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“The best jungle resort in Belize”

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The Lodge at Chaa Creek
Ranked #5 of 14 Hotels in San Ignacio
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 April 2009

I arrived here with a migraine, the staff walked me to my room, laid me in my bed, checked me later, brought me food, and basically nursed me through it until I was able (thank god) to enjoy the spa. My time here was too short, I would love to return!

Loved the room, loved the grounds, loved the spa, loved the staff, loved the spa (think I said that twice?). This is my number #1 recommendation for jungle accommodations in Belize!

Stayed: August 2007, travelled solo
Thank MalibuStace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,161 - 1,167 of 1,274 reviews

Reviewed 26 April 2009

Prepare for Paradise, people.
I was looking forward to my stay at Chaa Creek. And I am a pretty tough customer. I would have to say that Chaa Creek - and all that it offers (and doesn't) is as close to the perfect destination for a relaxing vacation as I've been.

The accommodations are enveloping and classy and down to earth all at once. I think I could live in #23 for a month and never miss the TV, phone or alarm clock. The beds are comfortable, the furniture is lovely, the bathrooms are awesome, and the open (but netted) thatched roof and screen-only windows and doors make for a perfect oasis.

The rest of the property is spectacular - again, classy and luxe without feeling pretentious in any way. The staff is, to a one, spectacular. With special shout-outs to Miguel, Maria and Denise...who are long time employees and know what it means to take care of guests. Everything is spotless, the activities are varied and well-timed for families, and you can do as much or as little exploring on the property (or off) as you like. The food was spectacular, with a perfect mix of local and not. And of course there is the spa - what's not to like about a semi-outdoor massage while listening to the birds and the breeze? Heaven.

There are very few suggestions, but here are some ideas:
- give people an option for food service in their cottage - maybe not all day, but definitely evening.
- utilize the pool more - maybe for a friday or sunday evening "cocktail hour" or something so guests can mingle. as a single traveler it was a little harder to connect with folks - especially families
- share more about the staff somehow. each of the staff members has an interesting story...
- offer travelers a carbon offset /philanthropic option on site, so that they can support the environmental work you are doing.

The two most powerful parts of Chaa Creek are:
1. the unsurpassed ability to feel like you are "out there" in nature while still safe and comfortable. The environmental programs they run are fabulous, and the attention to the eco-footprint of the property is special.
2. The community the Flemings have built. From the two of them in a shack 30 years ago - to the entire staff of ~120, it's a powerful statement about diversity, harmony and community. Besides the owners and one manager, the entire staff is Belizean. It's awesome to walk down the path and hear spanish, creole, english, and sometimes mayan dialects being spoken by the staff...
The Flemings have invested in their extended family, and the kids and teachers of San Ignacio/Cayo in a transformative way. Bravo.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled solo
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2  Thank dcisme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2009

What an amazing place. It is worth the two hour transfer from the airport. The hotel sent a private car for us. Our driver was there waiting when we arrived and he was very friendly and informative. We travelled with our children (6 and 8)

The weather was hot but a wonderful change from 44 degrees and raining.

The staff at check in were great--so friendly. They walked us to the bar area for lunch and showed us our room. We stayed in a cottage and it was simple but elegant . There was no a/c in the cottages or anywhere but the ceiling fans helped at night. The outdoor shower was more refereshing than showering inside plus hearing the birds was wonderful. THe entire hotel is sumbersed in the jungle without disrupting it. Beautiful trails lit up at night with small lanterns.

Nature sounds were abounding thorughout our stay. We saw the spoder monkeys, amazing birds, iguanas and night creep crawlers. They even gave us butterfly cocoons that would hatch on our last day for us to set free.

Amir at the bar was exceptional and fun to talk to . Felt like the staff made efforts to get know us and were always more than helpful.

There were so many ctivities to choose from we could not do them all in our three night stay. We went to see the local ruins which were fabulous. Some are still not excavated and our guide was so well educated on the Mayans, etc jsut perfect . Our entire family loved it!

The resort offers a package that includes all meals, activities, even the horseback riding and two tours. We also went tour which involved kayaking in caves which was incredible.

The food was fresh and tasty and offered plenty of choice. They offered pretty much anything to our children or small portions of the adult meals offered.

We were pleasanlty surprised that they had installed a fsalt water pool in December. We spent late afternoons just hanging out. It was so refreshing and peaceful!

We canoed upstream to the botanical gardens nearby.

This resort has somehting for everyone! My kids loved it and want to go back.l They even commented on how much thye liked the service there compared to our next hotel on Ambergis Caye.
I
t was awe inspiring. We loved it. Also loved Belize and its people. I see why so many American give up corporate America to live in a true paradise!

If you are going to explore the local town it is a bit of a hike by cab and pricey. The hotel offers canoes into paddle to town which takes several hours . They will pick you up and bring you back . The cab fare is high but they will let you go on their service truck if you are up for sitting in a cargo vehicle with the staff. We did not go into town and enjoed our two tours and the all the property had to offer.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with family
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Thank Lee S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2009

My son and I stayed at the camp. The staff could not have been nicer, the food was great, and the price was definitely right. It was also nice having access to the facilities at Chaa Creek for much less. But it was too much like camping for me. Serious gastro problems set in for me within a day of checking in (which I had not experienced at the other resort we stayed at - I advise not listening to their claim that the water is potable), and it was absolute misery having to run all the way up the hill to the bathrooms constantly, especially in the middle of the night. They refused to accomodate my request to move to the resort because they were full, and I finally ended up eating the cost of the room and moving elsewhere. When I told the staff at the resort about my gastro problems, their only advice was that I could buy Kaopectate at the gift shop.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank JBlake015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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
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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 Spa Hotel in San Ignacio
#3 Romantic Hotel in San Ignacio
Price Range: £350 - £469 (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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