David562671, Woodbridge, Canada, May 05 2010
My wife and I had never been to Belize and found a vacation package that included three nights at Machaca Hill. I had no idea what to expect of a jungle resort and had my doubts about the whole thing. Machaca Hill was without a doubt the right choice. The staff were wonderful to the extreme and the facilities perfect. The entire resort was immaculately maintained. The spa was great and there were many choices of activities arranged by the certified guides, Wilfred and Yogi, who were among the nicest two gentlemen we had ever met. Each morning we were awakened by the Black Howler Monkeys calling out through the tree tops just outside our tree house. One morning I was somewhat shocked to see a Toucan in full colour through the picture window in the shower. Having only seen these birds on cereal boxes, you can imagine my delight. We toured a Mayan chocolate factory in the nearby village of San Felipe and saw a large Iguana sunning itself on a river bank on a river cruise provided by the Machaca guides. The resident managers, Brian and Jane, were great people who seemed to go out of their way at every turn to make our stay a pleasant one, which would have required no effort on their part in any event. The dining room staff were fantastic. Tonesha, Ducky, Winsland, Tim and the rest were really at the top of their games the whole time. Ken, the executive chef, made the most wonderful jams and marmalade from the fruit grown right on the Machaca estate. We looked forward to them each morning for breakfast and are sorry that we not eligible for that pleasure now that we are back In Canada. Anyone considering a Carribean vacation would be foolish not to try a few days at Machaca. You can find those cookie-cutter beach resorts anywhere, but there is only one Machaca.
Simply the Best!
Travelinwillberrie, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, April 29 2010
We just returned from Belize and spent 4 days at Machaca Hill. The staff was incredible, the setting, and aboslutely the food! Yogi was our guide for the ruins, the waterfalls and a river tour. He was so knowledgeable and easy to be with. Ducky made sure our wine glass was always full. I left my prescription sunglasses in Placencia and Elvinia picked up the phone and had them put on a plane and they arrived the same day.
Machaca Hill is awesome!!
Jeanne012, Boynton Beach, April 25 2010
Machaca Hill Resort is truly an amazing place. Brian & Jane (our hosts) & their great staff do everything in their power to make your visit memorable. From the moment you arrive, the beautiful location in the trees, the staff, the food , the room, the activitites, the spa are AAAAA+. Oliver was our fishing guide & he did everything but get into the water & hook the fish. We fished 2 days & caught so many fish I lost count. Our guides were Yogi & Wilford but everyone is kind & helpful & are available to meet your every need during your visit. They have their own organic garden so everything is grown on the property & is super fresh & delicious. Chef Ken is from South Africa & is incredible in the kitchen & they serve high tea every afternoon with yummy pastries & teas, truly a great experience. We love this place & will be back as soon as we can.
Beyond our expectations!
belizeansScott, Charlotte, April 22 2010
First Class experience from a world class team. Thanks Brian, Jane, and the wonderful team that made our two nights, way too short, trip an unforgettable vacation. The service was outstanding, the food was delicious, thanks Chef Ken, and the location really cannot be beat. There are tons of things to do, or do what we did, which was a great hike in the rain forest and relaxing canoe ride on the river. We will definitely be back! Get our room ready same time next year
Heaven on earth for families and anglers
fairfieldcountyfamil, Greenwich, Connecticut, April 21 2010
Machaca hill is heaven on earth. While traveling in Belize over spring break, we wanted to visit a more remote area that had not been touched by tourism, but still have access to accomodations that provided creature comforts as a pool, delicious local food and water activities such as flyfishing, kayaking, snorkling. As we approached the lodge driving by the organic orange grove and machaca hill owned farm (which provides most of the produce for the hotel) and up the hill to the lush jungle forest (the owner has purchased 11,000 acres to protect), i knew we had found paradise. Jane, the manager, and staff greeted us in the beautifully appointed open air lobby with fresh squeezed lemondade and hot towels. Recently renovated, the spacious rooms are built into the hill over the jungle and have a screened porch which makes upifeel as if you are literally seated in the jungle canopy. The room was exquisite with beautiful tile floors and a bathroom suite with a double shower with a full window view of the jungle. The gourmet, delicious meals are prepared with organic produce produced on the farm and our children were offered upscale, healthful versions of their favorites. Their guide staff are knowledgeable naturalists and create personalized activities to fit your families itinerary : viist to a cocoa farm, hiking in the blue creek cave, guided night hikes, saltwater flyfishing and kayaking on their riverfront access. The highlight for my kids was watching (and hearing) the howler monkey family and tocans in the trees each morning while having breakfast on the open veranda.
