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“Best jungle lodge in all of Belize! Highlight of our trip! Amazing jungle lodge! Amazing food! Amazing staff!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge

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Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge
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On the Macal River in the jungle, San Ignacio, Belize   |  
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Ranked #2 of 28 San Ignacio B&B and Inns
San Francisco, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Best jungle lodge in all of Belize! Highlight of our trip! Amazing jungle lodge! Amazing food! Amazing staff!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2013

I cannot express enough in this review how much we thoroughly enjoyed the Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge! The ATM cave tour and this wonderful lodge were the highlights of our trip to Belize! From the rooms, to the food, to the beauty of the property, to the attentive service, this lodge is 5 stars all the way, without the 5 star cost.

Our group consisted of our family of 6 and our friends family of 3 for a total of 9 people. This was our first trip to Belize and we decided we wanted to stay in the Cayo district for 3 nights and then head to Placencia for 6 nights to lay on the beach. After our trip we wished we had stayed at Macaw Bank for 6 nights and stayed 3 nights in Placencia. That was how great this jungle lodge is! Anyone planning on visiting Belize and not planning to visit the Cayo district and the Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge is making a mistake.

We had never been to Belize, let alone stayed in a jungle lodge, so we weren't quite sure what to expect. Based upon the lodge's website, it looked like a beautiful, clean and welcoming place. It is all that and so so much more. From the moment we arrived until the moment we left we were totally taken care of. The owners (Ron and Al) and their wonderful staff (Henry, Reuben and Eduardo) were so accomodating, gracious and welcoming! I've been to fancy hotels in the states that could learn a thing or two about hospitality from them. They made us feel like we were family or old friends who just happened to be visiting.

The rooms are clean, comfortable and attractive. They consist of handmade furniture from local wood as well as local art. The showers are made of beautiful stone. One room can accomodate 2 people, but the other 4 rooms can accomodate 3-4 people each. The rooms have electricity, lights and a fully operating bathroom/shower.

The lodge is in the Cayo district where there is so much to do! We took a tour of the ATM cave and all 9 of us agree that it was the greatest thing we have ever done in our lives. Better than skydiving, scuba diving, ziplining, etc. We also took a tour to see Tikal in Guatemala, which was great. Close to the lodge are the ruins of Caracol and the ruins of Xunantunich. There is river tubing, birding and other activities too.

Now, about the food! When I originally booked my reservation, Ron informed me that we needed to inform them in advance of what meals we would be eating there. This is because it is a 45 minute trek into town to purchase fresh ingredients. We decided we would eat our first dinner at the lodge and then eat subsequent dinners in San Ignacio. After our first dinner, we decided to eat all of our meals (breakfasts and dinners) at the lodge. The food was that good! We spent 6 nights in Placencia and nothing we tasted there or during our time in San Ignacio when we weren't at the lodge could compare with the meals that Ron, Al and his staff prepared for us. We had children in our group as well as a vegetarian and they always found a way to make a meal that accomodated everyone and was delicious! My kids ate foods there that i've never seen them eat before! Even I ate things there that I normally wouldn't because they were so fresh and so deliciously prepared. The steamed snapper that I had was the best fish I have ever tasted! The shrimp ceviche was incredible! The coconut curry shrimp was amazing! The kids who didn't want shrimp had coconut curry cauliflower and they talked about how good it was for days. So much fresh tropical fruit at breakfast. From soups to salads to entrees to dessert, all of the food was awesome! If the restaurant was on Yelp, it would have 5 stars. I cannot stress this enough, EAT ALL YOUR MEALS AT THE LODGE!

The property is so beautiful. We saw so many beautiful birds, including macaws and toucans, as well as a spider monkey, giant frogs, scorpions and cool insects, without even really trying very hard. It was so magical to sit in the giant thatched roof restaurant/bar at night, drinking ice cold Belikins and seeing fireflys dancing in the night air.

There are two things that visitors should be aware of. First off, this is an ecolodge in the jungle, so don't expect tv, blow dryers or showers with great water pressure. You won't need/want any of that stuff anyway. Secondly, the lodge is remotely located down 8 miles of a mostly dirt/rock road. Don't try to get there in an economy/compact car. Get an SUV, 4 wheel drive preferably, and you will have no problem.

Whether you are 1 or 2 people renting one cabana, or a group of 8 or more renting all 5 cabanas so you can have the entire resort to yourself (which is what we did), the Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge is one of those places that makes a vacation truly special. Waking up to the sounds of the jungle birds each morning, then leisurely walking to the open air thatched roof restaurant where you are greeted with a delicious cup of coffee or a glass of freshly squeezed juice is simply heaven. Truly the way a vacation should be. We want to go back to Belize just so we can return to the lodge.

