You wake up on your second day in Belize and for a moment yesterday feels like a dream. Get up early enough and you can head outside to take in the morning chorus of birds in the surrounding jungle, or get in a bit more sleep as today will be abundant with adventure and relaxation. Whatever you choose, this morning you’re heading out of the jungle and to the southern coast of Belize and to one of Sleeping Giant’s sister hotels, The Lodge at Jaguar Reef or Almond Beach Resort.
Let’s Get Going
Those eager to get on the road can grab a quick bite at the Grove House Restaurant, picking up a Belizean Stuffed Jack or the Little Donkey Breakfast Burrito on your way out. If you’re going at a more leisurely pace, enjoy fresh brewed Belizean coffee grown at local sustainable farms. Before you can say surf and turf, you’re checked out and are on the road in the shuttle offered by the Belize Collection.
Though excited for the day’s destination, you cannot help but be awestruck by the sights along the Hummingbird Highway, which thread along some of Belize’s most varied and impressive topography. You’ll pass through some of Belize’s beloved villages where residents often play a game of football (soccer to the Americans), see endless groves of citrus and banana, and take in the majesty of the Maya Mountains at a distance. You’ll be tempted to stop for pics every second as you pass under stunning old growth trees, but you know you’ve got a whole other world waiting for you on arrival.
No Wrong Way to enjoy The Sea
Just as you’re starting to get antsy to continue the day, you arrive at Hopkins a mere 45 minutes after leaving the Sleeping Giant. On arrival, valets help you with your bags as you’re welcomed with drinks at the Jaguar Reef Lodge while you check in at the front desk.
From there, the options are many and there are no wrong choices as to how you share your beach day. You can store your bags and relax in the splendor of your room, head to the beach and take a paddleboard or kayak out on the sea, or pull up a lounge chair and dig into that paperback you’ve brought along.
If you’re looking for something even more special, you can always talk to beach Captain Larry who would be glad to take you out on the Belize Collection’s sailing boat The Hobie Cat. On board, you’ll sail through the splendid azure sea where all manner of marine animals reside. The lucky ones among you might get to see a dolphin or manatee alongside the boat or off in the distance. Either way, sailing through the Caribbean hearkens back to the simple elegance of a time long ago but not forgotten.
There’s still a lot of day left, and much you want to get done, but hunger strikes. Not a problem. You decide to drop in at the Big Dock Ceviche Bar for some namesake ceviche. A two-level bar hovering over the sea at the end of one of the resort’s piers, the Big Dock Ceviche Bar provides rejuvenating food and strengthening cocktails to kick the afternoon into another gear. Enjoy the sea from an intimate perspective and watch those daring enough jump and swing across the nets suspended over the water.
It’s Not Over Yet
After deciding on one more round or not, you leave the Big Dock and return to the beach. You decide on some snorkeling to check it off the Belize bucket list. With gear borrowed from the resort, you enter the sea and swim away from the coast. You find it hard to believe how much life there is under the surface as you observe small schools of fish navigate around you or try to discern whether a conch shell is occupied or not. At this scale, all your stress begins to shrink as life moves at a more leisurely pace, your body buoyant in the salt water.
Eventually, you’ll head back to the shore and venture to your private courtyard and plunge pool for a leisurely dip before nodding off poolside and taking in the evening sunshine.
From there, it’s time to refresh and lounge before tonight’s dinner at the Paddle House. Dine in at the restaurant or you can arrange a private beachside dinner ahead of time. Whatever you decide, settle in because you’re about to enjoy one of Belize’s best dining experiences.
Start off with sere, a Garifuna staple fish stew with fried chunks of fish fillet in a signature crema de yucca and coconut soup topped with sweet potato crisps. While waiting on your entrée, share one of the restaurant’s takes on staple appetizers like creamy fish wonton or shrimp ceviche.
You had a hard time deciding on an entrée but realize whatever you end up getting will be remarkable. When the fennel snapper, lemongrass-turmeric chicken, or craboo beef tenderloin arrives at your table, you’re astonished but not surprised at how incredible it looks. The first bite sends you reeling and the second bite is even better.
As you luxuriate in the restaurant’s entrancing aesthetic and soft lighting, you take sips of an expertly crafted cocktail, a local brew or fresh-squeezed juice. You’re stuffed but still decide to share two desserts, some brown sugar caramelized cassava batons along with a seasonal tropical fruit flambé. Both bring your meal to a satisfied conclusion and you return to your room satiated.
Before you fall asleep you’re going to want to arrange a wakeup call before sunrise. At dawn, you emerge from your room to greet the morning as the sun peeks over the horizon. Your two night adventure is nearing its end, but for now you appreciate the rising sun and the spectacle that is a new day in one of Belize’s greatest treasures.