Luxury Meets Rainforest and Fly Fishing
Fishinrascal, Kansas City, April 20 2010
My wife and I spent 8 days at Machaca. The facility offers outstanding staff, very clean and comfortable accomodations, incredible food, all intertwined in a relaxed, luxurious ambience. The setting is unmatched: The first morning we just sat on our deck and listened to the sounds of the rainforest as its inhabitants started to wakeup. I can’t recall any other location where I just wanted to sit quietly and listen.
Did I mention the incredible, engaging staff?
A short boat ride via panga transported us to wonderful flats fishing just 20 to 25 minutes from the lodge. Along the way you can observe howler monkeys, beautiful vegetation, and more birds than you can imagine. Once on the flats, permit were to be seen everywhere, which was the species of choice for our fly fishing efforts. Our guides, Alex and Yogi, were competent, relaxed and supplemented our fishing efforts with information regarding anything from the medicinal value of indigenous plants to Mayan culture.
Don’t let me forget to mention how great the staff was.
Chef Ken prepares incredible 3-course dinners, preceded by appetizers and cocktails. You absolutely won’t go hungry at Machaca. He relies heavily on his garden that is maintained on the property. Dinners were served on the veranda overlooking the rainforest. In the morning, we often dined with toucans watching our every move. One morning, 10 of the little buggers joined us for breakfast. Amazing! For goodness’ sakes, have the chocolate mousse if it is offered…..AMAZING!
The area’s signature inhabitants are the Howler Monkeys. They, too, contribute to the magnetic attraction of the area with their…...ahem….....“unique” calls. We absolutely loved them, despite the fact that they frequently feel the need to converse at 4:00 a.m.!
Finally, I have to emphasize the qualities of the staff. You can always rely on being treated like very special guests, and in a manner that is not overbearing. We grew to be very fond of each and every person who we normally encountered during our daily routines. Our departure was accompanied by near-tearful good-byes to everyone.
Although this facility stands out a bit because of its pricing schedule, I am very comfortable in saying that it is an excellent value. It is truly a case of you getting what you pay for, and it just happens to be in a unique, beautiful area that is largely unmatched.
An amazing resort in the Belize rain forest
Faragp, Missoula, Montana, March 21 2010
This incredible resort had absolutely amazing service. We have been to Belize 15 times, and this place had the best food that we have eaten in the country. Out of all of our trips to Belize, this was the nicest and most unique, resort that we have stayed in. It was very clean, the people are friendly, and the overall experience was incredible. Words cant describe the truly unique experience that this resort provides. And the fishing is tremendous!
The most luxurious relaxation spot in the middle of the jungle. Absolutely stunning!!
SophiaTheurel , La Paz, BCS, March 14 2010
This resort is the best of the best. Soooo gorgeous and in the most amazing location. I can’t rave enough about the rooms. These private villas are so comfortable and relaxing and the spa!!!! omg. Their massage room is missing a whole wall. Only to be replaced by a window that opens up to a cliff and the view of the mountains in the jungle. You actually feel like you’re floating!
There is a great river just down from the resort and you can kayak up and down it.
We saw parrots and monkeys!!!
If you are going to Belize you absolutely HAVE to stay there at least for a couple nights if not more. They have all these activities to do also. We did the blue creek one. I highly recommend it. They take you swimming inside this cave that goes on for about a mile. It was mega exciting!!
Jane and Bryan are fabulous hosts and make you feel at home the moment you get there. Great service and the people are sooooo friendly and are always smiling. Ducky, a member of the staff has the most happy smile in the world!
