There’s a saying in southern Belize that goes, “Rain can’t stop the reggae jam.” My husband and I learned this saying—and just how true it is—as we swayed in a hammock, sipping on a locally brewed beer, snacking on plantain chips and fresh salsa, waiting for the morning shower to pass. When the rain let up and we had finished feeding the iguanas, we got back on the boat and went snorkeling with the chef from Belcampo Lodge. He helped us pull up several conchs from the ocean floor. As we made our way back to the lodge, he made the conchs into the freshest ceviche we’d ever had.
It was just another Tuesday at Belcampo Lodge in Punta Gorda, Belize.
Just a few years ago, Belcampo was a fishing lodge, but in 2009, it was made over into a luxury agri-tourism resort—a perfect place for honeymooners with a sense of adventure and a desire to completely escape the daily grind. Secluded within a 12,000-acre jungle preserve, the lodge offers stunning views of lush greenery and the chance to interact with nature. The intimate resort’s 16 suites are spacious—the lovely showers boast jungle views—and intentionally sparse. Though web access is available in the lobby/dining room, guest rooms have no TV or Internet—a welcome lack of distractions that only enhances the romantic appeal of this tranquil escape.
If the post-nuptial bliss you’re sure to experience here isn’t enough, get ready to fall in love with the cuisine. The food is all locally sourced, with many ingredients grown on-site on the farm that produces more than 100 crops including sugar cane, cacao, coffee, and vanilla. The staff is developing extensive chocolate and coffee programs, both of which guests can sample during their stay, and there are plans to begin producing rum using the sugar cane, as well.
What can’t be procured on Belcampo’s grounds is obtained from nearby sources. One day, after an early-morning rain, we saw the kitchen staff leaving with machetes. They returned a few hours later with buckets of beautiful blue crab, which became part of our salads at dinner. The meals are a mixture of cuisines from Mayan, Creole, Mexican, East Indian, and Garifuna cultures. Over breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, we found ourselves talking to other lodge guests and comparing notes about our days, recommending experiences that we couldn’t miss out on, and sharing chocolate we had made earlier that day. We also got to know the welcoming staff, who shared with us stories of the region’s past and even invited us to join their afternoon game of basketball.
The range of activities, mouthwatering food, and friendly staff at Belcampo leads to an experience that can be described in one word: authentic. The region dates back to 600 AD, and much of the land has remained untouched over the years, so there’s plenty of exploring to be done. The lodge is perfectly positioned for both ocean or inland adventures, with guides available at the lodge. One of our guides, Brandon, told us all about the history of the villages in the Toledo region as he drove us to see some Mayan ruins. That afternoon, we had lunch at a Mayan family’s home, and they accompanied us through the rainforest as we made our way to a cave to go swimming. Our trip was a true cultural immersion.
But perhaps what we loved most about Belcampo Lodge is the people we became while we were there—a couple that was bold, refreshed, connected. Belcampo is the kind of place where you throw caution to the wind and seek adventure, but it’s also the kind of place where your daily life’s distractions are removed, leaving you to focus solely on the person you’re with.
And don’t worry if it rains: The reggae jam will continue.