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Thread: Land and water eco-safaris best way to explore Belize

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2001

    Land and water eco-safaris best way to explore Belize

    In pitch-black darkness, I awake, alone in the mosquito-net enshrouded bed of my luxurious jungle "tree house," every body hair standing in full alert.

    "What is that?"

    Lying still, heart hammering, I listen, deciding the noises emanating from somewhere outside my screened-in veranda are akin to a horror movie soundtrack.

    What began as background sounds, the decibels escalate, crescendoing to a heart-stopping "roar!"

    Is it a nocturnal jaguar, the largest of Belize's five wild cat species, out stalking prey? Or, maybe it's the territorial racket made by howler monkeys, about which we were forewarned.

    At breakfast, Brian Gardiner, the new general manager of Machaca Hill Rainforest Canopy Lodge and his wife Jane confirm the denizens of the jungle night are indeed howlers.

    Their welcome was vocal, but fitting, for the reopening of this chic, all-inclusive eco-retreat deep in the primary rainforest of private 4,400-hectare Laughing Falcon Reserve, just eight kilometres north of Punta Gorda in southernmost Toledo district, one hour by plane from Belize City.

    With a passion for conservation and ecotourism, Gardiner was hired last fall to revamp the former fishing camp high above the Rio Grande atop Machaca Hill into a "genuine" eco-resort.

    "The level of luxury, cuisine, service and tour guide offerings will skyrocket," Gardiner, a Zimbabwean with more than 20 years experience managing African eco-luxury safari camps, most recently for Abercrombie & Kent, promised on taking the helm.

    In the seven months since arriving, revamp Machaca Gardiner has, including renovating and refurbishing the main lodge and 12 guest tree houses, built on stilts above the jungle floor, and adding Jabulani, the just-finished spa, which in Zulu means peace and tranquillity.

    This is not the only touch of Africa Gardiner has incorporated. Two new customized, open-air Land Rovers wait to transport guests on a variety of private African safari-type land adventures led by certified resident guides. They, in addition to a slate of water eco-activities, are included in the lodge's all-inclusive rate.

    "I bring concepts from my experience with Africa's premier luxury wildlife safari lodges and am using it to train our local Belizean guides to provide exceptional eco-excursions," he explains.

    Machaca's three guides confer with guests to customize their daily outings, selecting from an extensive menu of activities including kayaking, canoeing, snorkelling, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, wildlife viewing, caving, and cave and waterfall swimming.

    World-class fly fishing for the "Big Three"--bonefish, tarpon and permit-- and scuba diving with expert local guides is arranged at additional cost.

    Mainland tours include exploring Toledo's jungles, caves, rivers and waterfalls, the Mayan ruins at Lubaantun and Nim Li Punit, or visiting Mayan and Garifuna communities to learn about local culture.

    In the nearby Caribbean Sea, reached by a short boat ride to the mouth of the Rio Grande, guests can experience the tremendous variety of underwater flora and fauna in pristine Port of Honduras Marine Reserve and relax on the white-sand beaches of its tiny cayes.

    Further away, the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve lies at the southern end of Belize's 250-kilometre barrier reef, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its importance as the world's second-longest barrier reef.

    Back at Machaca, guests can partake of day and night Land Rover, river, and walking safaris on kilometres of nature trails, focusing on interests like rainforest animal or medicinal plant identification.

    On such a walk, we learn that less than a quarter of the lodge's property is used for visitor activities. The remainder, along with additional lands, was donated by Machaca's new owner to a conservation trust managed by the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE). Another is donating excess produce grown on Machaca's organic farm to area schools and charities. Producing Valencia oranges and other fruits, vegetables, herbs, and tropical flowers, interested guests can tour or volunteer on the farm.

    After four, too short, nights, my eco-safari draws to a close in the comfort of my tree house.

    Overlooking the jungle, the screened-in sitting room is my favourite place to watch the sunrise and enjoy just-delivered fresh coffee. Keel-billed toucans --Belize's bright-billed national bird--and scores of other species provide natural entertainment.

    If You Go

    - Getting To Belize City: american airlines via Miami or dallas/Fort Worth, Continental via houston, or TaCa via houston or l. a. regular fares are about $1,000 Cdn. Machaca can arrange flights between Belize International airport and Punta gorda --one-way $130 US

    - Machaca Hill Rainforest Canopy Lodge: 12 guest tree houses, comprising 10 standard and two deluxe rooms, all with two queen-size beds except for the honeymoon suite, which has a king-size. a luxury tent camp on Nicholas Caye in the Sapodilla Cayes Marine reserve will be added later this year.

    - Rates per person, per night, range from$650 to $725 US, fully inclusive of accommodation, meals, beverages, activities, park and entrance fees, laundry, taxes, and service charges. Children, aged six to 12, $195 to $220; under five years stay free.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    This would be the consideration of the outcome which we need to see and also knowing the factors that can be working or helpful with the productive way 2 days tour to niagara falls is very decent for us and i am sure we can get help with it.

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