Lodging in Orange Walk Town and Crooked Tree
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Dec 18, 2012 12:32 PM Last Post By: carolr43
Nov 13, 2012 8:08 PM
Lodging in Orange Walk Town and Crooked TreeHello,
My wife and I are planning a delayed honeymoon to Belize in January. We are curious about transportation options from Belize City to Orange Walk Town, as well as clean and reasonable housing in Orange Walk Town for Saturday, January 12th, 2013 and Crooked Tree for Sunday, January 13th, 2013. We'll be continuing to Caye Caulkner and would welcome any advice/tips for avid birders and snorkelers at any and all stops along the way. Thanks in advance for any good advices you might be able to send along, we're very excited to be escaping the Boston winter for a week in a spot we've never visited before.
Edited by: Kielty
Nov 13, 2012 9:58 PM
1I would highly recommend staying at Crooked Tree Lodge. It is right on the lake and they have very cozy cabins. The food is amazing and home cooked, served family style at a big table in the main house, and the birding around the area is fabulous. It is worth hiring a boat to take you out for a couple hours.... you will see so many birds!
It's worth spending 2 nights at minimum or else you are just rushing from place to place and don't get a chance to really experience the area.
If you don't have a car you are kind of stuck at Crooked Tree lodge although you can walk into town in about 20 mins.
Caye Caulker is also nice and has a very laid back feeling. There are lots of snorkeling tours that you can arrange once you're there - booking the day before is pretty easy. I'd suggest including the swim with the nurse sharks and sting rays on your snorkeling trip - you can do a half day or full day.
Have fun! Belize is beautiful.
Nov 14, 2012 5:15 AM
2There are several buses during the day from BC to Orange Walk. They aren't fancy but will get you there. There is at least one nice hotel on the river, Mr. B can help you out there. I would book a next day trip up the river to Lamanai. I like Jungle River Tours $40US. I don't know much about Crooked Tree but I love Caye Caulker. Oh, I see you want to be in Orange Walk on the 12th and in Crooked Tree the next day? What's up with that?
Nov 14, 2012 6:58 AM
3In Caye Caulker we did the half day snorkel trip and it was great. One of the three stops is with the nurse sharks. We used French Angel, which was fine and suggested by our hotel, but there are many others. We also rented a kayak and paddled across the "split" and up the left (west) side of the northern part of the island. We got to a lagoon with wonderful birds, diving pelicans and others.
Nov 14, 2012 8:12 AM
4I agree that Crooked Tree Lodge is the best spot to stay at Crooked Tree.
In Orange Walk Town I like Hotel de la Fuente, although St. Christopher's, Lamanai Riverside Retreat (in Orange Walk Town, not actually at Lamanai) and Orchid Palm Inn are also good and in the same moderate price range. I assume you're staying in Orange Walk in order to do a trip to Lamanai, as Orange Walk itself doesn't have too much of interest to visitors.
Since you're birders, it's a shame you won't have the time to go to Chan Chich Lodge.
P.S. Below are some reviews of Orange Walk hotels and restaurants, from one of the Belize guidebooks I write.
Orange Walk Town Area Lodging
Few tourists linger in Orange Walk Town, unless they are using the town as a base to see Lamanai. Lodging rates in almost all cases do NOT include 9% hotel tax (12.5% after 2012.)
Akihito Hotel. With private rooms for around US$25 (more if you want A/C) and bunk beds from around US$8, this is an okay choice for budget travelers and backpackers, though for just a little more you can get a lot more in Orange Walk. The hotel tax is included in room rates. WiFi available (fee). Located above a restaurant on the main drag. 22 Belize-Corozal Rd., tel. 501-302-0185.
Hotel de la Fuente. The de la Fuentes opened this nice addition to the limited hotel scene in Orange Walk Town. The reasonable rates (around US$35 for a standard room to US$85 for a suite) put it among the best values in Northern Belize. All rooms have air conditioning and DSL broadband, and there are also small apartments with kitchenettes. Rooms in the new addition (starting at US$55) at the back are quieter. Tours to Lamanai available at competitive prices. 14 Main St., Orange Walk Town; tel. 501-322-2290; www.hoteldelafuente.com.
Lamanai Riverside Retreat. It's miles from the Lamanai ruins (though located on a street called Lamanai Alley), this restaurant and hotel is set right beside the New River, the water route to the Mayan ruins. Here are four wood cabañas with air conditioning, with rates around US$40. Lamanai Alley, Orange Walk Town, tel. 501-302-3955.
Lucia’s Guesthouse. Basic guesthouse with 21 rooms, with rates starting at US$11 (shared bath) for a room with fan. Hot water available on request. A bit away from the center of town, but you can walk to the bus stop or restaurants. 68 San Antonio Rd., tel. 501-322-2244; www.hosteltrail.com/luciasguesthouse/.
Orchid Palm Inn. On the main highway in the center of town, Orchid Palm has clean rooms with air-conditioning, cable TV and WiFi for around US$45 to $60. 22 Queen Victoria Ave., tel. 501-322-0719; www.orchidpalminn.com.
St. Christopher’s. This long-established intown hotel, which backs onto the New River, has 25 pleasant, no-frills rooms, some air-conditioned. Rates for better doubles with A/C the rate are about US$48. 10 Main St., Orange Walk Town; tel. 501-322-2420; www.stchristophershotelbze.com.
ORANGE WALK DINING
El Establo Bar & Grill. This family-run restaurant is at the edge of town near the north end of the Orange Walk bypass where it joins with the Northern Highway. It’s a good place to stop on a trip between Belize City and Corozal Town. Enjoy local dishes such as cow-foot soup, escabeche and rice and beans. Indian Hill, Northern Hwy. at northern end of bypass, tel. 501-322-0094.
