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“Glamping in Belize- the Magnificent Camp at Chaa Creek”

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The Lodge at Chaa Creek
Ranked #5 of 14 Hotels in San Ignacio
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 January 2014

We had never been to Central America and did not know what to expect. We had an adventurous 9 days touring Guatemala, ending up with our rucksacks on our backs walking across the border into Belize. We were met by the lovely Fransisco, our driver from Chaa Creek. We should have realised at that moment that we were in for a fabulous few days.

All the staff at the Lodge at Chaa Creek were friendly, courteous and helpful. It felt like one big family. The grounds were beautiful and filled with wildlife. We saw toucans, an iguana as well as howler monkeys just walking around the lodge and trails. The food was tasty and there was a good choice for our vegetarian daughter. The infinity pool and lounge areas were never too crowded. The trails were peaceful and there was a small museum and butterfly aviary on sight. All of that before we even made it into camp.

Down the medicine trail, along the river, was the most comfortable camping we had ever done. Dosio and his family, particularly his sons Yonni and Ariel, warmly welcomed us. The canvas covered cabins were spacious, lit only by gas lamps. My banker husband, unaccustomed to going 'economy class' soon found the hammock and his binoculars and settled in for the next three days. It was great to see him completely relaxed, no phones, no internet. Just birds and howler monkeys. The food was well cooked and delicious. We liked not having to choose what to eat! My only suggestion for them would be to develop their ideas for vegetarians. Our daughter had rice or potatoes and beans every night. We met lovely friendly people and the view of the stars at night was spectacular. Be prepared to share a toilet and shower- but the facilities were very clean and we had no problems with this arrangement. Don't forget to bring a torch (flashlight)!

We took one tour from Chaa Creek to the Barton Caves. We highly recommend it. Darren our guide kept us safe and was very knowledgeable.

Overall, Chaa Creek can accommodate those wanting 5 Star experience or Glampers with flare and finesse. Thank you for making our 25th Wedding anniversary so special.

Room Tip: We had a cabin below the dining area, by the stream. It was the furthest from the showers but we had...
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
3  Thank hkw46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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768 - 774 of 1,229 reviews

Reviewed 14 January 2014

Staff was highly professional and kind. They were great with the kids, especially my 7 year old son. The food was delicious. The spa was good. The room was large and spacious. We would return mainly because of the staff - they really were great.

  • Stayed: November 2013
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1  Thank Scott_H_Florida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2014

Excellent 4 days spent at Chaa Creek! The property is amazing, food was great, all organized activities (on-site and off-site) were great, staff is top notch. Only downside are the bugs but that's to be expected. We got caught in more January rain than normal but were still able to keep busy and have a great time. Every meal was excellent. All staff we encountered were friendly and did all they could to make a great experience. Highly recommend side trip to Tikal.

Room Tip: We stayed in a Macal Cottage, worked well for family of 4 with an extra bed brought in. Seems all co...
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank stegil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2014

After visiting the country of Belize for the 10th time since 1990 this time we made the explicit effort to finally visit Caracol (the only major Mayan site we'd not yet visited). Years ago we did a 3 week trip and spent at least 1 week in San Ignacio and vicinity but were unable to make it to Caracol. As always, we started with a fly fishing trip down south( 6nt in Placencia) and combined it with a 3 nt trip to the rainforests of San Ignacio. Although the weather was horribly wet (unusual for early Dec.... the typical month that we travel to Belize) the husband did get his 1st salt-water grand slam (permit/tarpon/bonefish) with Arthur Vernon (fishwith arthur@ yahoo.com) on our last day. The worst fishing ever and the best fishing ever!!! We flew the fairly new route to Maya Flats for our Chaa Creek stay although most folks seemed to have arrived by car. We loved Chaa Creek and highly recommend it to all. In fact someone from the husband's office is already planning their 40th anniversary trip there later in 2014 based upon our recommendation. Caracol was well worth the wait and we would do any trip Chaa Creek offers as long as Ricky is the guide. I'm sure that all their guides are good but Ricky is amazing. With all the weather the trip was quite the adventure, but memorable and fun and we always felt very safe with Ricky in charge (unlike some of the mishaps we observed with other tour groups). We are sorry we were not able to do the ATM cave the 2nd day but the river(s) were too high. The nightly Creature Walk offered by the lodge was quite interesting (we saw the usual spiders and bugs) but also a monkey snake (boa) up a the tree hunting and a tarantula in his hole eating a small snake (1/2 the snake's body was ticking out & twitching). Nothing furry was seen. The Blue Morpho butterfly farm was very interesting. Food was quite good. We ate 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners & 1 lunch there. There is no reason to try to go elsewhere (which would be quite difficult and expensive unless you have your own vehicle.) The mojitos and the lemonade at the bar were superb. Even my beer drinking husband switched to the mojitos. My 1 normal requirement for travel (and we've been all over the world = Amazon; African safaris, etc) is air conditioning. There is no air conditioning in the rooms but there are multiple fans and I was ok. This could be a consideration if you were traveling in the hotter summer months. There were many couples visiting plus many multi-generational families. This is the perfect place for an adventure vacation and a must for any ancient civilization afficionado: comfortable, discriminating, versatile, affordable and downright fun. Plus, for those needing cheaper lodging Chaa Creek does have their "less frills" accomodations at their river front lodge. So, what are you waiting for?

