Two months ago I had the opportunity to visit Chan Chich Lodge in Belize, something I had wanted to do for decades. Sometime in the 1990s I first heard of it, from various visionaries in Costa Rica who considered it to be a model on which to base development, both at the property level and for the destination as a whole. Chan Chich was mentioned frequently in conversations, in Costa Rica and throughout Mesoamerica, when the notion of sustainable tourism was first being developed.
In 2005 La Paz Group was engaged on a project to plan out the development of what is now a well-regarded conservation resort in southern Belize, and as part of the analytical work for that planning I spent much of the year getting to know the country and its tourism infrastructure. But the one property I most regretted at that time not getting to know, even though I was in its vicinity more than once, was Chan Chich. Just odd luck each time, it was not possible.
Until it finally was, mid-May 2016. Since that visit I have been taste-testing coffee grown near the lodge. Within the 30,000 acres on which Chan Chich sits–the property as a whole is called Gallon Jug–there is a 100+-acre section under the forest canopy where coffee has been planted. 100% organic. First impression below.
I wake up every morning in Kerala to this view, and maybe that has some kind of effect on my taste perception; the words that come to mind: cacao overtones; fruity undertones; and gentlemen, start your engines…