Mariposa Jungle Lodge Offers Travelers Adventure and Culture in Comfort and Style in the Jungle
The night rang with various sounds from cicadas, crickets, and frogs from the jungle outside my cottage. I knew there were monkeys, jaguars, and other creatures in the blackness of the night, but the larger animals were surprisingly quiet.
I was staying in the Jaguar Cabana in the middle of the Belizean jungle as a guest of the Mariposa Jungle Lodge. The luxurious cabin is also known as the “Lover’s Suite” because it’s normally reserved for honeymooners and couples on a romantic getaway.
The cabin was perched on a hill along with the five other cottages spread out with pathways winding its way to the entrance and leading back to the main driveway. From there the road led to the main lodge past the registration office, spa, and the pool. It was also where the lodge’s tour vans met guests for their daily excursions.
At night, following a long day of hiking, swimming and climbing Mayan ruins or shopping in San Ignacio and dinner, it was nice to return to the peace of my cabin and sit out on either the indoor or outdoor decks in the hammock or chairs and listen to the chirping, whistling, and burping of the creatures just beyond the rails of the deck.
The very sounds that lulled me to sleep beneath the netting of my king size bed every night during my stay.
In the sitting area at the foot of the bed, there was a sofa and chair with a coffee table. On the wall there was a gas fireplace that looks like a flat screen TV, but it was too hot to turn on.
The lodge encouraged travelers to fill up their own water bottles providing a water dispenser in the room. Drinks were available in the refrigerator, but snacks weren’t available. A variety of beverages were available for purchase in the refrigerator.
The bathroom was a decent size with a huge shower and quality amenities.
The cabana was built for a semi-unplugged escape. There was no television to drown out the sounds of nature that surrounded the cabin. That was the point. However, WiFi was available in the room, but not always dependable: it is the jungle after all.
The lodge offers six cabanas, including one three-bedroom and two bath luxury tree house that sleeps up to six people.
Beyond the Cabana
Before heading to the pool or out on an excursion, guests enjoy a gourmet breakfast that changes daily from traditional Belizean or Mayan dishes to American. At night, guests dine together either in the dining room or out by the pool bar where a new Mayan stove, a fogon, that was christened during my visit in early July.
A day without excursions doesn’t necessarily entail only lazing about the pool, while that’s a decent option too. The lodge offers many things to do around the property. Guests can enjoy hiking on the trails around the lodge, climbing the birdwatch tower for birdwatching or stargazing, enjoy a relaxing massage (including a unique traditional Mayan massage), play horseshoes or challenge family and friends to a game of Frisbee on the newly built the Frisbee course.
Away from the lodge, guests can enjoy one of its uniquely crafted tours guided by the lodges own tour guides.
The lodge offers four different tours to choose from en route to the jungle and to the airport or a caye destination if choosing the private island escape from the Jungle and Beach package. The lodge also offers a jungle and cultural adventure package on the southern shores of Belize.
In the jungle, guests can select any one of six half-day tours or nine full-day tours. On these tours, guests can explore three different Mayan ruins, a unique night tour of an underground Mayan cave, or do a combination of Mayan ruins and local culture.
The lodge’s native tour guides are highly trained and certified and offer a wealth of information about Belize, Mayan culture, and history.
During my stay I enjoyed going to the Howler Monkey Sanctuary, the Iguana Sanctuary, AJAW Chocolate and Crafts, shopped at the San Ignacio Saturday Market and toured the town, and went cave tubing. The biggest highlights though were visiting Caracol and exploring Bol’s Museum Cave.
Caracol is one of the three ancient Mayan ruins that was the largest metropolitan in its time 400 – 900 AD. The tour included exploring Rio Frio cave and swimming at Big Rock Falls. Bol’s Museum Cave is a privately-owned underground Mayan cave near the lodge.
Treated Like Family
Guests are treated like a family that really like each other and get along. There’s a reason for that. A majority of the staff have worked for the lodge’s founding proprietors Sharyn and Jim Brinker, an American husband and wife team, since before the lodge existed more than a decade ago. Many of the staff helped scout the site, plan, and build the lodge and stayed on after it opened and recruited friends and family to work at the lodge. Two of the tour guides, Agusto and Damian Ixtecoc, are brothers. Damian’s son, Wilton, grew up at the lodge and is now a guide like his father. The general manager Nelmarie Bol Tzib met and married chef Esau Tzib at the lodge.
They all provide quality service to guests. Any issues that arose were immediately resolved quickly and with a smile.
Mariposa Jungle Lodge, Rd, C.A, San Antonio, Belize. +501 670-2113. firstname.lastname@example.org. www.mariposajunglelodge.com.
RATING: 5 best – 0 worst: color code: 5 = midnight blue
(5 best – 0 worst: color code: 5 = midnight blue; 4 = black; 3 = Aqua; 2 = orange; 1 = gold; and 0 = green)
TYPE OF LODGING: Luxury, Women-Owned, Boutique Resort, Family-Owned, LGBTQI-Friendly, Families, Adults-Only, All-Inclusive
CHECK OUT: $$ = $100 – $249
(Lowest price for a single night in a standard room during high-season)
SWEET DREAMS: A truly unique luxury lodge in the middle of the Belizean jungle with superb service.
WORTH THE SLEEP?: zzzz = This was divine!
(z = Not worth the overnight; zz = Had a good time, but I’ve slept better; zzz = Like being at home; zzzz = This was divine!)
VIBE: It’s the jungle, casual pool and hiking wear with a cool attitude are the fashion, especially when lazing about the pool and drinking at the bar.
SCENE: Everyone is there to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings the lodge has incorporated itself into. Dressing up means a bathing suit, flip-flops, shorts, or hiking clothes and of course bug spray. It is the jungle after all.
LOCATION: Secluded jungle location not too far from San Ignacio, the Cayo District’s capital city, of Belize. It is one of the closest lodges that travelers can stay at to get to the ancient Mayan ruins, but still be close to some civilization.
ROOM: The Jaguar Cabana was exquisite with its two decks that featured an outdoor shower and a hammock. Inside it was all comfort with a king size bed, sitting area, and indoor shower. It was completely private and secluded in the middle of the jungle.
BATHROOM: The bathroom was large with a huge shower, but the best feature was the outdoor shower on the outside deck.
AMENITIES: Meals included, spa, pool, games, hikes, birding all on site. In the rooms, guests enjoy a semi-unplugged vacation. The cabana had WiFi in the middle of the jungle, fluffy towels, a water cooler for the room, a refrigerator filled with beverages of your choice, a gas fireplace, two decks, and more.