Treetop Cabanas at Eco-Friendly Resort Along the Caribbean Sea
More than 3,500 miles from their native British Columbia, Jungle Jeanie’s by the Sea innkeepers John and Jeanie Barkman fell in love with a quiet stretch of Belize’s west coast. With white-sand Caribbean beach at one side and lush tropical forests at the other, the setting was perfect for a relaxation resort where private cabanas would sit along the coastline and treehouses on wooden stilts could perch above the forest canopy. Along with their two dogs, Zena and Volga, the innkeepers welcome guests to their eco-friendly resort just a stone's throw from the Caribbean.
Each of the cabanas offers its own special experience. If you’re coming with your family, consider staying at the Jungle Loft, a two-floor cabana that’s immersed in the forest. The Palmetto Cabana sits among tropical foliage and overlooks the Caribbean.
At the communal Palmetto Patch restaurant, innkeeper and head chef John uses produce from local farmers to cook dinner and breakfast, such as crepes drenched in sea-grape syrup. After your meal, feel free to rent kayaking and windsurfing gear to explore the coast ($15 for a three-hour rental). Several year-round activities keep guests busy—on select afternoons, you can unwind with yoga classes, and Thursday nights bring marimba music and dancing to the palapa.
Highlights of Hopkins Village, Belize
- Scuba diving: Just off the coast, you can scuba-dive to the nearby Belize Barrier Reef, one of the world's longest barrier reefs. Here, colorful coral makes a beautiful backdrop for hundreds of species of tropical fish, manatees, and loggerhead turtles.
- Day trip idea: Head about 25 kilometers west to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary—which was originally set aside to protect endangered jaguars—spans tropical rainforests, waterfalls, and Victoria Peak, one of the country's tallest mountains.
- Keep an eye out for wildlife: The sanctuary is home to howler monkeys, ocelots, and more than 500 types of tropical birds.
- Hopkins Village: Here in town, the dirt roads are lined with small, brightly colored buildings, where handwritten signs advertise restaurants serving African and Mayan-inspired dishes, ranging from red beans and rice to conch fritters—adventurous diners can try the iguana or armadillo dishes.