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“Every promise fulfilled!!!”
Review of Chan Chich Lodge

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Chan Chich Lodge
Ranked #2 of 8 Orange Walk B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 30, 2007

We had a fantastic trip to Chan Chich! The facilities are great, the food good, the staff expert and the jungle awesome. We were incredibly fortunate to see jaguars (twice!). Don't go expecting to see big cats, but know that this is a place where magic can happen and does!

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled with family
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1  Thank Zigi666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 31, 2007

Unless specifically noted otherwise, all monies mentioned are in US dollars. The Belizean dollar is tied to the USD at a 1:2 ratio. One USD equals two BZD.

Chan Chich was our first destination on our relatively short visit to Belize. I’d been to Chan Chich just a few years after it opened in the late 80’s and considered it the most memorable place I’d visited in all my trips to this country. In planning this vacation, I also looked at Blancaneaux, which didn’t exist when I first visited Chan Chich. Influential in the decision to stay with Chan Chich was the fact that their website pointed out that although tips were appreciated they weren’t included in the bill. Management felt that this should be at the discretion of the traveler. I agree. The Blancaneaux website pointed out that 19% (!) would be added to the bill to cover gratuities for the staff. If it’s added to the bill, it’s not a gratuity as far as I’m concerned. We later learned that although the Blancaneaux grounds were quite nice, the surrounding area had been decimated by some kind of pine beetle. So the right decision was made.
The trip to the Gallon Jug landing strip from the international airport was only 20 to 25 minutes in a single-engine Cessna 172. The appearance of the plane could only be described as “rough”. Our altitude varied between 1,000 and 1,500 feet and was fairly smooth for the most part. As we flew over dense jungle I considered the prospects for an emergency landing. I’d prefer to ditch at sea.
An air-conditioned van was waiting for us when we landed. Luggage loaded, we were off to the lodge. I believe the distance was only four miles but the travel time made it seem much longer. The lodge is situated on 150,000 acres and adjoins another 250,000 of protected land. Nothing in Belize is more isolated, and that’s part of the draw. This is one of the very best places to spot a big cat, but the actual chance is still relatively low. It’s also the best spot for finding the largest variety of birds, my companion’s main interest.
Arriving at the lodge I found everything pretty much as I remembered it from 15 years earlier, except there were a few more cabanas now. Ocellated turkeys still roamed freely, and a tree that was full of Montezuma Oropendula nests was still there, still full of the raucous birds’ nests.
We had been preregistered, so-to-speak, so as soon as we arrived we were invited to take a table a have lunch. We started with a nice margarita. Perusing the menu, I immediately realized that the food offerings had expanded considerably. There was now a choice of 4 or 5 appetizers and that many entrees, including a special of the day. There were two dessert offerings which changed daily, a homemade ice cream always among the choices. I can’t be sure, but it seems as if there were two entrée choices back then. I also remember leaving the table a bit hungry 15 years ago. Not anymore. The portions are more than adequate for any reasonable person.
After a couple of margaritas and perhaps a bit too much to eat we went to check out our cabana. We opted for the “deluxe” for just a few dollars more, the difference being primarily the size of the bathroom. These cabanas are made from local materials found in the surrounding area. In fact, the original six cabanas were made from the trees that were cleared from the Mayan plaza on which the lodge now sits. Each cabana is a single unit and there are twelve total. It would be rare to find more that a couple dozen people here at any given time. A crowded condition simply cannot exist. When we visited in mid May there were never more than six guests, including ourselves, on the property. We liked it!
Back to the cabanas ….. we found a nice, wide porch wrapped around three sides of the structure. The porch was equipped with a hammock (an Arawak Indian invention, btw), a sort of large reclining wooden chair with mattress under a mosquito net, suitable for outdoor sleeping apparently, and a couple chairs at either end of a table, suitable for taking in the scenery while sipping on a glass of wine. Nice, and we haven’t even been inside yet!
Stepping inside you just know that you made the right decision in coming here. Describing the room as elegant rustic seems like a contradiction, but it isn’t. The local hardwood walls and floors are gorgeous. Windows are on every bit of wall space that will accommodate a window. The louvered windows are made entirely of local wood, no hardware is used unless you count the screen, which is fastened to a site-made frame. I remember noting this on my first visit and continue to admire the design. Higher up the walls are more screened windows, these without louvers, to maximize ventilation. The king size bed turned out to be as comfortable as any we had ever slept in. The room is equipped with its own filtered water dispenser, a refrigerator, stocked minibar, coffee maker and supplies, an umbrella and rain ponchos.
But the bathroom, oh, the bathroom! Bathroom suite is more like it! A double sink vanity runs the entire length of the left wall, probably twelve feet or more. On the left is a room with a commode and bidet. Next to that is what I would call a double double shower. Two shower positions, each with two shower heads. And it’s actually big enough for two people, being just under 6 ft square!
The lodging was just about as complete as it could have possibly been.

