Canoes, Butterflies & Prince Harry

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Hammock House

At duPlooy’s, you know you are in the jungle. There are elevated walkways cut through the dense palm trees, and the most coveted spot is the hammock in the pavilion overlooking the river.  There is no AC, TV, or cell service – we’re pretty much off the grid.

But today we took a field trip to the fancy lodge next door – the one Prince Harry stayed at when he visited Belize.

Since we are jungle people now, we didn’t go by car – naturally, we decided to travel by canoe!

Canoe

Our guide, Isaiah, helped us navigate our canoe down the Macal River. Luckily, I got to just sit in the middle and take pictures, while Frank and Isaiah paddled.

Frank Canoe

Christy Canoe

About half an hour later, we arrived at Chaa Creek.

Chaa Creek Sign

Chaa Creek Canoe

Most of the guests at duPlooys are hard-core adventurers – they regale each other with stories of swimming through caves and crossing the border to Guatemala.

We were a little embarrassed to say we just wanted to sneak into the fancy lodge next door and check it out, so we traveled under the guise of a tour – to visit their butterfly breeding program.

Butterfly Farm

Isaiah looked at us doubtfully, but just said, “Follow me.” Oh my gosh – we hiked up, up, up.  Finally, we made it to a beautifully manicured lawn with an infinity pool.

Chaa Creek Pool 3

But I could hardly take a picture because we continued right on past the pool and up, up, up some more.

Trail at Chaa Creek

Frank and I were almost doubled over panting. We hope these butterflies are worth it!

And my goodness – they certainly were.

Butterfly Guide

The guide above is showing us the underside of a butterfly – camouflaged to look like an owl (clever!).

The breeding program here features 3 species, which were endangered, including the beautiful blue morpho – it is hard to capture them – they were all over this enclosure (you can catch glimpses of intense blue).

Butterflies

They breed the eggs through caterpillar stage, then place the cocoon into the butterfly house and wait.

We got to watch a just-hatched butterfly emerge from the chrysalis and remain attached while drying its wings. We were speechless – and had forgotten all about the fancy pool.

Just hatched butterfly

Once the butterflies hatch, they swarm around looking for food.

Butterfly Feeding 2

Once they have their fill, they mate and lay eggs, but only live for a few days more.

Butterfly Feeding

I watched a beautiful blue butterfly zig-zag down, close its wings, and bow its head. The guide said this is natural – the end of life.  I stayed with it until it was gone, with tears in my eyes.  A special moment – the birth and death of a butterfly.

Frank and I slowly made our way back down knowing we had just witnessed something truly remarkable and not quite ready to join the rest of the world again.

After all that, we decided it was time to treat ourselves to lunch (Isaiah had given up on us by then and said to call when we were ready to leave Chaa Creek).

Chaa Creek Lunch

They have a gorgeous dining room – we even had dessert – we didn’t want it to end!

Chaa Creek Lunch 2

Chaa Creek Lunch 3

Finally, we called Isaiah, who came around in the duPlooy pick-up truck to fetch us. And so we left the fancy life behind.

This morning, we woke up to giant palm trees shrouded in mist for our walk to breakfast, which included grilled-to-order tortillas (very Mayan).

duPlooys Grill

Chaa Creek was lovely (and I would highly recommend) – but maybe we are jungle people after all.

Walkways Mist 2

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