Lamanai Riverside Retreat. The restaurant, with tables on a roofed platform open to the breezes, boasts a menu of more than 50 items, including well-prepared local dishes such as stew chicken with rice and beans. You might see a crocodile in the nearby New River, and perhaps also a few mosquitoes. Lamanai Alley, Orange Walk Town, tel. 501-302-3955.
Nahil Mayab. Lovely and not overdone Maya-themed decor, good service and the best ceviche we’ve had in years, only a few bucks for an appetizer serving of shrimp ceviche, beautifully presented and big enough for two. Sit in the tropical gardens in the back, or in air-conditioned comfort in the main dining room, and enjoy a cold drink and the pork or chicken fajitas, or go all out for grilled lobster (in season). Most dinner entrees are US$10 to $15. Santa Ana and Guadeloupe Sts., 2 blocks behind the Shell Station, tel. 501-322-0831.
Panificadora La Popular. Said to be the largest bakery in Belize, Panificador La Popular has been open since 1955. Best known for Mexican-style sweet breads and pastries baked daily, it also bakes bread and other items. 1 Bethias Lane, tel. 501-322-3472.
Paniscea Restaurant. New in 2011, this upscale spot (for Orange Walk Town) on the New River at Las Banquitas House of Culture is getting very positive reviews. Variety of dishes at dinner, excellent spot for breakfast. Main St., tel. 501-623-7200.
Victor's Inn and Restaurant. In Petville, a little over a mile from Orange Walk Town, Victor's serves authentic Yucateca food, along with Belizean favorites. There also are cabañas for overnight guests. Tel. 501-302-0183.
Rural Orange Walk District Lodging
Chan Chich Lodge. Very simply, this is one of the classic jungle lodges of the world. It was developed by the late Sir Barry Bowen, a fifth-generation Belizean who also ran the Coca-Cola bottling franchise in Belize and who brewed highly profitable Belikin beer, among other endeavors. The trip here by car from Orange Walk Town is an incredible experience, although if you want to get here more quickly, you can come by charter plane. The drive takes you through deep bush, including the 262,000 acres of Programme for Belize lands next door. Around every curve you might encounter anything but another vehicle — deer, a 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, which is on 130,000 acres of private land, you’ll spy the neatly fenced fields of the Bowens’ 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, recently upgraded, comfortable rather than luxurious, each with two queen beds, 24-hour electricity (but not air-conditioning), bath with hot and cold water shower, and a wrap-around verandah. There also is a two-bedroom villa with A/C. 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. A beautiful swimming pool, located at the edge of the jungle, is screened to keep out bugs. Around the lodge grounds is a series 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 averages 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. Birding is terrific here, with more than 350 species identified; often almost one-half of guests are birders. Canoeing, horseback riding, birdwatching and nature tours, and trips to Maya sites are available. Rates aren’t cheap but are worth the money: In high season, standard cabañas go for US$279, and deluxe units US$329 double. May to October, they are US$219 to $259 double. The two-bedroom villa is US$837 nightly for four persons in-season, and US$100 less off-season. Meal packages, which are necessary since there are no other dining choices nearby, are US$75 adults, US$35 for children under 12. The lodge also offers vacation packages. Rates are plus the usual 9% hotel tax on rooms and 12.5% GST on meals but do not include a service charge. Chan Chich’s approach, which we like, is to tip what you feel is fair (tips are divided among all staff) and only once, at the end of your stay. Gallon Jug (Mail: P.O. Box 37, Belize City); tel./fax 501-223-4419; www.chanchich.com. To Gallon Jug: You follow the same route as to Lamanai, but at San Felipe you turn right and go west to Blue Creek Village, a Mennonite settlement. The Mennonites have paved part of the road here. From Blue Creek, it’s about 35 miles to Gallon Jug. Figure about 4 hours by car from Belize City. Charter flights are available from Belize City to Gallon Jug’s modern little airstrip.
Nov 14, 2012 9:23 AM
5For transportation information, have a look at the BelizeBus site (link is on my profile page).
Are you OK with travelling on old school buses? If so, buses to OW depart from the bus terminal in Belize City approximately every 30 minutes. You could spend BZ$50 to get to the bus terminal from the airport, or just get from the airport terminal out to the Northern Highway (now called the Phillip Goldson Highway) and wait for a bus heading to OW. The BelizeBus site has this in detail.
If you don't like old school buses, then your options are taxi (maybe BZ$100 to $150), car rental (from the airport) or private shuttle (there's a list on BelizeBus). Contact them directly for rates and arranging pickup detail.
My pick for a hotel in town would be Hotel de la Fuente.
To get to CC from Crooked Tree by bus... the Jex and Sons bus leaves the village at 6:30 a.m.
Or get a ride out to the highway and wait for a bus coming from OW -- these buses run at about 30 minute intervals. In Belize City get a taxi to the water taxi terminal (there are 2) and get a boat to CC.
Nov 15, 2012 1:43 AM
Nov 20, 2012 12:33 PM
7I can't provide any advice on transportation in Belize, but I did stay at the Bird's Eye View Lodge in Crooked Tree this past March. The staff were very friendly, the food was good and served buffet style (although on the expensive side, but I think that is the case in a lot of places in Belize), and the rooms were cozy. It's right on the lagoon and there are some really beautiful views. They also rent bicycles for $5 which makes traveling around the village a little easier. They also rent canoes and have boat tours. You'll also likely see lots of hummingbirds around at the feeders, which for me were the highlight of my trip to Belize (other than seeing the Jabiru). Where ever you end up staying in Crooked Tree, it is a great place for birding.
I also agree with what the others have said - spend more than one day in each place!
Dec 18, 2012 12:32 PM
(3 star Hotel)
From US$155.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$349.00 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$0.00 per night