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“Eco-luxury in the rainforest”

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The Lodge at Chaa Creek
Ranked #5 of 14 Hotels in San Ignacio
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 15 April 2009

The Lodge at Chaa Creek - located in a rainforest in W Belize, close to the Guatemalan border - is one of the best hotel experiences we have had and we were sorry to leave after our three night stay. The current property is the evolution of a 20 year + project of its British-American owners – originally a rooming house for backpackers, it has morphed into a luxurious and environmentally sensitive complex, with a large pool, beautiful rooms and a range of activity options: guided walks in the forest, butterflies, visits to nearby Maya sites, river trips etc.

Our spacious room was half of a casita, elegant and well equipped (shower only and - thankfully - no TV). We had an oversized deck looking onto the river and the rainforest, with nothing else in view. But only 50 metres away there is a well stocked bar and an atmospheric restaurant (with a limited but adequate menu based essentially on locally sourced products). The staff are uniformly friendly and competent and the general ambience is one of calm excellence and unforced hospitality.

The only irritant was the painfully slow internet service (there is free central WiFi and two guest pcs) – but, hey, we’re in the jungle!

We took only the half day forest tour. There are some major Mayan sites which can be visited in day trips (Tikal marginal for this, in our view), but we see The Lodge less as a base and more as a destination in which to wind down.

The Lodge is no longer low-budget but neither is it a Four Seasons and it might not appeal to travellers who require 24 hour room service or need to have their bags unpacked by a butler. But we thought it a good balance between these extremes.

The Lodge is an exceptional property, world class, and we strongly recommend it to all travellers, especially honeymooners and families with children.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank globaltraveller200
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,167 - 1,173 of 1,276 reviews

Reviewed 14 April 2009

We just got back from a 4 Night Trip to Chaa Creek (4/2 to 4/6) with our two children (ages 5 and 11) and loved the location and rooms. We stayed the first 2 nights in a Garden Jacuzzi and Garden Suite ( whole unit) which was very impressive. Tastefully decorated, screened in, no locks as mentioned in other reviews - did remind us a little bit of our stay in South Africa many years ago. We had this iguana living "next" to us, a great place if you do love nature. The last 2 nights we did stay in # 1 with great views and a wonderful deck. We loved the hammock and the peacefulness of the resort, being remote but still accessible for activities.

Having travelled extensively to many beautiful and luxurious places we had however extremely mixed feelings about the tours: also we did enjoy all of them (TIKAL, ATM - an ABSOLUTE highlight for me and my son, especially going with our wonderful guide Emilio Gomaz who has been leading several TV teams) we were very unhappy with the steep mark up and additional "inflated" charges for the CHAA Creek tours.

Not only would we pay for the tour the tour prices (e.g. TIKAL $ 275) we were charged "imaginary" fees which did not actually apply: border crossing for a party of 4 x $ 65= US $ 260.00 whilst there was actually no border crossing fee for the kids (they still charged US $ 65/kid) and the "real" Visa fee is only US $ 15.00/ adult, add inflated fees for the crossing of the car of $ 25.00, $ 40.00 for a very basic lunch in Guatemala etc

Same mark ups were built into all their tours like Barton Creek CAVE which was okay but absolutely not worth the money spend - besides US $ 145.00 for the tour you are charged US $ 25.00 add park entrance fees (x 4) although kids are not paying entrance fees and adults are charged US $ 10.00 only instead of charged US $ 25 . We were disappointed with the fact being told these are entrance fees which they clearly were not. Even after addressing the issue the management was relunctant in adjusting them to the actually paid entrance fees. We strongly feel that they should increase the cost of the packages if CHAA Expeditions feels to do so and take the risk of not being positioned competitively with other tour operators in the area. Inflating fees and charging not actual "entrance" and/or cross border and VISA fees did make us feel like been taken for a ride and not a good reflection of a high-end resort.

Our trip to Tikal was very interesting also our guide was not really motivated in walking us around to the many different sites explaining a lot of detail - part of the reason could have been being Saturday (and he wanted to be back with his family) and it being very hot - about 103 degrees. He lead us to the main temple site allowing us some time there by ourselves but seemed to be in an extreme rush to get back after we had spent about 3 hours there.
The CHAA Creek website did promote Kids under 5 eating for free ~ however, upon check out all meals were charged but they were adjusted after complaining.

We did enjoy the location and the beautiful and tastefully decorated rooms; overall service was friendly and professional, the restaurant food was good ( not outstanding) and service attentive. They added a new beautiful pool which does have certain safety issues ~ they obviously do know about it and they are working on improving the safety. We liked the place and were glad to have stayed there but wished the tour costs would be more reasonable and fair.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled with family
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Thank Travel2Adventure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2009

We just got back from a 4 Night Trip to Chaa Creek (4/5 to 4/9) with our two children (ages 10 and 11) and absolutely loved the vacation. If you want an adventure vacation with a luxury and service then this place is it. This is our second time to Belize and the first trip was on a cruise.

