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“Macal River Camp/Chaa Creek”

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The Lodge at Chaa Creek
Ranked #5 of 14 Hotels in San Ignacio
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 14, 2013

We had a wonderful 4 night stay at Macal River camp at the end of May. The cabins were simple, tidy, and comfortable. The deck with its hammock and chairs was a great place to relax and listen to jungle sounds. We had some rain which I believe helped keep it a little cooler in the evening as there are no fans (no electricity). The shared showers and bathrooms were clean and very easily reached by a quick walk on a path.

The meals (breakfast and dinner are included) were delicious and plentiful. Our dietary needs were considered and we were even asked what we wanted to eat! We wanted local food/menus and were never disappointed They were very accommodating with meals times as well; for example, serving us breakfast later when we went on a bird walk. We also enjoyed conversations with Dosio and Richard.

Macal River Camp provides visitors with an opportunity to enjoy the grounds and facilities of Chaa Creek but in a more rustic setting. The walk to the main grounds is only 10 minutes on a pleasant path above the river, much appreciated after our big meals.

We ate lunch at the restaurant once. The service and food were excellent while prices were comparable to what would be expected eating a nice lunch in the US.

We were treated kindly by all staff. Everyone was friendly and helpful.

We travelled during off season which I highly recommend as any place we visited throughout Belize was quiet and not crowded.

While Macal River Camp may not appeal to everyone, it was a perfect match for our family.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Colette L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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840 - 846 of 1,239 reviews

Reviewed June 12, 2013

We had such an amazing time at Chaa Creek. We have NEVER had service like the service we experienced at this resort. They pay attention to all the little details- cleanliness, remembering your names and destinations, etc. There is such a personal touch. I just don't even know where to begin to explain what I mean! Flowers are changed out daily, towels are replenished without hassle. They seem to anticipate your needs before you need it. The wait staff at the restaurant (which makes DELICIOUS food with local flavors- daily baked PHENOMENAL bread for dinners, etc) knew our names, were patient and kind toward our kids, and were willing to change the linens on any table to a different available table of our choosing. There was never a redirection or a pause that said "this is inconvenient". If the request was reasonable they aimed to please and acted like it was their pleasure to do so.

The pool is BEAUTIFUL, the grounds are gorgeous as was the room in which we stayed- the Garden Suite. The concierge was quick to help us with day trips and our guide- Ricky- was a gentle soul who taught us more than we could ever have gleaned on our own or with some of the other guides from other resorts we used later in our trip to other parts of Belize. He also tailored our day trips to meet what we wanted to do. None of the day trips were "canned" or touristy. They aimed to take us at the most pleasant times and when there might be the fewest people at each location but it was always at our convenience.

The owners are present and friendly. We saw toucans and howler monkeys, humming birds and iguanas. Butterflies landed on my son at the butterfly garden and they let our 5 and 7 year old horseback ride around the property. The Creatures of The Night Tour was so cool for the kids and the adults on the tour loved it too! I have 900 pictures (after we trimmed out all the blurry or bad ones!). We suggest any of their tours- the ones we didn't get to were highly raved about by those who did them while we were there. Loved Big Rock Falls in the Pine Ridge tour, Barton Creek, and Xunantunich!

We were so glad we chose the All Inclusive route- we did the Inland Expedition Package and it was truly amazing. We were so sad to leave which is an emotion we have never felt in leaving any other place we have stayed and we have traveled all over the world- Asia, Africa, South America, the Caribbean. We met several other couples and families who return every year and by the end of our stay I understood why! We will definitely go back.

