Sleeping Giant Lodge in Belmopan, Belize is a perfect getaway in the Jungle: Haute Travel

I recently visited the Sleeping Giant lodge in Belmopan, Belize, which is situated in the middle of a stretch of rainforest/jungle.  Many travelers visit this area, known as the Cayo district, to take on nature, through jungle hikes and outdoor sports and adventures.  Many even sleep in a rainforest canopy, high in the trees. 

My friends and I picked an excursion from Living Social, which included 3 nights at the Sleeping Giant Lodge, not really knowing what to expect.  What we got was a lovely Spanish-style lodge, surrounded by smaller casitas, on a huge piece of jungle property on the Sibun River.  The property featured free kayaking, biking (through an orchard where our guide picked fresh citrus for us) and hiking.  We toured with Orlin, a young but experienced and knowledgable guide, whose attentiveness made us feel extremely welcome. 

We made it through the week on the meal plan at Sleeping Giant, which was delicious.  We loved trying fresh fruit pancakes for breakfast, and different soups and belizian specialities for lunch and dinner. We hung out at the bar (in the lodge) most evenings with the two house bartenders, Swift and Andy, who made the experience fun and entertaining.  The lodge also houses rooms, and two open-air dining areas.  We were able to eat and drink without having to worry, because everything was disinfected and clean for tourists.

We also visited the nearby Caves Branch which was a great addition to the trip, as we got to try cave river tubing and ziplining.  

Belmopan is a great adventure destination, and the Sleeping Giant Lodge is a luxurious destination in the region.  I would recommend it to anyone looking for luxury and adventure on your next trip!


Tikal, Guatemala is a must see historical site: Haute Travel

I recently visited the expansive Mayan archaeological site at Tikal, Guatemala during a vacation to Central America.  This was an amazing experience, from hiking through the massive ruins, to climbing the temples, and finally to watching the sunset from Temple IV.

We started our trip out in Flores, Guatemala which is a neighboring town to Tikal (there are a few hotels in Tikal, but the nearest airport is in Flores).  We chose to fly to Flores from Belize, rather than drive, which was a good decision in that it saved us a lot of time and allowed us to explore a new city.  (Note: Guatemala was extremely budget friendly in general for food and drink, which was a great treat)

We hired a private tour ($90 USD each) to drive us to/from Tikal from Flores, and got to stop and have a traditional Guatemalan lunch of corn soup, veggies, and chicken with corn tortillas.  We then headed to the site, picking late afternoon so we could catch a sunset, and hiked to the temples and main ruin areas.  This is a relatively easy hike (unless you climb the temples, then moderate), as each temple is located 15 – 20 min away, and you have to hike through jungle paths (though the signage was very limited in the park).  Our guide, Carlos, is a 35 year veteran of Tikal, and was a great source of knowledge and information on the site, the history of the area, and ancient Mayan traditions.  He even had an in with the guards, who let us around Temple IV so we could catch the setting sun on our way out.

My favorite parts of this excursion were catching the temple tops of the trees from Temple IV, and discovering the ruins as we walked through them.  A word to the wise though, if catching a sunset, make sure you have a flashlight on you.  We luckily had iPhone flashlights and were able to make the 30 min hike out of the jungle ok, though without it was literally pitch black!  See below for a quick list of things to bring on a visit to Tikal.

Things to take if visiting Tikal:

  1. Bottled Water (very limited other than at the main entrance)
  2. 3M Ultrathon Bug Repellant (or other)
  3. Comfy/hiking clothes
  4. Hiking Shoes
  5. A light snack like trail mix
  6. Flashlight
  7. Camera
  8. Hat/Sunglasses (for day time treking)



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photo by Rishi Agrawal