The Belizean Journey continues through the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve
After a thrilling tour through San Ignacio, Jose and Monica Irauzqui headed to the forests of the Mountain Pine Ridge. Predominantly pine forest, the reserve is located in the Cayo District full of endless flora and fauna. The Mountain Pine Ridge has poorly defined boundaries, but the Macal River generally lines the west and the south, while the North-east border is often identified around Barton’s Creek.
For their love of the wild, the Yampu Founders stayed at the Hidden Valley Inn. An intimate luxury resort, it is located on a vast private reserve. As soon as they walked onto the property, Monica said the resort had a very “homey” feel. With 10 rooms, and 2 estate suites, the Hidden Valley Inn provides rest and relaxation with hanging orchards, handsome mahogany and leather furnishings. With plush bedding, each room has a king or queen size bed, a full shower/bath, and fantastic fireside seating. With a step up to the estate suites, visitors will enjoy an elaborate fireplace, outdoor shower, and private screened in porch. All accommodations are comfortable with ceiling fans and Wi-Fi.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Hidden Valley Inn were various excursions available, to take advantage of the Mountain Pine Ridge area. The most romantic and beautiful attractions are the dozens of waterfalls that poetically fall throughout the reserve. Jose and Monica were most impressed by the private waterfall hikes. It’s not everywhere you can “Rent a Waterfall”, but Hidden Valley Inn has cracked into such an industry. The Secret Falls and Pool is an oasis, secluded under a jungle canopy, which can be rented for private use. With a slate floor alongside the crystal water, you can sit under a thatched roof for a champagne picnic. The waterfall is free to swim in, while climbing on surrounding rocks in complete solitude. Dry off while swaying in the hammock, all protected by a large Do Not Disturb Sign hung up by the distant entrance. It would be difficult for any wedding or honeymoon destination to compete with it.
Another amazing attribute that the Hidden Valley Inn has to offer are the 100’s of walking/hiking trails throughout the reserve. Monica thought they were impeccably kept, and maintained through beautiful terrain. Here, she was able to take advantage of the fantastic birdwatching opportunities. Bouncing around branches full of blossoms, the various bird species gave life to the jungle green. Along with this, there were endless activities on the reserve. From hiking past waterfalls, to embracing the mystery of Mayan archaeological sites, both full day hiking and biking tours are available. The Inn also provides canoe tours, horseback riding, zip-lining, and a beautiful butterfly farm where you can once again see the majestic Belizean Blue. With an airstrip on the property, The Hidden Valley Inn is an accessible and beautiful resort to really appreciate the jungle forest.
From here, the Yampu Founders continued on to their next jungle immersion. The duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge is a small eco-resort nestled on the banks of the Macal River. On 100 acres of plush tropical forests, Monica couldn’t describe the property as anything but “stunning”.
One of the most attractive qualities of duPlooy’s is the Belize Botanical Gardens. With 45 acres of both native and exotic plants, the BBG has over 300 species of orchids in the Native Orchid House. With extensive knowledge on ancient Mayan culture, take a spin around the plants that were used for healing the sick, praying to the gods, and surviving the forests. The BBG not only encourages sustainability, but maintains one of the most fantastic gardens throughout Belize.
Past the captivating setting of flora, duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge offers a variety of fun and friendly accommodations. With 9 Jungle Lodges, 3 Bungalows, 1 Casita, and 1 River House the rooms provide an ambiance of comfort with screened window, screened porches with hammocks, and ceiling fans. With beautiful stone walkways at treetop levels, there are endless bird watching opportunities, and chances to see the plethora of wildlife on site. You can explore the property on horseback, canoe down the Macal River, or explore the nearby caves that tell a story of ancient history. The lodge has a great bar and restaurant, with a wrap-around deck that overlooks the river. With such a beautiful piece of property, it was difficult for Jose and Monica to waste any time not experiencing all the lodge had to offer!
Before their last transfer over to Ambergris Caye, the Yampu Founders were thrilled with their exploration through the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. Not only would they be anxious to send future clients to such a destination, but they were certain they would return themselves!