High above a bend in the Macal River called Big Eddy is this remarkable, relaxing lodge whose grounds include the 45-acre Belize Botanic Gardens. From your vantage point 30 feet above the forest floor on the covered deck and canopied walkway, you'll see iguanas sunning in the trees. Perhaps you'll do a little bird-watching while comfortably sipping a beer. You can swim and dive off the rocks from the sandy river beach below. Jungle Lodge rooms are the least expensive option,
at BZ$464 including tax, service, and continental breakfast. Bungalows are filled with hardwood furnishings. The two-story La Casita (BZ$833 including tax and service), which sleeps up to 8, has wraparound porches, king-size beds, whirlpool bath, refrigerator, and great views. The River House has family suites. The food is excellent, and there's always a vegetarian option. duPlooy's offers horseback riding and a full range of tours. The lodge's road transfers from Belize City are somewhat pricey—BZ$700 round-trip for one to four people, plus 12.5% tax. However, the new air service to Maya Flats airstrip by Tropic Air makes getting here much easier.