Room Tip: Loved overlooking the overflowing river. There had been an unusual amount of rain before and during...
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
4  Thank christyb87107
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2014

It was a rainy day and though we did not have reservations at the spa, we showed up to ask about reserving a treatment. The spa was quite firm that they did not take any reservations and that we should drive to the front desk. Totally rude. We asked if they could call the desk and check on reservations and they said no, we should drive there. Not what you would expect.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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7  Thank Surfcoast09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2014

My wife, daughter, and I stayed at the Lodge at Chaa Creek for 4 nights in May. We decided to stay in a Tree Top Jacuzzi Suite and that turned out to be an excellent choice. While there was actually only one (large) bed, there is a lower living area with a sleeper sofa that was perfect for our (21 year old) daughter. The room is quite spacious and luxurious for something parked out in the rain forest - probably close to 600 or 700 square feet not including the large verandah where the jacuzzi is (didn't get to use the jacuzzi though).

The furnishings were stylish, functional, and comfortable - polished dark hardwoods that were a nice contrast to the lighter colored walls. The bathroom area had an open shower and toilette area - each in its own private enclosure with no physical doors separating them from the rest of the room. It also had a double sink vanity that was just large enough for all the toiletries we brought. Clothes can be hung on nearby open closets with room for medium sized luggage underneath (there was plenty of room for luggage elsewhere).

The room had large ceiling fans, but as it was in the middle of May, they were not completely sufficient to keep the room cool enough; however, three large floor standing fans were added to our room before our arrival. They made it quite easy to sleep at night as long as the modest fan noise didn't keep one up at night. Be aware, however, that you are in the jungle and there are other noises that may keep you awake at times. One night we were woken by the howler monkeys (at least I hope it was the howlers) - sounded like something out of Harry Potter. We tried to spy some, but they were off a ways in the distance.

We found the grounds to be quite beautiful - with lots of stunning vegetation. The pool, dining, and bar areas are all what one would expect from a top tier resort (in the jungle). And, we availed ourselves of all the on site tours - both free and for small fees. This included canoeing (both up and down stream to town), creatures of the night, Maya medicinal plant trail, and the butterfly farm. All were informative, fun, and required little physical fitness outside of walking (or rowing). And, the tour guides were friendly and knowledgeable. Often, they supplied any necessary equipment for your tour (e.g. head lamps, binoculars, etc).

The surprise tour, however, had to be the early morning bird watching, Now, we usually aren't wildly interested in birds, but we have done a little on past trips. This tour was excellent for several reasons. First, we got to see a wide variety of species - including some prototypical jungle birds like the toucan and parakeet. Second, not only were birds part of the tour, but a nice selection of jungle reptiles were seen as well. Our guide was particularly skilled at scouring the trees for them. Second, the animals were relatively close - so, even through we had binoculars, the visuals were often pretty detailed and spectacular. And, last, since it was early in the morning, we experienced a nice jungle calm - making it a very peaceful activity.

We did eat here several times (mostly for breakfast) and found the food to be quite good if not a bit on the pricey side. The waitstaff was extremely friendly and accommodating. We also thoroughly enjoyed the cocktails of the day (usually made up by the bar staff the night before). In fact, I would say these drinks were some of the best we have had anywhere in the world!