Thank you so much to Ron, Al, Reuben, Henry and Eduardo for helping to create so many wonderful memories for my family. We truly miss you and thank you.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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251 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Mal Pais, Costa Rica
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

Yes, it has taken me quite a while to write this review considering I stayed at Macaw Bank Lodge in April and now it is um..June..but better late then never.
I was introduced to Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge by a friend living in San Ignacio. We dropped in to pick up a few people staying at Macaw Bank who were going on an excursion with us to Pine Ridge. The couple were running late so my friend and I decided to take a little tour of the grounds with Ron and see a bungalow or two. The bungalows are stand alone and I had my eye on what I call the Honeymoon Bungalow which is off from the other bungalows. It has a screened in porch with hammock and rocking chair and table that leads into the bedroom. The outside bathroom is what sent me over the edge..visualizing star gazing or bird watching with the luxury of a shower. Too much! Too much!
I could have skipped the excursion and stayed at the lodge for the rest of the day...easy. It all just fit together so nicely. Sounds of nature, the river lapping on the shore's of the lodge property, the solitude, and oh, yes, a stocked bar just in case you want to explore with a cold beer. I told Ron he would see me again, shook hands, went on the excursion. I am sure he had heard this before but before weeks end I booked lodging at his place. After two weeks of working in San Ignacio with a volunteer organization, Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge was EXACTLY what the soul needed. Quiet nights, beautiful days walking around the expansive jungle and grounds, spending sun rise watching the mist float effortlessly skyward off the river with coffee in hand, and being catered to by Ron and Al. If you want a remote Lodge and have delicious food, then look no more. You are off the beaten path and can let the stress go. Of the 4 days we were at the Lodge, we spent 3 days on the grounds..we didn't want to go anywhere else. We had bird watching from our bungalow steps, we had food and drinks a short walk away, and tubing down the river a nice walk away. Done. The Lodge is on the way to Caracol so makes a nice place to stay for a few nights on your way to see the temples.
We ate breakfast and dinner at the Lodge everyday. Ron and Al are excellent cooks. Al makes a killer Upside down Pineapple cake, and Ron's Fried Chicken Rocked. Breakfast keeps you going through Lunch until Dinner. Overall, we were VERY VERY happy.
Note: You are off the beaten track..it is a long walk from the main road to the resort so keep this in mind. It was fine for us not having a car as we did not want to leave and Ron and Al will call up a taxi and tour guide for you easy. It is not a party atmosphere..you wake with the sun, you go to sleep with the sun..nature. You won't be sorry that you booked here. Oh, and check out the gift shop..worth a visit. Cheers! W

Room Tip: The bungalow set apart from the others..I call it the Honeymoon Bungalow. A bit more money but love...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013

My wife and I spent two nights and three days at Macaw Jungle Bank and don't hesitate in recommending it! The experience is very unique and unlike any other place we had stayed. Macaw is found in a remote area near the river bank and its beautiful waking up and going to sleep the sounds of the jungle. It was quite easy to entertain ourselves on the property with all the birds and the ability to go river tubing. Macaw was also a perfect base for heading off to Caracol and seeing the Mayan Ruins. Ron and Al proved to be exceptional hosts and made every effort to make sure we enjoyed our trip from the cuisine, to transportation, to trip planning. Loved our stay and hope to go back one day!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2013 via mobile

Macaw bank was the highlight of my vacation in Belize. Ron and Al were amazing hosts, making my boyfriend and I feel like old friends rather than hotel guests. They arranged all of our excursions based on our interests (birding, spelunking hiking). Our room (hut) was clean and beautifully decorated. We woke to the sound of humming birds feeding from the local flora every morning. The food was amazing and all fresh. The grounds of the lodge was the most impressive, with hiking trails, beautiful plants and tons of stunning birds. I would absolutely stay here again on a future trip to Belize.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
66 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

Had two nights here with Al hosting us. A very hospitable host. Our cabana was good, but don't come to the jungle an expect it to be free of bugs, the jungle is just not like that! Its a bumpy ride up to the resort, where you come across a little piece of jungle oasis created by Al and Ron. Dogs running around enjoying themselves, birdsong everywhere and a real sense of being in the jungle. Around the property we saw all sorts including a large snake, iguanas, lots of birdlife, including a toucan. Tubing down the river is not to be missed, a 90 minute gentle ride where you can really absorb the beautiful forest. Should have stayed longer

