Chel is an Indigenous young woman with long straight black hair with sideburns that sometimes cover her ears and flat bangs that end above her eyebrows, brown skin, brown eyes, an unprominent rose, and pinkish red lips. Her figure is slender, athletic, and heavily voluptuous, seen by her curvy hourglass figure.
She wears an off-white loincloth with pink stripes at the end and a pink, orange, and off-white crop top revealing her midriff and is always barefoot. She also wears turquoise earrings and bangles. At times she is seen with golden earrings.
Chel is cunning and clever and sort of the femme fatale of her village: she sneaks around, trying to gather information on the two visitors, and even though she discovers that Tulio and Miguel are not gods, she keeps their secret, hoping to use them and their riches to fund her own escape.
Her local knowledge is key to keeping up the Spaniards' façade for as long as possible. She also appears to be naturally good with children. She compliments Miguel and Tulio well as she is smart, brave, adventurous and a natural con-artist, just as they are and prefers to do things without any set plan in mind. She dreams of leaving her village for the outside world.
Eventually, she grows to care for the us two con men and values them for who they are and not what she can get out of them. She eventually also becomes attracted and infatuated to and has developed a genuine crush and eventual love for the older Tulio, after a short time of flirting with him as the film progresses.
Over the course of the movie, Tulio becomes attracted to Chel, due to her young figure, and she eventually also becomes attracted to him and they become a couple.
Her caring side also comes out when she is around children and animals.
Little is known regarding Chel's background. She is obviously unhappy as Tulio and Miguel meet Chel when she is fleeing El Dorado after stealing the golden head of a statue. She is purposefully vague when asked why she would want to leave, stating only "You've got your reasons... and I've got mine." As many of the villagers wear gold jewelry and none of Chel's original jewelry is gold, this could signify that she was poor or in a low societal position. Her parents and other family members are never mentioned or seen, hinting that she is an only child, and her parents are long deceased. The real El Dorado was of the Muisca peoples who have lived in Central Colombia from AD800 to the modern day. By modern standards Chel (and everyone in El Dorado) would be considered Colombian.
After overhearing Miguel and Tulio celebrating too early over their scam, Chel quickly strikes a deal with the two: She will use her local knowledge to help make the scam work in exchange for leaving El Dorado with them. Tulio and Chel later argue over what her cut of the treasure should be.
Relationship with Tulio
Tulio leads Miguel to the realization that mixing the teen Chel into their plan could be troublesome and they both agree that "Chel is off limits." Regardless of this, Chel successfully initiates a relationship with Tulio. She sees that in a moment that he is stressed and, takes advantage of it. She starts massaging him, and he starts to resist. He then massages her, when seeing what she is doing. The two are later seen on the floor, with the room fully messed up. It is implied here that they had an sexually intimate moment. Chel pleases Tulio, until Tzekel tries to find Tulio and they stop. Chel's pursuit of Tulio is most likely an attempt to con herself into a better and more secure position. However, as the plot progresses, she develops genuine feelings for him and loves him, as they share a kiss and become a couple.
Miguel finds out
When Miguel finds out about Chel and Tulio's relationship, it tears a rift between him and Tulio, as Miguel loves Tulio. Miguel presumably thinks Tulio was double-crossing him when he insisted Chel was off limits and cheats on him so that Tulio could have her to himself. Miguel decides to stay in the city while Tulio and Chel choose to leave. During Tulio and Chel's departure from El Dorado, they run into trouble with their ship. Miguel steps in to help and decides to go with them.
Chel is friendly with Miguel throughout the film, but especially to Tulio, being very vexing towards him.
- Chel is found to be much younger than Tulio, as she is drawn as an attractive young adult (meaning her shorter height is natural for her age), while Tulio being a older man, in his late twenties or early thirties, as he stated he had been a thief before she was born.
- But, due to the age range of couples in the era not being a huge factor, as today, it could be seen as common to his and her character.
- Chel shows a varying past, but it is implied that she is a pleasure girl of some sort, as she is seen down by many, though many men took interest in her "services".
- It hinted she might also be a servant as she wears revealing clothing while the rest of the women in El Dorado do not wear the same and has the tasks of setting flower peddles for the sacrifices or talking with the chief.
- Chel is the first offical Princess from a Dreamworks Film.
- Chel is the 2nd female main protagonist in a Dreamworks Animation film, the first being Ginger from Chicken Run. The third being Eep Crood from The Croods and Poppy from Trolls.
- Originally, The Road to El Dorado was going to have a pg-13. Which would explain why Chel was given a voluptuous figure with revealing clothing.
- There has been controversy over Chel by some over the years. Many complained about the revealing clothing she wore, the design of her body being heavily sexual [given the film was mostly aimed at younger audiences], the way her character was portrayed, and the indication of a sexual scene with Tulio during the film. Many mostly blame her for almost ruin the relationship of the two main protagonists, with some believing she was used for a poor example for the film. Regardless, she is still memorable as the film got more recognition in recent years.
- Recently, 21 years later after the films release and growing popularity, Chel has been voted 1# as the "best animated girl in film history" among fans and other media that make these polls. This technically means that Chel is now regarded as a famous character in modern films.
- Chel has recently began to appear in memes. Though unlike the memes used of the film as comedy, the memes that place Chel are used in describing either her appearance as romantic or how one remembered Chel from their childhood.
- The Mexica Movement accused Chel of being portrayed as a "sex toy", which isn't too far off. As when she meet the two Spaniards, it was obvious she was using her appearance and even her figure to gain their attention rather than simply explaining her reasons without needing to be seductive. As well as her obvious seduction to Tulio.