Phenomenal Second Stay at Machaca Hill
Ptr1010, Newton, MA, February 28 2010
This was our second visit to Machaca Hill. From the moment we exited our car, our stay was enriched by personal attention from Brian and Jane. We arrived at teatime and there was no caffeine-free black tea among the Lodge’s large selection. Brian ran down to their house to bring me some of is own tea. The next day, the supply was replenished. It was raining when we left for our rooms and once again, Brian ran down the hill to fetch his own umbrella. Our very large one was waiting for us in our rooms. It is the obvious intent of the Machaca staff to make their visitors feel right at home. Seeing so many familiar faces from our last visit was really nice. Belize is just like everywhere else. Low staff turnover can a big impact on the quality of service. The staff at Machaca really seems to have a personal investment and pride in the lodge and their country.
We were thrilled to see Ken, the chef, and loved the food as much this year as last. I am a near vegetarian and the attention Ken pays to vegetables, both at lunch and dinner, makes him dear to my heart. The veggies are grown in Machaca’s organic garden and are in stand-alone dishes like roast pumpkin risotto or accompany fabulous fish local fish, meat or poultry. We are very active travelers and love having substantial, delicious meals to look forward to multiple times each day.
The guide service continues to be great. We saw lots of animals and Yogi (the guide assigned to us) was able to use our camera to capture pictures when we were not able to hold a steady focus on what was right in front of our eyes. We saw howler monkeys, a beautiful non-venomous snake whose name escapes me, tons of quash, a tayra and a multitude of birds. We hiked Wilson Hill for the first time and loved it. We are pretty independent and prefer some hikes and canoeing alone as well as with a guide. Machaca is able to accommodate our style to perfection.
The only changes that were obvious to us were the enlarged bathrooms and the spa. The bathrooms last year were gorgeous. We could not imagine how they could be improved. The new bathrooms have a shower area large enough for six people. There is a huge plate glass window looking right into the jungle. The elegant cosmetics, candles, and view make this a shower to remember.
The spa was under construction last February. It is beautiful (with a big picture window with a jungle view) and Berta, the masseuse, is a peach. For sheer relaxation, have a massage while you are there.
I could go on and on, but one more thing of import. I am an unabashed iTouch addict (I’ve only had mine for a couple of months) and loved having WiFi. At home, I don’t have time to play with this great toy.
We are already planning our trip for next year. We want to experience Machaca in a different season. We can hardly wait.
Adventure, Luxury, Relaxation, Seclusion - Perfect Vacation
RichmondVALuv2Travel , Richmond, VA, February 23 2010
My husband I had the most amazing experience at Machaca Hill Lodge. From the time we arrived, we were treated so well. We were picked up in a really cool jeep and took an amazing short drive along the ocean. Machaca cabanas are located on the top of a hill with breathtaking views. At the bottom of the hill is a really beautiful river that leads out to the ocean. This lodge had amazing amenities - I cannot even describe how happy we were with our room. The shower is incredible - I think 10 people could fit in it at once and it has a view of the rainforest. The rooms have electrical outlets, a beautiful shower, separate toilet room, double sinks, two beds and a big screened in porch with chairs that you can just sit and enjoy the noises of the rainforest. The food at this resort is also such a treat. I was in heaven because I am a huge foodie. Coffee/tea/juice and biscotti (or cookies) come to your room for a wake call every morning. You get to decide exactly what you want delivered and when. Then you have breakfast which is a spread of pastries, fresh juices, eggs anyway, bacon, sausage, etc. As for lunch, you can eat at the lodge or they will pack a picnic for you to take to wherever you will be that day. We went snorkeling one day, so they built a beautiful picnic on an island with a tent and all kinds of amazing foods with beautiful dishes and silverware. They also have high tea everyday (which I miss already) with savory and sweet treats, appetizers and drinks, then a 3-course dinner. Even better then the food (not that this would be possible) is the view from the restaurant where the meals are served. There is a beautiful deck on the top floor of the lodge lobby where the restaurant sits with the most amazing views of the mountains, rainforest and jungles nearby. As far as activities during the day, you can be as active or not active as you would like. The first day my husband and I hiked the trails through the jungle, did the chocolate making tour, and relaxed by the pool. The second day we went snorkeling, which was amazing. Each evening, you can meet with your personal tour guide and tell him exactly what you want to do the next day. This place can pretty much make anything happen that you want to happen. There are night jungle tours and canoeing/kayaking, cave swimming, waterfall jumping, snorkeling, jungle hikes, scuba diving, fishing, Maya tours, chocolate making and the list goes on. More then all the great food, fun adventures and beautiful room, the staff at Machaca was just wonderful. It was such a luxurious vacation, that provided anything you were looking for - relaxation, adventure, a new culture. My husband and I were so amazed at how this trip completely exceeded our expectations. We hope to return as soon as possible. I recommend this trip to anyone - this is a romantic getaway or a great family vacation.
