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“River cruise” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Belcampo Lodge

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Belcampo Lodge
Wilson Road, Punta Gorda, Belize (Formerly Machaca Hill Rainforest Canopy Lodge)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 hotels in Punta Gorda
Reston, Virginia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“River cruise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

I found the reviews very helpful and echo all the wonderful comments made by other visitors to this spectacular property. I wanted to add, however, that we spent an amazing day on the water traveling the Rio Grande River out to the reef where we feasted on a freshly caught lunch. There are few days in life that are so wonderful. The staff was fabulous. We had a chef on board, the captain and tour guide dove for our lunch, and Mara was a gracious host. We learned a lot about the history of Belize and the natural life surrounding us, as we cruised and went snorkeling.

  • Stayed November 2012, 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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128 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Columbia, South Carolina
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012

I cannot recommend Belcampo highly enough in terms of quality, attention to detail, wonderful staff and management and overall amazing facility. I recently spent a year in the Toledo district, working with a local clinic. During this time, I often retreated to Belcampo for a quiet morning on the porch if ever I felt the need to get away. Mara, the general manager, is extremely generous in offering affordable rates for meals and day packages for long-term volunteers who are working away from their homes and families, as well as for our students.

I was lucky enough to be able to become involved in some community/ staff wellness activities that Mara was trying to get started for the Belcampo staff. She takes a special interest in employee health and we were happy to partner with her. I found the entire staff to be an absolute pleasure to work with and made some lasting friendships, as well. By collaborating with Mara, we were even able to begin a very exciting partnership whereby the gentlemen who work in the Belcampo wood shop have begun to assist us by building beautiful and high-quality rehabilitation equipment that we would otherwise not be able to attain for the people we serve here in Belize.

When my year in Toledo was finished, it was it was extremely difficult to say goodbye to everyone at Belcampo and I sincerely look forward to coming back for a visit. I cannot say enough good things about the entire staff, our mutually enjoyable and beneficial collaborations together and the generosity and the true spirit of collaboration and partnership shown to our organization, you by Mara and everyone else. Many thanks!

Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
boulder
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2012

I've travelled, explored and fly-fished (for Permit) extensively throughout Belize.This was my 4th trip to Punta Gorda and my first overnight visit to Belcampo. It has the perfect combination. The setting spectacular for nature and relaxation. The staff does a great job offering daily cultural and nature tours, and one morning I did a free nature morning walk with Mara (the manager) and Wil (the resident nature expert) that was truly fantastic. The food was excellent all around at Belcampo. My experiences eating in town was poor and even heard reports of people getting sick. Never had a reason to explore further because continued great service and food/drink quality that the resort had to offer. The staff was very professional and accommodating, with Mara (manager) being the true cornerstone of the resort!
My Highlights:
-beautiful jungle setting with diverse wildlife
-the farm, eating resort grown fruits and vegetables
-excellent food and drinks
-wonderful tours, waterfalls,ruins, birding,people
-permit fly fishing, excellent habitat and access from the resort. resort is on a river with easy,quick access to the flats.
-isolated beautiful island excursion (with my wife) and custom lunch with linens and ice cool wine
-the staff, awesome all around
Mara- the perfect manager with you ever need addressed and met

Room Tip: they only have 12 rooms
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  • Stayed August 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HK
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

I spent five nights at Belcampo and was completely inspired by what the team are doing in terms of food sustainability - they plan to make the lodge almost entirely self-sustaining, with fruit, cacao, sugar cane, vanilla, and so on all grown on the farm. The GM, Mara, has been a chef for 30 years, previously running a prestigious lodge in Canada, and she is a former Slow Food Canada president. The CEO of the company behind Belcampo is a regular Iron Chef judge and sustainability expert. I spent a lot of time talking to Mara about their plans for the farm and it's a thoughtful, classy, and groundbreaking jungle-to-table project.

But all of that aside, Belcampo is also a great place for a holiday. The cabanas are spacious and light-filled and have glowing wooden floors and furnishings, some of which is built in the carpentry workshop on the Belcampo farm. Taking a nap in the hammock on the cabana balcony (enclosed with mosquito netting) makes you feel like you are right in the jungle, which you are: howler monkeys and hummingbirds are just metres away. The food is fantastic; you can taste the difference with a lot of the ingredients coming from the farm - it's as fresh as it gets. Eating breakfast of homemade granola and house-cured bacon, while watching toucans fly by, is a great start to any day. The staff are all very friendly and helpful, and the guides are incredibly knowledgeable about the birds, plants and other wildlife of the jungle. I went kayaking on the river (one of the free activities the lodge offers), and joined the paid trip of snorkelling and manatee spotting. Unfortunately we didn't get to see a manatee, but we saw a shark and lots of fish and colourful corals while snorkelling.