Now, as many have mentioned, you are a bit isolated by the location - which is both good and bad. Isolation can take you away from crowds and cars which may be just what the doctor ordered. But, without a car, you could feel a bit trapped and the expense of meals (and drinks) can be a bit much compared to town. Also, it is expensive to travel into town - mainly because the few mile road into Chaa Creek from the main road is unpaved and fairly rough. So, while we did not have a vehicle, we solved this by planning some day tours (ATM, Tikal, canoeing into town) that would start at Chaa Creek and end in town. Then, we could experience some of the local town fare and pick up (a less costly) ride back to our resort in the evening. This worked out well for us.

One final note, we elected to do the jungle first before flying on to Amergris Caye. Fortunately, the "air strip" is just off that unpaved road into Chaa Creek. So, you can take off from the resort for the airplane ride just 20 minutes or so before your scheduled departure. Convenient. And, as luck would have it, the owners of Chaa Creek were on the same flight. They were very congenial and have an interesting story to tell about the Resort and its humble beginnings.

All in all, we found our time at Chaa Creek to be extremely satisfying. At times, laid back and uncomplicated and at others, busy, active, stimulating, and informative. Food, drink, and accommodations were all excellent and the staff was always friendly and helpful. I can easily say that the Lodge at Chaa Creek provided one of our best world travel experiences.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank kidnme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2014

My husband and I spent 3 wonderful nights in the Casitas at the camp at Macal River. RUstic and peaceful if your an outdoorsy type you will certainly love this place. Dolcio and family take very good care of you preparing fabulous local belizean dishes for breakfast and dinner. Take advantage of the main lodge restaurant if you want for snacks or lunch during the day as you will find yourself trekking around the property quite a bit. Nice trail above the river connects you to the main resort area. Their is a butterfly farm and natural history meusuem on site or travel to the resort accross the way and tour the Botanical gardens. We got to listen and see howler monkeys nearly every day and even though it was a bit rainy during our stay it did not damper any of our plans.
Be catious of the army ant migrations and some large spiders and beetles but hey your in the jungle! Also had the chance to have an evening campfire with some other guests. We will certainly come here again!!!

Room Tip: All of the Casitas are about the same!
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Wendy605
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Lodge at Chaa Creek

Address: Macal River, San Ignacio, Belize
Phone Number:
Region: Belize > Cayo > San Ignacio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in San Ignacio
#2 Business Hotel in San Ignacio
#3 Romantic Hotel in San Ignacio
#3 Spa Hotel in San Ignacio
Price Range: £324 - £463 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Lodge at Chaa Creek 3.5*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
For over 30 years Chaa Creek has been providing a comfortable base for exciting inland adventures for thousands of visitors, from explorers, scientists, filmmakers, research groups, students and people of all ages looking for intellectual and physical stimulation in Belize's vibrant rainforest - the heartland of the Maya. We also realise that any rewarding adventure is enhanced by comfortable accommodations and excellent food. Our 23 palm thatched cottage rooms ensure a good night's sleep and delightful mornings accompanied by the sing song of a rainforest waking up, and guests can choose a Complete Garden Suite, an Orchard and Spa Villa, Macal Cottage or Tree Top Suite, all equipped with a Jacuzzi for even extra comfort. As one example, under our Chaa Creek Cares program, 10% of all accommodation revenue goes straight into environmental and social programs, and in supporting Green and community groups. We sleep better, and you will too, knowing that your stay at Chaa Creek has a positive effect on Belize and our very special pristine natural environment. Families share some of life's most cherished moments - and memories - during a Belize family vacation. And to guarantee a family vacation that everyone will enjoy, multi award winning Chaa Creek is the only Belize destination you'll need. Our affordable, all inclusive family friendly adventure holidays are absolutely stress free and bring everyone closer together through sharing a variety of amazing adventures along with quiet moments to reconnect - all in a stunning rainforest setting. Nature and romance bloom year round in the stunning beauty of Belize. Our all-inclusive romantic vacation packages allow lovers of all ages to immerse themselves in nature and each other. An exquisite rainforest filled with colourful tropical birds, canoe trips down the meandering Macal river with the misty Maya mountains in the background, unwinding together in your private Jacuzzi surrounded by a tropical garden, couples massages, candlelit dinners and sharing once-in-a-lifetime experiences create the perfect conditions for love to flower. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Lodge At Chaa Creek Hotel San Ignacio
Hotel At Chaa Creek
At Chaa Creek Hotel
Chaa Creek
The Lodge At Chaa Creek Belize/San Ignacio

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