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“Lives up to its slogan: Wildly Civilized”

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The Lodge at Chaa Creek
Ranked #2 of 31 San Ignacio B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Woodland, California
Level Contributor
120 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Lives up to its slogan: Wildly Civilized”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 February 2010

Cannot say enough great things about our recent 4-night stay at Chaa Creek. From the moment we arrived, we felt the comfort and peacefulness the place had to offer. The staff immediately explained what was included in our package, gave us a little tour and showed us to our beautiful room. No keys - just hammocks issued (in-room safes though). The place is so beautiful, set in the jungle with hardwoods used throughout. Everything open air and there is a ton of stuff to do if a person wants to. The grounds are loaded with birds and there's a free birding tour every morning. New salt-water pool with tons of towels was quite refreshing. We got the same guide throughout and he simply took fantastic care of us. Their eco-friendliness was apparent in many ways and so highly appreciated. The food was fresh, organic and delicious, and plenty of wait staff who were accommodating and friendly. Our only complaint was the steep prices at the bar, which others complained about too. Also, they are working on a overdue upgrade of their Wi-Fi system. I missed it as soon as I left it and cannot wait to return.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank WoodlandTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,170 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (282)
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English first
Newton, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
65 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 February 2010

This is a belated review, but last March, we spent several days at Chaa Creek and had a wonderful time. The grounds are absolutely beautiful. Well-maintained and immaculate. We were astonished by how luxurious it was, while at the same time, feeling that you were far, far away from it all. The combination of luxury and a feeling of isolation (though in reality, you aren't that far away from San Ignacio).

We had the Garden Jacuzzi room, and it was very spacious and very nicely appointed. We had some issues with the hot water, but they were quickly fixed. The room itself was quite luxurious and very spacious. The fact that there were screens instead of windows really made it feel as though you were close to nature. And the sounds of the animals in the morning were really something.

We ate several meals at the restaurant, which was very good. The breakfasts, in particular, were terrific. There wasn't a lot of choice for dinner, but what they had was very well-prepared, using fresh ingredients. And the bar area was fun to hang out at.

In terms of activities, we booked directly with Pacz tours (for ATM and Tikal) and were able to save some money, as booking through Chaa Creek was more expensive. Pacz came to pick us up, so it was very easy. We did do one of the night-time walks, which was very cool (saw leafcutter and driver ants).

All in all a terrific stay. Would go back in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank jodydavis617
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level Contributor
25 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 January 2010

We stayed at Chaa Creek for the last 3 nights of our stay in Belize. We were picked up from the airport in Belize City, and right off the bat we were treated to a fascinating discussion on the Mayans by our driver Hugh. We liked him so much we requested him as our guide to Xunantunich, the nearby Mayan Temple. The tour was a treat - we were there early enough to have an hour to ourselves before the cruise tours came through. Hugh is a fountain of information, and he's passionate about the history!

It's not just Hugh - the caliber of Chaa Creek's guides is amazing - we were also treated to a great horseback ride by Robert, who also turned out to be an archeology student. We were impressed and inspired by the passion and dedication to education by all the guides.
They were definitely the highlight of our stay.

Other than that, the lodge is wonderful in itself - beautiful grounds, pretty good food, and a family atmosphere. Our favorite touches were the hammocks on our deck, the lodge dogs, and the beautiful pool.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank cdixie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, CO
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 January 2010

If you are going to Belize then your experience will not be complete unless you spend some time in the jungle. Chaa Creek is the best of the best when it comes to resorts in the Cayou district. The tree house cabana in which we stayed was fabulous. It was very roomy, clean, had a spectacular deck that included a hot tub and overlooked the Macal river. We happened to be there during a winter cold front (coldest low temp, 56 F, since '81) and so it was a little cool. The cabanas do not have glass in the windows, only screens. Combine that with the tatched roof which is optimized for hot temperatures and the temperature in your room is actually less than that outside! That's good when it's hot but not so good when it's chilly. Nonetheless, the staff was great and we had fun learning all about the jungle flora and fauna from our nature guide, David. Canoeing on the river was also a great experience and we would recommend canoeing downstream to San Ignacio and having them pick you up, about a 2 hour paddle. As is true for most places in Belize, the food is just average. It's not bad but not great either. That's really the only negative that I can think of associated with this very unique resort. Oh, and the spa there was also one of the highlights with their expert massage therapists.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank COTravelers94
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2010

We recently spent four nights at Chaa Creek, and we were not disappointed. We wanted to explore the jungle, check out the wildlife, but be pampered at the same time. If this is what you're looking for, Chaa Creek will not disappoint.

The resort itself has many things to offer, from birdwatching trips at the crack of dawn (which were fascinating, even if you're not a bird-lover) to horsebackriding tours through the property, and up to a mountaintop upon which stands an old mayan ruin. Our guides were amazing -- they knew their stuff cold. Our riding guide was a graduate student in archeology and gave us a fascinating overview of the mayan settlements on the property (he was very funny, too).

The food was top notch -- and we are vegetarian foodies who can be kind of particular. We met other guests there who owned an upscale fusion restaurant in the States, and they were also very impressed with the food.

The cottages and the pool, the bar and the restaurant were gorgeous -- the website photos do not do it justice. The grounds are pristine, but don't forget the deep woods OFF.

