Calico Jack's Village - About Us
Calico Jack’s Village is a Belizean owned and operated family business. The Williams-Metzgen Family (Chester Williams and Ydahlia Metzgen), are builders and developers interested in sustainable economic development, and have the intention that guests have an authentic Belizean experience on an environmentally conscious property (see below).
Original Calico Jack's Village, North Maya
Beach, Stann Creek, Belize 2007
Original Calico Jack’s Village, 2007
Chester “Chet” Williams is a successful builder, innovator, and entrepreneur. For the last 30 years, Chester has been known as an awarded builder of bridges, roads, airstrips, dams, and houses. Chester is originally from Washington State, USA and brings to his work a respect for nature and the environment. Chet ran a successful, multi-million dollar construction company called C.W.W. Construction in Washington State. Initially, Chester and C.W.W. Construction specialized in and became widely recognized in Washington State for constructing concrete structures for water distribution and for sewage treatment plants. C.W.W. Construction’s Public Works projects, financed by Washington State and the US Government, expanded to include bridge retrofit and road construction and retrofit.
Dr. Ydahlia Metzgen is a Belizean national and an economist who graduated with an M.A. in economic development from McGill University, Canada, and an MPA and Ph.D. from Princeton University, USA in international economics and public policy. “Dr. Ydahlia” has devoted her life to economic policy and economic development issues in developing countries including as a high level official at the International Monetary Fund. Her experiences living in and working in countries such as Bhutan, Cambodia, Cote D’Ivoire, Haiti, Nigeria, and the Congo have been beneficial to her in considering sustainable economic development that preserves the best of natural environments. Her objective is to have Calico Jack’s serve as a potential model of thoughtful and sustainable development and to enhance the lives of Belizeans through training and education grounded in Belize’s natural environment.
After more than 30 years of public works projects and public service, the Williams decided to combine Chet’s acquired in-depth expertise of building and public works with Dr. Ydahlia’s— knowledge of finance and economic development and apply their expertise to projects in Belize. Together with builder sons Mark and Scott Williams, the Metzgen-Williams built a successful beachfront resort called Calico Jack’s Village on the North Maya Beach on the Placencia Peninsula in Stann Creek District, Belize. The Williams were the first developers/builders on North Maya beach and after they showed what could be done in that area there came a surge of investment and development. (Read article about the original Calico Jack's.)
Calico Jack's Moves to the Rainforest in Cayo District
Dennis listens to Mark and Alfred on zip line
"Dr. Ydahlia" discusses jungle plants
Chet and Ydahlia Spelunking
The Williams-Metzgen began this latest project, Calico Jack’s Village, Cayo in April 2008 and moved their operations including their cabanas built of UroBlock™ to the rainforest in the Mt. Pine Ridge of Cayo District, Belize. (Read the press release concerning Calico Jack’s move to Cayo). Son Mark Williams has worked on the new project since May 2009, and in particular on the construction of what is a premier Jungle Canopy and Zip Line in the region.
Phase I of this exciting project opened on December 28 2009 and focuses on several key attractions—the Aerial Jungle Canopy and Zip Lining, and two caves—Bega 1 and Box-tunich—used by the ancient Maya and opened with the permission of the Government of Belize. The property also has established an Ancient Garden Jungle Trail which boasts more than 100 varieties of plants and trees used in the daily life of the ancient Maya.
Mr. Chet and Dr. Ydahlia have noted that the first phase of their project focuses on providing guests with a sense of the rainforest and a glimpse into world of the ancient Maya. In addition to the aerial canopy, caves, and the Ancient Garden Jungle Trail, the property opened the restaurant and bar—One Eyed Jack’s— and also on a smaller scale the Jolly Roger’s palapa offering local snacks and beverages. The office is also open and the structures on the premises are built mainly of UroBlock™.
CJV will move into Phase II in 2010, which involves opening up additional attractions and some limited accommodations for family, friends, and selected guests.
Chet, Ydahlia, Mark, and the caretaker management and staff at Calico Jack's Village are devoted to your comfort, safety, and pleasure, from the adventures you wish to pursue to the food you eat. Even before you arrive, we will know your comfort and travel needs.
Expect our help in mapping out adventures to nearby jungle and reef, and arranging your travel by plane, or vehicle. Expect unpaved roads through Belizean local villages, tropical vegetation and wildlife, and opportunities to exchange stories with fellow adventurers and local residents.
Our location in the Mountain Pine Ridge region of central Belize provides privacy and the sights, sounds, and sensations of a tropical rainforest with a highly rated bar and restaurant on site for your convenience.
Yet our location leaves you accessible to the small villages of our area, including the village of El Progresso (7 Miles) that traces its roots to the ancient Maya indigenous to Belize, to refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and also whose ancestors fled the Caste Wars and wars in Central American and settled in this area of Belize. The village does not yet have electricity (including for the school) and draws water from a well. The villagers are mainly farmers.
A Self Sustained and Environmentally Responsible Village
Builders and architects the world over are already talking about the extraordinary construction methods Calico Jack's Village builder/owner, Chester "Chet" Williams used in building this self-sustainable village. Chet worked originally for 40 years in construction including as a bridge builder, road builder, and housing and condo builder in Seattle, Washington. He became inspired by the need for a building material that would withstand the high-velocity winds of an occasional hurricane and also with which unskilled labor could be trained in contruction.
"Mr. Chet" with Jungle Guides
One Eyed Jack’s Restaurant and Bar
at Calico Jack's Village
Chester invented UroBlock™ a material whose components and manufacturing processes are ideal for the tropics and unskilled work forces and yet offer flexibility in design and aesthetics. Chet, who manages the construction and sales of Calico Jack’s villas with his small personally trained team, can erect a UroBlock structure in one to two days.
Environmental preservation in the construction and ongoing operation of Calico Jack’s Village is a personal priority of the Williams-Metzgen family. In deciding to build an authentic Belizean village for travel-lovers, the Williams-Metzgen made a commitment to ensure that the surrounding jungle and waterways would be left in their pristine condition. To that end, the Williams-Metzgen have made every effort to employ and engage local Belizeans in the building project, and to do everything possible to make the village self-sustaining, without disturbing the jungle around the village.
By employing local Belizeans at the village, the Williams-Metzgen intention is two-fold: First, we hope to send a message of environmental responsibility to the Belizeans who are the stewards of this beautiful native land and importantly also to visitors; and second, we hope to continue to make use of local talent in building, designing, and furnishing the village in Belizean style.
Because the cabanas and all other units in the village are made with UroBlock™ at the core, little need exists for indigenous materials that are in low supply.
As the bay leaf, and cohoon palm and hardwood are plentiful in Belize, the Williams-Metzgen have commissioned their use in the construction of the thatched roofs and support beams. For the villas or two story units we also have traditional roofing. The chairs and tables furnished in the cabanas, restaurant, and villas are hand-made with native hardwood by Chester and local Belizeans. The result is a rustic elegance that communicates a sense of serenity and respect for the jungle and reef.
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Calico Jack's Village, El Progresso (7 Mile), Cayo District, Belize, C.A.
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