So excited to share photos from our trip to Belize! Belize was a country that wasn’t particularly high on our list of places to visit, but when the Cotton Tree Lodge invited us out, we thought we’d better go. And we’re so glad that we did! It’s a beautiful country and everyone we met was warm and excited to share their culture with us and teach us about their Mayan history.
Where to stay in Belize: The Cotton Tree Lodge
When you think of Belize you might think of beaches, islands, turquoise blue water, and the blue hole. While I’m sure that this part of Belize is amazing, we experienced the jungle, in the south of Belize near Punta Gorda. We had the pleasure of staying at the Cotton Tree Lodge for a week, and it was such an awesome, unique experience. Now, this is not a luxury resort, people. If you’re looking for that type of experience, The Four Seasons is on Caye Chapel. The Cotton Tree Lodge is an ecolodge located in a remote part of the jungle. The rooms are gorgeous little cabanas overlooking the Moho River. You really feel like you’re staying in a treehouse in the middle of the jungle because you pretty much are. It was pretty magical and exciting to hear the howler monkeys going crazy in the evenings (they literally sound like dinosaurs—it’s wild!) and the tropical birds chirping in the mornings. We loved it!!
I did have some people DM me asking about the bug situation. Yes, there are bugs. You’re in the middle of the jungle. Even though the cabanas are completely netted, we found three scorpions and a tarantula in our room during our week stay. I have to say, the scorpions were pretty huge and gnarly, and it was not my favorite experience having to kill one with Omied’s hiking boot (the maid killed the second one, and the third one we saw was on the ceiling and eventually left our cabana). So if you are staying here, definitely shake out your shoes first before sticking your feet in there, as this is a great place for a scorpion to hide. Omied took care of the tarantula by scooping it up in a cup and throwing it outside. He did promise in his wedding vows that he would always get rid of spiders even though he’s scared of them too, and he hasn’t broken his vow yet! We also had a couple of geckos, but those don’t bother me and I’ve always thought they’re cute (but I know some people are really freaked out by them). So all this to say, if you’re really, really freaked out by bugs, I don’t think you would enjoy staying here. The beds do have extra netting around them so you don’t have to worry about any creepy crawlers while you’re sleeping.
Don’t forget to pack:
Ultrasonic pest repellant. This gadget creates ultrasonic waves to repel insects! I hadn’t heard of this before our trip but I wish I had.
Lonely Planet Belize book. If you’re looking for more inspiration on what to do in Belize!
Water shoes. If you’re doing the cave diving excursion (that I talk about below), you’ll definitely want some water shoes as you’ll be walking and swimming through a cave!
How to get there: If you’re flying into Belize City, you’ll need to book a separate flight on one of the tiny planes that goes to all of the smaller airports in Belize, to Punta Gorda airport. If your flight to BZE is delayed, don’t worry—these small planes take off every 45 minutes or so and you’ll be able to get on the next one. From Punta Gorda airport you’ll need to get a ride to the Cotton Tree Lodge, which the lodge can book for you. Be prepared for a bumpy ride, as the majority of the half-hour drive is on an unpaved road.
WiFi/Service: There is zero service in the cabanas and verrrrry spotty/weak wifi in the main lodge area where meals are served. I thought I would be able to hop on the wifi there to get some work done and respond to emails while we were there, but I definitely wasn’t. While it’s great to disconnect, it was a little stressful for me as a full-time blogger, as I needed to respond to brand campaign emails and such and this made it really difficult. But if you’re able to take a proper vacay (unlike me), it’s nice to disconnect!
Ok, on to the fun part, the excursions! The Cotton Tree Lodge offers a huge variety of tours with different guides that you can book through the lodge. They are fantastic and if you’re staying at the lodge you pretty much have to book these tours as it’s so remote out there. Here are the tours that I recommend:
Mr. Eladio’s Cacoa Farm – This was the very first tour that we did and it was amazing. Mr. Eladio has such an interesting story, and he shared with us how his difficulties in life led him to start this farm, and how his spirituality and nature are intertwined. As we walked we tried fresh cacao fruit (omg so tangy and tart and delicious!!) and he cut us fresh coconuts so we could drink the water. It was the most delicious coconut water we’d ever had, and we were all amazed by it. After the tour of the farm, we had lunch and then got a lesson on how they make chocolate there, which was so cool to see. This tour is a must—we loved it!
Placencia Beach – If you’re looking for a relaxing beach day, Placencia Beach is the closest sandy beach and you can do a day trip here. Have drinks and lunch at the Tipsy Tuna, walk around town and do some souvenir shopping (highly recommend picking up some Goss dark chocolate from one of the markets—some of the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted!), and sip cocktails by the beach.
Cave diving – If you’re up for an adventure, this is a must! We got to go on a short hike with a guide, and then he took us through a large cave that involved a lot of swimming. It was awesome!! Definitely bring water shoes for this one!
River tubing – Hop on a tube down the river and end with cocktails! I can’t think of a better day.
Jungle cruise – Enjoy a sunset river cruise through the jungle, where you’ll spot monkeys and enjoy the beautiful, still water.
Snorkeling – We weren’t able to go snorkeling on our trip because it was too windy, but I absolutely would have loved to do this excursion!
Tiger Cave Hike – A great hike through the cave where ancient Mayans used to worship and perform rituals.
Tortilla making with Mrs. Bo – If you think tortillas are easy to make, think again. You’ll get to see how Mrs. Bo makes tortillas by hand, and give it a try yourself.
Things to do around the lodge – Get a massage, do morning yoga, swim in the river, or take a walk through the jungle and spot howler monkeys! Does that not just sound like the most relaxing day ever?
Thank you to the Cotton Tree Lodge for a beautiful stay!
Mr. Eladio’s Cacoa Farm
Relaxing around the lodge
Wearing Summersalt swimwear. Check out my in-depth Summersalt swimwear review here!
Jungle River Cruise
Flying back to Belize City
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Belize is known for its beautiful jungles and scuba diving sites. In Belize, you will find wild cats and exotic animals. There is a lot of natural beauty here to be explored.
The food that is typically served is Belize rice, beans, and potato salad. A choice of meat or seafood is an option on the side.
Yes, you can absolutely still swim in the Blue Hole in Belize. The water will be crystal clear with much marine life swimming with you. The Blue Hole is known to be a very famous diving spot.
The months to travel to Belize are during their off-seasons in the months of late November to mid-April. If you prefer the warmer temperatures and don’t mind more tourists then May to October would be a good time for you to make your way out to Belize.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.