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“Didn't live up to expectations”
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
Reviewed October 21, 2012

Arrived for 5 days with my father who is an elderly devout birder. Saw few birds or other wildlife. Were told it is more lively in the dry season (we were there in October). Nice location, but too isolated for me for a 5 day stay. Food was good, but definitely not exceptional/inspired (fried shrimp and ceviche were great). Lunch choices were better than dinner. We were the only guests one night and there were only 2 other people the other nights - pretty dead. Guides are very good at spotting what little was there. Staff are extremely cordial and accommodating. 30 minutes by air from Belize City; hours by road.

Room Tip: Since there were few/no other guests, we were upgraded from a deluxe bungalow to "the villa&quo...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank W0rld_Wander_Lust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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132 - 138 of 224 reviews

Reviewed July 8, 2012

If you are looking for the Belizean jungle experience, want to get away from it all, and see wildlife EVERYWHERE, then you want to do the Chan Chic. Accommodations were great, surroundings were spectacular, and every day was a peaceful adventure. I know that seems like an oxymoron, but its the best way to describe Chan Chic. You are literally in the middle of the jungle with great trails surrounding you, wildlife everywhere, and yet you have your own peaceful cabana with huge wrap around decks with huge cushions, loungers, and swings to relax on. If you are looking for night life adventure (of the human kind) then you've gone to the wrong place. If you are looking to get away from it all and just enjoy the peace and adventure that nature has to offer, you can't find a better spot. Typical day at Chan Chic: Wake up to the sound of Howler monkeys in the distance, dewey early morning jungle hike., leisurely breakfast at the main Veranda. Swimming a the pool with its mini waterfall feature and a cabana area filled with softdrinks and beer, afternoon siesta on the veranda of your private cabana, late afternoon jungle hike along a river, dinner at the main Veranda, night tour in an open jeep (we even saw puma). There's also horseback riding, plantation tours and lots of other laid back activities. Great way to destress from a busy, crazy life. Best part, no one from work will be able to reach you by cell phone :)

Room Tip: From what we saw, all rooms are equally great. No AC, but for some odd reason we found it wasn'...
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  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank pator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2012

We were arrived at Chan Chich lodge through private air transport from Javiers which was arranged by the hotel reservations department. It couldnt have been easier and it was nice to be at th lodge within 30 minutes of landing in Belize City. To go from city to beautiful pristine jungle was fantastic! We were relaxed instantly! Within 30 minutes of arriving we were eating lunch watchin the hummingbirds flying around and decided to add a day to our stay. Laticia made the addition of a day so easy for us she called the pilot changed our departure date and called the other hotel and changed our arrival date with the other hotel. We spent our morning hiking and our afternoon at the pool to escape the heat. We never saw a big cat despite 2 night excsions but still had a great time out there looking at the night life under the moon. We did two excursions one to Lamani which was great! Highly recommend the river boat it was awesome and we also went horse back riding in the jungle. We could have spent a week at Chan Chich with all the special trips they are now offering in the dry season but didnt know about them to add more time to the trip. There packing lis could use some updates so I will include my recommendations below. Honestly I can't say enough good things about the lodge. The room was lovely and I didnt even miss the AC or TV. Although now that I am home I miss my afternoon naps in the hammock outside of villa. The staff was great always so friendly and helpful it feels more like staying with friends than a hotel. The food was awesome! I always get scared being restricted to eating at a hotel but the food was delicious! Go you wont regret it! We are never repeate visitors to places since there is so much of the world to see but we are already planning a trip to come back Chan Chich is a game changer.

Things to pack:
-Thechnical fabric/moisture wicking exercise clothes not cotton
-hiking pants
-socks that can be pulled up
-bug spray (we went through a can in 3 days)
-flash light I got a small LED one at home depot that was better than the one they gave us for night walks)

Room Tip: We were in cabin 9 we chose a deluxe cabin and the double shower and extra room was worth it. I wish...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank MissieMom07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2012

Remember when you were a kid and you'd go on a field-trip and you couldn't wait to get home and tell your mom all about it? Well Chan Chich is your home, and Laticia, the manager, is your mom. If you don't find her first she'll hunt you down to hear all about your day, and be just as excited as you are! On our first night, we drove a little golf cart around and she came to find us to tell us that they found a rare owl (the Spectacled Owl) in the staff lodging area and we should come see it-one guide said he'd only seen it 5 or 6 times in 11 years. She was off work, and not at all obligated to tell us this so we were really honored that she took time from her off-hours to share some rare nature with us.
The rest of the staff is just as awesome. Her husband, Raoul, was our guide for several days. He has an uncanny bird-spotting ability, is funny, friendly, and just about the nicest guy ever. He accompanied us at the ATM cave (Do the cave ... seriously, book it right now) as a tourist, and was still pointing out birds all over the place. We had never bird watched before, but he's turned my husband into a birding fanatic. The horse riding guide, Emil, is attentive, knowledgable, friendly--and super cute, ladies.
The food is just freaking ridiculous. If I could afford it, I'd go back just for the food, though portion sizes are HUGE so unless you're a large male go with the half portions. The caribbean jerk chicken and the Belizean chicken stew were my favorites. I was scared at first because I'm as allergic to milk as you can get without dying, so I don't eat anything I don't make myself, but the girls at the lodge were very good at helping me find things I could eat without my throat closing. So if you have allergies, they'll really work with you. Housekeeping was also great, and I'm sorry that I ruined a towel with my hair dye :(
Really can't think of any cons to this place, except that leaving totally sucks. I seriously felt like crying when I left, and now there is a little Chan Chich shaped hole in my heart.

Room Tip: Villa is stunning.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Emily M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2012

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.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank YoYo182
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2012

It's hard to fault this excellent lodge in the midst of Belize. The approach is maybe a bit too much farmland and not enough forest; the introductory talk perhaps a bit too laboured. But I'm just picking tiny nits of a terrific place. The location is excellent - in the plaza of an unexcavated Mayan site. The decor is perfect - individual cabins, each beautifully appointed, with all-round louvre windows so you can get the full in-the-rainforest experience or shut out the world as you wish. Good sensible food with a different speciality steak every night, and a good bar too.

Then, the reason you come - the wildlife. First thing to say is you need a local guide - we went as a group and on one brief outing without a local guide saw almost nothing. But once properly accompanied, the forest opened up its many secrets. Excellent and very rare birds - Ornate Hawk Eagle, Rufous Piha, Purple-crowned Fairy and so on. Someone claimed a Jaguar sighting while we were there but there was a lot of doubt about this, but even without the big cats (which are almost impossibly difficult in central America) it's a delight for forest-lovers. Night drives can be productive too.

A great place in a very interesting country.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank nuthatch_birder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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2  Thank Gail H
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 #1 of 8 B&Bs / Inns in Orange Walk
Price Range: $378 - $657 (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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