Lying in the perfectly firm king-size bed in our cabaña at Table Rock Jungle Lodge, I listened to the sounds of the jungle before opening my eyes. Howler monkeys were screaming back and forth in the distance, cicadas were chirping, and so many birds were making so many sounds. I couldn’t even distinguish the individual birdcalls from the cacophony. I cracked my eyes and scanned the screened windows that filled two side of our spacious room for bats. About ten cute little bats spend the day sleeping on the outside of the screen beneath the eaves. They hadn’t yet returned from their night of insect-eating.
Belize Jungle Resort
Table Rock is one of many Belize jungle resorts, and in my opinion, one of the best. There are so many things to love about staying here. When you google “eco lodge Belize” you get a lot of choices, but not all eco lodges are equal. Some Belize resorts call themselves eco lodges, but aren’t very ecologically sustainable.
An eco lodge is a type of tourist accommodation designed to have the least possible impact on the natural environment in which it is situated.
What’s a Jungle Lodge Like?
But, before I get to all the good they are doing, I want to gush a little about the accommodations. We stayed in the Rainforest Cabaña, one of ten on the property. The boys had a room with bunk beds and Henry and I took the big room with two walls of windows. “Windows” is a little misleading since there isn’t any glass, but rather screens and wooden louvered shutters. We left the shutters open and felt like we were in the middle of the jungle. We even had a little side room off our room where we all hung out and read.
In addition to the cabañas, there is a thatch-roofed outdoor room with hammocks and games, a delightful restaurant, again in an outside room, and little sitting areas around the property. This is what Belize vacations are meant to look like.
What really made our stay special was how nice and warm the staff was. As owner, Colleen, said, “that’s Belize.” And we have found Belizeans to be super friendly for the most part, but the staff at Table Rock Jungle Lodge go a step above. They all knew our names before we met them, they accommodated all our little needs (vegetarian meals, a bag of rice to dry my phone, laundry, finding us a very affordable shuttle to our next destination, etc.) and were so gracious in doing so.
We also appreciated that there were a lot of families there. Colleen told us that she loves seeing families coming to experience Belize travel. Anders and Finn made friends with some other kids and played board games and hung out in the hammock zone with them. I love that they get to interact with other kids while we travel and even better that they got to do it in the Belize rainforest.
It’s not only families with kids, of course. We ran into friends of a dear friend at breakfast one morning. Belize is a small world. (Later, we ran into another friend in Belize City.)
Eco Lodge Belize
So, back to that eco tourism thing. At Table Rock resorts, they:
- Generate 100% of their own electricity via solar panels and a highly efficient battery/inverter system.
- Supply the majority of their running water with rain water.
- Supply the much of the fruit served from their farm.
- Supply all eggs from the free-range chickens on their farm (and they were yummy!).
- Supply fresh herbs and select vegetables from their farm and neighboring farms.
- Replanting a mahogany forest to help restore the trees that Belize has lost to deforestation.
- Part of the 100-acre preserve is a working Valencia orange orchard and home to several donkeys.
The list goes on and on (see it here), but suffice to say that environmental responsibility and social consciousness are a big part of their mission.
Things To Do At A Jungle Lodge
The reason Table Rock is one of the best places to stay in Belize is that the sustainability measures don’t take away from the luxury. It’s so nice just being there that we didn’t want to leave. We spent the afternoon of our arrival swimming in the Macal River right on the property and relaxing in the hammocks. We did leave the second day to go caving tubing, but our third day was spent mostly on the property. We took on the Table Rock canoes and paddled up river for lunch and floated down river in their inner tubes. We wandered through the orchard picking oranges and petting donkeys. Every evening was spent with a Beliken in hand from the bar (and we always hit Happy Hour).
** A beautiful infinity swimming pool is in the works. It should be done in spring 2018.
It’s hard to know where to stay in Belize because there is so much information out there and not all of it believable (aren’t you glad I didn’t say “Belizeable”?). Wait until you hear about the next place we stayed–we learned that websites might not be accurate describers of a property.
Planning Your Trip To Belize
Belize is a little country (population ~ 360,000). Geographically, it’s a about the same size as Massachusetts or Wales, but there is a ton of diversity and a lot to see.
This is only my second trip to Belize, but I think the Cayo District around San Ignacio is the best area to stay in Belize. It’s jungle vacations, Mayan ruins, and adventure travel. A Belize jungle resort makes it all that more interesting. The first time I came, 13 or so years ago, we stayed in a little hostel in San Ignacio. It was fine, but for the best hotels in Belize head to the jungle lodges and specifically, Table Rock.
If you have time—and you should make time—add the beach to your itinerary. The Placencia area to the south or one the islands of the coast of Belize City allow for a Caribbean experience and access to the second largest barrier reef in the world.
Remember those bats I was talking about at the beginning? When we came back from eating local eggs, French toast, and freshly squeezed tropical fruit juices, they were waiting for us. I could have spent all day watching them sleep, occasionally twitching and peeping. So cute.
Getting to Table Rock Jungle Lodge in Belize
Because it’s in the jungle, the lodge is a little out of the way. Fortunately, it is really easy to get to. The folks at Table Rock can help you figure it out, but here’s what we came up with.
Here are your options if you are coming from Belize City:
- Have the staff arrange a shuttle from the airport right to the lodge.
- Fly Tropic Air from Belize City to San Ignacio and then take a taxi to the lodge.
- Take a taxi to the Belize City bus station, get the express bus to San Ignacio, and take a taxi or local bus (look for “Mesh” or “Tzib” buses). I’m not going to lie, the bus station in Belize City is a little rough, but it worked out fine for us.
Here are your options if you are coming from Tikal, Guatemala, or points west.
- Have the staff at Table Rock arrange a shuttle for you.
- We took a shuttle from our hotel in Tikal National Park to “the middle of the road” in El Cruce, Guatemala. There we got a tourist bus to San Ignacio. (This part of our travel was organized by Reino Kan Travels. They have some pretty bad reviews, but it worked out perfectly for us.) From there it was a $25 (US) taxi to the lodge. We were going to take the bus, but we missed it.
Thanks to Table Rock Jungle Lodge for hosting us. The opinions expressed here, as always, are my own.