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“Wonderful Lodge in the Middle of the Rainforest”

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The Lodge at Chaa Creek
Ranked #2 of 34 San Ignacio B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Southwestern Wisconsin
Level 5 Contributor
45 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Wonderful Lodge in the Middle of the Rainforest”
Reviewed 23 February 2009

Absolutely awesome lodge experience!! That said, this lodge (location) is not for everyone. Chaa Creek picks you up at the airport and and a local guide transports you by van two hours across the country to the lodge. Some will complain that this is a really long bumpy ride, however it goes by quickly if you engage your knowledgeable guide in conversation about the country of Belize. Chaa Creek is located in the middle of a rainforest. So you should not go to Chaa Creek if you are expecting great shopping and night life. It takes at least 30 minutes to get to any of the off site activities. However there are many activities directly on the lodge grounds including a full service spa, canoeing, horse back riding, guided birding hikes, guided night hikes, new swimming pool, and Blue Morpho Butterfly farm. The food was wonderful with 80% locally grown within 25 miles of the lodge. The staff attended to every detail with many having been employed at the lodge for extended lengths of time. Our accommodations were great, with fresh flower arrangements on a daily basis. We had lots of room in our suite with an awesome view from our shower.

We had the inclusive package choosing trips to Tikal, ATM, and Xunantunich. The guides for each excursion were well informed, friendly, and very helpful... take advantage of these local experts to make the most of your trip. We only wish we had more time. We just got back and are scheming when we can return.

  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank milesdog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
phila
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 February 2009

i can't imagine why anyone would complain about this wonderful spot. the staff is probably the best part- everyone was helpful beyond the call of duty.
the food was fine- not the best we've ever had, but better than average. our accommodations ( 5 women friends escaping the cold for a few days without husbands ) were idyllic with a view that was unsurpassed. we loved the butterflies, nature walks, fresh fruit, and all the side excursions that were available. we had a 5 person villa, and i can't comment on the other rooms. ours was great!!

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank hisim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonds, Washington
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 January 2009

Like most travelers to Belize, we planned a surf and turf itinerary, splitting our time between the mainland and the cayes. Our base for five nights would be The Lodge at Chaa Creek, an absolutely amazing resort on a 365 acre nature reserve near the Guatemalan border. We had to drive across the country to get there, but that only took a few hours.

Just beyond the town of San Ignacio, we turned onto a long dirt road that passed through a few farms before gradually entering the jungle and the Chaa Creek property. We would travel back and forth along this road more than a dozen times. At night, we stopped and turned off the headlights to watch the trees sparkle with hundreds of fireflies.

Upon finally arriving at the gates of Chaa Creek, we were greeted with rum punch and refreshingly cool and minty face towels to relieve us from the heat. As our bags were taken to our cottage, our guide took us on a tour of the immaculate grounds, lush with a variety of tropical plants and dotted with charming, thatched roof structures constructed with indigenous materials. When we were taken through the bar and restaurant, we were introduced to several of the staff, all very courteous, attentive and professional.

We were then allowed to enter our cottage, wrapped with a large deck overlooking the Macal River. There are no locks and no windows in Chaa Creek. Only screens to keep out the bugs, which we hardly noticed during our stay. There are also no phones, no clocks, and definitely no TV. The staff woke us every morning for our tours with a wake-up knock.

Despite the lack of these usual "amenities," we felt incredibly spoiled in our beautiful and spacious cottage. The high thatch ceiling was simple, but striking. It even contained a few geckos that screeched and clicked at us occasionally (and left a few tiny, brown gifts on the floor now and then). We loved the little touches, like the fresh flowers and towel sculptures that were placed throughout our room every day.

After settling into our room, we walked up to the bar where I had my first of many Belikins, Belize's own and only beer. It's actually not bad, which is good, because it's hard to find anything else. With drinks in hand, we met the concierge, who spoke about all the activities onsite, including horseback riding, bird watching, butterfly exhibit, history museum, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, spa treatments - really, too many to list. We also arranged our first tour for the next day - a tour through Tikal, the Manhattan of the Mayan Empire.

After planning our tours and inquiring about other local attractions, we entered the restaurant for an elegant and delicious four-course Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, even though we were in Belize, a perfectly prepared wild turkey was on the menu! Accompaniments included salads with fresh produce grown on the resort's Mayan farm, a wonderful tortilla soup, a sweet and savory mango stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, and either a panna cotta, key lime pie, or some other delectable treat for dessert. It's all a blur of great flavors in my memory right now. Every breakfast and dinner we enjoyed there was something special. For Kristie's vegetarian palate, the chef prepared sides and salads per request. The maître d', chef, and again, the entire staff were very friendly and accommodating.

When we walked back to our cottage, we marvelled at the immediate view of the Milky Way above us. There's very little light pollution in Central America, particularly in Belize. After skyping our families back home to wish them a happy Thanksgiving, we settled into bed, and were at first alarmed by the loud jungle noises. Visit the Chaa Creek website and turn up your speakers. It really sounded like this every night! Very quickly, however, we got used to the otherworldly sound. The cacophony became our lullaby. And every morning, the chorus of squawking and chirping birds accompanied our wake-up knock, reminding us that yes, we had awaken in Paradise yet another day.

If interested, many photos from our trip are on our website:
http://johnandkristie.com/

  • Liked — Overall atmosphere, very friendly staff, great food.
  • Disliked — Internet access was spotty, but could be a result of the country's infrastructure, not Chaa Creek.
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank johnburtonbrown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NYC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 January 2009

We stayed at Chaa Creek as the second leg of our three-stop honeymoon in Belize. Granted, our first stay was at Turtle Inn in Placencia (read our glowing review for that property), which was luxurious beyond compare. Overall Chaa Creek left us feeling flat.

