Need advice -- 1st time to Belize

Jul 2nd, 2008, 08:00 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 757
Though I've not been to Chan Chich, I cannot see how anyone would think it less resort than Chaa Creek. Chaa Creek has no AC (which can be issue in the summer months, no pool (which Chan Chich does) and has all kinds of nature (has a wonderful Blue Morpho farm) and horse stables to explore the area. While birding is not our thing, we saw Toucans & numerous other exotic birds all over the property. We chose Chaa Creek based on the positive reviews (Lans Suder had it rated #1 at the time we went)and it's ideal location for doing tours (caves, ruins, etc). Enjoy!
SiteC_er is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 10:22 AM
  #42  
 
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I'm not trying to slam Chaa Creek at all. It's absolutely beautiful. As EDH said, it just depends on what you want. shillmac indicated she really wanted a birding property, and I think some of the other places may be more along that line.

Plenty of people have been perfectly satisfied with Chaa Creek.
Toucan2 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 10:32 AM
  #43  
 
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Chaa Creek is great for birding and room rates include guided birding and nature walk. duPlooys has a birding package and birding every monring on the deck. You'll see different birds in teh Mtm Pine Ridge nearby, look at Hidden Valley Inn.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 11:01 AM
  #44  
 
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Sorry Toucan, I was not offended. I was merely trying to point out that it is not a resort like a Marriott, Hyatt, etc. If you look at the Chan Chich website & Chaa Creek, the structures and grounds look pretty similar. That's why I was surprised someone would call it a resort. When I think of resort(s), I think swimming pool(s), AC, cable TV (Chaa Creek has none of the above). Regardless of where you pick Shillmac, I think you'll enjoy the country.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 01:20 PM
  #45  
 
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Whew! I'm glad you weren't offended! Sometimes you worry online if you have written in such a way as to offend.

I'm not conveying what I mean very well, I don't think and kind of wish I'd never posted anything about it We stayed at Chan Chich, and I've visited the Chaa Creek property, and really both are nice properties, but a bit different in "feel" which I think is hard to describe. But, in no way do I think that Chaa Creek is inferior! I'd be perfectly happy moving from resort to resort if I could!

Frankly, I'm not really sure you lose by going to any of the places in Belize as a birder, it's a fantastic birding destination.
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Jul 3rd, 2008, 03:10 PM
  #46  
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Great advice from all. I'm not a die hard birder, but pretty interested! I was intrigued originally by Chan Chich because EDH compared it to one of our favorite places in Costa Rica--Bosque del Cabo. I don't go there to bird so much as to enjoy wildlife. He (she?) indicated Chan Chich was a great destination for sightings. . .so that was my original query. We are open. . .and I am appreciating all comments.

I know how easy it is to sound not like one intends to sound "online"--we all have to keep that in mind when "interpreting". It isn't easy.

I got into trouble once when I described one of the hotels in Costa Rica (one of our favorite hotels because it's a great bargain for its location) as Holiday-Inn-ish. Well, it is--absolutely--with regard to the room furnishings, arrangement, etc. That just infuriated another poster.

I meant nothing--just trying to help someone who didn't know (and asked) to "picture" the property. You know, there are a FEW who would really turn their nose up at that type of accomodation, and if I were one of them, I'd want to know! Fortunately, I'm not! LOL!

Anyplace with a decent bird population and good guides available will be okay with us. It would be a plus (like Chan Chich) if there were frequent cat sightings, etc.

ON THE OTHER HAND--I'm not adverse to the idea of saving that $600 plus transfer fee over to Chan Chich and back! My husband will croak about that. I wanted to take the land route over there, stopping at the ruins, etc. and the charter flight back to BZE. So if Chan Chich remains unavailable, and Chaa Creek (or another similar place) is closer and easier to get to from Ambergris Caye, then hey--I'll be happy. I'm still trying to figure out where the heck everything is--don't have a book yet. . .haven't taken the time to study some online maps yet. . .so details help me a lot.
shillmac is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 05:30 PM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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We picked Chan Chich over Chaa Creek, Lamanai, Duplooys, Hidden Valley and others because all they have at CC is wildlife. No cave tours, only long day trips to ruins, etc. So, we felt it would attract like minded people (wildlife nuts). And it did. We met some great people there that made our trip more enjoyable. It seems less touristy because those other tours weren't offered or weren't very convenient.

So, if wildlife is your primary reason for going, especially for the chance to see a cat, then my (very biased) opinion is the CC should rank #1 if availability and price work out. Take a look at the sightings page on their website. I doubt any other lodge can brag about that variety and frequency.

