Do a quick web search of guest reviews for Gaïa Riverlodge in Belize, and it’s easy to see that the resort is highly regarded among its visitors, with ratings mostly resting in the Very Good to Excellent arenas. Perhaps it’s because it is an eco-tourism destination or maybe it's the hotel's central location to many of the country’s most sought-after attractions; whatever the appeal, Gaïa certainly knows how to win over guests from around the world.
Sitting inside the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, Gaïa was inspired by the beauty of the property’s natural surroundings colored with indigenous bushes, trees, flowers and orchids. On the grounds are also sparkling waterfalls that accent the lodge’s quaint setting and charming architecture. The eco-conscious resort also boasts an energy source run by hydropower, which eliminates the need for electricity. Should the energy fail, a back-up system has been put into place, one that is just as eco-friendly and battery powered.
Only offering 16 choices for accommodations, the hotel’s private cabanas come in five different sizes and locations. All offer Belizean hardwoods, mahogany interiors, traditional bay leaf thatched roofs, panoramic windows and pillow-top mattresses. Some also include verandas which are enhanced by your own private hammock.
The spacious two-floor Waterfall View Suite consists of a large bedroom with king bed and private bathroom on the top level as well as a living room, open deck and full bathroom on the bottom level. To get a little more out of the space, the living room sofa opens up into a queen-sized bed to accommodate more guests. The king bed leans on the firmer side but with the sounds of the waterfall outside your window, you most likely won’t have any trouble falling asleep.
All about the property, vegetation and wildlife flourish. It’s not uncommon to spot unique birds like the Acorn Woodpecker take its place among the trees or to watch the Oropendolas’ yellow tail fly past you during the day. Gaïa is a nature-lover’s dream with over 450 species of orchids, palmettos, bromeliads, butterflies and more. But don’t worry, the lodge also makes sure to keep those pesky roamers of the rainforest from ruining your vacation with fully screened bedrooms to keep insects out.
To get to the waterfalls surrounding the property, guests can take a hydro-powered rainforest tram or simply walk down the steps to the bottom. Greeting you at the bottom are freshwater pools ideal for swimming and exploring the marine life. Through the concierge, guests can also set-up tours like guided excursions to Belize’s largest Mayan ruin, horseback riding through the jungle to visit Mayan plazas and caves, or more adventurous activities like zip-lining, cave tubing and repelling.
Sit inside the Gaïa Riverlodge restaurant and lounge’s expansive veranda that wraps around the building after a long day of sight-seeing and excursions and watch the sunset while enjoying dinner in the lamp-lit room. Belizean inspired and international cuisine is served in the dining room and all dishes are made come from locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as seafood from the nearby Caribbean Sea. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all served there; however, apart from the restaurant, there are no close options for dining.
Gaïa Riverlodge not only provides luxury accommodations and amenities, but its staff is said to be among the friendliest and most helpful in the area. Check in with them to book tours or to answer any requests you may have. Rates begin at USD $165 per night based on double occupancy in the low season and go up to USD $200 during high season.