Chan Chich and Lamanai, or just one?

Old Mar 2nd, 2012, 03:21 PM
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Chan Chich and Lamanai, or just one?

So after I had everything (itinerary and days) pretty much decided, I started having second thoughts…the way I feel now, going to Tikal for one day is too much of a hassle, with too long transfers. We’ll save that for a Guatemala trip. I am thinking of adding a 2nd jungle lodge in Belize, and that would probably be Chan Chich. The other part of our trip, South Water Caye and Ambergris Caye (see full original itinerary here http://www.fodors.com/community/mexi...elize-trip.cfm) will stay the same.

I have a new set of questions:
1) How does wildlife at Chan Chich compare to wildlife at Lamanai? This will mostly drive the decision to go to both or just one.
2) Assuming we go to both jungle lodges and considering that place #3 of the itinerary is South Water Caye, logistically, does it make more sense to do Lamanai or CC first?
3) Any idea of how much would it cost to charter a small plane for the CC – Belize City trip? On CC’s site the ground transfer is listed at $329/person. I assume that is one way…ouch.
4) Do you recommend the CC-Victoria House (hideaways of Belize) package, or should we book everything separately? Financially, which option makes more sense?
5) The package with Victoria House includes breakfast, lunch and dinner in both places. Would we miss trying out different restaurants in the area? I am not sure what’s available close to CC (we will not have a car), but I know San Pedro offers numerous various other options.
6) Some activities at CC don’t have a price listed, are they included in the regular pricing option?

Let me hear some of your thoughts on above and I will have more questions, for sure. Thanks a lot.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2012, 03:53 PM
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Having only had the experience of staying at the Lamanai Outpost Lodge but having researched Chan Chich, my understanding is that Lamanai has more water birds/crocodiles things of that nature given its location on the lagoon/river. A big highlight was the boat trip to the lodge--amazing wildlife. Wee saw tons of howler monkeys. Tons.

Chan Chich is supposed to be more of a deep jungle place--supposedly one of the best places in the country to see wild cats (still need a great deal of luck of course).

The trade-off for us was Lamanai was more reasonably priced, had a wider variety of activities (crocodile tagging!) and was literally right across the road from the Lamanai archaological site, which we could explore at our own leisure. Chan Chich appeared more luxurious and probably had more classic deep rainforest wildlife.

If you're flying in/out of Chan Chich, probably doesn't matter which location you do first.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2012, 04:25 PM
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RAC,
We picked Lamanai first because of the same reasons as you did. But now, if we eliminate Tikal from the trip, we have an extra 2 days, maybe 3, to do something else…I am really not counting on any cats at CC, I understand the odds.

Alternatively, we could go to DuPlooy for 2-3 nights…Barton Creek Cave looks also like something we would like to do. Or is there another lodge you would recommend for that?
Thanks
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Old Mar 2nd, 2012, 08:12 PM
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xyz,
Here is the flight info straight from an email from Elder at CC, "the 30 minutes 3 seater charter flight from/to Belize International Airport is $342.50 with taxes" (that is not pp).

We will be going to LOL first via the river transfer and then CC will pick us up for the ground transfer from LOL at a cost of $258 total incl. taxes.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2012, 08:22 PM
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One more thing xyz...Since we aren't planning any beach time I can't speak to the CC-VH package. We plan to do all meals at CC because we won't have a car and I'm pretty sure other dining options close by are non-existent.

Also...one of the main reasons we chose CC is for the wildlife. I know it's wishful thinking...but check out this link for a pic of a little kitty!

https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.ph...type=1&theater
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Old Mar 2nd, 2012, 08:23 PM
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I'd still do Tikal. You can do a flight from Flores to Belize City in under an hour. So, you could do Lamanai, then boat back to Belize City, then fly to Flores and head out to Tikal. We did it in the other order--flew from Flores to BZE, and then the LOL picked us p.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2012, 10:17 PM
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Victoria House has very good food, but we did like going into town for meals as well. I probably wouldn't have wanted to eat every meal there. They have both bar food and an upscale restaurant. It's an easy five dollar cab ride to town.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 07:22 AM
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We went to both LOL and CC and I posted a report here http://www.fodors.com/community/mexi...ebmar-2009.cfm

We saw mostly different wildlife at LOL and CC with the exception of howler and spider monkeys which we saw at both.

I believe the CC road transfer prices are one way per vehicle (for 2 people) not per person. That said, a road transfer isn't much cheaper than a charter flight. Assuming you're taking a charter, I would probably do CC after LOL and fly into Belize City municipal airport (not international). IIRC the charter flight into municipal was slightly less than into intl and your onward flight to Dangriga will also be cheaper from municipal.