Luxury in the rainforest with 5 star service and amenities
ahsans , California, February 14 2010
The highlight of our trip to Belize was hands down Machaca Hill. We were looking for something luxurious but we got SO much more. We were picked up by our amazing guide Yogi, who was assigned to take care of us throughout our stay. He took us to the lodge where we were greeted very graciously by manager Brian and his amazing team. I will never forget the ginger tea and cool towels we were given on our arrival. They sat us down where Brian made us feel like we were staying in his own home. He went over everything Machaca Hill had to offer and finished by saying that “anything can be done” to make our stay perfect. I had even forgotten to buy a memory card and he said that he would have one flown from Belize City if need be. His wife Jane is equally gracious and made sure everything throughout our stay was comfortable.
The rooms: You can’t ask for anything better. The rooms are situated in the rainforest on stilts so no room is too close to the other. One whole wall in the room is a screen so you can always hear the sounds of the rainforest. The bed was divine and the bathrooms luxurious - I’ve never taken a shower in such a HUGE bath tub. Truly luxurious. Every morning we were brought up tea and biscotti before breakfast. At night, you can sit and watch the most sparkly stars twinkle above you in the comfort of your room. At a short period in the middle of the night the rainforest comes alive with the sound of the howler monkeys. Truly a unique experience. Not having phones or TV’s in the room is a major plus, because you focus more on your surroundings.
Meals: Chef Ken is AMAZING. Every one of our meals was top notch. They accommodated every one of our dietary restrictions so don’t hesitate to ask. We asked for Halal meat and they got it for us. The lodge has its own organic orchard so the food you get is the freshest you can find. Tea time snacks are always delicious, so don’t miss it. Go early for breakfast to catch the toucan’s nearby. They are also able to set up meals in your room or out during a hike, fishing trip, etc. You name it, they will find a way to do it.
Activities: They really take care of this for you! You ask for something and you can get it. We did a chocolate tour which was amazing - we made our own 100% chocolate and brought it back to Chef Ken and he made desserts out of it! The Mayan villages they take you through are gorgeous and serene. We wanted to see some waterfalls and we were told we’d get a picnic lunch prepared by Chef Ken while we were out. WOW, what a picnic it was! A full on buffet table was set up just for my husband and I, real glassware, serving ware, plates, etc. It was magnificent. And to top it ALL off, they set up a table with a soap dispenser and warm water for us to wash our hands! This is in the middle of a forest next to a waterfall. It was unbelievable. Truly a “picnic, Machaca Hill style” as one of our guides put it! We also went kayaking, hiking and saw some ruins. All the activities were a LOT of fun and they really work hard for you to enjoy yourself.
Truly one of the most luxurious places to stay in Belize, it would be a shame to go to Belize and miss this place. To my husband and I, Machaca Hill MADE our trip to Belize truly worth it. Its one of the few places that have a special place in my heart and is a place worth making a trip down to Belize for.
Amazing, high qualety food and service,top of the list
Timber11 , Amsterdam, The Netherlands, February 14 2010
Beautiful surroundings, unspoiled nature, birdwatching, hiking, private guide, beautiful river trips (also in the evening), first class quality food and service, very tasteful, high-class
interior design. This lodge is number one for us! We visited a lot of lodges but together with Chaa Creek this is our favorite. In the morning we listened to concerts of the howler monkey’s. We will never forget this place. Highly recommended.
