All through September there’s no better time to relish in Belize’s natural heritage and The Rainforest Lodge at Sleeping Giant provides one of the most luxurious opportunities to understand why Belizeans are so proud to call it home. September sets all of the country to sparkling as Belize’s time of celebration with Independence Day and the patriotic St. George’s Caye Day. Blessed by seasonal rains, it’s the greenest time of the year with all of nature’s richness on display at the Lodge.
Wherever you are at Sleeping Giant, it’s hard to overlook all the plant life that surrounds you at this special time of year. Whether it’s dining on pizza amid a garden of tropical flowers at Don Tonito’s or taking a shower in your private outdoor area, nature’s lushness is an ever-present reminder of why residents call it ‘The Jewel.’ With lodgings and amenities built into the landscape, Sleeping Giant gives the impression of a fantastical rainforest getaway that’s magically sprung up from the land itself.
That ability to appreciate the variety of Belize’s environment extends even to the rooms themselves, bearing repeat visits. You can enjoy the melody of coursing water over stone in the river room and suites, or ascend to the mountain view area and savor the forest canopy from your private porch. Wherever you pass the night, you’ll wake up already at basecamp for a day’s adventure
A day at the Lodge’s grounds is perfect for those keeping things spontaneous. Eat without rushing to meet a ride, or scheduled event, and take the day at your leisure. Go on foot or a complimentary bike to the start of one of the Lodge’s many trails. Doable for all skill levels with stunning views and secluded rest stops, a hike up to the Lookout Gazebo or around the many rope bridges will add a dose of excitement and wonder to your stay. Visit the grounds’ yoga deck, and practice in serenity with only the river and trees for company. A climb up to the Nest is perfect for those in the mood for a romantic moment, taking in a sunset or splitting a bottle with a loved one. You can also swim in the Lodge’s pool or lounge by its side any time day or night when relaxing like a Belizean is what you’re in the mood for. With a mojito made with one of our infused rums, you can wile away the hours taking in the Jewel’s yellow sun and read that paperback you brought along.
Of course, for those looking for even more unique Belizean experiences on site, there are a range of options that’ll get you further in the celebratory spirit. Sign up for a unique Maya cooking class (lasting approximately one and a half hours) and be led by a local in preparing a range of heritage dishes using traditional techniques and tools. You’ll make corn tortillas and caldo using the Maya fogon, a traditional oven, and gain greater appreciation for the sustainable cooking practices indigenous to this region. By the end of the class, you’ll have eaten foods fit for the land’s ancestors and understand why Belize’s Maya culture has thrived here for centuries.
While walking and biking are certainly an exciting way to take in the grounds, you can also enjoy the leisurely thrill of a horse and buggy ride that traverses through the Lodge’s original citrus groves and along the forest. Once signed up, you’ll meet with the Lodge’s own award-winning Belizean cowboy who’ll introduce you to the horses before climbing aboard a classic open buggy.
The horses will take you on an enthralling journey that will have you feeling sent back to Belize’s days as an English settlement. You’ll pass along fragrant oranges, the horse’s pastures, and the rainforest all with the Maya Mountains as background to this limited experience. Feeling for more equine adventures after the ride? Talk to the front desk about arranging a horseback ride and learn how to take the reins of one of the Lodge’s expertly trained horses.
However you choose to pass your days at the Lodge, you’ll need to nourish your body. Luckily, the Lodge has a rotating range of options to satiate your appetite. Every Monday year-round you can taste the Lodge’s upscale take on pupusas, a Central American staple. On Wednesday nights, it’s Twice the Slice at Don Tonito’s, the perfect opportunity to indulge in expertly made pizza fresh out of the restaurant’s traditional Tuscan-style clay ovens. Cooked with wood foraged from the grounds, the made-to-order pizza’s crust has a smoky terroir unlike another in the country that perfectly accentuates your selected toppings. Customize your pizza or choose from specialty pizzas like the eponymous and rich Don Tonito’s pizza, the bright Arugula pizza, or the savory Garlic Shrimp.
At the Grove, there’s even more to choose from for any meal of the day. Begin the morning with Belizean classics like stuffed fried jacks or the Village Breakfast (farm fresh eggs scrambled with onions and tomatoes, accompanied by coconut refried beans, crispy bacon and Belizean fried jacks), or go cosmopolitan with a steaming stack of pancakes or a light continental breakfast. Pair any meal with juice made from tropical fruits for further brilliance. Seeking to commemorate an anniversary? Arrange to have breakfast or dinner on the Cliff overlooking the entirety of the grounds and the Sleeping Giant himself.
Make lunch a multi-course Belizean feast. For starters, go with the shrimp habanero fritters, giving some bite and salt to accompany a first pint of beer. From there, things only get better with salad and soup options right out of the village square. Have the creole oxtail soup made with free range oxtail and locally sourced produce, or the herb & watermelon salad to cleanse the palette for what’s next. Entrees like the lamb salbutes or sandwich de cochinita pibil offer fresh ways to experience regional street foods with the best ingredients available. Cap off your meal with forest-grown coffee and delightfully smooth nance-infused caramel flan.
Revisit the Grove at dinner time and receive a distinct culinary experience. For appetizers, try the BBQ pigtail served with Belizean-style coleslaw and flour tortillas. You’ll be considering a second order of them when your entree arrives. Between the Citrus-Achiote Chop, the Camarones en Crema de Coco, and the Cocoa-Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank, there’s no possibility for misstep as you wrap up another day of adventure. Enjoyed with a glass of one of our white or red wines, and you’ll end your evening celebrating all the Rainforest has to offer during this time of commemoration.