B

elize is renowned for its tropical rainforest, and the San Ignacio Resort Hotel in San Ignacio, Belize, has commemorated its 40th birthday with renovations that exude world-class, luxurious accommodations cradled in the bosom of the unspoiled jungle. With only 26 intimate rooms on property, there’s not only opportunity to become familiar with your fellow travelers, but also to be privately swept away in the serenity afforded by this boutique oasis.

Awaking each morning to the delightfully melodious cacophony of sounds emanating from the natural landscape is gloriously invigorating, especially when enjoyed from your comfy and quite lavish suite. Commendations to the designer for manipulating the indoor spaces to complement the surrounding environ. Taking advantage of hand-crafted Belizean hardwood and sustainable mahogany punctuated by white fabrics and room decor, enhances the tropical feel and commune with the landscape. Butler service is the finishing touch that reminds you that your respite is more aligned to that of Lord Greystoke than Tarzan. However, take full advantage of transitioning between the two roles, since it can so easily be done at this resort.

Venturing into the jungle just steps away is a must, and a close encounter with Green Iquanas is an absolute must-do. These threatened reptiles are at the forefront of the protection efforts by the Green Iguana Conservation Project. After a few hours spent with nature’s exotic creatures, hiking through the lush, natural landscape, and learning about the numerous medicinal plants and herbs that are found on property, a leisurely soak in the in-suite jacuzzi is just what’s needed to re-engage with the finer pleasures of life. Just downstairs, it’s refreshing to swap tales of wildlife encounters over a cocktail in the Baroque-themed Lobby Bar, before heading into the formal dining room.

The next day, a venture off property allows for further exploration of the local wonders. By water, a canoe excursion through the caves is reminiscent of journeys that earlier explorers and the indigenous people must have taken when they traversed the region. The nearby Mayan ruins provide further insight into the magnificent culture that once reigned supreme.

There is also opportunity for a close encounter with the local delicacy that is irresistible to most – chocolate! What better place to learn how to make chocolate than where the cacao is naturally found and has been for millenniums. Learning from one of the local business owners is an even more special treat. Give your feet and calorie indulgence a rest by ziplining high above the jungle canopy, or with a little less adrenaline rush, atop horseback, riding in the Mopan River Valley.

Undeniable, the San Ignacio Resort Hotel is an ecotourist escape that captures the feeling of home with luxurious comforts and amenities surrounded by the lush landscapes of Belize that offers a cultural exploration parallel to none. www.sanignaciobelize.com/

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