Calico Jack's Village - About Us
Calico Jack’s Village (CJV) is a Belizean owned and operated family business established by Dr. Ydahlia Metzgen (“Dr. Ydahlia”) and Mr. Chester Williams (“Mr. Chet”) located deep in the heart of the vibrant village of El Progresso, Cayo. CJV is best known for its first-class personalized, exhilarating and safe zip line tours available to both daytime explorers and overnight guests. CJV’s location in the Mountain Pine Ridge region of central Belize provides privacy and intimacy and the sights, sounds, and sensations of a tropical rainforest for overnight guests. CJV’s spacious 2 -3 bedroom/2 bathroom villas with kitchenettes provide comfortable and stylish lodging. Calico Jack’s elegant poolside-restaurant offers excellent cuisine including Belizean and vegetarian specialties to local and foreign guests alike.
An additional plus of Calico Jack’s location is its accessibility to the traditional life style of the small farming villages in the area, including the village of El Progresso (7 Miles) with links to the ancient Maya, indigenous to Belize, Creoles, as well as most recently to refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
“Dr. Ydahlia” and “Mr. Chet” are developers, interested in sustainable economic development and offer guests an authentic Belizean experience on an environmentally conscious property.
Calico Jacks Jungle Villas, 2013
Original Calico Jack's Village, North Maya
Beach, Stann Creek, Belize 2007
Dr. Ydahlia Metzgen, is a Belizean national, economist and entrepreneur who 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. “Dr. Ydahlia” graduated with an M.A. in economic development (with Distinction) from McGill University, Canada, and an MPA and Ph.D. (with Distinction) from the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, USA in international economics and public policy. Dr. Ydahlia’s experiences living and working in countries such as Barbados, 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 and eco systems. Dr. Ydahlia also managed the IMF’s US$20 billion investment portfolios as well as served as Vice President of International Credit for Merrill Lynch providing her with hands on as well as technical background in finance. Dr. Ydahlia’s vision is to have Calico Jack’s serve as a potential model of thoughtful and sustainable development enhancing the lives of the Belizeans living in El Progresso, Cayo through training and education grounded in Belize’s natural environment.
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, 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. Chet’s pioneering development of a successful beachfront resort on North Maya Beach, Stann Creek—the initial Calico Jack’s—opened up that area to investment and growth. Chet’s vision is to bring growth to El Progresso including by providing villagers with skills such as carpentry, plumbing and electrical work.
After more than 30 years of public works projects and public service, Dr. Ydahlia and Mr. Chet decided to apply Dr. Ydahlia’s financing and knowledge of economic development with Mr. Chet’s in-depth expertise of building and public works to this new project aimed at sustainable development in El Progresso, Cayo Belize. In early 2008, the project moved to Cayo District in closer proximity to Dr. Ydahlia’s family. (Read article about the original Calico Jack's.)
Calico Jack's Moves to El Progresso in Cayo District
Dennis listens to Mark and Alfred on zip line
"Dr. Ydahlia" discusses jungle plants
Chet and Ydahlia Spelunking
Pool and Restaurant Area, CJV El Progresso
In its second life, Calico Jack’s reopened as a resort in 2011. Dr. Ydahlia and Mr. Chet moved their operations including their cabanas built of UroBlock™ to the rainforest in 2008. (Read the press release concerning Calico Jack’s move to Cayo). Son Mark Williams worked on the new project in 2009, and in particular on the construction of what is a premier Jungle Canopy and Zip Line in the region. Son Scott Williams contributed to building the villas.
Phase I of this exciting project started in December 2009 and focused on building and opening 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 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.
During Phase II, the main resort restaurant and bar and palapa bar were established. In addition, new attractions including the Jungle Swing and the CJV Extreme tour, which combines zip lining with rappelling and a cable walk, were introduced.
In Phase III, at the request of family members, friends and some repeat guests from CJV’s earlier incarnation in Placencia, 2-3 bedroom/2 bathroom villas were introduced that accommodate families and small groups. The swimming pool was built to provide a tranquil alternative to Calico Jack’s renowned adventure tours.
Dr. Ydahlia, Mr. Chet, 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.
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Calico Jack's Village, El Progresso (7 Mile), Cayo District, Belize, C.A.
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