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Reef to Rainforest in Belize » Savoteur

Should you’ve by no means been to Belize, you’re in for an actual deal with, because it’s some of the serenely stunning nations on the planet. Located on the jap coast of Central America, with beautiful turquoise Caribbean shorelines to the east and dense jungle to the west, the visible delights alone are sufficient to maintain your cellphone digital camera snapping 24/7. 

If that’s not sufficient, the immense Belize Barrier Reef is peppered with a plethora of low-lying, wondrous islands or cayes with abundantly wealthy wildlife. 

Earlier than I start highlighting this journey, I need to speak about security as a result of there are numerous preconceptions relating to Belize. As of late, when individuals plan a visit, they ask their search engine, “Is it secure to journey to Belize?” 

Primarily based on the hazard in Belize Metropolis, the reply almost certainly is, “No, it isn’t secure.” However that reply relies solely on Belize Metropolis, the place gang-on-gang violence and drug trafficking happen. 

I can truthfully let you know that each different a part of the nation is completely secure, and 95% of Belizean vacationer points of interest are nowhere close to Belize Metropolis. 

As well as, the locals and expats are at all times pleasant and intensely accommodating. Nonetheless, like many cities within the States, it’s by no means a good suggestion to stroll alone at evening, wherever you could be. 

The Belize Assortment of Inns and Resorts

The Belize Assortment is an assemblage of inns and resorts unfold throughout the nation that includes world-class facilities, attentive service and genuine, culinary positive eating eating places. As well as, they provide a mess of thrilling excursions each on land and by sea. 

The Lodge at Jaguar Reef 

Rooms at the Lodge at Jaguar Reef
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins

We began our sojourn at The Lodge at Jaguar Reef within the vigorous village of Hopkins. Located mere steps from the Caribbean, the seashore is pristine, and the waters are heat and welcoming.

Our room was copious in measurement, that includes a big cover mattress, a well-appointed tiled bathtub and bathe, and a handy soaking pool proper off the bed room. Embellished in a dynamic, tropical stylish vibe with vivid yellow hues and muted blues, it was our zen palace by the ocean for 2 superb days.  

The Paddle Home restaurant at Jaguar Reef is kind of giant, with expansive views of the ocean, and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The delicacies by no means disappoints and caters to an infinite array of tastes, from hen and waffles for breakfast to lobster empanadas for lunch to cream of yuca shrimp pasta for dinner. 

For extra eating venues, each resort within the Belize Assortment has its personal resident, Don Tonito’s wood-fired pizza institution, for an excellent al fresco expertise. Using natural arugula from the Belize Assortment’s Sleeping Large 600-acre backyard and domestically sourced cheese from a close-by Mennonite group, these pizzas style distinctive and are rooted in Belizean tradition. 

Rounding out Jaguar Reef’s culinary choices is the always-hopping Huge Dock Ceviche Bar. The 2-story construction with a straw roof is located on the finish of an extended dock. With prime views of the Caribbean and unique drink choices, it’s an awesome place to hang around and chill out on the finish of an extended day.  

Rhythm Reef Caye

Private Island - Rhythm Reef Caye
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins

On the second day of our keep, we signed up for a visit to a non-public, secluded island known as Rhythm Reef Caye. Subsequently, my spouse and I met on the dock at 9 a.m. and had been launched to the crew, together with Chef Paul, Captain Michael, Javier, our bartender as soon as on the island, and Kenrick, who was in command of aiding with snorkeling and kayaking. 

Trying round, we observed no different individuals on the boat, as I assumed I had signed up for a gaggle tour. Nonetheless, I mistakenly signed up for the unique outing consisting of simply my spouse and I. 

Although administration is engaged on providing group packages to the island, a day on a good looking island all to ourselves with a crew and personal chef was a fantasy come true! 

man smiling
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins

The boat journey to the island took about 40 minutes, and as soon as there, we had been in a position to chill out and discover the entire property whereas Chef Paul ready the most effective ceviche and three-course lunch we had ever tasted. We additionally met Edison, the island caretaker who lives there 24/7.

He gave us the grand tour and instructed us the island was once owned by famed Beatle Ringo Starr again within the day as he walked us via Starr’s house, which had fallen into disrepair but was ridiculously cool to take a look at. 

The construction the place Edison resides had Ringo’s outdated couch, chairs, and an outdated trunk with VHS cassettes and diverse bric-a-brac inside. The remainder of the day, we loved kayaking and snorkeling and attending to know the exceptional crew chargeable for our once-in-a-lifetime journey. 

Umaya Resort and Adventures 

resort pool in belize
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins
Beach at the Lodge at Jaguar Reef
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins
resort in belize
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins

Subsequent up on our three-resort, week-long tour of the Belize Assortment was Umaya on the magnificent peninsula of Placencia. The superbly laid out, expansive advanced of buildings that make up the resort options lodging on the Caribbean and throughout the road on the lagoon aspect.

We loved swimming within the Olympic-sized pool with an accommodating swim-up bar overlooking the calm surf. In distinction to the pool, which is a bit chilly, we then took a swim within the heat Caribbean for a therapeutic excessive.  

restaurant in belize
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins

Don Tonito’s Pizza overlooks the pool advanced on the seaside and options out of doors eating for lunch and dinner. Restaurante Laguna is a fine-dining, open-air restaurant with a commanding view of the lagoon and mountains. It affords contemporary, delectable snapper, BBQ pork stomach, and pasta pomodoro. Oh, and don’t overlook the fish fritter appetizer. It’s killer!

Our tour whereas in Umaya was a go to to a village close by to satisfy a grasp Mayan chocolate maker who would clarify in depth how chocolate comes from the cacao (or cocoa) bean, which technically is just not beans however somewhat seeds of the fruit of the Theobroma cacao tree. 

