My wife and I stayed at Mariposa Jungle Lodge for one week in February 2011. We picked Mariposa after comparing it to several several similar establishments in the Belize interior and we were not disappointed.This was our first trip to Belize, which we found to be a very friendly and welcoming country. For about half of our time at the lodge, we were the only guests. Another young couple was there for 3 nights.
Our cabana at the Mariposa was perfect. It was large and beautifully decorated with works of local artisans. It had a very comfortable bed, two sitting areas (one inside, one looking out into the jungle) and adequate storage space. The bathroom was also large, well lit, and very clean. There was always good water pressure and lots of hot water. The cabana was equipped with umbrellas - which we needed. The grounds are nicely manicured and have a romantic ambiance at night when lit by the Tiki torches (thanks to Wilton, the Tiki-boy!).
The main lodge building has the restaurant and a well-equipped bar, a lounge/library for guests to use (decorated with the spoils of Sharyn's own world travels), a small sitting area, and a small gift shop. Sometimes locals stopped in at the bar/restaurant, which made for interesting evenings.
The Pool area is new and during our stay was still under development (the waterfall and palapa bar still to be completed). We were the first guests to use the pool, and we spent the better part of our last full day sitting pool-side and reading, which was nice.
The staff were excellent - all local Mayans except for Sharyn herself. We spent a good deal of time with the two very knowledgeable guides Agusto and Damian who took us out on excursions. In the dining room we were served by Nelmarie and Eilda. The food was expertly prepared by Esau and beautifully presented. We mostly ate local dishes (at our request) and were never disappointed.
Sharyn herself is an excellent host and a big part of what made our stay so memorable. We always felt that she put hospitality ahead of business, but was still business-like enough to ensure that everything ran smoothly at the lodge. She treated my wife an me like family during our stay, and when it came time for us to leave at the end of the week, we both felt like it would have been nice to stay just a little bit longer!
This is how we spent our week:
FRIDAY: arrival, picked up at the airport by Agusto, stopped at the zoo on the way. The zoo was very worthwhile. We arrived after dark and in a heavy rain, were fed and went to bed.
SATURDAY: (heavy rain) Went to San Ignacio for the morning with Agusto and spent a hour or so in the lively market. We walked around town (not that large) and had lunch. In the afternoon, we went to Xunantunich, an interesting Mayan site not far from San Ignacio. The rain was lighter and intermittent during the day, but heavy again when we got back to the lodge in the evening. The forecast was for more rain, so Sharyn offered to find us an alternate place to go where it might be drier. Last two night have been quite cool, with temperatures in the low teens (celsius) so the blankets were needed.
SUNDAY: Still raining heavily, but the forecast is looking up. Our booked trip to ATM is postponed. We spent the morning in the cabana reading. In the afternoon we went to Bol's Cave, a small Mayan cave owned and run by a local man. Bol himself is a very interesting person, and we enjoyed this low-key experience a lot. When we returned to the lodge, the rain had pretty much stopped. Went for a swim in the pool.
MONDAY: Day-long excursion with Agusto to Caracol, another Mayan site and the largest in Belize. Long but very interesting drive to get there, great site. Saw Rio Frio Cave on the way there, which was a worthwhile stop. Rio On pools on the way back was nothing special, but we went to another waterfall nearby for a swim, which was nicer. Sunny days now for the rest of our stay.
TUESDAY: Our ATM day. This is a very worthwhile cave exploration trip. It involves an hour+ long drive to get there, the last stretch of which is very beautiful. This is followed by a 30min easy hike that crosses the rive 3 times (waist deep). You have to swim into the cave itself, but after the initial short swim the water depth ranges from ankle to shoulder deep. The next 45 minutes are spent in the cave moving through the river and scrambling over rocks. Then there's a climb up to a higher and drier cavern where the Mayan remains are found. Altogether about 3 hours are spent underground.
WEDNESDAY: Excursion to Tikal in Guatemala. This is also a day-long trip. Do it with others if you can, to save money. Tikal is a larger and more spectacular site than Caracol, but Caracol has an intimacy and involves a feeling of adventure that Tikal doesn't have.
THURSDAY: The first cloudless day, we spent in mostly at the lodge on the pool deck, reading and swimming. I did spend an hour or so with Agusto at Pacbitun, a Mayan site in the jungle within walking distance of the lodge. It's nearly completely overgrown, so you have to use some imagination to see the buildings, but interesting all the same. Sharyn warned me they had ticks there, and sure enough I got two of them, despite wearing all long-sleeved clothes. Still, glad I went.
FRIDAY: Last day, checked out and driven to Belize CIty. Along the way, we stopped at the Cave Tubing location and spent two hours floating through caves on innertubes. We also got a quick tour of Belmopan and a drive-by tour of Belize City. Our guide for the day was Louis Juan, who doesn't work at Mariposa, but sometimes guides excursions for them. We found him to be very knowledgeable and really enjoyed our time with him.
One other thing to note if you go: March seems to be the busiest month in the Cayo district. If you prefer to stay when there are a lot of other guests in the resort, go in March. If you prefer a quieter and more intimate experience, go in February.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This boutique eco-resort nestled under the jungle canopy of San Antonio, Belize, offers six luxury cabanas with air conditioning and wifi, mosquito-netted canopy beds, private screened porches with hammocks, and comfortable sitting areas for relaxation. Enjoy local and international cuisine, full bar, and the library with an eclectic book collection, games, and array of international art and memorabilia. Mariposa is well-located for tours to regional Maya archaeological sites, waterfalls, caves, and rivers. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mariposa Jungle Hotel San Ignacio