Nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, English-speaking Belize is perched at the edge of one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world: The Great Belize Barrier Reef, second largest reef in the world. Perfect for diving, snorkelling and fishing but there are more interesting and very adventurous activities to do here. Inside the jungle, you can climb Maya Temples, or be taken into the Maya “underworld” by cave hiking, tubing, or cave waterfall climbing. This trip offered me one of the most adventurous hours of my life ever.
“We started our journey at San Pedro, the capital of the island Ambergris Caye and also Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita”.
Portofino, Ambergris Caye
Ambergris Caye has been voted the best destination in Central America in 2015 and 2016. It’s about 4o kilometres long. When we land by plane on the Caye, a boat takes us from San Pedro to the Portofino resort, a hideaway on the northwest coast of the island. The Flemish Sandra and her Dutch husband Jan are the owners of this intimate boutique resort. Portofino means ‘final destination’, but for us, it is actually the beginning of our adventure.
“Coming here is like barefoot luxury”
We enjoyed the very next morning our very first adventure but since this article would be too long to cover all topics we did in this round-trip, you can read about Portofino and snorkelling with big green turtles and nurse sharks here: https://www.bestkeptsecretsintheworld.com/2018/11/27/portofino-belize/
The day after, we visit the luxurious and award-winning Victoria House. It is located on a snow-white sandy beach near the beautiful Great Barrier Reef.
“Styled in Caribbean colonial style and set among the coconut palms this place is creating a relaxing escape for relaxation, inspiration and indulgence.”
This topic has also its own article, which you can read here: https://www.bestkeptsecretsintheworld.com/2018/12/04/viktoria-house/Caves Branch
Caves Branch, adventure company and jungle lodge is hidden in the jungle, deep into the heart of Belize. We drive from Belize’s capital Belmopan to the humid rainforest and caves of Caves Branch. The highlights of this lodge are definitely the location and the view of the tree houses, but also the botanical Garden en the Cave expeditions. Actually, the cave expedition was the highlight for me of this whole Belizean trip. This was the Indiana Jones- experience, or even better, the National Geographic experience. I even wrote two extra articles about Caves Branch:
2) https://www.bestkeptsecretsintheworld.com/2019/01/15/caves-branch-part-two/Hidden Valley Inn
Our journey continues to Hidden Valley Inn because we love to spot the Black Jaguar. This lodge is located near the Mountain Pine Nature Reserve. It’s a little up in the mountains and has a few spectacular waterfalls to admire.
Occasionally scientists are visiting this place to do research on the black jaguar, but also the Puma and a few other cats are seen here.
“While you may not see the animals in the Jungle Mountains, you can be sure they are watching you.”
These top predators come out in the early morning hours before dawn, but if the weather is cool enough, you might get lucky and catch one drinking from a waterfall or crossing your path. But the last idea is not really appealing to me since we hike without guards in that area.
“The interior of the lodge mirrors the elegance of a Victorian Plantation style and also a casual comfort.”
In the morning we are refreshed and ready to venture out into the broad landscape of Hidden Valley Reserve. We start at the Sacred Pool, a small lake with a small waterfall. We are surrounded by nature and hear only the bird sounds and the clattering of the water. Blue butterflies are wandering around.Butterfly Falls
The jewel of the property is a 80 feet cascading waterfall cascading into a deep clear pool.
The hike to the crystal clear pool is 40 minutes, and at the base of the waterfall we have lunch and after we swim in this crystal clear natural pool and relax in the hammock. Although this is quite idyllic, I’m also a little bit afraid to bump into a jaguar because since there is no one guiding us, it doesn’t feel quite safe. After all, the falls and pools are the drink areas for these animals. And we have no knowledge what to do if we encounter one.
King Vulture falls
The highest waterfall on the terrain is this is 300 meters high and alone to be admired from a distance. A sign says: ‘Do not go beyond this point’During the evening, in the hotel garden, which is lit with lights in the trees, we enjoy Lodge’s local barbecue.
Once Placencia was a plain fishing peninsula but now there are beautiful hotels such as Chabil Mar, the one where we stay, and big villas surrounded by mango and cashew trees.
We visit Placencia to take a big catamaran from diving centre ‘Splash’ and visit several Islands. This is where I have the Jacques Cousteau experience, cause I catch up my dive licence for 20 years. I dove 25 years ago in The Great Blue Hole, the big famous dive location near Ambergris Caye. Now I can legally dive here again.:-)In the meantime we enjoy Chabil Mar. To read more of this stop and boat trip, read: https://www.bestkeptsecretsintheworld.com/2019/01/08/plalencia-en-want-to-go-diving/From Placencia we flew with a little plane and just a few passengers to Punta Gorda in the south of Belize. Because we fly quite low, we can see how unprecedented the land is. We fly over palm-rich islands and dense rainforests.Belcamp/ Copal Tree Lodge
The ‘final touch’ of the trip is eco-lodge Copal Tree, formally known as Belcampo. Actually, when we stayed there, it was named Belcampo, but in the mean time they changed their name. I wonder why, cause I like the first name much more. Anyway, this formal plantation is the most luxurious we visit during this trip. Although we didn’t get to spend much time here, I wrote a full article about it, because it was absolutely worth every minute we spent there. Read: https://www.bestkeptsecretsintheworld.com/2018/12/18/belcampo-belize-love-cherish-and-unwind/Looking back on this trip, I can recommend everybody to go there, this has been such an incredible journey. One, never to forget. This is the land where Indiana Jones meets Jacques Cousteau.
The next articles will be posted every week, so stay tuned:
If you want to share your opinion about the adventure of if you have some extra tips, leave your comment below.