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“Birders' heaven”
Review of Chan Chich Lodge

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Chan Chich Lodge
Ranked #1 of 8 Orange Walk B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
San Vito, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
44 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Birders' heaven”
Reviewed May 5, 2012

We were five birders who had not birded together before. Six nights, five full days of birding in April, 2012, and side trips offered by the lodge were ideal for bonding our friendship even further. We logged 138 species, many new for us, including the Ornate Hawk Eagle at the Escarpment and an American Pygmy Kingfisher at the river. While we did not see a jaguar or the Lovely Cotinga, we did enjoy several sightings of Howler and Spider Monkeys, and a coyote. The birds were active and we almost tired of seeing the Slaty-tailed Trogon and Pale-billed Woodpecker, there were so many of them.

The Howlers' chorus at night is something almost otherworldly and quite thrilling because it is so unusual. We are used to Howlers in Costa Rica, but there is a different species in Belize and the vocalizations are very different.

A charter flight to Gallon Jug avoids a four-hour drive.The private bungalow accommodations with palm thatched roofs are extraordinarily comfortable and well designed considering the remote location. The food was excellent, though the choices were a bit repetitive after three or four days. The naturalist guides are local natives who really know the area and thanks to one, Luis, we spotted many birds we would not have seen otherwise. (And he has a great scope). We would recommend the trips to Laguna Seca and the Escarpment, but not the night drive which was disappointing, as we saw little more than a tarantula and the eyes of some mapaches (raccoons).

We recommend Chan Chich. It is simply one of the best places we've ever been. Perhaps someone not interested in birds might be bored there, but an observant person who loves nature in general--and tropical forests--will be content there for days if you like hiking well-maintained trails. Don't even think of going to Chan Chich without high quality binoculars!

Room Tip: My husband and I had Bungalow #9 which was PERFECT, farthest from the pool area and from the restaur...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Gail H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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215 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
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English first
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
58 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed April 30, 2012

The reason you come to Chan Chich is to spot wildlife. It is heavily marketed on its jaguar sightings indeed one was spotted the day before we arrived, but alas we were not so lucky. In fact our animal sightings (apart from the monkeys (howlers and spider monkeys) were very sparse and as nothing compared with over places we have stayed. Part of the problem is that despite it being marketed as part of the Selva Maya (the great forest of the Yucatan) much of the forest here is very recent secondary regrowth so the habitat is actually degraded. And in fact the owners are still taking out significant quantities of mature trees as well as we learned allowing prospecting for oil. We didn't see this but we did hear that the prospectors show little respect for the wildlife. The accommodation is in a very beautiful setting within the overgrown ruins of a Mayan plaza. The thatched cabin accommodation has a deliberately rustic feel but you are very open to view so careful when undressing. That said the staff are very discreet as well as polio, helpful and charming. Food is very good but a limited menu and if here for more than a few days you will be repeating choices. There is a nice swimming pool and spa with insect netting.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Gaitero61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
326 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2012

We stayed 4 nights at Chan Chich, having done quite a bit of research into where to stay in Belize to see the wildlife. We arrived after an early flight in a 4- seater plane – you need to take soft bags, as cases will not fit in the plane.
The whole location is beautiful and the chalets most picturesque and very private. The chalets have wide over hangs to keep them relatively cool and you also have a ceiling fan, which I needed on high.
The chalets provide coffee and drinking water. On the verandas of the chalets they have hammocks and a day bed which was lovely. We also had a humming bird feeder, on each veranda and it was lovely to see the humming birds feed. They have humming bird feeders on the veranda of the restaurant and it was lovely to see them feeding. The main veranda also has an excellent selection of wild life books to view.
The staff and the guides could not do more for you – the guides are very knowledgeable about the bird life and have very powerful binoculars so that you can see the bird life which are very high up in the trees. We took a number of early morning walks, night walks and drives. We did see a number of birds, high up in the trees, but unfortunately no mammals. The paths around the location are quite difficult to manage, with the rocks and the tree roots, so you have to watch where you are putting your feet and some paths are quite steep. The best trip was a morning ride to Laguna Seca as it seemed you saw more wildlife outside the main trails which had a lot of undergrowth and it was better to more in the open.
The meals were very good and really too much – most main courses would have fed two people. Good wine selection and spirits at reasonable prices
The pool and whirl pool were very welcome after doing one of the trails as it was very humid and hot – plenty of towels.
All in all a lovely time, but would have like to have seen more mammals, even although we were walking 3-4 hours daily

Room Tip: All chalets are lovely
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Surrey 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auburn, ME
Level Contributor
85 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2012

A beautiful resort in the midst of a Mayan site in the midst of a wonderful hacienda with a coffee plantation, orange groves, lakes, cattle and horseback riding. There was truly awesome birding. And my wife and I were not birders and we loved every minute. We identified 76 beautiful birds and really got caught up in the whole thing.
Really terrific food and I mean really terrific. The cabanas were great with a giant bathroom and the living space had wonderful louvered sides so it was like being outdoors.
Great day trips to Tikal (Mayan history with great pyramids) and to the fun ATM cave site (again Mayan but with a "water park" feel).
And the staff...I cannot remember anywhere I have traveled across the world where the staff was so very warm and helpful. I should say this again, the staff was GREAT.
We did bird tours with a guide from 6-8AM and 4-6PM along with night rides to look for the jaguars. We took our own walks in the daytime or sat by the very nice pool or in the very nice jacuzzi. We spent 10 days there.
Chan Chich was relaxing and rewarding. Anyone would love it there.

