We recently stayed at Chaa Creek and found the grounds to be breathtaking and the accommodations terrific. Chaa Creek is also located close enough to San Ignacio Town (about 6 miles) that you can easily drive there (if you have a car), have a driver from the lodge take you, or take a 2 1/2 hour canoe ride from the lodge (very slow river,but some good animal/bird sightings) for $25 per person.
The thatched roof bungalows with screens (no closed pane windows) give an authentic jungle experience. You wake up to the sounds of the river below you and the birds in the trees surrounding you as toucans and various colorful birds fly throughout the property and add to the magical experience.
Meals are lovingly prepared and the servers in the restaurant are kind and accomodating. The menu for breakfast and lunch offers a nice combination of "typical" dishes and American-ized fare, though it seems that the lunch menu (if you happen to be around during the day) is an American-casual menu.
We stayed at both the Macal River camp (a more casual campground located about 1 mile from the lodge) and at the main lodge. The campsite stay was fun. Typical meals are prepared and served in the camp dining hall. Beds in the cabins are comfortable - there is no electricity or bathroom in the cabin. The only thing in the cabins at the River camp are beds and oil lamps. The bathrooms/showers are in a common area outside. It's a fun adventure. If you are the Ritz Carlton type, stay at the lodge instead. The bungalows at the lodge are "upscale jungle" and have "modern" conveniences - indoor private bathroom, safe in the room. There are no phones in the room, no tv's or cellphone service at Chaa Creek. There is however a conference center with 24 hour internet access if you need it.
Our trip was great. The spa was quiet and relaxing (ask for a massage in the outdoor private "palapa" down by the river), and the nature trail,the butterfly farm and the museum on the property are all worth seeing (note to the elderly or handicapped - -getting to the spa, nature trail, butterfly farm and Chaa Creek musuem requires climbing a lot of steep stairs).
We did encounter a few minor disappointments during our stay, though it wasn't enough to mar the trip - - Our guide on the nature trail was very reserved and somewhat disinterested - he offered the perfunctory "canned" speech during the tour. This was very unlike other guides that we have encountered in Belize that are all good story-tellers and are passionate about what they do. We have experienced better guides at other lodges in Belize. The concierge was friendly, but not particularly helpful in making suggestions about excursions when we asked. Tip - don't book tours (like Tikal or ATM) through Chaa Creek - - there are many tour operators in town (which you can ask the concierge at Chaa Creek to call for you) that will charge four times less the price for the same tour that Chaa Creek will overcharge you for.
Tips: Things to make sure you bring:
1. bugspray (the rooms were not buggy while we were there, but many activities take place in the jungle or in buggy areas)
2. sunscreen (even on cloudier days, the sun is strong)
3. binoculars (many animals/birds are hard to spot with the naked eye)
4. allergy medicine (you are entirely surrounded by trees, plants, etc. - -lots of sneezing going on even for the non-allergic crowd)
5. flashlight. The grounds are not very well lit at night (especially at the campgrounds). Flashlights are a must for getting around - they don't have them in the rooms.
6. water shoes/good walking shoes - - almost all tours include hiking or getting in and out of water. Leave the high heels and good clothes home. All roads leading to the rooms, restaurant, spa, etc. are pebbled, not paved.
Chaa Creek is beautiful and the owner is friendly and always walking around checking on things/speaking to guests. I would recommend it highly, would definitely go again, but would just advise that you book tours elsewhere if cost is a factor.
- Also Known As:
- The Lodge At Chaa Creek Hotel San Ignacio
- The Lodge At Chaa Creek Hotel
- Hotel At Chaa Creek
- At Chaa Creek Hotel
- Chaa Creek
- The Lodge At Chaa Creek Belize/San Ignacio
- 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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