We got a 5 night package with all meals and most tours included. We added a couple of extras at a very reasonable cost. It was fantastic to put ourselves in Doug's hands - he has done the research to find the best tour operators, and his drivers are very knowledgeable and friendly so getting everywhere is part of the experience.
The trip started out wonderfully with Dexter picking us up at the airport. No worries about getting a car or where we were - it was taken care of. After 2 flights to get there it was fantastic to see a sign with our name on it and know we didn't have to think any more. Beverly checked us in and showed us the room. Our luggage was brought in. The room was simple, with beautiful tiger hand-made quilts, but plenty of room. Maybe we were lucky, but we never needed the air conditioning - having the windows open, even in the heat of the day, was fine. There was great air circulation in the room with a ceiling fan, lots of windows and AC if it was too hot.
There are available kayaks, canoes and paddle boats to borrow. It was fun taking out the kayak and exploring the river. Look out for the crocodile that hangs out in the sun across the river. Listen for the howler monkeys in the trees and you can frequently see them. Iguanas regularly sun themselves on the big tree by the river.
Meals are in the dining room in the main building. The wait staff is very friendly and willing to adjust the menu if needed (fry jacks instead of toast, a bigger bowl of soup for dinner). All you have to do is ask. Our package included all meals so we didn't look at prices, just decided what we wanted and ordered. At breakfast you will probably hear Whodabird, the hotel parrot, who talks while sitting on the tree by the pool.
Our tours were fantastic. The first day we went to Lamanai which involves a 45 min. ride from hotel staff to get to the river. Carlos took us down the river, showing us animals and plants along the way until we got to Lamanai about noon. After a delicious Belizian lunch, we took a tour of the area. We were able to climb 3 pyramids and saw many more and learned much more than we would have on our own, due to Carlos' expertise. We saw our first howler monkeys there (but saw many more before the end of the trip)
The next day we were driven into Belize City to take the water taxi to Caye Caulker to go with Burt to see the Swallow Caye manatee reserve and go snorkeling. Burt is the VP of the group that was able to get the manatee reserve approved by the government and really knows the manatees. We stayed around longer than the other boats (who just got sightings from a distance) and were rewarded with seeing a mother and baby close to our boat. The baby was curious and swam around our boat looking at us - they are so cute! After lunch on St. George's Caye we saw a local aquarium with the local fish that we would see later while snorkeling. Then on to snorkeling at the barrier reef. It was the best snorkeling I've ever done - we saw lots of fish, different corals with Burt pointing out what we missed. We were tired and a little sunburned at the end (make sure your sunscreen is waterproof!), but Dexter picked us up at the end and there were no hassles in returning to the Black Orchid.
The next day we added the Belize Zoo to our zipling and cave tubing package. Ryan gave us a fantastic guided tour of the zoo, pointing out all the animals we missed and giving us more information than what was available on the signs there. Definitely the best small zoo we've seen. Then on to the ziplining - whizzing through the trees on 7 different cables. I may not ever do it again, but I'm glad I went once. My teen-aged daughter and husband both loved it. The cave tubing was unique - Carlos was our guide. On the hike (bring swim shoes or some shoe that can get wet, or you can rent them there) he showed us some of the trees unique to the jungle. The tubing was fun, but I like kayaks better. The water is relatively shallow most of the way so boats wouldn't work, but the caves are large so those that are claustrophobic don't have to worry.
The only reason for the 4 stars for sleep quality was not their fault. On our last night a group of howler monkeys came up and howled up a storm. We saw them later, but they are loud. It's a unique way of being kept up at night and really makes you realize that you are not at home. That being said, my 16 year old daughter slept through all the noise.
Doug and the rest of the staff made the Black Orchid our home away from home. We will definitely be back - there is much more we haven't seen yet in Belize and we want to go back to spend more time relaxing there and seeing more of the country. One of the best vacations we've ever taken - and we have travelled a lot.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Belize has such contrasts from the beaches to the jungle to the Mayan ruins, from the rivers to the Cayes, a good base from which to see it all, is the Black Orchid Resort on the banks of the Belize River on the outskirts of Burrell Boom Village, fifteen minutes from the international airport it’s easy to reach and easy to leave from. Just a short distance away from Belize City, the resort is also within an hour’s drive of most of the country’s mainland attractions, making it a convenient launching point for your vacation adventures. We provide accommodations with an ambiance of environmental radiance, alluring air conditioned rooms and immaculate, quiet and safe grounds. We are an excellent alternative to Belize City and gateway to all Belize has to offer; with knowledgeable guides and transportation for snorkeling, deep sea fishing, cave tubing, Maya Ruin tours, complimentary international airport shuttle, free use of kayaks, canoes, peddle boats and free wireless internet access. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Black Orchid Hotel Burrell Boom
- Black Orchid Belize City
- Black Orchid Resort Belize/Burrell Boom