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#13023 - 07/24/00 09:56 AM Honeymoon at Chaa Creek
bonehead123 Offline
Me and my fiance are planning on coming out for a honeymoon in mid October and are looking at staying are few days at Chaa Creek. Has anyone been there before? Good/bad experiences? This will be our first time to Belize and would appreciate any inputs!

#13024 - 07/24/00 10:54 AM Re: Honeymoon at Chaa Creek
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Below is what I say about Chan Chich in the new Belize First Guide to Mainland Belize. I've stayed there three times and think it's great. Try to get one of the cottages away from the kitchen and bar area, as they are quieter and more private.

The other five-star jungles in Belize, in our opinion, besides Chan Chich are Chaa Creek, Blancaneaux and Ek 'Tun.

--Lan Sluder
Belize First Magazine http://www.turq.com/belizefirst/


* * * * Chan Chich Lodge Very simply, this is one of the classic jungle lodges of the world. It’s owned by Barry Bowen, a fifth-generation Belizean who also has the Coco-Cola bottling franchise in Belize and who brews Belikin beer. The trip here by car from Orange Walk Town is an incredible experience. The drive takes you through deep bush, and around every curve you might encounter anything but another vehicle -- a deer, quash, a snake sliding across the road, one of Belize’s cats, a flock of oscellated turkeys, a dense shower of butterflies. Closer to the lodge, you’ll spy the neatly fenced fields of Bowen’s 2,500-acre Gallon Jug farm, which raises cattle, corn, soybeans, cacao, cardamon and coffee. Gallon Jug is the only place in Belize that produces coffee in any commercial amount. The lodge, across a suspension bridge at the end of a short paved road, enjoys an astounding setting. It was built literally on top of a Maya plaza. Around the lodge are tall, unexcavated mounds. There are 12 thatch-roof cabañas, each with two queen beds, 24-hour electricity, bath with hot and cold water shower, and a wrap-around veranda. The cabins fartherest from the restaurant kitchen and on the edge of the lodge grounds, such as # 2 and 9, are most desirable. We have had some complaints about units close to the kitchen -- #s 11 and 12. Americans Tom and Josie Harding supervised the construction of the lodge and stayed on as managers. Meals are served in a large thatch cabaña, which also houses a gift shop, and the bar is next door -- guests congregate there for a social hour before dinner, with Norm Harding telling jokes and pouring. A beautiful pool, located at the edge of the jungle and screened to keep out bugs, opened in 1998.

Around the lodge grounds is a maze of cut and raked trails, ideal for wildlife spotting and birding. You can enjoy the jungle setting without having to wrestle snakes and briars. Will you see a jaguar? There’s a better chance here than at most other places in Belize. The lodge has been averaging about one jaguar sighting a week. Even if you don’t see the elusive big cat, you’ll definitely see plenty of other wildlife including howler monkeys, whether you walk the trails on your own or go on one of the nature tours offered by the lodge. Guides at Chan Chich are extraordinarily knowledgeable, and you should take at least one guided nature tour while at the lodge (US$12 an hour for up to four people). Birding is excellent here, with more than 300 species identified; often 40% or more of guests are birders. Canoeing, horseback riding, birdwatching and nature tours, and trips to Maya sites are available.

Rates: Doubles, room only, are US$145 Nov. 1-Apr. 30, US$110 the rest of the year. Meal packages are US$40 adults, US$30 for children under 12. The lodge offers an all-inclusive package (room, meals, taxes, most tours and activities, Belikin beer and softdrinks) for US$350 double in-season and US$300 off-season. AE, MC, V accepted with no surcharge. P.O. Box 37, Belize City; tel. and fax 501-2-34419; or P.O. Box 1088, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, tel. 800-343-8009, fax 508-693-6311, e-mail info@chanchich.com; www.chanchich.com.
Lan Sluder/Belize First

#13025 - 07/24/00 12:07 PM Re: Honeymoon at Chaa Creek
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Oops ... I must be going blind. I read Chan Chich when you were talking about Chaa Creek. Sorry! Here's my take on Chaa Creek, which is another five-star lodge.

--Lan Sluder


* * * * * Chaa Creek Resort and Spa. Mick and Lucy Fleming started Chaa Creek in 1980 when tourists were almost unknown in Cayo. Over the years, they’ve expanded, improved and fine-tuned their operation until it has become one of the best-run, most-professional operations in all of Central America. Everything works here: The grounds, comprising a total of 330 acres on the Macal River, are beautifully planted and maintained. The 19 large rooms in whitewash-and-thatch duplex cottages, plus two upmarket suites, have high-quality furnishings set off with Guatemalan wall hangings and bedspreads, the perfect marriage of comfort and exoticism. The food and drink, if not of gourmet standard, are well-prepared and plentiful. Staffers are friendly, not fawning, and move quickly to solve any problem. There’s electricity, plenty of hot water and cold beer, and, if you like, Chaa Creek will sell you a Cuban cigar to smoke after dinner. The latest additions are a fully equipped, modern spa, by far the best in Belize, offering everything from aromatherapy to seaweed wraps, and a new conference and meeting center. The spa, and a name change (from Chaa Creek Cottages), mark a repositioning toward a more-upscale, less “lodgey” lodge. Whether that’s a good idea or not only time will tell. In any event, you won’t run out of things to do here, either. You can visit the Chaa Creek Natural History Centre and Blue Morpho Butterfly Breeding Centre, tour the Rainforest Medicine Trail (formerly Panti Trail) next door, go horseback riding or canoeing, or take one of the many top-notch tours offered by Chaa Creek Expeditions. Chaa Creek helped reintroduce howler monkeys to the Macal River Valley. Birding is excellent, with 247 species spotted on the grounds by Birds without Borders, which has an operation based at Chaa Creek. For those who want the Chaa Creek experience at a Feline’s basement price (US$100 double including meals), the Macal River Safari Camp has 10 small “cabinettes” on platforms, and Belizean-style meals that some say are better than meals at the main lodge. Rates: cottage room, US$165 to $190 double, suites US$200 to $365. Meals are extra: US$10 per person for breakfast, US$8 packed lunch, US$26 dinner. Summer packages are a relative bargain: Room and breakfast and dinner, plus some tours, goes for around US$127 per person per night, double occupancy, on a four-night package. AE, MC, V with no surcharge. P.O Box 53, San Ignacio; tel. 501-9-22037, fax 9-22501; e-mail chaacreek@btl.net; www.chaacreek.com. Directions: From San Ignacio, go 4 3/4 miles west on Benque Rd. (Western Hwy.) and turn left on Chial Rd. (look for signs to Chaa Creek, duPlooy’s and Black Rock lodges). Follow signs on this unpaved road 3 1/2 miles to Chaa Creek.
Lan Sluder/Belize First

#13026 - 08/05/00 11:04 PM Re: Honeymoon at Chaa Creek
Karen Pasquariello Offline
In 8 years, I have never heard a negative about Chaa Creek, that's a pretty good track record. Happy honeymoon.
Karen Pasquariello


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