My husband and I went here in for our somewhat-delayed honeymoon (Jan.9-15), and we thoroughly enjoyed our experience. Brian is a conscientious and personable manager, and all the staff are lovely. We stayed in Casita 1, and the room was beautiful! There are little things that aren't perfect--two windows don't lock, and the mattress is really more of a thick cotton pad on a box spring. However, the overall experience of being in a gorgeous casita in a rainforest is breathtaking, and I slept well. All of our possessions (worry, worry: passports) were perfectly safe. The food was excellent--my favorites were the ribeye steak, lobster special, and the chocolate souffle ("lava cake"). There could have been a vegetarian option offered each night, but the chef was able to accommodate my vegetarian husband by leaving out the meat. The newly completed pool and jacuzzi is absolutely gorgeous. I loved swimming there at night when the colored lights were on, and it was perfectly secluded.
If you are physically fit, I recommend going to the ATM cave and cave tubing! The descriptions of both excursions aren't adequate--you will be climbing over slippery rocks, swimming in a current, perhaps hiking in mud, ducking under low caves. Most folks over age 50 or who were not physically fit looked terrified. One woman thought that cave tubing was a leisurely jaunt down a river--not so. A few people got swept away by the current, but the guides were always there to "save" folks although there certainly was no coddling going on. Belize lets you have more dangerous adventures than tourists in the US would be allowed to do without a waiver. The ATM cave is a spiritual experience: if you're interested in geology and culture, this is a must-see. National Geographic was coming the week after we visited to record this site, and it's my feeling that the cave will be closed to the public or have visitor limitations soon. Too many artifacts were getting broken. Exploring the cave is also a physically challenging experience with climbing, crossing a river three times, squeezing between small spaces, and hiking. (It may have been a bit harder when we went because it was after a rainy spell, so the current was stronger.) If you have physical limitations, know what you're getting into when you sign up for an activity. "Carlos the Caveman" and Eddie were excellent tour guides for the ATM cave--very knowledgeable and friendly, but they don't coddle you.
What to bring:
-aqua shoes (You are not allowed to wear Teva-type sandals for cave tubing, and most folks on this trip ruined their sneakers.)
-athletic tops (fitted exercise/yoga tops prob. offer more protection than swimsuits)
-bug repellent (I was eaten by the bugs, but my husband wasn't even bitten. If bugs find you tasty, beware.)
-water camera (for cave tubing)
Transportation: I recommend Paul Lanza's discount shuttle service. The shuttle is about half the price of the Sleeping Giant's (or Almond Beach's) transport shuttles. If you don't suffer from jetlag, you may want to see the Belize Zoo on the way to the Sleeping Giant. It's about 30 minutes from the airport, and it'll be more expensive if you sign up to see the zoo while at the lodge. Both drivers that we had (Abraham and Mike) were extremely punctual, courteous, and Abraham explained that they "don't rush you" while you explore the zoo. There is a public bus service, but my feeling is that most tourists wouldn't feel comfortable using it. It's also an uphill hike from the bus drop off point, and who wants that after a long trip?
I loved my stay at the Sleeping Giant, and I highly recommend it to others! The people of Belize are wonderful, and the lodge itself is beautiful. It's just the right size--you get to know many of the other guests, and the staff greet you by name.
- Also Known As:
- Sleeping Giant Lodge Belize/Belmopan
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge is an intimate and friendly lodge offering trips specializing in the exploration of Belize's natural beauty and fascinating Mayan culture. We are located in the foothills of the Maya Mountains just off the scenic Hummingbird Highway along the Sibun River within the Sibun Forest Reserve. A pastoral setting surrounded by nature with many streams and creeks makes this a nature lover's paradise. ... more less
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