We wanted to spend four days/nights in the jungle and four days/nights on the coast and after it was all said and done we really wished we spent more time in the jungle at Mystic River. We were very busy sight-seeing, going on tours, etc., and I wish we would have had a few more days to sit and enjoy the beautiful grounds, the river, and my balcony facing the jungle and river.
I really wanted the top of the line location if I was going to stay in the jungle and I was still a little hesitant looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions of the resort. Once we arrived and realized what we had, we loved every second of our stay and every square foot of our room and the resort. Let's just say I am very picky and tend to complain! No complaints about Mystic River Resort!
Grounds - Beautiful, well manicured, little jungle critters running about, interesting, and they have their own organic garden and farm. They have horses (horseback riding), a parrot, rabbits, chickens, etc. The pool very nice and great for relaxing or a quick dip, but small. The bar is outdoors in this amazing hand-built hut and the friendly hosts/owners will typically join their guests for an evening cocktail and you can pick their brain about Belize and their resort. The river is right down the hill from the resort (less than 100'?) and it's amazing to see the animal and bug life throughout the resort and along the river. Plan on a few hours one day just to walk around the resort. At night you will see fireflies in the trees towards the river. The resort appears to be very safe (and so does the country) and they have two security guys on staff in the evenings to assist guess with any problems, keep and eye on things, and to keep the jaguars away. (Just kidding about the jaguars!) The owners also live on-site and are minutes away.
Room - Large, clean, beautiful, flawless, and full of amazing woodwork and tile. French doors lead out to the balcony and I think all cabanas have a jungle and river view. Many ceiling fans throughout the room including the bathroom and a portable fan as well. One thing that might shock people...no air conditioning. I was not happy at first since I run hot, but during the day it's just fine sitting on the balcony and at night the fans are perfect. We even found ourselves pulling up the comforter later in the night. The rooms also have fireplaces for the winter time. Coffee will be delivered to your room by request and we loved having it on the balcony in the morning. Room highlights for me...the woodwork, balcony, large bed, and the large tiled shower ;)
Keep in mind you are in the jungle and the resort makes their own power from a generator and batteries. This is why they don't have a/c or mini bars in the rooms. Believe me, it's not a big deal at all and it's very interesting to talk to the owners about their power, water system (potable/drinkable), farm and their operation. Well, it might be interesting for the guys, but the girls might be more interested in their landscaping and garden.
Food - We only had dinner and and breakfast at the resort. I recommend the inclusive meal plan. It's nice to be able to walk in, order and not have to worry about prices or paying. The breakfasts were pretty good, but every dinner we had was excellent. Pork, fish, steak, pasta, veggies...all very good. My favorites were the pork loin and blackened fish. Don't forget to order dessert!!!! The outdoor covered dining room overlooks the river and it's so nice to be in a very nice dinning room, yet be outside with a great view. It's a very friendly place and plan on sharing your daily war stories with other guests.
Tours - I would recommend for younger, middle aged or "very" active seniors the following. Cave-tubing, ATM cave, Carocol ruins or Tikal in Guatemala, and an easy 2-hour canoe trip from the resort, down the river to the town of San Ignacio. If I had it to do over again, I would add in an air boat ride in Belize City and a trip to the Belize Zoo to check out all the native critters. The tour guides are amazing and well informed about their country and knowledgeable on any subject. I did make the mistake about asking a taxi driving about politics...I got a 30 minute rant about how messed up the government was in Belize. Too funny because he could have been a taxi driver in United States and his complaints about politics would have been no different.
Belize in General - Easy flight from USA/Houston. Everyone speaks ENGLISH. Belize City did not look very and I would not stay there. Overall very nice people and I felt safe. I have traveled in other parts of Central America and I was on edge most of the time. The roads (mostly two-way) can be dangerous, put not as bad as other parts of the world. The main hwy in and out of the resort is dirt and bumpy...you get use to it after a day or two. I will never complain about the crappy roads in Calif again! Humidity...just deal with it, you're on vacation and in the jungle. If I had to wear a business suit there everyday it would suck. Bugs and mosquitoes...bring your bug repellent and plan on wearing it as your daily perfume. Beer drinkers...Belikin beer is the beer of Belize. If you look hard, you might be able to find a Heineken or Guinness. Belikin is in small heavy bottles, but it tastes okay. Their Lighthouse beer is in even smaller bottles. Unfortunately, about half way through the trip I discovered that Belikin also makes a premium beer. It's much better and in a 12 oz bottle. Go Premium! If you like rum, ask for the "three barrel" Belize rum.
Bring - Water/hiking type shoes (Keen are the best), insect repellant, hydrocortisone, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, dry-bag, and a sense of adventure.
Suggestions - Research your Belize trip (tours, where to stay, etc.) before you book anything. When ready email Nadege Thomas the owner of Mystic River and she will book your entire trip for you including lodging, transfers, tours, etc. Her email is on the website. Her price will be better than a travel agent and she knows all the players. I compared pricing with other guests who used travel agents and Nadege had the best deals and she can completely customize your trip. She also book our hotel on the coast in San Pedro. We stayed at the Coco Beach Resort and it was very nice and I recommend it too. That's another story. Again, if I could do this trip again, I would have given up a night or two on the coast and stayed at Mystic River longer. We had a great trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. Mystic River is top notch and you won't be disappointed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Belize at its finest! Nestled on a steep bank of the beautiful Macal River, eco-friendly Mystic River Resort offers the best of all worlds to those who travel to Belize. In this oasis of privacy, serenity and rejuvenation, there are no crowds, just the soothing sound of birds, rustling trees, soft breezes and breath-taking views. We are a full-service Jungle Resort with an open-air restaurant, bar, spa, splash pool, yoga deck, adventure desk, luxurious accommodations with studios, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites – some featuring private plunge pools and outdoor showers! All our units offer king size beds, fireplace and private patio along with majestic views of the rain-forest and the river. Mystic River Resort, is located 7 miles from the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, surrounded by incredible serene wilderness – it is the best place to find the perfect something – or nothing – to do. We look forward to welcoming you- at the Mystic River Resort. Your MMR Team ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mystic River Hotel San Ignacio