Room Tip: I can't say that I saw a room location that would have been poor. We loved the garden suite whe...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Coquina H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 7, 2013

What an experience! For months leading up to the trip, I was so excited that I had been checking the Chaa Creek blog, Trip Advisor reviews, etc several times a day in an attempt to satisfy my anticipation of the trip. The people, places, sights, sounds and tastes of Belize didn't let us down...it was phenomenal! I made the trip with my son and his girlfriend who had both just graduated the day before we departed. Six nights and 7 days at Chaa Creek left me wanting nothing but 6 more nights and 7 more days. Accommodations were spent in the Spa Villa for 5 nights and one of the Tree Top suites for 1 one. Both were amazing and plush. Our days were spent with our new friend Ricky, one of the Chaa Creek guides seeing the Mayan sites, Mountain Pine Ridge, and birds, birds, birds! If birds are your thing, Ricky is your guy...Birder Supreme! Afternoons were spent with yummy tropical drinks at the pool. As great as it all was, what made the trip was the amazing staff...simply amazing people from whom customer service professionals around the globe could learn. They were so warm, courteous and attentive that you wanted to know them by name...all of them....Denise and Elsie at reception...Renee, Darryl, Errin, Joel, Saul, Jesus, Salvan and Kendall serving up dinner, drinks and personal service all day...Rosanna, Jessica and Alice serving breakfast and lunch...Udeli and Shenny at Concierge...Ricky, Selwin and Hilberto- our very talented guides...and certainly not least, the owners Mick and Lucy and their daughter Bryany. I'd also like to commend all those behind the scenes on the housekeeping staff who made sure we were comfortable and delighted by the daily fresh flowers, and the chef and his staff for meals that were OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!

Thank you, Chaa Creek, for indelible memories that will be with me always....and I will be back!!!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Bill A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2013

We visited Chaa Creek for the better part of a week in March 2013. The staff could not have been nicer or more accommodating, and the food was excellent. Keep in mind that you are in the rainforest. That means bugs, heat, rough roads, and being awakened occasionally by the loud shrieks of howler monkeys. Yet, through all that, the lodge has carved out a truly civilized experience with pool, spa, nature walks, and a lovely little bar. Don't miss trips to the ATM and Barton Creek caves, each of which is spectacular in its own way. Highly recommended for families.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Endurance13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2013

Wow! My husband & I loved Chaa Creek, where we stayed for our “jungle” visit as the 2nd part of our 2-part Belize anniversary trip. We stayed in the Jacuzzi suite which was room 21 (ironic in that we were also in room 21 just previously at Victoria House!!). Our room was at the far side, but a quick walk to the bar/restaurant and pool as well as the front-desk area. The room is huge and features a private terrace (with space to hang hammocks!!), a living room, bedroom with 4-poster bed (love the screen on top to ensure no unwelcome guests come down through the palapa ceiling while sleeping), and huge bathroom. While I wasn’t expecting the room to be only screened in or not have AC (I should have done more homework), that was not a problem and the room was very comfy even on hot/humid nights when we ordered an extra floor fan. I loved the local artwork incorporated into the room design which made it feel indigenous and homey at the same time.

Thanks to the reservation office who provided this tip to me before making my travel plans, we flew into the new Maya Flats airport, just 1 day prior to it being closed to pave the runway. Lucky for us! Even with arriving about 40 minutes earlier than scheduled, our Chaa Creek transfer was there almost immediately to pick us up. I joked that they just listened for the plane to pass as their clue to come pick up guests, but our driver assured me that was true. That is service! I would highly recommend the Tropic Air flight to Maya Flats if available.

The resort is amazing; it blends very well into the beautiful jungle landscape the activities at the resort are endless. We did the sunset canoe tour, creatures of the night hike, downstream canoe tour for Saturday San Ignacio market day, horseback riding, and we also did our own 4-mile jungle hike through the resort grounds. Right on site we saw at least 4 kinds of mammals, including howler monkeys and opossums, as well as huge iguanas. We also enjoyed the resort’s new pool which is absolutely gorgeous – very well done, Chaa Creek.