I had a great, relaxing time at this beautiful lodge. But what made the experience even more memorable for me was that I left feeling like I had learned something and that my thinking had changed: food sustainability is something I will be reading about and paying more attention to from now on.

Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
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Boulder, Colorado
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2012

This was our 3rd time to Belize and Belcampo blew us away! Our plan was to stay for 3 days and move on, but due to such a welcoming, comfortable and awesome adventure, we ended up staying for a week! My husband is a fly-fishing fanatic and has fished all over the world and I enjoy a little fishing and hanging out at the lodge. Belcampo has it all! The tours are incredible. The staff are so pleasant, knowledgeable, and just fun to be around. We have traveled all over the world (Europe, Asia, S. America, C. America.....) and the accommodations in the middle of the jungle are truly amazing. The food is simply delicious! Organic, fresh, a huge variety and almost everything is right there on the farm. You are welcome to leave and explore other options in town, which some people did, but I cannot imagine why??? Every night the menu is new and tastefully done! We have been to town to many restaurants and you can get the usual Belizean fare and beers!!! Belcampo makes incredible drinks.....Passion fruit margarita, anyone??? They are unique, and so yummy.....If you are a real foodie and care and understand where your food is coming from you will want to stay!!!! This is a place where at the end of your trip you feel like you are leaving a family. Everyone is so passionate and dedicated and they are there to make you feel welcome. The GM Mara makes it all happen!!! She is one in a million and so gracious to us and all the guests. If anyone has anything negative to say about this place- they shouldn't be traveling. What a great find this place was! We had an unbelievable week and can't wait to return with our entire family. Thank you Belcampo, Mara, and Belize!!!! It was an unforgettable week.

Room Tip: I don't think there is a bad one! All are beautiful.
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  • Stayed August 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Placencia, Belize
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2012

Belcampo is located in the most beautiful location in the south of Belize, and although the price tag is pretty high, it is worth every cent. The views alone are worth going for. The wildlife is amazing, and howler monkeys can be seen going about their family business whilst you are enjoying your breakfast. They have even spotted the very rare Lovely Kotinga bird - though we didn't see one!

The food is outstanding, all ingredients are sourced either from Belcampo's own extensive organic gardens, or locally from responsibly produced sources. The chef is great!

The suites are beautiful, they feel really special, and you have an entire glass wall looking out over the jungle whilst you shower. They have a very private feel - I believe there are only twelve suites in the whole place.

The grounds are lovely just to stroll around, and there is a fernicular railway to take you gliding through the jungle down to the river - we saw a tayra last time we visited. There are plenty of excursions available to nearby Mayan ruins, out to the reef for mindblowing fishing, or deeper into the jungle.

All the staff are very friendly and attentive and also very interested in doing a great job for Belcampo and for Belize. Nothing seems to be too much trouble, we feel like honoured guests, not tourists. Yes, it is very high end, but I definitly feel that I get value for money. We live in Belize, and so have a lot of choices of places to stay for the odd weekend break, and Belcamp tops our list time and time again. We also enjoy it for lunch or ana evening meal, even when we aren't staying there.

  • Stayed August 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington, United States
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2012

My husband and I spent 5 nights at Belcampo Lodge and had an overall wonderful time.

The good:
Belcampo is gorgeous! The lodge, our suite, the pool, the grounds - all are absolutely stunning! The resort is located in mostly untouched rainforest, which means we were surrounded by natural beauty on all sides. The flora and fauna were constantly breathtaking, and provided a sense of being in a truly unspoiled place.

The food at the lodge was excellent. Each meal consisted of fresh, whole foods, mostly grown on the property or at local farms. The meals were great, and reflected the agricultural bounty of Belize.

The activities were awesome. We took a guided kayak tour with Desmond, went swimming at a local waterfall with Desmond, and went to the market and chocolate "factory" tour with Chan. All were great experiences - particularly enhanced by the guides' friendly, knowledgeable input on every detail. I know more than I ever expected about the culture, history, and natural environment of Belize!

By far the most amazing activity, though, was the trip to Blue Creek cave and the Lubaantun Mayan ruins. This trip was lead by Vince and Chan, and is absolutely not to be missed! The cave tour was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure (no details - you have to go experience this!), and the Lubaantun tour was amazing. Vince is so knowledgeable about every detail of Mayan history and culture. The ruins were amazing, and Vince was a terrific guide! On this trip we also had lunch in Vince's home, which was a wonderful opportunity! His family was gracious and welcoming, and made an amazing Belizean meal for our group. This was the type of experience every traveler should have.

The best:
The staff! The staff here is unfailingly warm, gracious, and fun! They took such good care of us, made us feel welcome, and met our every need. Our waiters - Mark and Ducky, our guides - Vince, Chan, and Desmond, our bartender - Duane, the concierges, the housekeepers... everyone absolutely shone! Belcampo radiates warmth and kindness, and it all stems from the truly wonderful people that keep this place running!

