By Lyn and Arthur Dobrin
What can you expect on a honeymoon in Belize? Stunning beach resorts on warm and calm turquoise waters, secluded inns in the bird-filled jungle, and majestic ruins of a once-mighty empire you can practically explore alone on a steamy honeymoon afternoon.
Aside from its natural attractions, Belize has other things going for it for it as a honeymoon destination. As the former British Honduras, English is the official language of Belize and it is spoken everywhere. Dollars are accepted and the exchange rate is simple: two Belizean dollars for one United States dollar.
In this Central American country we encountered no hassles with peddlers or hawkers on our trip, not at the beach or anywhere else in Belize. Service is unfailingly polite and everyone we met at hotels and restaurants introduced themselves, extended a hand in friendship, and asked and remembered our names. Water is either treated or comes from wells, so it is generally unnecessary to use bottled water in Belize.
The beer lover amongst us declared the local brew a Pilsner as very good, particularly on tap. The fish lover feasted on shrimp, lobster, grouper, and snapper.
From beginning to end, Belize provided a sense of comfort and ease. Although the temperature reached 100 degrees on two days, the breezes, swims in rivers, pools and oceans, fans and the occasional air-conditioner tamed even the most torrid honeymoon heat.
The Jungle in Belize
We began our stay in Belize at Five Sisters Lodge, a 2 1/2-hour ride from Belize Citys international airport. This resort sits along a rivers edge in Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, the nations largest protected area. On one side of Privassion Creek is a forest of Caribbean evergreens. On the other, a subtropical rain forest.
The southern pine bark beetle had devastated much of the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, so we were afraid our lodge would be on barren land. However, great diligence on the part of the land owner has kept the beetle from the hotel grounds and the area surrounding it. On the property, it is lush and green.
We lodged in the new riverside villa two buildings, connected by a deck. One is sleeping quarters, the other the kitchen and living room, perfect for a honeymoon couple. Both buildings have hammocks, spacious wraparound screened porches, roofs thatched in the traditional Mayan manner with a bay leaf roof, and walls made of pimento sticks. Hardwood floors shine and furniture is carved from locally harvested mahogany.
The villa is completely private, around the bend of the river from where guests swim in the natural pools formed by the five waterfalls, hence the name Five Sisters. At the foot of the falls is a small island with a gazebo, a popular spot for wedding ceremonies and pre-honeymoon receptions. We bathed in our own section of the river and slept with windows open and the ceiling fan slowly twirling.
We enjoyed reading remarks of previous honeymoon couples in the comment book in our living room. A Kansas City, Missouri, groom wrote:
- I could spend weeks here. Parrots and toucans and my beautiful wife!
- Yes, we are the same couple of the previous page. This is such a beautiful place that after a few days at the beach, we decided to come back and enjoy the rest of our honeymoon at Five Sisters.
We, too, wanted to spot Belizes national bird, the toucan, but not yet. That would have to wait until our last day in Belize, when we returned to the jungle. Now we were content to listen to their calls from the green trees and delight in flitting hummingbirds. This we did at breakfast, on the deck of the hilltop restaurant, at the outdoor table where we had savored a candle-lit dinner the night before. Honeymoon couples and other guests may have meals brought to their villa, which Five Sisters is happy to do. We were just as happy to soak in the beauty with guests from the other 14 units in the lodge.
We had dinner two miles down the road from Five Sisters, at Blancaneaux Lodge, one of three Francis Ford Coppola resorts in Central America. Coppola built up Mr. Blancaneaux s original jungle hunting lodge, bringing in splashes of Polynesian and local decor spiced with Italian cuisine.
Freshness and quality food is assured, since Blancaneaux runs its own organic farm. We ate on the terrace, overlooking the creek below and just above a natural hot pool. For those who arent sufficiently relaxed, a garden spa offers a Thai massage.