Room Tip: Go for the deluxe rooms
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank rweis1d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Level Contributor
54 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2012

My wife and I booked a trip to Belize through Orvis this spring. The primary portion of the trip was so I could fly fish for Bonefish and Permit and my wife could relax on the beach. Since we both enjoy bird watching, we decide to combine this with a stay at Chan Chich. Best decision we ever made! I have nothing but praise about our stay which began with a scenic flight from Belize City to the Gallon Jug farm in a small private plane. We were amazed to see deer out in the fields at the farm. After spending most of the day in airports getting to Belize, it was nice to finally arrive at our destination. The resort grounds are beautiful with colorful vegetation and native plants throughout. The staff at Chan Chich was friendly and attentive. We stayed in one of the private cabanas which was spectacular. The bedroom had a king sized bed in the middle with open screens and shutters surrounding it. The bath room was even better with a large double sink lavatory and a huge shower with two rainbird shower heads. The overhead ceiling fan kept the inside temperature cool in fact at night we had to shut it off. Our first night was a memorable one. We turned in early because of the exhausting travel and around 8:00 Pm (it gets dark early), we began to hear a loud growling noise outside our cabana. I knew we were going to see Howler monkees but I thought they began howling early in the mornning and I didn't know what they sounded like. My wife and I were a little concerned at first but then fell asleep. Our naturalist guide, Marvin, informed us the next day that the sounds were Howler monkees. We both got a big laugh out of that. Marvin is a native Belizian and the most wonderful individual we met on our entire trip. He has an amazing knowledge of the flora and fauna of the area and a calm soft personality. We saw everything from Keel-Billed Toucans to Leaf Cutter ants, gorgeous Orchids and yes, Howler monkees. The meals at Chan Chic were great and we especially enjoyed the relative private relaxing outdoor dining area. We also enjoyed sitting on the porch of our cabano and watching the hummingbirds and other wildlife within a few feet of the porch. I would highly recommend this as great place to get away from the stress of work and just relax amidst the natural beauty of the jungle. The only criticism we had of Chan Chic is the temperature of the pool, which sits in a screened in area with beautiful plants. The pool and the hot tub were a little too cold for our liking. It was hard to leave after only 2 days. I recommend staying at least 4 days. We will definitely return to Chan Chic.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Terry D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 20, 2012

My wife and I recently went to chan chich on our honeymoon. Upon arrival we were enthralled with the beautiful, exotic, and luxurious nature of the resort. However, less than seven hours into our stay at the resort, and immediately following our first meal, I began to throw up. It was very trying and very difficult. The firs days of our honeymoon, and I'm stricken with food poisoning in the middle of the jungle!

This was a disaster which didn't get much better. It is difficult for me to rate this resort so poorly, but unfortunately the meal I ate upon entering the resort seems to have directly lead to my illness. What is even more disappointing is that the staff was working with my wife and I " to make things right", but then mysteriously went completely cold on us. Again, it pains me to even write this review. A beautiful resort with a world class location. Yet, to ruin the first few days of my honeymoon and then be unresponsive about the issue is simply not acceptable for the level of resort chan chich claims to be.

Room Tip: All of the rooms appeared to be fantastic. Champagne waiting on arrival. Just, foot issues.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank Jennifer J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level Contributor
27 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2012

OK - so my boyfriend and I were a little young compared to everyone else here (we are in our 30s) as everyone else was at least a couple of decades older than us - there was a 91-year-old there - but what a crowd and what a place!

It's set in the middle of a pristine rainforest conservation with the highest number of big cat sightings in Belize - sadly we were not so lucky. The nature and wildlife is simply wonderful. We are not 'birders' but even we novices were blown away by the richness of the nature and birds there. Absolutely stunning.

Comfortable rooms with lovely bathrooms, great food, excellent service, wonderful nature and the chance to hike, cycle and exploreon one's own.

One can take the trip to Lamanai from here, easily - we almost stayed there and am so glad that we chose this place instead, compared to Lamanai, it was simply wonderful.

Room Tip: They are all lovely, we stayed in a deluxe cabana - not sure it was all that different from all the...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank traveller88888london
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

Property: 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 #1 of 8 B&Bs / Inns in Orange Walk
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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