Belize has no shortage of panoramic vistas dusting its landscapes, picture-ready for curious travelers. One particular region nature-lovers can’t resist exploring is the Mountain Pine Ridge area in the jungle-clad Western Belize. The forest reserve spans more than 1,000 square miles, offering ample room for adventures. From hosting jaguars, ocelots, and hundreds of bird species to holding gushing waterfalls and creeks in its nook and crannies. Pine Ridge, as locals call it, is a treasure trove of experiences, and the best way to experience it is by staying at a jungle lodge in the area. If you find yourself venturing to the rainforests of Mountain Pine Ridge determined for a memorable vacation, take your pick from any of these leading Belize eco-lodges.
For those looking for privacy tucked within pine forests and rolling valleys, look no further than Gaia Riverlodge. The luxe jungle lodge, aptly named after the Greek Goddess of Earth, is easily accessible yet hard to leave. Within its green confines, you’ll find wooden cabanas overlooking the resort’s stunning on-site waterfall. The Five Sisters Waterfall is easily one of Gaia’s most spectacular highlights.
Guests have the privilege to venture to the cliffside waterfall via a hydro-powered trolley and spend the day lounging at the base of the cascades. Once it’s time to retreat, a cloud-soft bed awaits in the rustic-chic cabanas. No matter where you find yourself at Gaia, whether at the cliff-top restaurant, the organic garden, or the small “island” by the waterfall, the views are unparalleled to anything else in Belize.
Francis Ford Coppola’s keen taste extends further than film masterpieces. The auteur also made the right decision in opening Blancaneaux Lodge deep within the Belizean Jungle back in the early ’90s. Now, the hideaway is enjoyed by both high-profile travelers and residents alike. Twenty luxury rooms don the lodge’s vast green property, with carefully selected tasteful pieces of art and architecture.
The Privassion Creek runs alongside Blancaneaux’s property offering guests a refreshing respite from the tropical warmth. When staying at the lodge’s Enchanted Cottage, expect to be wowed by the steep forested bluff just a few yards away from the patio. No matter what dwelling you choose, each room serves as a haven for those looking for an escape from the mundane.
Home to the beloved Butterfly Falls, Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve sits on unspoiled territory within the Mountain Pine Ridge region. Travelers can explore happily at the many lookouts, creeks, and hidden waterfalls tucked within the property. Apart from having a homey feel – the inn was once a vacation home for its original owners – Hidden Valley sits on a vast 7,200-acre reserve, replete with wildlife and broadleaf trees.
Many travelers opt for Hidden Valley for weekend trips away from the nearby town of San Ignacio. With a lack of noise and light pollution, Hidden Valley is ideal for detoxing from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Visiting Belize without exploring Mountain Pine Ridge could be considered a downright shame, especially for those that consider themselves eco-travelers. Whether you choose a waterfall-centric resort, a laid-back family stay, or a cinematic jungle escape, there’s no wrong choice.