We took a day trip to Tikal in Guatemala, and we were so glad we did. It was a two-hour drive, true, but absolutely worth it. Be warned about the "ATM" trip (in a cave system, more mayan history) -- we heard that it was not for the faint of heart.

We would recommend Chaa Creek to our friends and we hope to return in the near future.

  • Liked — the beautiful grounds and buildings
  • Disliked — the jungle is full of bugs -- no way around this at any jungle resort
  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank thewasches
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Bragg, ca
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2010

My husband and I stayed at Chaa Creek in late July of 2009. We planned our trip so that we were able to stay 3 nights in the jungle and 7 nights on Ambergris Caye. After our stay we wish that we would have spent our whole trip in the jungle at Chaa Creek. Our trip began arriving at the airport and being picked up by a driver from Chaa Creek. At first we thought that the airport transfers to and from the resort were a bit pricey, but the hour drive was well worth the cost, as our driver was also somewhat of a tour guide, pointing out landmarks and giving us history of his country.

We stayed in a Camp Casita which is located in a campground near the river, about a 10 min hike from the main resort. When we first arrived we were picked up from the main lobby and were driven to the campground by the camp host. The casitas are small wooden cabins with canvas roofs. If you are "bug-phobic" the camp casitas may not be the place for you to stay, with the spiders, grass hoppers and tarantulas, but we love nature so it did not bother us much. There is no power in the casitas, the camp host lights oil lanterns in the cabins before the sun goes down. The bathrooms do have power to them, as well as the out-side eating area.

When staying in the camp casitas all breakfasts and dinners are included in the stay, and they are delicious!! This was probably where we had the best food throughout our stay in Belize. The small kitchen is ran by a nice family that lives in the nearby village. The dining area is open to the outdoors and we were able to eat at times that worked with our schedule.

There are many excursions that can be booked through Chaa Creek. We were only there for a few days, but the main trip that we were wanting to do when we were in the jungle was to go to Tikal in Guatemala. Booking the excursion could not have been easier. We had an amazing time. It is a long day trip to Tikal, we left the resort at 7am and arrived back at 7pm. The long day was well worth the time. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and answered any questions that we had about the history of the ruins. We highly recommend this tour, we were able to do zip-lining in Guatemala as well, prior to arriving at Tikal. We wish that we would have had more time to do more adventures such as the ATM cave.

We spent our last day at Chaa Creek lounging by the beautiful pool and drinking tropical drinks. Even though we did not stay at the main lodge, we had access to all the amenities that were available there. We did a little hiking on one of the many trails, went to the butterfly farm and located some Howler monkeys only a few minutes from the pool area.

We would highly recommend this resort, we loved the campground, and plan to return to Chaa Creek to stay at the main resort.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank richters25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Orleans
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 January 2010

I agree with the other reviewer that there are not enough reviews of this place, but otherwise my experience and impressions were quite different. First, I will say something nice. It IS in the middle of the jungle with wonderful wildlife nearby, and I agree that Dosio, who manages the place, is very nice. The food, prepared by his wife and sister-in-law, is also really good.
But otherwise we were really disappointed. Chaa Creek, with its amenities, is a 12-minute walk away, so not really around the corner, nor does any of that luxury "trickle down", so to speak. In fact, we kind of felt like the poor people crawling out of the woodwork when we made the trek over to Chaa Creek, where the rich people stay.

The accommodations at the River Camp are tent-huts on stilts, and bathrooms are a fair walk from most of the cabins. If you want to rough it, this is the place for you. Especially if you want to rough it and pay dearly for the privilege, since Macal River Camp charges exorbitant prices for what you get. We paid $110 a night American ($55 per person), whereas comparable places that were essentially camping accommodations charged a FRACTION of that. So it is seriously overpriced... I think because of its association with Chaa Creek. But that minimal connection is NOT enough to warrant such high prices.

I would recommend the following alternatives:

1) If you want to rough it and are trying to travel on a budget, spend much less and stay elsewhere for the same or better camping quality.
2) If you want a rustic middle-of-the-jungle experience but still your own bathroom and some creature comforts, try Moonracer Farms. We had previously stayed there for 2 nights and I can't recommend it highly enough (see my review). No electricity, but all of your needs are lovingly tended to by the owners. And... IT COSTS LESS!

3) If you want better accommodations and are trying to travel on a budget, you can still spend less than Macal River Camp and get much more for your money. After one of three planned nights at Macal we just couldn't take it. It did not help that it had been raining for days and everything--the sheets, blankets, toilet seats--felt moist. After our first night we drove around desperately looking for ANYTHING else, even though we had prepaid our three nights at Macal (we ended up "eating" two nights, but we had to get out). We ended up in Cahal Pech Resort Village, which to our pleasant surprise was lovely, cost less, we had our own cabana with electricity, hot showers, our own bathroom, a lovely pool... ALL FOR 25% LESS!!

4) If you don't have a budget and don't want to rough it, stay at Chaa Creek itself.

In conclusion, I think Macal River Camp is capitalizing on their connection to Chaa Creek (or perhaps Chaa Creek is capitalizing on their own name) by charging such high prices for something so basic. We felt like it was a major rip-off.

I also encountered a spider the size of my fist in one of the showers and don't like stumbling through the dark for 200 feet to pee in the middle of the night. They didn't tell us to bring our own flashlights.

So, consider yourselves forewarned.

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
19 Thank jem83roma
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 31 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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