Pook's Hill, off Mile 52.5, George Price Hwy., Belmopan, Cayo, Belize
When the lamps are lit each night on the polished rosewood veranda, this low-key, remote jungle lodge is one of the most pleasant places in the Cayo. Pook's Hill (you remember your Kipling, don't you?) is located on 300 remote acres in the foothills of the Maya Mountains adjoining the 6,700-acre Tapir Mountain Reserve (open only to researchers) and Actun Tunichil Muknal National Monument. The original stone-and-thatch cabañas are laid out on a grassy clearing around a small, partially excavated Mayan site, and newer "birdwalk cabañas" are down a series of steps and across a stream. The cabañas have 24-hour electricity from a generator and batteries but not air-conditioning. A host of outdoor revelries are within a stone's throw—you can swim, ride horses, go birding, or boat up the Roaring River to a series of caves. A rare treat, guests can hike from the lodge to Actun Tunichil Muknal with a guide. Pook's Hill groups usually get to the ATM before any others. Dining is family-style, so expect story-swapping and good cheer with fellow guests over heaping plates of delicious Belizean and international fare from a buffet.
- well-managed jungle lodge in true jungle setting
- on doorstep of Actun Tunichil Muknal
- bar and dining room are conducive to guest interaction
- insects can be a nuisance
- with meals and tours lodge is pretty expensive
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