When it comes to comparisons to BDC, CC matches or barely surpasses BDC in most every category. The only exception would be the types of wildlife. Here is a quick rundown based on my opinion from only 1 visit to each (both in dry season; February):

Mammals:
- CC has 2 kinds of monkeys BDC has 4
- CC has no sloth
- BDC has scarlet macaws CC doesn't
- CC has other birds that BDC doesn't (mot mots, more trogans, turkeys, guans, orupendulas, etc)
- BDC had more frogs, we saw none at CC but I think they come out in the wet season
- BDC has more insects. At CC, we saw some ants and a walking stick but that was about it.
- Coatis seem to be more plentiful at BDC
- CC has 5 different kinds of cats and there is typically at least one sighting a week
- CC has night drive activity which allows you to see nocturnal animals like kinkajou, pootoo, nighthawks, fox, etc)

Grounds:
- CC is more luxurious especially the deluxe cabana (fridge, big bathrooms, big bed, ceiling fan)
- BDC had more blooming flowers and more variety of blooming flowers
- CC trails were flatter compared to the two ocean trails at BDC
- CC had no family style meals. All were at seperate tables but we visited and talked with people anyway
- The BDC bar atmosphere was more lively
- CC has more variety in their menu and the food was exceptional. I would give it 5 starts and BDC 4 stars.
- CC is more expensive for internal transfer and nightly cost. However, from the US international airfare should be cheaper to Belize


That's my comparison off the top of my head. I wouldn't mind hearing from others that have stayed at both.
EDH_Traveler is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 05:48 PM
  #48  
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I agree with you right down the line on BdC. Many of the birds you've seen at CC, I've probably seen elsewhere in Costa Rica on other birding trips, but still would like to experience the wildlife you have described at CC.

It's still my pick, but if it doesn't pan out, I know we'll have a great trip anyway.

Thanks again, EDH, you've been so very helpful time and again!
shillmac is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2008, 07:47 PM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
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I need some advice please. My father loves birds,
is 75 but in pretty good shape. I have 2 small kids 5 and 8. Is there a great place to go where we can have a calm sandy, beautiful beach, bird adventures close by, accommodations, preferrably on the beach, that are not too big hotelish touristy?
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Jul 4th, 2008, 08:03 AM
  #50  
 
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Check with Chaa Creek soon about bookings. They are closing for a month (September?) to put in a pool.
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Jul 4th, 2008, 08:17 AM
  #51  
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Thank you--will do.
shillmac is offline  
Jul 4th, 2008, 08:42 AM
  #52  
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Thanks everyone. We have booked Chaa Creek. I just wasn't up for waiting until Sept. to hear a final from Chan Chich. Seemed a little risky to me.

I think we'll be very happy with Chaa Creek--it looks lovely. Maybe I can transfer some of the transport cost into spa treatments!

Thanks so much everyone for your help. I'll probably be picking your brains more later. But for now have air and hotel reserved--a lot off my mind!
shillmac is offline  
Jul 4th, 2008, 12:44 PM
  #53  
 
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Doesn't it feel great when you have some of the "major" stuff settled and can start researching, planning, and dreaming about the details!? You'll have a great trip.
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Jul 4th, 2008, 02:09 PM
  #54  
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Yes, there's always that feeling when things just seem to click in a way that you know you'll be satisfied with. Love the feeling! And am looking SO forward to the trip. Can't wait to surprise hubby--that's half the fun! And I'm going to try to "pay as I go" and have it all finished up (at least the hotels) by the time March rolls around. I love being sneaky!

Thanks again everyone for all the help--you guys are the best--which I already knew!
shillmac is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 01:26 PM
  #55  
 
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My husband and spent a wonderful week at Almond Beach Resort last Feb. There were many activities, but we were there just relaxing.
The rooms are beautiful and great Spa. Water right outside your room. We came home and re-booked right away for late Jan 2009. Can't wait to go back. Would be happy to answer any questions about trip. We flew into Belize City and went by plane to airport near resort.
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Jul 8th, 2008, 04:36 PM
  #56  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Jill, just home from a couple weeks at the cabin. Checking in to see what is happening on Fodor's. Dang "1st time to Belize" has 54 replies, well I had to open that one. And who do I find?????

OK honestly I have only had time to scan - but if you are still looking for a place on Ambergris, we stayed at Caribbean Villas - LOVED IT! Actually just sent them a request for a reservation for Feb 09. Hoping to get a 1BR suite, but would be totally fine with the room we had last time ocean view ($98). Do take a look at their website, http://caribbeanvillashotel.com/ I really think you would really like this place. It has tons of trees, unlike so many places that have clear cut. Nice beach, great staff - no restaurant or bar, but those are WAY TOO EASY to find. Please Email me if you want pics or more info. Have fun!
dfarmer is offline  
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