A special note about the staff who provided us with excellent service and gave us a warm welcome throughout our stay.
Luxury in the Jungle
WDGM, New York City, January 05 2010
My boyfriend and I just spent a fabulous five days at Machaca Hill Lodge and couldn’t have been more pleased with the experience. The lodge is beautifully designed and sits atop a hill integrated into the canopy of the rainforest. This unique set up allows you to live among the wildlife that habitates there, including a broad array of beautiful birds, howler monkeys, and other exotic creatures - the names of which now escape me. The rooms are beautifully appointed and luxurious but perfectly appropriate given their jungle location. The lodge is very intimate and its remote location truly allowed us to relax and escape reality. The staff could not have been more accomodating or pleasant. One afternoon, my boyfriend and I ordered probably 15 margueritas and the waiters/bartender were more than happy to indulge us - which was a time consuming effort given that each drink was made from scratch from fresh lemons and limes. Delicious though! Brian and his wife Jane who manage the lodge are delightful and bend over backwards to meet the needs of all of their guests - no matter how absurd the request. Finally, if you are adventure seekers, the excursions at Machaca are to die for. The guides are incredibly knowledgeable, skilled, and friendly. They made a concerted effort to guage our interests and suggested thoughtful excursions that perfectly suited our needs. If you are looking to get away from the rat race and enjoy a stunning, remote, intimate slice of heaven (with no annoying crowds) then Machaca Hill should be at the top of your list.
POSITIVELY and UNEQUIVOCALLY DIVINE
NewYorkCitywayfarer , New York, January 03 2010
My mother’s, sister’s, and my stay at Machaca over Thanksgiving was one of the most enjoyable and unforgettable experiences of our lives. I found out about the property by way of Outside magazine’s write-up in the march ‘08 issue (http://outside.away.com/outside/destinations/200803/best-eco-getaways-belize.html), and while it earned a top-notch review, seeing the place in person beyond exceeded my expectations. Brian and Jane are the consummate hosts, attentive and responsive to your needs, they even worked with the chef to create a special sampling buffet for the three of us when we mentioned we didn’t need a three-course meal every night. The excursions—amazon boat rides, kayaking, hiking trails, bird-watching, Mayan ruins, jumping off waterfalls, chocolate-making, market-going…to name the ones that we opted for—were absolutely incredible. A lot of them were included in the price of the stay, and the ones that weren’t were well worth the cost and were even served with a picnic lunch (er, banquet) that put all picnics I’d ever experienced to serious shame. Wilfred was THE MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE, ENTERTAINING, AND SWEETEST GUIDE EVER and my mom, WHO KNOWS GOOD SPA TREATMENTS, said the aromatherapy massages she got every night with Bertha were the BEST she’s ever received. The spa, which overlooks the lush canopy and I was amazed to learn was designed by Brian, is absolutely breathtaking with its beautiful tiered hand-carved wood fountain. Other highlights: guaranteed wildlife sightings like toucans and monkeys, a glorious infinity pool and sun deck, Molton Brown toiletries, impromptu magic shows by a waiter named “Wiz,” and Jane and Brian’s darling little girls who added so much sunshine to our 5-day stay.
A very special experience
jchakra, New York, December 29 2009
Brian, Jane and their family were wonderful hosts. It is like we’ve known them as close friends that have welcomed us into their home.
The facility, service and hospitality was unbelievable. Here are a few of the highlights:
-The early morning tea and coffee service directly brought to your room
-The incredible spa that overlooks the rainforest
-High tea and meals that are custom prepared from food organically grown on the 11,000 acre property by a incredible international chef. (He even made our daughter fresh soymilk due to her milk allergy.)
-Tour of a family chocolate making business where you make chocolate from scratch by grinding Cacao beans on a Mayan stone mortar
-Hillside vernicular spanning the lodge to a riverside dock and bar where you can do birdwatching and animal watching hikes or kayaking down the river
-Incredibly modern cabin on stilts on the hillsides adjacent to the treetops in the rainforest (dual head rainshower riverstone bath, high speed wi-fi internet, open air
sitting balcony overlooking the rainforest)
-Free laundry service
-Drinking water was produced from a reverse osmosis filter where you can fill up a your free SIG bottle given at the beginning of your stay
The staff was very attentive and friendly.
