I have mixed feelings about the Parrot Nest. Marcus was extraordinarily kind and helpful in multiple emails before my stay. The place itself is super cute and fun -- what's not to love about staying in a tree house in the jungle next to a river?! The food, if you choose to eat there, is delicious. San Ignacio, 3 miles away, is full of delicious restaurants and fun tour companies. Theo is really cool about calling tour companies to set up tours for guests.
Now for the negatives. There's nothing absolutely terrible about the place, but this section will be longer so that I can fully explain myself. You should know what you're getting into because the wrong kind of person would hate this place, but the right kind would love it. I should preface this by saying that I'm a very low maintenance traveler who camps frequently and doesn't mind bugs, dirt, etc.
Although the cabins/treehouses are very cute and clean, the beds (not just mine -- spoke with other guests, too) are uncomfortable because you can feel the springs in them, and they poke you all night. A little investment in egg crate styrofoam coverings would work wonders. I have been more comfortable in a tent. If you have room for a ground pad in your luggage, use it on your bed!
The showers leave much to be desired... they consist of a small trickle of water that is usually either freezing or way too hot, and I never could get it to be any temperature in between. In a place like this, where you're covered in sunscreen, bug repellent, and sweat all day, you really need a good shower! (Having said that, I've never tried to install a shower in the jungle... I'm sure it's not an easy task.) Aside from that, the shower/bathroom facilities are actually much nicer than I expected. Very clean and spacious.
I took my towel off its hook in my room one morning and found a 3-4 inch long scorpion on it! Good thing I saw it before wrapping the towel around myself. I managed to compose myself in time to take a photo before it crawled away. I suppose that's to be expected in a jungle, but it's worth mentioning to those who would freak out... don't stay in the jungle. You also should be comfortable with having a few small bugs (moths, etc.) and a gecko in your room. I thought the gecko was cute. :-) I had absolutely no trouble with mosquitoes.
Finally, the atmosphere at the Parrot Nest, at least when I was there, was a little uncomfortable. I felt like I was a guest in someone's private home rather than a paying customer at a commercial establishment. I think it may have been different if Marcus had been around -- he seemed to be very busy with work. I met him briefly, and he was just as friendly as in his emails. I can't say that I felt unwelcome... just tolerated, like a friend who has overstayed their time. On the other hand, I became great friends with some of the other guests, and we still keep in touch. I even took a spontaneous road trip to Guatemala with them. The culture among travelers in Belize is amazing.
I would probably stay at the Parrot Nest again, with some baby wipes and a ground pad and a friend. I would recommend it to my camping friends who are okay with the things mentioned above.
- Also Known As:
- Parrot Nest Hotel San Ignacio
- Parrot Nest Lodge Belize/San Ignacio