Roadtrip to San Ignacio ! Day 1: Bocawina Waterfalls & Maya Mountain Lodge

Roadtrip to San Ignacio ! Day 1: Bocawina Waterfalls & Maya Mountain Lodge

 

 

Having my youngest son in town visiting for a week was the perfect excuse to head to the Cayo district to explore this beautiful region of Belize.  His interest in nutrition, organic foods and farming makes this the ideal place to  experience the natural, healthy options this country has to offer.
Our tentative plan is to travel from Placencia to San Ignacio through the Maya mountain region  via the Hummingbird Highway.  A beautiful trip through the mountains, the capital city of Belmopan and on into San Ignacio on the western border should be about 3 1/2 hours. About an hour into the trip, we see Bocawina National Park & waterfalls… 4 miles.  How can we just pass this up and not take a quick look?  Famous last words!
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A relatively easy drive down the bumpy gravel road to the entrance of the park.  Beautiful!  well, we came this far, we have to hike up a little just to see the falls.  The park attendant said its a beautiful hike. He didn’t seem to make it sound very difficult, just a short hike, then nice swim in the falls.  I now wonder what they were thinking… as we wandered off into the jungle in our sandals, shorts and swimsuit tops…..no boots, no long pants, no bug spray…..oh those tourists!20160909_1712351

Four hours later we “stumble” back into our car, we have accomplished the most strenuous feat I have ever attempted!  After about a mile into the hike, the trails turn into steep steps with ropes attached.  Yes, to pull yourself up, one by one For the next 30 minutes, you are grabbing at the ropes attempting to balance on the steps and avoid falling down the side of the mountain.   This was suppose to be just a quick stop on our way to San Ignacio!! At this point, it’s a mind game, as your mind is saying..”you’ve come this far you can’t turn back now”.. and your body is saying….”WHAT the HELL!!

Bocawina National Park Waterfalls
Bocawina National Park Waterfalls

 

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This made it worth the hike!
This made it worth the hike!

Once we arrived at the top, the views were breathtaking with a great swimming hole at the base of the falls.  There are numerous tour companies that have guided day trips to this park and region, but it’s also easily accessibly off the southern highway about an hour out of Placencia,  if you are driving through the area.  Park fees were $10 BZ  ($5 US).  Continue past the park entrance for guided zip lining and waterfall rappeling options.  This is definitely something I would recommend, although it was a great challenge for a 55yr old with a knee replacement…..and I made it.  The younger fit and energetic crowd will love it!!

Ok, back in the car headed to San Ignacio.  Here are a few of the sights along the way…20160909_1110081

Day Trip from Placencia!

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MAYA MOUNTAIN LODGE & WELLNESS CENTER

Obviously this “detour” extended our time arriving into San Ignacio, but we easily arrived before dark and were able to find our jungle lodge with no problems.  Maya Mountain Lodge just on the outskirts of San Ignacio/Santa Elena is a perfect spot for easy access to all the Cayo district has to offer.

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Having eight individual cabanas, pool, beautiful landscaped gardens and on-site restaurant, in addition to a wellness center, you can’t go wrong with this option.  Visiting the area in the slow season of September has both advantages and disadvantages.  While you can find very reasonable rates at most resorts and minimal tourists at this time, you’ll also find several places are closed for the a few weeks to allow employees time off and to prepare their facilities for the upcoming high season. But at the lodge, the slow season was wonderful, as we had lots of time and space to relax by the pool, enjoy quiet evenings for dinner and explore the beautiful gardens throughout the lodge.  The herb garden is wonderful and supplies many of the herbs for the delicious dinners in the lodge dining room.

The location of this lodge allows great easy access to anything you may want to do downtown, but gives you the peacefulness and ambience of a classic jungle atmosphere.  Their addition of the Wellness Center provides numerous options for  health and wellness services from counseling to spa treatments and massages onsite.  Healthy organic Belizean meals are served in the lodge restaurant.  Making it very convenient to stay onsite for the evening meals rather than venture back out after a day of tours or sightseeing.  Relaxing in the pool, or several hammocks is also an option for an afternoon of relaxation.  Coffee and afternoon snack is served daily in the lounge at 5pm, with dinner service around 6:30.  We enjoyed great conversation around dinner with Bart the owner, who was very knowledgeable about the area, the Maya culture and the Wellness Center.  Offering tours to Maya ruins, caves, nature walks and waterfalls, provides something for everyone.

The options for dinners were wonderful and they served some of the best authentic Belizean food we have found.  Healthy, organic and so well prepared, making for a great end to our perfect days spent at this lovely piece of paradise in the jungle. The employees are awesome and make every effort to ensure you are well taken care of and have any of your needs addressed. From tours around the property, to brewing some lemongrass tea, fresh from the herb garden….they take care of you.

av Maya Mountain Lodge
Pool at Maya Mountain Lodge
Pool at Maya Mountain Lodge

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Beautiful Garden area leading to restaurant
Beautiful Garden area leading to restaurant

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Maya Mountain Lodge
Dining & Hammocks on porch!

 

So, if you’re looking for a great jungle lodge with a perfect location just on the outskirts of San Ignacio town, you’ll have easy access to all the tours and options the area has to offer.  The prices are reasonable, the food is fabulous and the employees make you feel a part of the family.  You will not be disappointed with Maya Mountain Lodge!
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