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Dipping Your Toe into Travel? How About Belize’s AMAZING Jungle Lodges

At the moment, the borders of Belize are closed.  The travel industry, worldwide, is going to be one of the slowest industries to recover…and may be changed for many years to come.

But all this time on my hands (total lock-down – except for a trip to town for groceries once a week) is giving me time to think.  To daydream about personal travel and to think about how it might be a bit different when things re-open.

I think I’d avoid crowded buffets at all-inclusive resorts for a while.  Or 300 person booze cruises.  Crowded mega-nightclubs and casinos.  For my own safety, – and as importantly, those who work in these spots.

Luckily for Belize, we don’t have much of that stuff…

I might target a spot that has a huge, varied property…lots of outdoor activities with very small groups…more limited contact with others.  “Socially distanced travel” seems to be the new term.

International travel might be all you are thinking of right now…or it might be on the backburner for a while…but either way, have I got a great spot for you.

BELIZE!

But not the Belize I’m talking about 98% of the time… I know that many of you thinking of beaches and snorkeling and sun when you think of Belize…but “the interior”.

(Fear not everyone!  I have no “jumped ship” to the Interior Belize Tourism Board…for one, there is no such thing.  I really think these are great choices plus I know that they are AMAZING spots.  Tested by me.)

But what about if your beach is at the base of a waterfall (like Gaia Resort)?

Beach at Gaia Lodge

And your tours are private – just you and your very small group – to a site spot that also just might be you and your very small group!

There are so many beautiful inland areas of Belize – filled with crazy beautiful birds and animals, rivers and caves, hill and mountains, Maya villages, Maya sites, and the friendliest people in the world. THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO!

Here are some of my favorite I’ve visited and some of the things that makes them stand out to me.

Chaa Creek Resort

Chaa Creek is one of the oldest jungle lodges in Belize – and it has always been my “gold standard” when it comes to service and…just the small things.  The small things that you know took an army of staff to create.

Every single square inch of the place is just so THOUGHTFUL – from the organic gardens to the butterfly sanctuary to beautiful artwork in each cabana and room.  The spa on a hilltop, each and every staff member that knows you by name, the infinity pool…it’s the perfect blend of luxury surrounded by natural beauty.  I adore Chaa Creek!

My first visit in 2013 when we took an AWESOME canoe journey to San Ignacio for market day and I had a massage

I also visited for their summer camp in 2015 (awesome) and again the following year!

Thinking dream spot?  Take a look at their new Ix Chel Villas.

Gaia River Lodge

I visited Gaia River Lodge just a few months ago and was totally smitten.  The mountain pine ridge region (the highlands of Belize) is unlike any other part of the country…spindly pine trees, red soil, and waterfalls EVERYWHERE.

Take a look at this view as I walked down to Gaia’s “pool”.  Gorgeous.  Here my post about the entire dreamy 3-night stay…

Hidden Valley Inn

Hidden Valley Inn is 12 beautiful cabins (with fireplaces for chilled winter nights!) situated on over 7000 acres – over 10 square miles – of property.  Your own HUGE private reserve when you stay there!

Their property is covered in beautifully maintained trails (they have 5 full time staff who only clear the trails) lined with wild orchids and trees and birds.  Lots of cool river pools for swimming, waterfalls and the craziest part?  You can be out there exploring and not come upon anyone else for hours…if not all day?  I would not call myself a hiker but Hidden Valley changed my mind.

Mystic Valley Resort

I had SO MUCH FUN at Mystic Valley Resort for a few reasons.  1. They sent me on the ATM cave tour (not quite kicking and screaming but definitely whining) and it is quite literally the best thing you can do in Belize.  You ARE Indiana Jones for the day.  This tour is incredible.  And Mystic Valley is located so close to the cave that you can be the first group in…which makes it even more UNBELIEVABLE.  Thinking back to this tour 5 years ago, I still get GIDDY.

But they also have some really special tours – I went to Sapodilla Falls and Blancaneaux Cave in a Polaris…off-roading thru villages and fields.  Awesome.  I also LOVED the onsite goat herd.  I got up early to try to milk them.  I could not get enough of the goat yogurt (it is DIVINE and I could eat it every morning…)  It was so cool.

Plus, the owners, Captain Tom and Nadege have some CRAZY stories of the last few decades in Belize – many on Ambergris Caye.  So much fun.

Here’s my trip to Mystic River.

Sleeping Giant Lodge

Sleeping Giant Lodge is located in the Maya Mountains of Belize.

What?  I hear you asking.  Belize has mountains?  YES!  The highest peak is Doyle’s Delight at 3688 feet.  That puts you higher than the highest spots in a bunch of US states…like NJ, North Dakota, but smaller than Mt Sunflower in Kansas or Cerro De Punta, the highest spot on Puerto RIco.  (You can see elevations in all 50 states and other US territories here.)

You can hike up to the crag from the main lodge and see this.  HOLY MOLY!

But then they also have some incredible special suites…I’ve stayed at this one hanging on the side of a cliff (well no, not totally but look at my plunge pool in the jungle clouds)

Or this PALATIAL cabana by the pool.  I mean look at this place!

 

There we go…now I’m dreaming of travel!  Nothing wrong with daydreaming, right?

I hope you are all well…and I’ll leave it there.  Have a great week!






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