The fruit the place the cacao seed is housed is pod-shaped, with every pod producing 35-50 seeds surrounded by a candy pulp that he allow us to style because it was nectarous and interesting. 

The second a part of the tour examined the processing of darkish chocolate making, the place we had been allowed to make and eat our personal chocolate. After the tour, we had been in a position to buy the native darkish chocolate bars and different merchandise constructed from cacao seed.  

oversized chair on beach in belize
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins

For our second day at Umaya, we took a brief 25-minute shuttle journey from the resort into the spirited city of Placencia. Stuffed with seaside cafes, eating places, artisan retailers, and very good seashores, you possibly can get pleasure from an excellent half-day there and nonetheless have a lot to do.  

The Rainforest Lodge at Sleeping Large 

bedroom at resort in belize
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins
pool at resort in belize
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins

Residing deep inside the internal reaches of the Belizean jungle stands the Rainforest Lodge at Sleeping Large. Approaching the resort is a dream-like expertise: You flip off the principle highway, drive just a few seconds via a meandering path, and at last encounter a small gatehouse that identifies you and allows you to move, so there may be loads of safety. 

Driving deeper into the property, you discover the luxurious and colourful botanicals that encompass you till you come to a thatched-roof construction that occurs to be the property’s workplace.   

To reach at our Mountain View Suite, we needed to stroll up eighty steps. Nonetheless, the view from our balcony, excessive atop the jungle cover, was mind-boggling and effectively well worth the trek! 

We loved the wealthy, darkish wooden furnishings in our room, handcrafted in Belize, the glass vessel rest room sink and open-air bathe, a king-size mattress on our exterior terrace, and an out of doors plunge pool overlooking the Sleeping Large formation within the Maya mountain vary. All casitas are comfortably air-conditioned with no tv to advertise internal peace.  

view of valley and mountains in belize
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins

The grounds at Sleeping Large are otherworldly, with fascinating natural world, the likes of which we had by no means seen earlier than. Taking a stroll via the flourishing advanced, you actually get misplaced, not in course however in your ideas. There are frog ponds, streams full of tilapia, and glimmering water fountains amongst the swaying palms coalescing with the perfume of contemporary, tropical air.  

For recreation, the resort has an inviting pool, loads of mountain climbing path alternatives and horseback using on the premises. 

Within the night, we loved a splendidly spicy jalapeño margarita on the Grove Home restaurant bar, gazing over the balcony and watching friends reveling in Don Tonito’s pizza on the bottom flooring. 

After drinks, we went up one other flight to the open-air, fine-dining space with excessive thatched roof ceilings accompanied by a romantic, dimly lit ambiance. 

outdoor restaurant in belize
Picture Credit score: Richard Atkins

We cherished their candy potato and crostini soup. For entrees, their pollo de cobánero chile (hen in a spicy purple sauce) was completely ready, together with their tamarind molasses pork chops. For dessert, you must attempt the Mayan chocolate cake. It’s unbelievable!

We participated in two very completely different excursions at Sleeping Large. The primary was the Jungle Safari after Darkish with Rudi, our native information. We walked via the jungle, outfitted with miner-type brow lights, trying to find nocturnal animals. 

We had been fortunate to listen to a howler monkey however not so fortunate to run right into a coral snake, some of the venomous snakes on the planet. It was far sufficient away that we didn’t need to run. I’d say this tour is NOT for the faint at coronary heart.  

The second tour was a half-day go to to the archaeological web site Xunantunich, the second-highest construction in Belize, consisting of many Mayan plazas and temples. 

However first, our 90 minute journey to the positioning offers you a firsthand have a look at Belizean tradition, driving from city to city, having fun with the numerous, vibrant colours of houses and eating places, painted a vivid turquoise, orange and inexperienced alongside the way in which. 

As soon as on the web site, you possibly can climb to the highest of Xunantunich to get a chicken’s eye view of the nation. After the tour, all of us had a scrumptious lunch at Benny’s Kitchen, a neighborhood eatery. This was a incredible outing, however bear in mind it’s fairly strenuous.  

Different Excursions Provided at The Belize Assortment

In contrast to many resorts, the Belize Assortment has a myriad variety of high quality excursions in quite a lot of venues for even essentially the most discriminating tastes.

Along with what I’ve already described, they provide excessive ziplining, horseback using, cave-dwelling, reef snorkeling, kayaking, tubing, river cruising, a scarlet macaw tour, Mayan cooking lessons, a go to to a jaguar protect, barrier reef sport fishing, reef diving, sundown cruises and way more!

In Conclusion

From reef to seashore to rainforest, Belize is a magical nation providing not just a bit however lots of one thing for everybody. It’s immensely scenic, wealthy in tradition and historical past, straightforward to journey to, and totally thrilling to partake in all it has to supply.  


Like all tropical nation, it is best to defend your self from mosquitoes and different bugs that chunk. Picaridin is the simplest repellent. Subsequent in line can be DEET. 

Nonetheless, picaridin is odorless and non-greasy. You’ll additionally want a passport to journey to Belize. Do examine along with your physician or pharmacist about vaccinations, as some are really helpful for Belize, however none are required or necessary.

If You Go

Reservations: 888.822.2448 or

Go to The Belize Assortment for more information on packages and actions.

Quite a lot of packages are provided for households, simply the 2 of ustrip with mates, or solo packages. Whichever alternative you make, the Belize Assortment will work with you to create essentially the most rewarding itinerary. 

View the slideshow on YouTube!

Richard Atkins is a journey author, award-winning photographer, screenwriter, playwright, actor, and pianist and will be reached at: rcratkins@att.web


Richard Atkins is a journey photo-journalist, playwright, screenwriter, actor and pianist. He will be reached at: rcratkins@att.web.

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