If you're doing a package with LOL, I would also check how much extra they charge for the road transfer to CC. When we went, it was cheaper to have LOL add on the road transfer to our package cost than to book the road transfer through CC. If you're paying a la carte rates at LOL, it may not make a difference.

There's really nothing near CC so you'll eat there. We went with a meal package and paid for activities a la carte as we mostly wanted to explore on our own. The activities were reasonably priced. You can contact CC and they will email you rates for all activities, transfers, etc. Same with LOL. They were both very helpful over the phone and by email when we were planning our trip.

I wouldn't lock yourself in to eating at Victoria House for every meal. Part of the fun of being on an island like Ambergris is being able to try different places.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 08:04 AM
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Forgot to add, we enjoyed our stay at duPlooys. It's a very different experience than LOL or CC. For one thing, there's less of a "middle of nowhere" feeling as there are other lodges and bigger towns nearby. Also the experience at LOL or CC is very much about the onsite activities whereas in Cayo there's much more of a variety of activities offsite. That said, duPlooys does have a botanical garden, is right on the river for canoeing and their own horses and the setting is beautiful. For everything else, you'll be leaving the lodge and exploring the surrounding areas. LOL and CC have very limited offsite activities.

I never got around to posting a report, but here's our album from the duPlooys stay http://pix.kg/p/2442966731105%3A777642334/scl

There are many other lodge options in Cayo. Black Rock looked interesting and we considered staying there. Mystic River looked quite nice when we paddled by.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Thanks for the additional info Patty. xyz...I'm going to briefly hijack your post to pick Patty's brain.

I've been debating the a la carte vs. Discovery Pkg at CC. I don't want to feel like I have to do excursions since I've already paid for them. In addition, the night activities aren't included anyway. How much were the water, juices, etc. Which activities did you do there and how many nights did you spend?

xyz...if you are considering Cayo, you might also want to look at Table Rock. We looked into several lodges in the area, but decided on TR over Mystic River.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 11:16 AM
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We stayed for 3 nights and did one morning bird walk, one night walk and one night drive. The rest of the time we just walked on our own. I feel you'd have to want to use their guiding services extensively for the discover package to make sense. Their guides were excellent but we really like exploring by ourselves too. I can't remember how much drinks were. I seem to recall there was filtered water provided but could be wrong.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 06:28 PM
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Patty, thanks a lot for additional info and pics…it is even harder now to decide, everything looks great…
I am still debating between CC and a lodge in Cayo, Table Rock looks great, I understand why you decided to go there, Deb – and thanks for suggesting it. We can only do 2 jungle lodges, and I because DH thinks that “jungle is jungle”, I need different experiences at the 2 places.

Because Cayo is closer to Dangriga, I think a few days there would make the most sense logistically. I did not see any horse riding option at Table Rock, does anyone know if it exists? I think my top picks for that area would be DuPlooy’s and Table Rock – any words of wisdom on why one and not the other?

At both DuPlooy’s and TR it seems that we can have lunch and dinner in the area (if I read their web sites correctly). How are the local dining options and how far? How do you get there?

In the end, I think we’ll do: 4 nights Lamanai, 3 nights Cayo, 4 nights South Water Caye and 4 nights Ambergris Caye (Victoria House).
VG – thanks, we’ll keep our options open for dinner at Victoria House.

Deb, feel free to hijack this post, the more info the better. When are you going?
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Old Mar 3rd, 2012, 07:45 PM
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I think it's a good 20 min drive from TR to town on a bumpy road and we'll have no car. So...we plan to have breakfast and dinner at the lodge. Most excursions include lunch, but I assume it will be a bag or picnic variety. The chef is supposed to be excellent and the lodge won an award from the Belize Tourism board last year.
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Old Mar 4th, 2012, 05:45 AM
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Ok, thanks.
Any idea how far/close is the town from DuPlooy's?
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Old Mar 4th, 2012, 06:21 AM
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DuPlooys was also about 20 min down a dirt road from town. Most guests tend to eat at their lodge unless they have a car or are staying in or near town.
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Old Mar 4th, 2012, 06:33 AM
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Belize Botanic Gardens is where DuPlooys is on this map http://www.moon.com/files/map-images...Pine-Ridge.jpg
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Old Mar 4th, 2012, 06:37 AM
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Patty,
Very helpful info, thanks. And of course, a picture is worth 1000 words
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 11:22 AM
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sorry to jump in in the middle of the string...i see that many of you wrote about lamanai. i actually haven't read a whole lot about it. what's there to do in lamanai?
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