In addition to the activities we did onsite, we also did the Caves Branch Cave Tubing & Ziplining tour with our guide, Darren. With our 7:30 am resort departure, Darren was able to get us into the cave without anyone else so we had the whole place to ourselves with enough time gap before the crowds got there (if you can avoid it, do not do this activity when a cruise ship is in port or it is really crowded as it is a very popular ship excursion). This was a great time and we highly recommend it. Very easy, relaxing, and thrill-seeking at the same time. On our next visit we intend to go to ATM (heard great reviews on it) and Xunatunich (also good reviews on visiting there 1st thing in the morning).

The food at Chaa Creek was also very good. While there, the kitchen was being remodeled and the resort was using their back-up kitchen area in the conference center, but this had no impact on the quality & choice of foods or the service provided. Mid-way through our stay the new kitchen was opened and service moved to the restaurant – all very seamlessly; I was very impressed by the ease in which the staff was able to make the change which took place between breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Breakfast is included in the room rate and the breakfast menu features standard choices and a special each day. Lunch can be ordered from a very wide variety of choices including a few salads which were extremely fresh and all made with their own locally grown items. Dinners featured 3-4 main entrees nightly as well as the choice of a soup, salad, and dessert special. 4-course prix fixe meal could be ordered or each item a la carte. Of notable mention is the resort’s specially blended teas – the 5 choices are all made from local plants, dried, and then steeped in cast iron pots for amazingly fresh & flavorful teas. These are included with your meal and well worth the treat.

While my husband was initially intimidated by travelling through the jungle of Central America, he loved everything about Belize and specifically Chaa Creek so we will plan a repeat visit.

Room Tip: The garden Jacuzzi suite is HUGE and very private.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank MBJBride0520
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2013

Spent 4 nights, 5 days at this resort and loved it. The food was great even though they were renovating their kitchen. Loved the pool and the general ambiance, the room was screened but open and the fresh air and sounds in the morning were stunning. Only thing in sight was a thatched roof and green and flowers. Be sure and get a massage at the top of the mountain. And if something is wrong, need another fan or can’t make it up the 100 steps to the spa, ask for help. Everyone was super friendly -- really felt like a member of the family. We left early and they opened the restaurant early for us and when we went by the bar to get ice and water, the bartender was just coming in. Before he served us he took a moment to wash his hands and forearms – a very telling thing about how the staff at the Lodge takes care of their guests.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank CCMMSS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2013

We simply loved Chaa Creek! A beautiful property with so many adventures to offer. For horseback riding, you couldn't ask for a better venue. Our guide was fantastic and we rode some of the nicest horses we've ever been on. The horses were comfortable with us, and each other, and the riding was peaceful and exuberant. We were allowed to "ride" the horses at various points of the trail, and not simply Gallup or walk. The horses were fast, smooth, and gentle creatures. We also enjoyed the wildlife and birds. Howler monkeys visited the property daily and kinkajou's were visible in the trees. The butterflies are gorgeous and the trails around the property are quite lovely. The lack of air conditioning may be a concern for some, but you'll love the night sounds from the property and beautiful rooms. We didn't sleep well on some nights, even though the beds are very comfy. The night sounds and warmth kept us awake at times. The food was good - not great - but the adventures are unique and endless. The pool setting is in a very calm and relaxing place, and the lounge area is wonderful for cocktails or meeting other guests or catching up on emails. We thoroughly enjoyed the 2-hour canoe trip down the river to San Ignacio, which offered a Saturday Farmers (and Crafts) Market worth exploring. San Ignacio appears to be the cultural center of Belize and Chaa Creek is a fabulous choice if you are planning a minimum 3 day stay. Any fewer days at Chaa Creek would likely leave you wanting to stay for more. The visit to Tikal is a must and of course, Xunantunich nearby. If you can also manage a side trip to visit the ATM cave, you won't regret it. ATM is among my top 3 things to experience throughout Belize!

Room Tip: The Suites are lovely and provide a sitting area outdoors.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank CarolGregory
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:
Location: Belize > Cayo > San Ignacio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center 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 Romantic Hotel in San Ignacio
#3 Spa Hotel in San Ignacio
Price Range: $489 - $658 (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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