This is not a typical pre-packaged vacation. We had an incredible time and will definitely come back.
Adventure with Style and Grace
ivypivy , Philadelphia, December 28 2009
There were nine in our extended family - from ages 84 to 13. Each one of us was delighted by the property. The property was recently refurbished and updated and we felt instantly at home and well cared for by the management and the staff. The rooms (there are not many which lends to a sense of privacy) were spacious, comfortable and the bathrooms impeccible. Although some small details are still being ironed out (clothes lines to hang drying attire after cave swimming or mayan ruin hiking). Each one of us was captivated by the highly attentive staff, the local flora and fauna, the on site activities (kayaking, bike riding, field walking) and the surrounding vistas. Special on site cultural events made our holidays even more festive. The kitchen excelled in using the properties organic garden and the homemade breads were gobbled up at every meal.
Best jungle experience by far!
ladybugAZ , AZ, June 14 2009
I loved the cottages, the food, the helpful staff, the pool, the views of the jungle. Centrally located to go on many adventures. Wouldn’t be complete without the Howler Monkey waking us up in the morning. Amazing!
Peter & Cathy Robertson, , February 15 2009
This is a fabulous eco-lodge in the far southern part of Belize, near the town of Punta Gorda in the Toledo District, which we visited from Feb. 11 – 15, 2009. The lodge is situated in the Laughing Falcon Reserve, 11,000 acres of privately owned forest. The main lodge building (consisting of the restaurant, bar, reception area, two verandas on different levels, and a small gift shop) sits in a magnificent location on the top of a hill, looking down on the Rio Grande River with a view in the distance to the Gulf of Honduras. The location is particularly enchanting because the top-level veranda is at tree level. At one sitting, we counted approximately 20 large-billed birds in one tree. Keel-billed toucans and collared aracaris eagerly munched on the fruits that had ripened in the tree opposite our breakfast table. The variety of birds was amazing. Troops of howler monkeys come and go as well as coatis and kinkajous.
Machaca Hill was bought a couple of years ago by an American, and he converted it from a fishing camp into an eco-lodge. He has brought in new management (a South African couple, Brian and Jane Gardiner), and the team has been upgrading the 12 cabanas and hiring new staff and guides. What is unique about Machaca Hill among all the lodges we have visited in Belize (we have been to the country 5 times and have stayed in most of the best lodges) is the food. The Gardiners persuaded the chef who worked with them in Africa to come to Belize. He is fantastic and seems to work all the time. He has to because he puts on 3 full meals each day, along with a formal high tea and pre-dinner snacks and drinks. There was so much food that we finally gave up on the pre-dinner snacks because it was just too much. The cakes at high tea and the sticky buns at breakfast were some of the best we have had anywhere in the world. The food featured extremely fresh vegetables, phenomenal fish, etc. All prepared in delicious ways, not at all typical of such a remote setting. Nothing comes from a tin or is processed.
All the management, guides and staff are extraordinarily friendly, solicitous, knowledgeable, energetic and professional. I wish we were professional writers so that we could better capture the energy and enthusiasm the staff at Machaca directs toward providing each individual guest with a peak travel experience tailored to his or her need. The guides, Roberto, Hugo and Wilfred had their own guide businesses before they were hired by the Gardiners. For us, this was the best aspect of this lodge. Whether you wished to hike unaccompanied and then share your excitement about what you saw during meals, or if you wanted a guide to lead you through the jungle, the staff accommodated and seem to delight in your travel style. We did not take guided trips to other sites (to ruins and a cave), but other guests did and were very pleased with their experiences. They also offer snorkeling and fishing trips to the cayes in the Bay of Honduras.
We canoed on the river alone, and hiked on trails both with and without a guide. The jungle at Machaca is magnificently unspoiled. While walking on the trails, we were totally “in the moment.” Our senses were heightened with excitement and a lack of predictability, not knowing what we might see or hear. This is true adventure and the reason why we plan to return next year.
