The next place we visited was Chaa Creek Lodge, which is 67 miles away from the Belize City airport. It takes about two hours to get to (four and a half hours from the Lamanai Outpost). Chaa Creek is set along the banks of the Macal River, near the foothills of the Maya Mountains. It’s seven miles from the city of San Ignacio and a few miles down the road from Ka’ana a resort, which I visited three years ago when they opened. It’s also just five miles from the border of Guatemala (day trips to Tikal are available). Since I was only at Chaa Creek for a night I don’t have a lot to write but I can tell you it’s much more luxurious than Lamanai Outpost Lodge. No wonder they have been recognized by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure Magazines.
Chaa Creek is for those looking for something a little softer as they have lighted pathways, no locks on doors, a plush pool and spa. The service is really good, the waitresses wear colorful uniforms and the food is solid and has a menu. They offer free birding and night walks to see critters. One morning I was going to check my email using the Wi-Fi in the conference center (the rooms don’t have internet and cell phones don’t work – mine had very patchy service) when I spotted a couple looking into the trees with a telescope and binoculars. They asked if I wanted to see a Toucan up close. “Uh, yeah,” was my response. It was so incredible I stayed with them and the guide for the next twenty minutes discovering birds I’d never seen before up close. I never thought I could get into birding but I’m now a believer. I guess that’s what Belize will do to you.
Chaa Creek Notes
- Arriving guests at Chaa Creek get cold towels and glass of limeade when they check-in.
- Non alcoholic drinks are free.
- Rooms don’t have wood blinds like at Lamanai outpost, just screens, and curtains.
- Rooms have two ceiling fans and a standard standup fan.
- The bathrooms are huge and have a monster marble shower with built-in bench and two showerheads.
- There’s also an outdoor shower.
- Surprisingly there were a few more bugs in my room at Chaa Creek than at Lamanai but nothing sketchy.
- I did hear howler monkeys before going to bed and roosters at 3:42am and a woodpecker near my door. I actually said. “Who is it?”
- The resort has a daily newsletter with announcements, activities, names of the new guests, and weather. They are the ones that had the funny forecast – “Fail and cool.”
- The driver that picks you up at the airport is your guide for the duration of your stay. We had Joe, who teaches a night class at the local college so he was smart and cool.
- I visited the spa and had “The Coma” massage, which is 90 minutes long and costs $100 USD. It’s billed as: The ultimate in relaxation. Deluxe massage incorporates elements from various massage techniques. Closes with a specific soothing.” Unfortunately, they were repairing one of the spa suites near the spa so I could hear some hammering and the workers. When I later mentioned it to the spa manager she ended up comping my treatment and called up to the workers to say next time there is a guest getting a treatment, stop working. Note: Guests can have the treatment inside or out. If I hadn’t gotten so many bug bites outside it would’ve been more amazing; the setting is divine. The therapist was excellent and they really didn’t need the generic spa music because listening to the birds was so relaxing. What they really should do is screen the patio in so it will be bug free.
- If I had more time I would’ve gone cave tubing, visited the Xunantunich Maya Ruin, horseback ride, go into town and take a quick trip to Guatemala.
On the way to and from Chaa Creek we stopped off at Cheers Restaurant (with a tropical twist) to use the bathroom and grab some drinks and food. It’s almost halfway between the airport and the lodge in Belmopan (50 minutes from the airport). They have free Wi-Fi (just like the airport) and good local food. I had the stewed chicken with rice and beans while Joe had the green peas with pig tail. It’s really the spine of the pig so it has bones and tasted nasty to me but the locals love it. BTW: Joe said he took Ted Danson in there once (Chaa Creek gets lots of celebrities) and he got a kick out of it.