 species while on the property for 5 nights - most from the porch! Hugo is a modest birder, and admittedly still learning ~ though has a great eye and can find a Toucan for you if you somehow haven't seen one before you need to go :) LOVE the fresh orange juice maker and the quiet after the generator is turned off.
Chiquibul Ranch is well cared for and in a beautiful setting. Hugo is very attentive and knowledgeable about the area. He is a certified guide and speaks excellent English so we really enjoyed our trip to Barton Creek Cave with him. He provided us with a bucket full of oranges on our 1st day there, and because the kitchen included a squeezer we were able to enjoy fresh squeezed orange juice while we were there.
The house is off the grid but water is gravity fed from way up in the mountains so that was never a problem. We only wanted to run the generator sparingly so lighting was a problem. The two battery operated lanterns were not adequate to read with so I would suggest guests should bring their own light source----just remember it can't be open flame because of the thatch roof. And don't forget the flashlights---it is really dark out after 6pm.
The house is very comfortable, with plenty of room. The kitchen is well supplied and clean. While we there we didn't see any ants or other crawly things in the house----which isn't always so in a jungle setting.
Our one caution is about the road----be sure and drive something with lots of clearance---preferably 4-wheel drive if you want to explore. The roads are atrocious----the road to the ranch is 6 miles of very rough rocky teeth jarring ride. We did find it worth it though.
Be sure to take in Market day in San Ignacio on Saturday----if you need internet access Hodes just to the left as you come into town is a good place. They have good food too. Spanish Lookout is interesting and the Farmers Store there has everything you could possibly want.
All & all we found this place to be a perfect place for us to acclimate ourselves to the difference in temperatures (between Alaska and Belize) and rest and unwind from our long trip.
Thank you William. Just a note on lighting. There's nothing like the pitch black darkness of a jungle setting when the moon isn't full, which is part of the allure; you can see every star in the sky! I leave the lights on if I want to read, which unfortunately means you need to run the generator. There really isn't any adequate substitute for electric lights! Lanterns and flashlights just help you navigate in the dark. Happy travels everyone.
Chiquibul Ranch is a welcomed reprieve from more touristy areas when traveling Belize. We rented an SUV in Belize City and drove in on the one and only road. While daunting at first, Karen's directions are clear and concise and the place is easy to find. We were greeted by Hugo with a smile and fresh oranges grown on the property. While somewhat remote, Hugo made the entire stay feel completely comfortable and has a wealth of knowledge about the area, the ruins, the caves, and more that you won't find in large group tours or in guidebooks. This is a great place to unplug for a couple of days and spend quality time with people while exploring some incredible locations within driving distance. We highly recommend it and are already planning our next trip back!
What an excellent place to stay! Karen was very helpful answering questions and her tips were very helpful for planning our activities while staying at her place. The property and house was beautiful. The house was very clean and comfortable. There was lots of room for our family to prepare food we picked up at the market in San Ignacio, to play the card games we had brought along for the evenings, or to just hanging out on the large deck after a day of trekking about.
Hugo, the caretaker on the property is fantastic - kind, friendly, and so knowledgeable. We truly appreciated his help in deciding on the activities we wanted to do and being our guide for many of them. A big thank you to Hugo for helping us make the most out of our stay!
We had a wonderful week at Chiquibul Ranch! Lovely house (the tall thatched roof is amazing), spacious, very clean, and well stocked with everything you could need to make yourself comfortable. We loved sitting on the porch, eating, reading and watching fascinating birds (thanks to the Belize bird book we found in the house). The grounds are well kept and full of bright flowers and interesting vegetation.
Karen readily answered all of our questions prior to our arrival and her input was invaluable. I highly recommend reading all of her great tips and suggestions because they are sensible and very helpful.
We liked that Chiquibul Ranch is a good staging point for a tour from San Ignacio to Tikal. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is well worth the visit, in fact, it is downright incredible!
Hugo, the caretaker, is a super guide (we did Barton Creek Cave with him which was terrific) and an excellent resource for information on life in Belize, local agriculture, farmer's market, and Mayan history and communities. He checked on us periodically to see that we were doing fine in the house which was always appreciated! He even brought us fresh oranges from the ranch for us to make juice, and that was a big treat!
We were a bit surprised by the presence of some road noise but quickly acclimated to it and realized that there were times of traffic and then mostly quiet times.
All in all, I highly recommend this property for a quiet, relaxing yet interesting vacation!
Casa Amarillo was truly incredible. Hugo was very warm and welcoming, and he and his son gave us a tour of the house and the property upon arrival. We had everything we needed (utensils, pots and pans, spices) to cook delicious food from the local market. The property itself is very gorgeous. We walked around each night before sunset, exploring the different flora and fauna. With the help of a guide book that is at the house, we were able to identify many of the plants and animals we saw. The only drawback I have to say is that I wished we had stayed longer! When you go, make sure you stop at the little house just past the speed bump on your way to Casa Amarillo. It has a hand painted sign that says "Ice Cream for Sale". The lady there, Stephanie, makes amazing coconut bread and salbutes! We hung out with her and her friends quite a bit while we were there, and she is so friendly. Everyone we met was very friendly! If you stay in San Ignacio, stay at Casa Amarillo! And bring a 4x4! You won't regret it!
Frequent Traveler. Adventuring and Courageous. I like to get a feel for the culture and people of the places I travel to; eating at the same road side places the locals eat at, finding my own way around the towns and country-side. I usually have done some home-work in advance to learn about the history and culture of where I'm traveling to and have some idea of what to do and see. But, I love the flexibility to choose what to do and when to do it when I arrive.