There is a tram that leads from the lodge and cabin level down to the river for guests who do not want to traverse the 375 steps to its banks. The guided experience was enriched by the identification of animals we might not have seen on our own. Roberto was a veritable font of knowledge about his country. He enthusiastically shared information about the jungle and its inhabitants while we walked, as well as at mealtimes. All of the guides are keen about Belize and take pride in their country’s role in conserving the environment. They, as well as Kim, the assistant manager, are articulate, engaging conversationalists.
As to the facilities, they are also first-rate. The pool is beautiful. The cabins are exquisitely appointed with large screened-in verandas. The bathrooms are lovely, decorated with fresh flowers, ample towels as well as robes. The showers come stocked with Moulton Brown of London products. A personal welcome note from the management along with a fruit basket and a Machaca Hill water bottle greet each guest. We cannot say enough about this lodge and its unique setting and recommend it for all travelers interested in a luxurious jungle experience.
A Special Honeymoon
gibbon22 , Vermont, November 10 2008
My wife and I were looking for a honeymoon spot that wasn’t super touristy, had 5 star service, and had an environmental bent. Machaca Hill is on the edge of a 30,000 acres nature preserve, and is basically tucked into the canopy of the rainforest. Having said that, we could make it into Punta Gorda in 10 minutes by van. During our stay, we were given a tour of the facility, where the manager pointed out some of the steps they were taking to be more environmentally friendly, including having an operating organic farm onsite, and using compact fluorescent bulbs.
We traveled during the rainy season, and while a hurricane was battering the coast a few hundred miles south of us, the weather was spectacular at Machaca Hill. It rained about two hours a day, in the early morning, and the rest of each day was sunny and perfect.
The staff was spectacular. We were one of only two couples that week, and we were treated like honored family. The staff doted on us, and gave us everything we needed. Because we were vegetarian, the chef made us unique dinners every night, each of which was spectacular. Since it was our honeymoon, I had asked for a couple of special things, including champagne and fruit basket in the room upon arrival, and dinner in our room one evening. Not only did the staff meet all my requests, but they took it upon themselves to make it even better than I had requested. When we came in for our in room dinner, there were fresh flowers on a white cloth draped table that they had hauled up the stairs to our bungalow, and tropical flower petals strewn about the room. Instead of just bringing dinner up to us, they gave us a full dinner service, with our own personal waiter.
We filled the week with scuba diving, touring mayan ruins, visiting the rainforest, and relaxing. Machaca Hill is not the place to go if you want an all inclusive, tourist style, resort. It is the place to go if you want a small, cozy atmosphere that still has all the amenities. Our honeymoon could not have been more perfect.
slice of heaven in Belize
Benny & Beverley Adams, ,
First a preface; the name of this completely refurbished slice of heaven in Belize is now Machaca Hill Rainforest Canopy Lodge. My wife and I have traveled to an exotic destination at least once per year for most of the past twenty years. We choose no stars to five stars depending on where we are and what we feel we want to experience.
That said, here is my review: The new owner and staff of this amazing place have done an extraordinary job of blending unspoiled nature, fresh foods, flawless service and luxurious very private rooms (seemingly perched in the top of old growth rainforest). The General Manager and his wife have specialized in high-end African safari management for many years. In this part of Belize that experience transfers very well. They have brought their executive chef with them from Botswana and he and his staff serve three meals plus high tea and pre-dinner appetizers that were consistently outstanding.
Upon arrival at the Punta Gorda airstrip we were met by one of the guides from Machaca Hill for a ride up the Rio Grande River to the lodge. From arrival to departure we had a professional certified guide with us any time we wanted one. We chose to spend three days on organized expeditions. The guides all know more than any guide I have ever hired. They know Central American history very well and their knowledge of the animals, birds and plants was remarkable.
The new owner is committed to keeping the rainforest unspoiled and his and the GM’s plan for other small eco-friendly resorts in southern Belize is refreshing and commendable. This was an experience of a lifetime.