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Making a trip to Belize more meaningful!

Belize is not just about tourism.  Sometimes people want to give back.  At Mariposa Jungle Lodge, we advocate the aspect of eco-tourism that concerns contributions to the indigenous community.  We are so grateful when our like-minded guests share in our goals.

This week we were blessed by a visit from a three-generation family of 17 who chose us as the site for a family reunion of members from Israel, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina.  They wanted to do more than typical tourist activities.  They wanted to contribute a half day of labor and asked us to find a feasible community project. Our General Manager, Nelmarie Bol, investigated options and learned that local volunteers were working on tear-down, clean-up and renovation of the San Antonio R.C. School cafeteria.  The principal eagerly accepted the assistance of our volunteers.

So, in the heat of July “rainy season,” with amazing daytime sunny weather, the family went to work.  They cleaned, collected debris, removed an old chain link and post fence, gathered up 15 large bags of trash, and helped where asked.  The 4 year-old “helped” with raking.

The hot morning’s work was rewarded by a hike along a nearby trail that leads to a natural emerald spring for swimming.

On other days, they visited the Maya ruins at Cahal Pech and Xunantunich, ATM, and the San Ignacio Farmers Market to learn about our local culture and natural wonders.  Some chose to spend a day traveling to San Pedro via water taxi to snorkel at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley.  The entire group enjoyed canoeing together on the Macal River on the first day and a full day at Caracol, Rio Frio Cave and swimming at Big Rock Falls for the grand finale of their full and fulfilling week in Belize.

Some guests contribute school materials and gently used clothing through our Pack for a Purpose initiative,others contribute cash to the Mariposa Scholarship Fund, and others contribute labor.  We are grateful to all and proud to be part of the overall goal of “giving” to the community surrounding our Lodge.

 

Combined efforts! We can Make a Difference.

Combined efforts! We can Make a Difference.

Yes in less than 5mins we had our fist bag!

Yes in less than 5mins we had our fist bag!

Yes allow yourself to enjoy clean air,a little shade and good deeds!

Yes allow yourself to enjoy clean air,a little shade and good deeds!

Snorkeling from the Jungle

Another great day in Belize with guests of Mariposa Jungle Lodge.  We were hosting a 3-generation family for a week who wanted to focus on jungle adventures and Maya culture.  But some members couldn’t resist a day of snorkelling.  So, with four adults and 5 children ranging from 4-12, we embarked on a drive to Belize City where we took a water taxi to San Pedro.  After a picnic lunch on the beach, we enjoyed a private snorkelling tour of Hol Chan Park and Shark Ray Alley, where we had a glorious experience, thanks to Seaduced by Belize, a popular and well respected marine tour operator.  The weather was perfect, the water was calm, clear and warm, the nurse sharks were out in abundance.  We saw a giant eel, numerous schools of large fish, and a huge, graceful stingray, among other things.

We returned to the mainland on a late afternoon water taxi, followed by the drive home to Mariposa.  It was a 12.5   hour day but all agreed it was worth it to experience the beauty of the Belize reef.

While this group was at sea, the other eight members of the 17-member group opted to devote the day to the history and mysteries of the Mayan ruins.  They visited two great Mayan sites, Xunantunich and Cahal Pech.

The broad range diversity of natural and historical wonders are among the reasons to visit us at Mariposa Jungle Lodge. Whether you are searching for nature, history or physical adventure, we can accommodate you.

We are ready!!

We are ready!!

Shark Ray Alley!! A must do.

Shark Ray Alley!! A must do.

After all the excitement, Some needed a cool sea rest.

After all the excitement, Some needed a cool sea rest.

