About This Listing
Breathtakingly beautiful 175 acre property nestled in an open valley of sunshine in the Maya Mountains. Surrounding tropical jungle and great 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. Hugo will do 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 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 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 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.
- Luxurious towels
- Abundant towel racks and luggage racks
- Egyptian cotton sheets in Master Bedroom
- High quality mattress pads for comfort
- Down blankets
- Beach towels
- Well appointed kitchen
- Bottled water in 5 gallon jugs
- Quality Hunter brand ceiling fan in the Master bedroom
- 4 ceiling fans in the open living area
- Floor fans
- Master bedroom has 1 queen bed
- Mosquito nets are available for the loft beds, if desired
- 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
- Battery powered lanterns for use when you don't want to run the generator for lights
- TV Monitor/screen and video/audio connection cables (RCA connector)
- 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 (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 creature skittering around. (e) the final 6 mile road to Chiquibul is rough limestone stone road 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 Francis Ford Coppola (Hollywood Academy award winning director, producer, and screen-writer) 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 4 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!
What a fantastic place. I honestly think the pictures dont do it justice. It was a very enjoyable stay, everything was as described (especially the road, you definitely want a car/suv with some clearance and possibly 4x4 capability) and extremely clean.
This was a great "home base" you may say for accessing all San Ignacio has to offer. I would recommend Chiquibul Ranch to anyone who wants an authentic "jungle" experience.
We had a wonderful time at this home! We were traveling as two families with 4 adults and 4 kids and had just spent 3-4 days on Ambergris Caye, but wanted an inland Belize experience. The house itself accomodated us all nicely and having refrigeration and running water and modern bathroom was very nice. The grounds are lush and we took a walk every morning to explore the grounds. What really made the experience even more special was using Hugo as our guide to zip-lining, Mayan cave exploration at Barton Creek and at the Mayan ruins near San Ignacio. I would highly recommend staying here! We had no problems finding the home from the instructions, The road in the last 6 miles to the house is rough and gravel, so take this into account when renting your vehicle.
A few in our party of four weren't sure that they wanted to spend time in the jungle, but we all left glad that we did. Chiquibul Ranch and caretaker/guide Hugo were a big part of that outcome. The locale is a perfect base of operations from which to do all the Belize inland adventure activities like zip lining, cave canoeing, rock jumping/swimming at Big Rock Falls, and exploring the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich. What's even better is that the owner Karen practically planned an itinerary for us and then Hugo acted as our guide. This set up made it a much more personal and flexible experience compared to doing the activities with a big group through a resort. By the end of our two and a half days at Chiquibul, we counted Hugo as a friend and agreed that he is an expert at what he does.
As for the house and grounds, they were very cool and had all the necessary ammenities. Not sure why you'd want to hang out inside all day here, but if you did you'd be cormfortable. The woodwork inside is fantastic and the porch/deck surrounding the main structure is a great place to relax.
The only drawbacks were the local roosters that woke us earlier than we would have liked and the rough road that we had to drive 6 miles on to reach the property. This is the same road you would take to reach the luxury resorts of Blanceneux and Gaia, though, so even those seeking the most posh jungle experience have to deal with it.
Overall, we couldn't be much happier with the rental propety and the owner. Karen responded promptly to all of my inquiries and went out of her way to ensure we had a wonderful experience.
We really enjoyed our visit to Chiquibul Ranch! Everything was as described and we would certainly recommend the place to others.
A few notes:
Though the amenities (water, electric, cell, internet) are rustic, the house is very comfortable and peaceful. In particular, the kitchen is very well equipped and great for cooking.
However, be aware that you will almost certainly have to cook since the closest grocery store and produce stand is a good 20-30 minute drive up the very rough limestone road. The road is also used frequently by logging trucks whose engines can be heard from the house during daylight hours.
We ended up really only wanting to leave the house once a day due to the road. If we went out, it was for the day. We weren't comfortable driving it at night, so once we were back, we stayed back.
We didn't want to miss out on tours and so booked a few things ahead of time; we wish instead we had waited and booked with Hugo who was really charming, knowledgable and helpful.
There are a number of great attractions, nature sites etc very near to the ranch on Chiquibil road. Caving, zip lines, resorts with fancy cocktails, etc.
If you are looking for a quiet and peaceful place to unplug and hang out in a nature setting, Chiquibil is awesome! Just be prepared for its remoteness, the rough drive and needing to cook.
Everything was as advertised. Hugo was great, he made us feel very welcome and was terrific as a guide to Barton Creek and Curocal. The location is excellent for exploring the mountain pine ridge area! Close enough to town (especially compared to many of the resorts in the area) but also convenient to all of the sites. I would definitely stay here again if (when!) I come back.
The only small criticism would be that the generator is quite loud when you need to run it in the evenings. There's not really a reason to run it while sleeping, but for relaxing in the evenings it was a little annoying. However, if you are willing to read by lantern, there's no need to run it at all.
The fridge and stove run off gas and it was very convenient to stop at the grocery story and cook our own dinners for several nights. Sky City outside the airport is a good bet if you are arriving late or don't want to go to San Ignacio. Note that there are two nicer grocery stores just as you come into Santa Elana/San Ignacio.
I concur about generator noise. I read from my kindle app! Hopefully Belize will someday have quality and affordable solar solutions for purchase in country or will lower the duty tax on imported solutions. Current duty tax makes importing solar capability prohibitively expensive!
We spent 6 nights at Chiquibul Ranch/Casa Amarilla. Karen, the owner, was very helpful in providing us with the information we needed to prepare for our stay. We did rent a pick-up truck, but never engaged the 4 wheel drive. The road to the property is unpaved, but not difficult if driving at a safe speed. The house is situated on 175 acres, 50 of which are orange grove. Beautiful flowers surround the house. The house has lovely balconies and a deck for enjoying your coffee and/or fresh squeezed orange juice. We loved watching the many hummingbirds that came to feast on the flowers. The house was very clean. Do be vigilant in placing all food in fridge or plastic containers. We were careful and never saw any signs of vermin. Be advised that it does get chilly in the late evening. You may need a light blanket. Hugo, the caretaker, is a remarkable young man. He was always available to help us. His son Wesley is super cute! Hugo took us to Barton Creek Cave and it was astonishing! Hugo will be happy to talk to you about Belizean life. Please remember to leave him something at the end of your stay. The Mountain Pine Rd. is a great base. We visited Rio on Pools, Caracol, Xununtunich, Tikal, and San Ignacio. Fantastic. You will have a great time at Chiquibul Ranch and in the friendly, beautiful country of Belize!
About the Host, Karen
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.