*Disclaimer: I was super fortunate to be hosted by the Cotton Tree Lodge during my stay. As always, all experiences, photos, thoughts and opinions are all my own!
When I stayed in an island cabana amidst the jungles of Thailand, I thought ‘this is it, it can’t get any better than this.’
Boy, was I wrong!
Last fall, I was approached by Jeff, the owner of the Cotton Tree Lodge, asking if I’d like to visit Belize and stay with them for a few days. I jumped on the opportunity as quickly as I could!
An eco-adventure resort located on the Moho River in the southern jungles of Belize, the Cotton Tree Lodge is paving the way for accommodations of their kind, offering farm to table food, Mayan-inspired thatch-roofed cabanas, all-inclusive meals, and daily adventure tours, all in the most picturesque atmosphere.
I flew with United Airlines on a direct flight from Chicago to the Phillip Goldson International Airport (BZE). The easiest way to get to the Cotton Tree Lodge is to then fly one of the domestic airlines (Tropic Air or Maya Island Air) to Punta Gorda. The lodge can pick you up from there.
Another option to get to the Cotton Tree Lodge is to take the bus service. It’s fairly cheap (about $12 USD) but there’s no air-con, seats are usually almost full and the ride will take no less than 6 hours.
Click here for a bus schedule.
We went the more convenient (but not cheaper!) route and rented a car from the BZE Airport through Dollar Rental. The drive took around 5 – 5 1/2 hours in total.
I’ll admit, it does get a bit intimidating as you get further south into Belize. The roads transition into dirt pathways filled completely with pot-holes as it winds around old villages but the scenery is breathtaking!
Read More: Renting a Car in Belize: Costs + Tips
The Cotton Tree Lodge offers a variety of cabana accommodations to suit the needs of their guests. As a couple, try out the honeymoon cabana or take your family into the 2 bedroom suite, view the jungle in the garden vista, adventure onto the water in the boat cabana or soak in the Moho River in the waterfront cabana, where I was lucky enough to stay!
The cabanas are directly designed to masque the traditional Mayan-thatched homes located in this district of Southern Belize and all include the most comfortable hammock to lounge in.
Beautiful rosewood decorates the windows and doors as the local sapodilla and Santa Maria woods make up the flooring and boardwalks. The hand-crafted bedspreads and pillowcases were made by local Mayan women and the furniture was constructed by a carpenter from a nearby village.
The bathrooms are entirely eco-friendly with a UV-triple filtered shower that pumps from the Moho River. The toilets flush into a composting system where the wastewater flows into a septic and then empties into a field. Roots of banana trees absorb the water and nutrients to ensure that the land and river are waste-free. Electricity is ran off a combination of solar panels, batteries and diesel generators and fresh drinking water is provided daily.
How To Spend a Day at the Lodge
Adventure tours are offered daily at the lodge, which can all be prearranged the day before. If you purchase an all-inclusive package through Cotton Tree, daily adventures are included. Activities range from chocolate-making to fishing on the Caribbean, sunset cruises on the Moho River, shopping at local markets and overnight jungle survival, just to name a few.
Read More: Nim Li Punit Mayan Ruins / Lubaantun Mayan Ruins
If you want to spend a full day at the lodge, let me show you the perfect way to do so:
Wake up at 6 am to enjoy the beautiful sunrise over the Moho River.
Walk over to the Gazebo at 7 am to catch a yoga session. A class is held Tuesday through Saturday and mats are also available to use anytime for stretching while looking out the gorgeous views at the Moho River.
Grab a bite to eat from the breakfast buffet then take your coffee down by the river to enjoy a peaceful atmosphere.
The dock is also an awesome place to lay for sunbathing and the rope swing offers the ideal adventure to cool-down on a hot day.
After a dip in the river, grab some kayaks and explore down the winding waterway.
Once you’ve kayaked your little heart out, walk on over to the massive 100 plus year old Cotton Tree that the lodge is named after.
Waltz around the pristinely-maintained grounds of Cotton Tree and relish in the lush greenery, a breath of fresh air after flying in from the snowy midwest!
Don’t forget to give sweet boy Tucker, Cotton Tree Lodge’s dog, some lovin’! (He will be sure you don’t forget about him!)
Next on the list is visiting Cotton Tree’s organic garden. Most of the ingredients used in the meals prepared for the guests come directly from this area and, if you visit before 4 pm, the gardener can show you around!
Snag some rubber boots from the front desk and rub on the bug spray to hike the grounds surrounding the Cotton Tree Lodge. The mountainous jungle environment is like something out of a Jurassic Park movie!
After that long hike, head on down to a massage at the spa to the right of the Gazebo. A 10 minute complimentary massage is offered after check-in and you can extend that by purchasing from a menu of various services.
By this time, the sun may be setting over the River and what a beautiful sight it is over that crystal clear water.
If you’re lucky enough, you may catch a glimpse of a family of howler monkeys in the trees!
Once the sun goes down, walk up the pathway to the Main Lodge and have a drink at the bar to wind down before dinner!
Farm to Table Food
Cotton Tree Lodge offers breakfast, lunch and dinner every day with ingredients directly from their organic garden, like fruits from trees and root vegetables. The Lodge also operates a small farm with free-range chickens, goats for meat and dairy and pigs to cure their own bacon.
I am a very light eater so I actually only ate dinner during our stay but it was definitely unique! The four-course meal starts off with soup, then a salad, the main course and dessert. Mostly everything served at the Cotton Tree Lodge comes from within a 10 mile radius.
After spending the most glorious and relaxing day at the Cotton Tree Lodge, retreat back to your cabana and fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the jungle bugs and tropical birds singing their tunes.
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