To be fair, the grounds are beautiful - you are certainly in the interior of the Belizian jungle. Our room, however, one of the treetop suites (no jacuzzi), was incredibly small. The bed took up the whole space. It felt cramped and kind of cruddy overall. We did like the hammocks outside on the tiny patio, but maybe because it was more of an escape from the inside of our room.

The food there was average at best and I guess we just were not in the right mood for their activities. Bird-watching was not on our honeymoon itinerary.

To be honest, the best part of this portion of our trip was the day trip to Tikal, which Chaa Creek did arrange for us. It was spectaular and our guide was wonderful. However, when we got back we realized that the only thing that would improve our situation was to tap into the bottle of rum we had brought along with us. After a few cocktails Chaa Creek improved. Our slogan became "Chaa Creek - our rum makes you better!"

We asked for the earliest van ride back (be warned the ride is looooooong to and from the airport and to call it bumpy would be an understatement.)

In short - maybe we aren't the right type of people for Chaa Creek, but for a honeymoon it simply did not seem special. Check out Blaccenaux, a sister resort to Turtle Inn that came highly recommended.

  • Liked — The grounds and wonderful noises as you sleep.
  • Disliked — Not romantic, small mis-leading accommodations.
  • Stayed July 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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Helpful?
2 Thank lipanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
Level 6 Contributor
398 reviews
389 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 712 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2009

stayed 2 nights at the camp & 3 nights in a treetop jacuzzi suite, the camp was a bargain at $60 a night including breakfast & dinner, the 3 nights at the treetop was $3000 for a 3n package that included almost everything (tours/food) but was still pricey

the place was almost perfect ( comparing this place to Blancaneaux where I was at before chaa creek) the camp is very basic ( ie kerosene lamps (no way to read in your own cabin) shared bathrooms and showers (soap no shampoo) a quick walk away) but an easy walk from the main lodge (via a 10 minutes medicinal trail) with howler monkies adding to the symphony at night, and the friendliest travellers/most interesting conversations around the camp fire at night

it took 30 minutes for them to check me into my room coz I arrived at the same time as a family of 10, but other than that, the service at chaa creek was great (ie I skipped dinner a couple of nights at the main lodge & they came around both nights to check up on me)

the hotel grounds were not as pretty as Blancaneaux (ie still construction going on around the pool area) and even more basic, but you can tell that a lot of thought & love has been put into the place and it is a nice place to stay and enjoy nature (I had a wood spider the size of my hand in my room that just hung out there, and also beautiful orange spiny iguanas just above my hammock) the bird watching in this part of the world is also amazing

the food in general was better than at Blancaneaux, and the location more convenient ( but that's also the appeal of Blancaneaux, a real excape), I can't say it was easy to experience complete peace at chaa creek (my treetop suite was next to another family's room - a family of 3 adults & 2 kids ... and I heard them day or night) although the massage I had at the spa has got to be one of the best ones I ever had

the trips were wonderful, they use very knowledgeable and experienced guides that are fun to talk to & learn from, favorite was definitely the ATM trip ( worth flying to Belize just for this ! )but everything else was fun as well ( took a second trip to Tikal and I am still in awe of that place )

there are some places in this world that you know you want to return to and both Chaa Creek and Blancaneaux are on the list

would just say Chaa Creek is more suitable for families & Blancaneaux for couples & solo travellers

  • Liked — convenience, easy ride into town
  • Disliked — was not cheap
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank Anilegna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MA
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 January 2009

This is the most fabulous little "resort". The property has lots of amenities including a pool, horse back riding, lots of hiking trails, canoes...and even a small nature center. We have two thrill seeking teenagers who were very pleased with the daily excursions arranged by the resort. The ATM cave trip was the best, a 45 minute hike to the mouth of the cave followed by a three hour round trip swim/hike into Mayan history. The one day trip to Tikal in Guatemala was our second favorite "tour"....it is a long day, but worth the trip. We were treated like family by everyone...I highly recommend this property. Additionally, they made further accommodations for us in Belize.....everything went as planned! Thank you Chaa Creek

Stayed December 2008
Helpful?
2 Thank momfrommaus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geneva, Switzerland
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 January 2009

This hotel has more character and style than most of the 5 star hotels I have stayed in, all around the globe.

It has an amazing position in the middle of the tropical forest,
the rooms are spacious with noble wood furniture, the food is delicious and the staff makes effort to prepare each night a wonderful setting for dinner.

I do recommend you to take time to sip an all spice tea in the garden-bar at the beginning of the evening with real torches lighting the tropical vegetation around you.

In a nut shell: we totally love it. The perfect romantic getaway.

Only watch out: if it does happen to arrive at the hotel after 11 PM, you might find the property gate closed and there is no way to contact anyone (plus you are in the middle of the tropical forest and the gate is more than 1 km away from the lodges). If this happens, best thing to do is to keep your calm (not what we did) and wait on the place as the hotel security patrols every 15 minutes and they will finally let you in. Nevertheless, this only managed to spice up a bit our experience there and didn't prevent us from appreciating the hotel at its true value (once we managed to get in, of course).

  • Liked — location, staff attention to details, food, activities
  • Disliked — property gate closing at 11 PM w/o instructions on what to do if this arrives
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank Val_travel_addict
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

Property: 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:
Ranked #2 of 34 B&Bs / Inns in San Ignacio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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