The odd drawback:
Visitors should be aware that staying at Belcampo very much means STAYING at Belcampo. It was made clear to us that we were expected to eat every meal at the lodge, and exploring the local culture was to be done through the lodge-planned (pricey) activities. I must emphasize - the activities were truly great! (Thanks again to the amazing guides.)

When my husband and I travel, we like to stay at nice accommodations, and use that as a base to go out and explore the area. We enjoy eating at a variety of local restaurants (from dive bars to high-end cuisine), chatting with local folk, and generally seeing the sights from the ground level in order to explore a culture. This mentality was at odds with the Belcampo routine, which we didn't realize before arriving.

Luckily, we met up with some other travelers of similar mindset, and the concierges were kind enough to arrange for us to go into town on a few different evenings, which was also a great experience.

Unfortunately, this departure from "the plan" was met with disapproval by the GM, Mara, who made it very clear that we were not playing by the rules. We tried to explain that we wanted to visit town and get to know Punta Gorda outside of Belcampo, but this seemed to be interpreted as us being too cheap to eat at the lodge. This was, partially, true - dinners were in the $200(USD) range. Although they were worth it, who wants to eat a $200 meal at the same place every night?

Apparently many visitors to Belcampo do want exactly this, as we were seen as weird for wanting to get a wider sampling of what Punta Gorda had to offer. I will say, the concierges were very nice and accommodating - it was ONLY Mara who was rude and problematic. We had not won her favor, and she seemed to go out of her way to let us know that weren't doing things the right way. She made us feel like unappreciative cheapskates, which was ludicrous, considering how much we were willing to pay for the food, drinks, and activities that we WANTED to enjoy. When she was around, it was like having someone else's controlling parent trying to call the shots, telling us what we should want, and should do. She was the only unpleasant part of this trip, but unfortunately, she was majorly unpleasant. (I got the sense that she is probably an excellent back-of-the-house restaurant manager - she definitely has both eyes fixed firmly on the bottom line. Unfortunately, she swans around the front house, mingling with guests, sweet talking those who "play right" and bullying those who don't.)

I must say that despite this one blight, our trip was excellent! I just cannot praise the Belcampo staff enough. They are so kind and warm, and truly reflect the beautiful heart of the Belizean people. For travelers who like to stay in one place with one great restaurant and terrific planned activities, this is the perfect place to do just that. Or, this would also be a great place to spend 2-3 nights before moving on to another destination in the country.

Room Tip: ALL the rooms are great! Each of the 12 suites looks out into the rainforest, including a glass wal...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mara J, General Manager at Belcampo Lodge, responded to this review, September 12, 2012
All of us care deeply about every aspect of the guest experience and try to ensure that everyone feels welcome whatever they choose to do. We are an isolated jungle lodge where most people fly into a small landing stip in the town of Punta Gorda where we pick them up in Safari Land cruiser vehicles. Few guests arrive with vehicles and rental cars are available but not comman. Traditionally we have been an all inclusive resort and this year we have switched to a la carte. A generous breakfast including farm fresh eggs and vegetables, hand made suasages and house smoke bacon is included in the price of the room, lunch is an a la carte menu with plenty of affordable choices and dinner is 3 course for $55. US with a choice of 2 appetizers, two mains and 5 desserts. During the summer we also individually priced the dinner menu so that anyone wanting to eat a lighter meal could order what they wished. We also provide complimentary afternoon and cocktail hour snacks. We did experience more guests wanting to go eat in the small town of Punta Gorda this summer so we offered a ride into town in our staff van when the driver/dishwasher had the time for as many guests who wanted to go for $12.50 US, less than a taxi. We do ask for guests to notify us in advance if they will not be eating dinner because ingredients, especially meat and seafood, are not easily obtained in southern Belize as there are no food service companies, delivery trucks etc. so we need to know how many we are cooking for so that we have the right amount of staff and food ready. We practice whole animal butchery with pastured meat we raise ourselves or get from a local Mennonite farm and serve sustainable seafood caught from local fishermen in small boats. We take food quality and safety very seriously and are proud to serve as much of our own organically grown food as possible. We also reccomend a couple of casual restaurants in town and take guests into the home of a Mayan family and to a Belizean East Indian restaurant for lunch on our tours. Belcampo Belize prides itself on providing valuable jobs and high quality training to the Toledo district. We want all our guests to feel completely welcome whatever they choose to do while staying with us.

MJ- GM and Culinary Director
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Belcampo Lodge

Address: Wilson Road, Punta Gorda, Belize (Formerly Machaca Hill Rainforest Canopy Lodge)
Phone Number:
Location: Belize > Toledo > Punta Gorda
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 hotels in Punta Gorda
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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Also Known As:
Belcampo Hotel Punta Gorda
Belcampo Lodge Belize/Punta Gorda

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