Lonely Planet, publisher of some of the most popular and well-read travel guides for more than 40 years, has just released their selections for the top 10 countries to visit in 2019. Earning high marks for its pristine nature and stunning vistas, Belize was extolled for being “relatively untouristed, safe, and tantalizingly easy to reach,” for travelers in the Western Hemisphere.
Amongst the many attractions in Belize highlighted by Lonely Planet, visiting local villages and learning about the diverse cultures that inhabit Belize was highly recommended. Belize is home to an “exotic mix” of Maya, Mestizos (originally from Mexico), Garifuna (an Afro-Caribbean people), Creole and German-speaking Mennonites as well as expats from Canada and the United States.
Other activities recommended by Lonely Planet include exploring the offshore islands (called “cayes” in Belize) along the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was upgraded from “endangered” to “healthy” earlier this year. And not to be outdone, Lonely Planet also encouraged its readers to explore the jungles of Belize which are home to more than 600 bird species and exotic animals like monkeys and jaguars.
If you’re interested in visiting this gem of a country that earned the coveted “Best in Travel” designation by Lonely Planet, there’s no finer place to stay than Caves Branch Jungle Lodge. Founded by a Canadian explorer who fell in love with the diversity and beauty of the nature in Belize, Caves Branch is the country’s premier adventure lodge and regularly organizes outdoor activities like nighttime hikes in the jungle, bird watching, rappelling and cave tubing (exploring underground rivers by inner tube).
Caves Branch is located in the heart of the Belizean rainforest just a few miles outside of Belmopan and offers suites, bungalows, cabanas, and luxury two-story tree houses for its guests. The resort includes a restaurant, fully-stocked bar, freshwater swimming pool, hot tub, and massage center, making it a great place to rewind and relax after a fun day exploring all of the wonders that Belize has to offer.
Caves Branch Jungle Lodge’s founders, Ian and Ella Anderson, were given the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 by the Belizean Tourism Board for outstanding contributions to the hospitality industry in the country.
Besides operating Caves Branch, the Andersons have worked in creating several local non-profit organizations to give low-risk students academic assistance and chess training to help youth develop critical thinking skills.
Caves Branch is also home to the country’s largest collection of orchids and native bromeliads at the Caves Branch Botanical Garden, which are used by conservation scientists to help learn about, preserve and protect the natural splendor and diversity of Belize.