When I started planning my trip to Belize, pictures of beautiful beaches and ocean adventures filled my screen. Thatâ€™s what we all know about Belize, itâ€™s near the Caribbean and home to the largest living barrier reef in the world. But Belize is so much more than that.
As I continued my research, I found out that over 60% of Belize is covered in jungle, much of it protected, including the worldâ€™s first jaguar sanctuary at Cockscomb Basin. Now I was really intrigued. Who knew you could get jungle and beach in one easy vacation?
A few hours of surfing the web, I had my list of must-doâ€™s in Belize, specifically the Cayo District.
- Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Reserve
- Xunauntunich, ancient Maya site (not â€œruin,â€ as I learned)
- Zip Lining
- ATM Cave (Actun Tunichil Muknal)
Turns out none of my personal â€œmust-doâ€™sâ€ required a beach or ocean. Equipped with my adventure list, I stumbled upon Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge, a Muyâ€™Ono Resort in San Ignacio and knew that was the perfect fit. Not only would I be able to visit Xunanutnich, but I would be able to ride a horse there, itâ€™s that close to the lodge.
The trip finally arrived, and I anxiously awaited our landing in Belize City. Once there, I quickly found my personal driver from Sweet Songs to whisk me away to my jungle paradise! A quick hour-long ride in the lodgeâ€™s land cruiser and I was there. Welcomed by daisies and a beautiful botanical garden.
Day 1: Zip Lining and swimming at Big Rock Falls
Day one started with a delicious breakfast and a plan to explore. This day we were going zip lining. I geared up and hopped in the land cruiser to head to the lodgeâ€™s favorite zip line, Calico Jackâ€™s. Close to Sweet Songs, we didnâ€™t have to travel far. The experience was everything I hoped. Pure adrenaline and picturesque views.
Right when I thought it couldnâ€™t get any better, they asked if I wanted to add anything on to the excursion: canoeing through Barton Creek Cave, Xunantunich or Cahal Pech Maya site, a swim in Big Rock Falls, Green Hills Butterfly Ranch, a Maya chocolate-making demonstration, or a stop at the Green Iguana project.
Whoa â€“ that was a lot of options. I decided a swim at Big Rock Falls was the perfect end to my first day adventuring.
Day 2: Horseback riding and Xunantunich
Day two came quickly and I was excited. Day two was the day of exploring Xunantunich on horseback. I headed to the lodgeâ€™s stables and hand-selected my horse for the day. Buttercup and I seemed like a good fit.
After the other guests got settled, we started our ride. Beautiful jungle trails and opportunities to run made this an exciting adventure for both new and experienced riders. As the trail opened, we saw a road, market, and river ahead. We dismounted and walked our horses to the water trolley. Almost there!
The walk into Xunantunich was magical. Monkeys hanging from the trees greeted us as we entered the ancient civilization. We hiked through the site and viewed many well-preserved structures, including ritual spaces and a burial chamber. We were introduced to ancient cultures and even learned about an ancient game the Mayan used to play. The group was getting a little tired, so we opted to take the van back and bid our horses goodbye.
Upon returning to the lodge, we grabbed dinner and ate quickly. We didnâ€™t want to miss the beach bonfire happening just along the riverâ€™s edge. A few Belikin beers and ghost stories later, I headed to bed.
Day 3: Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM Cave)
Day three was eye-opening. We were feeling adventurous and planned an excursion to Actun Tunichil Muknal cave. Otherwise known as ATM, this cave provides an unforgettable look at the Maya Underworld. We met the ancient Maya in the skeletal remains with bulbous craniums, flattened foreheads and filed teeth with jade inlays. We walked through rivers and crawled through the cave in just our socks. This adventure wasnâ€™t for the faint of heart, but wow, was it worth all the effort.
Day 4: Belize Botanic Gardens and bird watching
Day four came around and all I wanted to do was explore the lodge. I walked through the Belize Botanic Garden, floated along the river with the complimentary tubes provided, and created my own bird walk through the trails. A birding tour was available, but I saw so many on my own, I never made it back to the adventure desk to book my tour!
After four days of adventures in Belize, it was time to go home. I never made it to Cockscomb Basin, but I promised I would be back soon. I left Belize feeling very adventurous, but also cultured. I hadn’t expected to learn so much and to be so interested in the ancient cultures. Belize is such a special place with so many opportunities to be adventurous, relax, explore, and learn. I canâ€™t wait to return!
Where to stay in Cayo, Belize?
Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge, formerly know as duPlooyâ€™s Jungle Lodge, is one of the top resorts in Belize. For those looking to be close to adventures in Belize, Sweet Songs is your gateway to ancient Maya sites, incredible bird watching, and some of the best activities to do in Belize.
Where is Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge?
Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge is located 1.4 kilometers off the Western Highway in the direction of the Western Border. The distance from the nearest village, San Jose Succotz, to the entrance of the road to Sweet Songs is just 2.3 kilometers.
How to get to Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge?
Getting to Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge is fairly easy. You can take a flight via Tropic Air to the Maya Flats Airstrip that is close by and take a 2-minute walk to Sweet Songs. You can also arrange a pick up from the Philip Goldson International Airport with Sweet Songs.
What is the cost of pick-up/drop off to Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge?
Guests that book a vacation package at Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge is charged $25 USD per person for a VIP arrival service while guests who are only interested in the land transfer is charged $75 USD per person each way.