Belize is the rare stretch of land that seems to have lucked out into practically perfect geographic conditions. Found between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize is accessible to people throughout North and South America. To the east the country melts into the Caribbean Sea, along with over 400 islands and the world’s second largest barrier reef. To the west sits a former seat of imperial power and a wealth of forests, mountains, and rivers made healthy and rich by their proximity to the Equator. The Mayas understood the importance of this wild frontier — and it’s still home to some of the most well-preserved sites and some of the best outdoor adventure opportunities in Central America.
If you want to make the most of everything Belize has to offer — of reefs, ruins, and rainforests — there’s only one best option for you. The sister resorts of GAÏA Riverlodge and Matachica can provide you with any experience you want whether that takes the form of a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a solitary retreat from the ordinary.
The staff at GAÏA Riverlodge understand that people come to Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve to get closer to nature — and their Lodge has been designed to stay out of the way of nature as much as possible. A short hour drive from San Ignacio, this resort is nestled among some of Central America’s most lush and vibrant rainforest, and it’s designed to be both private and sustainable. The thatched roof accommodations are designed to melt right into the landscape around them, and many of the fruits and vegetables used on the property are grown in the Riverlodge’s own garden. But every aspect of their supply chain is built on sustainable practices and a focus on making the most of local farmers.
This back to nature approach doesn’t mean that you need to rough it however. All of the accommodations you could want in a luxury resort are available, and the farm-to-table experience is a perfect embodiment of how GAÏA fuses modernity with unspoiled nature. You can enjoy your afternoon on the patio overlooking some of Belize’s most beautiful rainforest, feasting on fresh and delicious food that mixes traditional Belizean dishes with modern sensibilities.
The sister resort of Matachica is equally as devoted to ensuring that guests have as immersive and natural an experience as possible, but it promises adventures and relaxation on the beach rather than in the jungle. The accommodations are right on the beach, allowing you to walk right out onto the sandy and palm tree-lined shore. Each of these thatched cabanas is designed to blend in with the environment will offering as much privacy for each guest as possible.
You couldn’t find a better choice for a beach retreat. Matachica is a short distance from San Pedro — a bustling beach town on the popular island of Ambergris Caye. It’s a popular destination for tourists and leaves with you easy access to all the adventures and excursions you’d want to experience on the Caribbean Sea. But you wouldn’t even know you’re in one of Belize’s most popular travel destinations while you’re on the Matachica property. Each of the 32 villas has its own unique vibe and looks to create rooms that are as welcoming as they are secluded. You can fill your belly every meal at Mambo — their restaurant that combines fresh ingredients pulled from the Caribbean Sea with the classical French influence of its chefs.
There’s no reason you need to choose one or the other. Matachica and GAÏA each offer the best of their respective worlds, and the reef and rainforest package allows you to see exactly what each of these resorts have to offer. The package is all-inclusive, so you can just kick back and enjoy your trip without having to worry about where you’re going or how you’re going to get there — but you can be sure that you’ll be making the most of your time at both resorts.
For GAÏA Riverlodge, that includes a spacious cabana with a full view of the mountains and a rum punch to welcome you to your room. The ancient Maya city of Caracol is accompanied by trips to both Rio Frio and Barton Creek caves — and you can choose an activity level that’s right for you with options for both zip lining and butterfly watching.
Your stay at Matachica will be just as focused on giving you everything you could hope for. Each guest will get a full hour of aromatherapy as well as snorkeling expeditions at both Shark Ray Alley and Hol Chan — two of the coolest aquatic nature reserves in the Caribbean Sea.