Birding, Snorkeling, Kayaking, Fishing, Zip Lining, Howler Monkey Trek, Manatee Visits, Boating & More
The Lodge at Big Falls
The Lodge at Big Falls, near the town (and airstrip) of Punta Gorda is in Southern Belize’s lush and hidden Toledo District – famous for cacao and living Maya culture. The Lodge offers guests easy access to local natural wonders, archaeological treasures and a host of adventures. Tours from the lodge will introduce you to the local Mayan people and culture, Mayan archaeology and the natural history of the area. Birders have access to a rich variety of habitats and an amazing range of resident and visiting species. The area is ideal for a southern Belize adventure vacation complete with jungle trekking, cave explorations, river kayaking and snorkeling, fishing and manatee watching on the offshore cayes.
The Lodge offers elegant accommodation, fine food and drink and relaxation in a peaceful riverside setting. The Lodge at Big Falls is situated on the banks of the Rio Grande river. The property is located on a meander of the river with almost a mile of river frontage. The lodge faces the Maya Mountains to the north west while the south eastern bank faces the village of Big Falls. However, there are no “big falls” in Big Falls. This is just the name of the village.
The Lodge is covered by a high thatched ceiling and accommodates a full service restaurant and bar. Lodge meals offer a range of local and international dishes, with vegetarian, vegan, kashrut and children’s meals. Local dishes include the Belizean national dish, stewed chicken with recado spice, coconut rice, stewed beans and fried plantain. The Lodge is incorporating local vegetables more and more into its menu. These include okra, breadfruit, calaloo (amaranth, a vegetable with similar properties to spinach and cooked in similar ways), plantain, pumpkin, yam, chocho and the heart of the cohune palm which is used to make cohune cabbage a curry made from the palm. International cuisine is also featured on our menu and the Lodge prepares Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes including Lebanese mezzeh dishes such as baba ghanoush, hummus and tabbouleh.
The Lodge sources ingredients locally and fish comes fresh from the market in Punta Gorda. Bread, cinnamon rolls, yogurt, ice cream and freshly baked cakes and desserts are all made onsite. The well-stocked bar offers a wide selection of cocktails, fruit and soft drinks as well as beer and wine. From the main verandah, you can enjoy beautiful sunsets while sipping an ice cold drink.
The spacious cabanas have been designed to achieve a living space which subtly merges the internal and external environments. Six of the rooms are individual cottage style cabanas (sleeping up to four persons) with a full en-suite bathroom and shower providing hot and cold water. These cabanas are thatched with bay-leaf palm, a traditional Belizean thatching material. Beautifully tiled floors, ceiling fans and fully screened, wood louvered windows offer a cool well-ventilated living area. Colorful local and regional soft furnishings complete the décor. Landscape plantings around the cabanas have been selected to attract birds and butterflies close to the guest’s living space and this wealth of flora and fauna can be enjoyed from your own thatched verandah. The Lodge will deliver your choice of juice, coffee or other drinks to your verandah each morning where you can sit and enjoy the cool air or survey the early bird activity.
The Lodge now has nine units with the addition of three new elegant hardwood cabanas. Each cabana has a hardwood floor and ceiling made from a mix of secondary tropical hardwoods including nargusta, santa maria and milady. Each has two queen size beds, ceiling fans, air conditioning, en-suite bathroom and shower, kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave and table-top stove with two burners.
Cultural tours offer authentic experiences of the Mayan and Garifuna cultures and Mayan archaeology. Toledo is the center of cacao (cocoa) production with most of its product being exported for manufacture as Green & Blacks Maya Gold organic chocolate, the first Fairtrade product in the UK in 1994. Ixcacao is a local Mayan chocolatier.
Other activities include a day spent with the local birding expert, Steven Choco, exploring the surrounding jungle and bird habitats. Spending the day kayaking or boating along Monkey River, traveling slowly through the beds of turtle grass and coastal mangroves to encounter manatees curious to see their strange human visitors. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for basking crocodiles, river otters, turtles and an abundance of birds. Then visit the Howler monkey sanctuary managed by the tour guides of Monkey River.
Big Falls Extreme Adventures are just a ten minutes walk from the lodge and include zip lining, snorkeling, swimming and fishing, and dolphin watching in the turquoise waters around the southern cayes. You must also visit Rio Blanco National Park. This small community managed national park includes a two mile forest hike as well as the opportunity to jump from the rock cliff into the deep pool below the waterfall. We stop here for a picnic lunch and swim.
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