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Machaca Hill Rainforest Canopy Lodge, Punta Gorda

$200-$299
Belize, Central + South America: at the Machaca Hill Lodge in Belize have terraces with direct views of the Belize
Punta Gorda , Toledo
Belize
Tel: 501 722 0050
info@machacahill.com
www.machacahill.com
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Guests at this 12-suite resort nestled in an 11,000-acre rain forest preserve are not expected to converse with the gardener over mojitos on, say, the benefits of growing vegetables by the Mayan lunar calendar. Nor should they feel required—despite urgings by the new management, a husband-and-wife team with years of experience in the African eco-luxury industry—to dance by firelight to Garifuna drumming. But chances are they will. Formerly a no-frills fishing lodge, Machaca Hill opened after a three-year rehaul that now provides a luxe base for soft adventurers: huge, hill-hugging suites that emphasize simple rain forest elegance (hardwood furniture accented by Mayan tapestries), and a new spa complete with a backstory (built from recycled hurricane-damaged hardwood). Sure, there are benefits to staying poolside and to bird-watching from the main lodge (the area is home to hundreds of species) or even au naturel nature sighting from one's glass-windowed shower, but the emphasis here is getting off your khaki-covered backside and exploring the area's coral reefs, jungles, and Mayan ruins. At your disposal is an adventure arsenal—mountain bikes, canoes for paddling the Rio Grande river, open-air Land Cruisers—plus the resort's guides, invaluable both for their knowledge on the flora, fauna, and the various ethnic groups (Maya, Creole, Garifuna, East Indian) as well as their Belizean wit. In keeping with the participatory atmosphere, staff will join you for pre-dinner drinks, dinner itself—an affair combining organic ingredients from the on-site garden—and, yes, a bit of dancing to the drums.—2010 Hot List

Which room to book: For those who find the jungle chatter a little too overwhelming, Room 6 is steps from the pool—and a fresh drink.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.