My wife and I spent 12 nights here in May. Our stay seemed to be a lot longer than all other guests we met who were usually fitting in 2 to 4 nights as part of a wider Belizean itinerary.
We are both keen wildlife photographers and have travelled to many countries in pursuit of our hobby. Whilst the remote chance of seeing a large mammal/cat was part of the appeal of this destination, our main draw was the reptiles, amphibians and birds of the rainforest.
We planned our stay to coincide with the change of season from dry to wet. However, the rains
did not arrive until our last day. Instead, we experienced very hot and very humid weather for the duration, which made walking the tracks carrying our camera equipment more tiresome. However, we both enjoyed the walks immensely, both with and without guide.
We also took drives out to most of the locations on offer. Laguna Seca, the Escarpment and Cocoa plantation were all very enjoyable.
Our main observation from our experience here is that Chan Chich is more geared toward the serious birder than general wildlife photographers. The large SUV vehicle used for the trips does not have windows that open in the rear. So unless you travel in the front passenger seat, you may miss a shot of a bird or mammal that only appears briefly. Also, the guides who take the walks are excellent at spotting and recognising the calls of birds. But we might take 2-3 hours on a walk with much time observing birds high up in the canopy or obscured by foliage, with little chance of getting a decent shot. We found that on our walks without guides, we would observe much fewer but could concentrate on the wildlife we did see that was in range of our cameras.
The night drive was a little disappointing, seeing only a brief glimpse of a racoon, a small crocodile and little else. The vehicle is noisy and might have contributed to the lack of sightings, which seems to be a theme on previous reports.
We don't intent to dissuade other photographers from visiting Chan Chich. Despite the above, we still managed to get some excellent sightings of the Roadside Hawk, White Hawk, Bare Throated Tiger Heron, Spider Monkeys, Basilisk Lizards, Frogs and many insects.
The hurricane which hit Belize a couple of years ago may also have had an impact on the density of fauna in the area. Sone of the canopy on the walks has been removed and it may be
a while before some wildlife returns. We were told by a guide that they haven't seen tree frogs for the last two years.
This is a top class resort, the staff are very friendly and attentive and the managers very keen to talk to you to make sure you are getting the most out of your stay. Take as much mosquito deterrent as you can and you will undoubtedly have a great time.
- 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