This was my companions first and last trip to Belize. She died of ovarian cancer in June of 2007. She made it a point to travel as much as she could with her time remaining. Belize was one of her favorite destinations. Granted, she saw only premier properties. See also reviews of Lamanai Outpost Lodge and Crooked Tree in Belize.

  • Stayed: May 2006, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank CaptAlStCroix_USVI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2007

Chan Chich was beautiful! We recommend the tour up the river to Lamanai. It was great! The lodge has wonderful guides and lots of wildlife. We saw very little on the night tours. The birding was terrific. The rooms were gorgeous and the staff was fantastic!

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Nola_hellokitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 3, 2007

Chan Chich is situated in the heart of the jungle and takes a little while to reach by road, however, once you are there it really is beautiful. Our trip took us from Lamanai to Chan Chich, then onto Turtle inn at Plancencia (see review). We felt that Chan Chich was the best lodge from a point of view of the setting, the rooms and the food. There was more to do at Lamanai, however the trips we did do such as horse riding and canoeing were excellent and well organised. The staff at Chan Chich were very friendly and could not do enough for us and we were highly impressed with our cabanas (quite chic) and the food - city restaurant standard. We would highly recommend staying here. Having travelled to many places, this scored in our top 3 of places to revisit - well worth the journey.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled with friends
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4  Thank LucySP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2007

Enjoyed Lodge. Setting in Mayan ruin was incredible.

Stayed in casita for first night. It was better than expected.

Food at Lodge excellent. Staff prepared lovely large birthday cake with lettering and sang happy birthday to Liz

All offerings by Chan Chich excellent. Liz received good massage.

Enjoyed guide services of Gilberto. He is an exceptional guide.

Transferred to Deluxe cabana for two nights. Much larger bathroom in deluxe cabana.

Need to be assertive to take advantage of all offerings of Chan Chich. So many things to take advantage of every day.

Enjoyed 3 hour trip from Chan Chich to Lamanai.

Be warned to take plenty of protection against all kinds of bugs.

Only disappointment was the lack of a spotting scope. We learned how valuable this can be at Lamanai to spot birds and animals.

Want to return to this idyllic place.

  • Stayed: March 2007
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1  Thank nycebh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2007

We stayed 13 days in Chan Chich in February 2007, our ninth straight year that we have visited the place. I hope it doesn't change much because it is a perfect winter vacation spot for North Americans. The cabanas are well designed, the restaurant and food are excellent, the bar is exceptional, the staff are polite and friendly and the surroundings are magnificent. But the best thing about Chan Chich is the ability to go birding with expert guides that know all the birds as well as all the other fauna and flora of the region. In particular, Ruben, Luis and Raul are exceptionally good and well informed guides that make ones tours most informative and interesting. Ruben could write an authoratative book on the birds of Chan Chich. Chan Chich is close to paradise.

Stayed: February 2007
3  Thank hrrmcr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2006

Chan Chich is one of those unforgetable locations that turns a very good vacation into a wonderful one. The cabins have a welcoming charm and rusticiity about them, the outdoor staff are most gracious and kind, the dining room staff could give lessons in consideration to their North American counterparts, and the guides, especially the gentle and gracious Hilberto, make this location simply wonderful.

  • Stayed: July 2006, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank APMandYl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chan Chich Lodge

Address: Gallon Jug | Wamil, Orange Walk, Belize
Location: Belize > Orange Walk District > Orange Walk
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 B&Bs / Inns in Orange Walk
Price Range: $290 - $548 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Chan Chich Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Retrace the footsteps of the Maya, wander our extensive trail system and discover the unforgettable flora, fauna and Maya history unique to this tropical paradise. With an unparalleled abundance of wildlife(and the best chance to see the elusive jaguar in its natural habitat) Chan Chich is an extraordinary destination for naturalists, birders and for those seeking an authentic retreat to the jungle. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chan Chich Hotel Orange Walk
Chan Chich Lodge Belize/Orange Walk

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