“La Selva Trail”

Mariposa Jungle Lodge recently inaugurated “La Selva Trail”, our new 1600 meter onsite hiking trail. The trail circumvents the perimeter of our property and offers a moderate degree of difficulty. The trail is well-defined and periodic signage confirms the remaining distance, but only the individual hiker can assess the degree of difficulty based on his or her comfort zone in hiking. As the owner of this awesome piece of paradise, I decided it was incumbent on me to hike each of new trails, despite my limitations as a senior-citizen desk jockey who spends her days at the computer. Our loving and patient General Manager and Chef accepted the challenge of escorting me on the trail. I started out vigorously, impressed by the great job our staff had done with clearing the trail. I was predictably challenged by an occasion uphill or downhill incline. I was more challenged when the inclines had to be navigated by sidestepping protruding rocks. For some strange reason, my companions were unchallenged as I stumbled along, but one was always alert to assist me if I was in danger of losing my always precarious balance. The hike was awesome. I saw pieces of our 40-acre site that I’d never had time to see before. Ongoing beautiful jungle escape. And then, a special reward. Three toucans flitting among the trees, thinking they were enjoying their usual privacy. Later, a few butterflies of an unfamiliar species. After more than an hour of hiking, I was ready for a hot shower, alcohol rub on my likely-to-be-charley-horsed legs, and reflection on the awesome encounter I had just enjoyed with nature. On reflection and based on comments from guests in better hiking condition than I, it’s a great trail with a few challenging areas. So, I’m proud that we’ve added a significant hiking option to experienced hikers who want to do more than walk. La Selva Trail is now another complimentary feature of a visit to Mariposa Jungle Lodge.

"A little Teaser"

“A little Teaser”

Great clear blue skies

Great clear blue skies

At peace with thy self

At peace with thy self

The Mystery of Air Plants

Devils Gut

A Beautiful Epiphyte.

A Beautiful Epiphyte.

Belize-Botanic-Garden-2

Belize has a very interesting and diverse vegetation. With over 4,000 flowering plants,250 species of orchids and 700 different trees, it is a paradise for nature lovers.

Among my favourite natural phenomena are the numerous species of epiphytes such as tropical orchids and bromeliads that are found and observed on site at Mariposa Jungle Lodge. Epiphytes are also referred to as “AEROPHYTES” or “AIR PLANTS” because the seeds of their creation travels by air to land on a lucky “HOST” that shall then become its new home. The good news is most epiphytes are none parasitic. Rather, they live symbiotically with their host, each enhancing the other’s natural beauty.

At Mariposa Jungle Lodge, we have named one of our luxury Cabana “ORCHID”, because of a cluster of “Black Orchid” ( Encyclia Cochleatum) the national flower of Belize that grows on a Ceiba tree just your private screened in porch. Numerous other orchids now live around the entire grounds. A few species of terrestrial orchid can also be observed on site.

I am especially fond of a lush tropical bromeliad that resides in the crevice of a beautiful Gumbo Limbo ( Bursera Simaruba),located between “Orchid” and “Toucan” another of Mariposa’s Cabana. The contrast of the brilliant greens of the bromeliad and the bright red bark of the Gumbo Limbo is especially dramatic.

Several years ago, Hurricane Richard caused damage to a couple of trees in front of “Puma & Macaw”, two of our other cabanas. One of those trees was a black poison wood tree. The Mariposa team knew better than to remove the remains. Instead, they made a clean cut and left the poison wood branch alone partially because it causes a very uncomfortable rash when raw). Before we knew it, both remains were decorated with epiphytes. Humans alone could not have created anything that Beautiful.

In fairness to equal time, I should mention the epiphytes that do become parasites. The most common illustration is the strangler fig (Focus Aurea), which intrudes on a host, depletes the host of nutrients ultimately destroying it. We lovingly call this “THE MARRIAGE TREE”, and diplomatically leave it to our guests to determine which symbolizes the husband and which the wife. Honeymooners and anniversary couples typically take the opportunity to have their picture taken in front of our very own Marriage Tree.

“Epiphytes beautify Nature’s Waste”.

 

Mariposa Jungle Lodge New Website

Mariposa Jungle Lodge has just published a revised website that should make information more accessible to guests and mobile device users.  Please let us know if you encounter problems or have suggestions.  We strive to deliver the highest quality of guest services.

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