For travelers who find in Belize the ideal combination of size, proximity, and language ease, reading about the nation’s jungle is indeed a treat, and sojourning at a retreat that’s tucked into a jungle is a truly remarkable experience. Visitors find themselves immersed in greenery, wildlife spottings, and an absence of noise outside those made by breezes and birds. But did you know that despite its small size, Belize is also home to the oldest and largest forest, too? Sprawling across 300 square miles, Mountain Pine Ridge is a testament to evergreen trees, so if you visit, you’ll trade palm fronds for pine needles and the sweet fragrance that pervades this protected landscape.
Bucolic rivers, streams, waterfalls, and pools are jewels set within the crown of this protected woodland that, for some, is equally as important as the nation’s #1 claim to fame: the Belize Barrier Reef. Amid this splendor stands the Hidden Valley Inn, a rustic homage to Mother Nature built to accommodate small numbers of guests and offer them a different face of Belize.
Just named a 2022 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice destination, the Inn is unlike your typical Belize resort, and that’s the point. This forested haven is comprised of one estate lodge and six cottages, each encircling the lodge and strategically placed for maximum comfort and privacy. Within the lodge, the ambiance is exquisite. Fireplaces and a beautifully appointed bar adjoining a stone terrace host the resort’s swimming pool. This epicenter of hospitality invites guests to enjoy amenities when they’re not roaming the landscape.
In addition to those sweet-smelling pines, the property is awash in lush blooms including orchids, lilies, and bromeliads. Everywhere you look you’ll discover this abundance of beauty, but when night falls, guests are invited to reserve the Inn’s outdoor Jacuzzi. If you’ve never relaxed in a soothing enclave of water beneath a sky full of stars, this could be your favorite part of your sojourn.
Eat, drink and be merry
As befits a luxury property, Hidden Valley Inn and Reserve takes care of every guest’s needs and desires. For example, the onsite eatery is home to an especially tasty menu that is a fusion of Mayan and Mestizo cuisine and all the produce you’ll find on your plate has been grown on-premises or hand-picked on the day of preparation by the chef from San Ignacio and Spanish Lookout markets.
Bread and sweets are made daily in the Inn’s kitchen, and pair well with Hidden Valley Inn coffee that is grown, harvested and ground on site. You may wish to grab a snack before you peruse this resort web page to get a taste of what you can expect from the kitchen and bar.
Wait until you check out the onsite amenities that are guaranteed to convince you that ordinary beach vacation in Belize can’t hold a candle to your stay at Hidden Valley. Frequent guests call these perks breathtaking; you’ll feel the same way. With so much to do, leaving the premises can be hard to do – but knowing what awaits throughout the reserve is going to send you in search of the hiking shoes you brought along as you prepare to discover Eden.
How much time do you have to devote to your visit? We ask because there are 7,200 acres of wilderness encompassing the resort and you’re going to want to eat big breakfasts if you’ve set an ambitious itinerary to take in as much of the reserve during your stay as time allows.
Bring sunglasses, a hat, and sunblock to explore well-marked trails, bubbling creeks, and magazine-worthy waterfalls, and see how many of the 81 species of orchids growing on the reserve you can spot. Will you spy a native cat or a raptor along these well-groomed trails? Perhaps. All manner of wildlife thrives throughout the forest so keep your eyes peeled on the ground, the trees, and the air above.
From specially curated wildlife adventure itineraries to Maya ruins and from romantic packages designed just for couples besotted with each other, you’ll be impressed by the variety of tours, excursions, and special interest activities available to you as a guest, but if you’re a skeptic, we recommend this short video that gives you a tour of “the other face of Belize”.
Did you watch it more than once? You’re not alone. Have we convinced you that this nation is so much more than beaches? You’ll want to choose and book your dates now to make sure there’s “room at the Inn” when you most want to escape the ordinary!