Sustainable Cabanas Surrounded by Lush Jungles
A crescent-shaped hammock sways on the private balcony as exotic birds permeate the jungle's balmy air with melodic song as they flutter in the sweet embrace of nearby fruit trees. Deep in the heart of the San Felipe Jungle and along the scenic Moho River lies Cotton Tree Lodge, a 100-acre eco-conscious resort lauded by O, The Oprah Magazine and the New York Times for its sustainable practices, such as numerous reforestation projects that have brought back formerly absent trees to the grounds. The lodge's abundant sustainability efforts also include using solar power, biodegradable materials, and recycling whenever possible.
A winding web of elevated boardwalks leads guests to hand-constructed Deluxe cabanas perched above the ground on stilt-like pillars. Traditional thatched roofs crafted from bay leaves shelter each abode from the elements. Screened windows—replete with shutters—line the entire perimeter, allowing sunlight to flow in and illuminate the native wooden floors and trim. Tropical tenants can unwind on the cabana's queen-size bed, covered with hand-woven Mayan blankets, or private balcony, where panoramic vistas of the surrounding rainforest can be observed from the comforts of suspended hammocks. Each bungalow is outfitted with purified drinking water, a private bathroom, and 24-hour electricity.
Each morning, esteemed visitors awake to dine on organic breakfasts made from freshly grown fruits and vegetables harvested from Cotton Tree's on-site garden, which is run by Sustainable Harvest International—a nonprofit that helps local farmers implement sustainable practices and leads volunteer service projects. Meals are typically served family-style, tempting tongues with Belizean-, American-, and European-tinged fare that changes daily. At the lodge's fully stocked bar, libations mixed with fresh fruit juices are poured alongside beer and wine.
Belize's Toledo District: Rich Cultural History Set Against Picturesque Vistas
Cotton Tree's guided tours transport visitors deep within verdant rainforests, acting as a portal into the area's cultural, historical, and recreational milieu. Up to three excursions set off from the resort each day. Explorers can visit nearby villages for a taste of southern Belize culture, or navigate ancient Mayan ruins for a glimpse into the civilization's history. Belize's tropical lowland climate is ideal for making chocolate, and tours teach visitors how the sweet morsel is nurtured to its postgraduate career on a cacao farm. A variety of adventure trips turn guests into hikers and spelunkers.
Located 15 miles to the east is Punta Gorda, a Caribbean seaport that fosters numerous aquatic activities, such as snorkeling, kayaking, and games of tennis with manta rays. A market open four days per week summons an eclectic mix of locals from across the Toledo District selling fresh fruits and vegetables plus Mayan art and wares. Small restaurants dish up traditional Belizean fare, such as stewed chicken and fresh seafood, set amid live music from local talent at several eateries.