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

Macaw Bank June Lodge was a terrific destination. We stayed there last year and neglected for far too long to write this review. Our delay should speak only to our procrastination, not to the amazing experience we had. Ron and Al are great hosts. They prepared delicious meals and kept us company whenever we wanted. Just getting to know them was a huge perk. They also provided us with inner tubes so we could go tubing on the river that runs through their property. (Our five star pool rating was for the river.) And the nature around the property is stunning and perfect for bird-watching, photography or general relaxing strolls. Everyone who worked there was kind and considerate. The cabins are spacious and comfortable, and the bathroom worked perfectly. It's an eco-lodge, so keeping that in mind, it's not surprising to have gravity-powered showers, lanterns instead of overhead lighting, fans instead of air conditioning, and bugs. None of that detracted from the great experience. For those who want to venture off the property, the lodge is a good launching ground for trips to Tikkal and ATM -- tour groups will come and pick you up there. All in all, we were thrilled we chose Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge. We got to experience Belize in a way that island visits just don't allow.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

There is nothing we did not love about our stay at Macaw Bank. This was our first stop in Belize (and our first time to the country) and I'm so glad that it was. We stayed for almost a week, taking a night "off" in the middle to visit Tikal (and during that time Ron was kind enough to let us leave our things!).

We rented a car and drove ourselves from Belize City to the lodge. First - Ron's directions are excellent and accurate, and his recommendation that we get a 4 wheel drive vehicle was appreciated! We were greeted immediately upon our arrival by Ron and his staff, along with several of the adorable pet dogs that live on site (the dogs were ridiculously well-behaved - never asking for food or being annoying in any way). Ron showed us to our lovely cabin so we could drop our things, and then showed us around the amazing grounds. Basically, Ron and Al have taken a swatch of jungle and cleared a yard where they have their house, a staff house, one of the cabanas (Cotton Tree, which we stayed in), and the restaurant. The rest of the cabins are tucked away down a few short paths. The pictures really don't do the cabins or the grounds justice.

Our room was spacious, with a screened-in porch with our own hammock, large bed and bunk bed, desk, and then a bathroom with a lovely outdoor shower off of that. The rooms were clean and colorful, and the fan was sufficient to keep us cool at night. It's an eco lodge, so in the middle of the night (when there isn't any solar power and the generator runs out) the power sometimes goes out but since it cools down at night it's not noticeable. Plus, I mean, you're in the jungle! The sounds were amazing, and we woke up with the sun (in a good way) every day.

The food was ridiculously good and abundant - plus, Ron makes great coffee. He and Al take turns cooking; each has their own specialties. We got to have baked snapper, fried chicken, shrimp scampi, huge steaks - I was going to try to pick one that stood out above the rest but honestly, each meal seemed to almost top the last. And the breakfasts! The breakfasts were possibly even more amazing. We had long activity-filled days planned for each of our days there and Ron made sure to load us up with amazing and huge breakfasts each day (the Spanish eggs might have been my favorite), including coffee, fresh juice, and fruit - I don't think we ate lunch even once.

I know this sounds hyperbolic, but it really is an amazing place to stay. We were mostly out and about doing day-long trips but the grounds are worth spending time on as well - you can walk down to the river and go tubing, relax in a hammock, hang out with Talulah, their pet coatimundi, and bird watch, among other things. The staff was excellent, Henry in particular. We really enjoyed getting to know Ron and Al while we sat around in the afternoon drinking Belikins and rum punch; they had great advice, stories, and lots of knowledge about the area.

I hope we're lucky enough to return to Belize one day. If we do, we wouldn't stay anywhere else!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge

Address: On the Macal River in the jungle, San Ignacio, Belize
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Cayo > San Ignacio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 28 B&Bs / Inns in San Ignacio
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Family friendly, romantic honeymoon destination, naturalist paradise, ornithologist will especially love our beautiful Macal River frontage with access to many activities and adventures. Cabanas are private, secluded, spacious, clean, with screened windows,private deck or veranda, private baths, fans, and lights. Many activities available. Volleyball, croquet, river tubing, hiking, bird watching, etc. Tours are arranged complimentary. Close to ATM Caves, Caracol, Belize Botanical Gardens,zip line, horseback riding, San Ignacio town and market, Xunantunich, Greenhills Butterfly Ranch, Barton Creek Cave, Eljio Panti National Park, and much more... Tubes provided complimentary for guests. Canoeing available. WI-FI provided free of charge. Restaurant on premises, gift shop, bar. Five miles of well groomed nature trails,ancient trees, park like jungle setting, hammocks,lending library, ping pong table,telescope for use by our star gazing guests, camping also available. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Macaw Bank Jungle Hotel San Ignacio
Macaw Bank Jungle Lodge Belize/San Ignacio

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