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Best San Ignacio Resort

Scotts Valley...
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Best San Ignacio Resort

Chaa Creek, Mystic River resort or Gaia resort (5 sisters). Any recommendation on which is the best for a family of 4 looking for a nice resort with good food and comfortable accomodations. Any help is appreciated

Minneapolis...
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1. Re: Best San Ignacio Resort

Hi Jodi,

Out of the three options, Chaa Creek and Gaia will be your nicest options. You may also want to consider Ka'ana if you're planning doing a lot of day trips to see ruins, cave tube, etc...

Can you share a little more about the time of year and ages of your family? It might impact our recommendations.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Chaa Creek

-Rainforest setting with lots of hiking around the property

-All levels of accommodations to meet most interests.

-Nice pool,

-Birding, horseback riding, butterfly house all on property

-Great choice if you want to stay on property

Gaia

-Pine forest setting overlooking a river and waterfall below

-Complete renovation finished in November. I'll be there in Feb so I'll post a trip report on the new changes. I saw the construction in August and it looks like they were doing some amazing things.

-Closest access to Caracol, Rio On falls and Rio Frio Cave

Ka'ana

-Luxury 15 room boutique hotel closest to San Ignacio. The new two bedroom villa is stunning and perfect for a family of four.

-Organic garden on site which they use in the restaurant. Some of the best food and wine list in Cayo.

-Air Conditioning! An important consideration if you go in warmer months.

-Easiest access to area attractions - Xunantunich, Tikal, ATM, Belize Zoo, Cave Tubing, etc...

Hope this helps!

Jim Bendt - Owner, Travel Beyond

San Ignacio, Belize
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2. Re: Best San Ignacio Resort

Chaa Creek is amazing. MR and GRL both have beautiful grounds too, but I haven't stayed at those. CC is close to the Belize Botanic Gardens too. And Xunantunich, and Cayo.

Prague, Czech...
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3. Re: Best San Ignacio Resort

We are a family of four and are booked at the Black Rock Lodge for three nights in July. I chose it based on the fact that it currently holds the top spot on the TA list, and the prices were affordable. I'd be curious to hear how BRL compares to these other three. Thanks!

Minneapolis...
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4. Re: Best San Ignacio Resort

Hi Jeff,

Black Rock Lodge is a good lodge and deserving of positive rankings. I was just there doing site inspections in August. The setting in my opinion is the most stunning out of the four places mentioned earlier. The property is located in a valley with steep walls and a river below. It offers easy access to hiking and tubing. They have an eco focus and live off the grid (which has pros/cons). The one downside is the transfer time to the property can take a little time across bumpy roads. So if you're intent is to do a lot of day trips Chaa Creek or Ka'ana would be better options. I see Black Rock more as a destination lodge where you will spend most of your time and maybe go off property for 1-2 tours.

I know trying to figure out what's best is a real tough task. There is so much info out there. However, the one challenge with selecting a Top Rated Lodge on TripAdvisor is you might not know if the ratings were from travelers with similar interests as yourself. For example, Blancaneaux and Ka'ana are ranked further down the list but these are two of the nicest properties in Cayo. It doesn't mean they are worse than the higher rated properties. They just appeal to a different type of traveler.

My advice to get the most out of TripAdvisor is to first look at the hotel reviews. Look for consistent comments (good/bad) and filter out the extremes. This will give you a general idea of whether the hotel should be in your consideration set.

I would then repeat what you did by posting questions on the forum. Unfortunately, words like "nice" and "best" can mean different things to different people. The more descriptive people can be - level of lodging preference, budget, interests, ages of kids, etc.. the better advice they'll receive.

There are a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum with different perspectives. In the end we all love to help travelers find the right fit in Belize. It's a pretty special place and travel planning should be fun and less daunting.

Hope this helps!

Jim Bendt - Owner, Travel Beyond

United States
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5. Re: Best San Ignacio Resort

Jim (above) gives a great analysis of using TA hotel reviews. Frankly on my recent trip to Belize I looked at some of the top (1-3) hotels on Ambergris Caye and in my opinion Victoria House although down at #9 would be #1. Sometimes the more expensive properties or more unique ones appeal to a more limited market and don't get as many reviews. A larger hotel may get more reviews and many may be good but you might not be looking for a large hotel. If I were to return to San Ignacio I would seriously consider Ka'ana. We stayed at Chaa Creek and it was nice but would not go back again. I do think Chaa Creek is great for families (kids under 18 stay free) and Ka'ana may be more for couples but not sure. I will say we were there in Jan. It was not extremely hot but lots of rain (much of which came inside our TreeTop room) and the humidity was 100%. I don't even like AC but everything we owned was "moist" for days after we left. The pages of my book were absolutely limp. I would have loved at least the option of AC to somewhat reduce the humidity. Take that into consideration if you are going during very hot months.

Prague, Czech...
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6. Re: Best San Ignacio Resort

Thanks for your feedback, Jim and Gene! I did a lot of research before booking BRL, and I looked at the others that you have mentioned as well. They all look so great that it is very hard to choose. Price is a major concern of mine, as we will be travelling from Cancun down to Cayo with a side trip to Tikal and then four days on Caye Caulker at the end. Chaa Creek was high on my list at the beginning, but in the end the price was way over my budget.

One of the important factors for me is how the owners communicate during the reservation process. I publish a magazine for hotel and restaurant owners, so I know a bit about the hospitality business. If a proprietor takes the time to answer all of the interested person's questions, that it a good sign that the place is good. And I am definitely one to ask questions about the place, like for example how they can handle a gluten-free diet (necessary in our family). BRL was very good in terms of communicating with me as a potential customer. I hope that means that it is indeed a good place. And the location does look fantastic. The way you described it, Jim, is exactly what we are looking for. We plan to take one trip out (to ATM) but otherwise we want to spend time there.

One question, Jim, since you know the place well. We will be renting a car. Do we need to have a 4WD to make it to and from BRL or will a regular car suffice? Or perhaps a 2WD car with a higher carriage?

Gene, good insight about the weather. Unfortunately, the only time of the year in which I can take enough vacation to be able to travel to non-European destinations is July, so we will have to live with the weather, whatever it may bring. Last summer we survived 45 deg C heat in Morocco in July, so perhaps we can handle whatever Belize has to offer. Belize has always been high on my list of countries to visit, so I am psyched that I am finally getting the chance this summer. It sounds like an amazing place.

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7. Re: Best San Ignacio Resort

For Jeff...thanks for the good follow up. From your additional post it is clear you picked the hotel with much more thought than it just being number one on TA. You mention some additional good criteria for picking places and I agree about the communication in advance. I'm sure you will enjoy Belize and the way the world weather is changing you may very well have nice weather for your stay in San Ignacio.

belize
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for Belize, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, San Ignacio
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8. Re: Best San Ignacio Resort

You'll be very pleased with BRL. Add to the list of top lodges in Cayo, both duPlooys, Hidden Valley Inn, Blancaneauxand Table Rock.

Prague, Czech...
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9. Re: Best San Ignacio Resort

Yes, my first post wasn't very clear. BRL was the first lodge that I looked at because it was the first one on the list (my first source for information being TA), and I kept coming back to it after checking out several other options. Glad to hear that I made a good choice. Thanks for all of the feedback!

Edited: 02 February 2013, 19:35
San Ignacio, Belize
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10. Re: Best San Ignacio Resort

It is an non-paved road, but a 2wd should be fine on it, unless there's a deluge or something.