Upon entering the property we were treated very warmly and had our bags wisked away to our room. We had Tree Top Suite #9 over looking the river. The room (luxury hut) is very spacious with no locks, no windows, and a hot tub on the outside deck. They do have a safe in every room so valuables and money are no problem. The service is great and the tour guides are the best in the business. Our trip to Tikal had Antonio as our guide. He has been sharing his knowledge of the area for over 20 years and it showed. Our tour was well planned and he was very informative on the excursion. Next we had Joe from the beginning of the trip (Belize Zoo) and for our half day trip to the "Stone Lady". He is absolutely great and extremely dedicated to providing background on the Maya people and culture. Next, we had Franciso for our tour of the ATM cave and he also was the best in the business for safely exploring a deep and wet cave. As a matter of fact, Andrew Zimern from the Travel Channel was in town and Franciso was his guide to the ATM cave. I can't wait to see the trip on TV sometime later this year. The ATM cave is a true Indiana Jones adventure crossing deep jungle, three river crossings and treking through a deep cave. Finally, our guide Robert topped off the trip with horseback rides to the Maya Farm and the Ruins on the property. He is very good with kids and provided safe and fun horseback rides. All of our trips were very early in the morning so this place is best for families that do not mind getting up early. The Tikal trip left at 7:15AM. All and all it was a very memorable trip of the Mayan area.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled with family
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Thank MAGICK_HEX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2009

My friend and I just returned from a week-long stay at the Chaa Creek Camp Casitas. In short, it was absolutely breathtaking. Both of us would return in a heartbeat! In the evening lanterns are lit, both in your room and scattered throughout the tiny jungle village, creating an otherworldly, almost magical atmosphere. The food is traditional, plentiful, and served with smiles... the dining area turned out to be a great meeting spot with other travelers from all over the world. Birds sang and monkeys roared, frogs offered an evening serenade and toucans a morning performance. The walk is not long through the jungle and along the medicine trail to the rest of the lodge, where the pool offers a wonderful respite to the afternoon heat. Trips are convenient and professionally coordinated. Belize is not for the faint of heart: tarantulas share the space, as do other assorted critters -- but it is their home too, and Chaa Creek has honored the land, animals and environment ethically and beautifully. Phenomenal resort -- we'll most definitely be back!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank Bruja13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2009

My wife and I spent three nights at The Lodge at Chaa Creek in mid-March of 2009. Except for one key area (discussed later), we had a wonderful stay and found the lodge to be better than expected. The grounds are very lovely, well kept, and quite evocative of the jungle world. The various cottages are well-separated and guests enjoy a quiet environment for the most part. The pool can get a bit noisy when children are around making relaxation quite difficult. We suggest that adults-only groups not visit around Spring Break!

Our room, #19, was fantastic. Very large with high ceilings and well ventilated with screens (there are no glass windows or air conditioning but we were very cool in the evening). The bathroom was gigantic with a double walk-in shower. We also had private patio off the bathroom with an outdoor shower. The décor of the entire suite was very Central American and lovely.

There are plenty of activities to keep one busy. We took the all-day tour to Tikal in Guatemala. This tour is a must. We also took the downstream canoe trip to San Ignacio. A great paddling trip and you get picked in town when you’re done. The spa at Chaa Creek was exquisite. Our treatments were exceptional and the spa environment is very nice.

We were somewhat disappointed with the food and beverage service. The dining and drinking environments are very nice but the food was inconsistent, ranging from excellent to very poor and everything in between. We seemed to have better luck with the fish and chicken dishes and not such good luck with lamb and pork. As far as the adult beverages are concerned, they were very very weak. Even when asking the bartender for a double shot in our drinks they were skimping. We noticed, as did others, that the bartenders would usually pour the liquor with their backs to the customer, hiding the process. Many of us suspect that the bartenders are under orders from management to under-pour the drinks.

Anyway, we still recommend Chaa Creek. Great facility and great location. By the way, the Concierge was fantastic!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank GlobalExplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2009

I stayed at the Macal River Camp and it's a fantastic deal - there is no electricity in the cabins, but the staff light oil lamps at night for you and there is electricity in the shared bathrooms/showers (which also have hot water!) All hotel amenities are available, there are lots of activities, the spa is incredible. The staff is extremely helpful and accomodating and it's really cool to hear all the jungle sounds at night!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled solo
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1  Thank onebigvacationayear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2009

What a wonderful place to spend a few days. The resort's grounds are very beautiful and well kept.. The casita's (cottages) offer the unique experience of sleeping under a tatched roof will all the comforts of home. Every morning you a wake to sounds of the jungle - WOW. The resort's staff is excellent, they are the definition of customer service. We had a problem with a memory card for our digital camera and they had one delivered to our room in a couple of hours. We had an excellent day trip to Tikal in Guatemala. Our guide and driver from Chaa Creek (Ricky) was excellent, and very knowledgeable regarding the plants, birds and animals we saw along the way. My wife and I feel this is one of the best places we have every stay.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank niagarageorge
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 Business Hotel in San Ignacio
#2 Family Hotel in San Ignacio
#3 Spa Hotel in San Ignacio
#3 Romantic Hotel in San Ignacio
Price Range: £352 - £471 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Lodge at Chaa Creek 3.5*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our guests say they appreciate Chaa Creek’s eco-friendly blend of pristine nature and a casually luxurious built environment, and enjoy the flexibility and choice we offer in accommodations, amenities, meals, tours and expeditions. Our wide range of accommodations allow guests to select lodgings that range from the rustic charm of the Macal River Camp to the unparalleled luxury of the new Ix Chel Luxury Rainforest Villas, whose stunning views, private Jacuzzis, plunge pools and amenities such as the attention of a personal butler have set new standards for excellence in a pristine natural environment. In addition, our infrastructure and nationwide network of colleagues enable us to offer a range of comprehensive, hassle-free tours and all-inclusive Belize vacation packages that cater to all ages, interests and levels of fitness. For example, our close relationships with premier Belizean reef and island resorts at Ambergris Caye, Placencia and other Caribbean vacation spots allow us ... 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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