Copal Tree’s Guides
The guides at Copal Tree Lodge, a Muy’Ono resort, are the finest available in Belize and have received a number of distinguished awards.
Trip Advisor guest comment:
“By far the most amazing activity was the trip to Blue Creek cave and the Lubaantun Mayan sites. This trip was lead by Vince and Chan, and is absolutely not to be missed! The cave tour was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure (no details – you have to go experience this!), and the Lubaantun tour was amazing. Vince is so knowledgeable about every detail of Mayan history and culture. We also had lunch in Vince’s home, which was a wonderful opportunity! His family was gracious and welcoming, and made an amazing Belizean meal for our group. This was the type of experience every traveller should have.”
Emmanuel Chan, who goes by Chan, is a certified guide who has been working at Copal Tree Lodge since 2010. Chan focuses on inland tours to Toledo’s beautiful natural sites and Mayan sites, but birding excursions are his favorite Copal Tree activity. Chan is an avid birder who demonstrates a remarkable depth of avian knowledge for his young age. Mentored by some of the region’s leading experts, including noted ornithologist and author of the Birds of Belize, Dr. Lee Jones, Chan is always eager to learn from other birders and impart all that he knows.
Desmond Ramirez, Desmond is one of the great success stories we have here at Copal Tree, he is a home grown talent that has developed into one of the top guides in the country and was awarded the “The best Guide of the Year 2015” by B.T.B. for all his hard work and dedication to Belize Tourism. He was born to a Mestizo mother and a Garifuna father here in Punta Gorda, where he also spent his school years. He has an innate love for all the things around him, and an enthusiasm for imparting his ever-growing store of knowledge. Coupled with his soul-warming smile and easy-going personality Desmond has become a cornerstone of our Snorkel with the Chef experience and a wonderful asset to the Lodge and Belize Tourism as a whole.
George Alford was born and raised on the banks of the Starstoon River in the Toledo district. He is of creole and Hispanic descent. Living just a few feet from the water and being surrounded by jungle fostered his love for nature and wildlife. He became a fisherman at an early age and his love for exploring nature lead him to become a commercial fisherman, forest ranger and eventually a tour guide. George is very passionate about sharing his knowledge of and enthusiasm for the flora and fauna of Belize. He has a keen eye for spotting curious creatures and he does a great job at mimicking birds.
His wealth of knowledge and experience makes him very versatile and activities such as birding, kayaking, river fishing, or exploring the jungle at day or at night will never have a dull moment. He is also our boat captain and enjoys the calm evenings meandering down the Rio Grande during a sunset cruise. George’s enthusiasm is contagious!
Bicente Ical, ‘Vince’, is of Mayan descent and was born in the village of Blue Creek, one of the most beautiful Maya villages in the Toledo area. He speaks 5 local languages, Kekchi, Mopan Maya, English, Creole and Spanish. Vince has been a guide for close to a decade and has worked at several hotels in Belize as a guide. As a very experienced, safe and knowledgeable guide, Vince is our resident expert on Maya history and culture. Vince’s signature tour is a visit to Lubaantun Maya ruins followed by a swim in Blue Creek cave and a traditional lunch in his home, prepared by his Mayan wife, Cimiona Ical. Vince and Cimiona have two children, Kendry and Ornel.
Maynard Jacobs is of East Indian and Mestizo descent, and has been part of the chocolate making initiative at Copal Tree Lodge since it started. He was trained by Katrina Markoff of Vosges Chocolate and Ken Harper of VUI in Canada. His main passion for chocolate making stems from the fermentation and roasting process where he is able to take the Copal Tree grown beans and enrich and develop their natural fine flavors. Maynard believes that this is as much an art form as it is a science. Maynard’s interests and passions do not stop at chocolate as he is also involved in our Coffee program where he is involved in the fermentation, drying and roasting of our home grown lowland coffee beans. Come join him in his passion and see him bring your tastes buds to life in our “Bean to Bar” experience.
Elon Ranguy was born and raised in Forest Home, right here in the Toledo District. From an early age Elon demonstrated a passion for agriculture and rainforest remedies and studied Agriculture through both the Secondary and Tertiary levels after which becoming a teacher at an Elementary school. Elon has been part of the Copal Tree family for over 7 years and has become an integral part of our Organic Farm where he is able to impart his passion and accumulated knowledge of sustainable farming and forest sourced natural remedies to all our guests.
Joseph Vanzie, is our Head Gardener and has been part of the Copal Tree family for the past 9 years. Joseph has been farming since his early childhood and is passionate about Organic farming processes and creating an environment in which he is not only able to produce world class fruit and vegetables but also have an arena in which he can impart all his knowledge and enthusiasm to our guests. He is a native Garifuna of Punta Gorda and an outstanding pillar of the Copal Tree Family.
Trevony Smith – Spa Therapist, Trevony is a Punta Gorda native and is a full service spa therapist who has honed her spa skills through years of passion and experience in creating custom spa treatments for guests. She is able to focus on relaxation of the mind and body through gentle, mild strokes and smooth pressure massages as well getting into those tight spots that need a little more work. Her manicures, pedicures and facials will leave you feeling like new and for the ultimate in spa experiences let Trevony take you through the journey of the Copal Tree Signature Treatment and leave you feeling truly pampered!