I must admit, choosing to stay at the Black Rock Lodge in Belize has been one of the better travel decisions I’ve ever made.
When planning my Belize trip, I wanted to spend half my time in the jungle and the other half on the island of Caye Caulker. And I soon discovered that there is no better place to stay in the Belize jungle than Black Rock Lodge.
Black Rock Lodge in Belize is a fully off-the-grid eco-lodge tucked away in the dense rainforest of western Belize–an eco-friendly jungle resort, if you will. They make their own food; they make their own energy; and they focus on conservation and preserving the environment in which they’re located.
It is an absolute pleasure to stay here!
Where is Black Rock Lodge in Belize?
Black Rock Lodge in Belize is located in the Cayo District just outside of San Ignacio in the western part of the country near its border with Guatemala. It’s about a 2.5-hour drive from the Belize airport in Belize City.
Black Rock Lodge is hidden a further 7 miles back down a barely-accessible dirt road within Elijio Panti National Park. You know where you are? You’re in the jungle, baby! You might literally have to follow a toucan. Welcome to your wildest dreams!
The Black Rock Lodge experience
If you had told me as a youngster that one day I’d sleep in a hammock in the jungle under a gazillion stars, get my skin exfoliated by a thousand tiny river fish, and learn firsthand that spiders’ eyes sparkle like diamonds in the dark, I would have said: “You’re going to do something right someday, Ashley!”
Nothing about the Black Rock Lodge experience is ordinary. Nothing is sub-par. And nothing is any less than your wildest jungle fantasies.
Staying at Black Rock Lodge you’ll get to eat amazing meals each day, interact with a staff that truly adores what they do for a living, and experience the Belizean jungle in a seriously intimate way.
You can do as little or as much as you want during your time here. They offer a wide variety of both adventurous activities and relaxing ones for all types of travelers. You’ll make friends, see and hear the most out-there things, and forget all about the outside, plugged-in world.
What it’s like to stay at a Belize eco-resort
Black Rock Lodge in Belize operates with sustainability as their guiding principle. To do this they:
- produce 100% of their own energy through the use of solar and hydroelectric power
- have implemented advanced systems for wastewater treatment, waste reduction, and recycling
- focus on sustainability techniques beyond the traditional
- have been carefully reforesting the surrounding land
- utilize the gift of their location: an unlimited supply of pure (life-giving) spring water
- maintain a working organic farm from which to create their incredible meals
- utilizing composting
- and much more actually
My stay at Black Rock Lodge was actually my first time ever staying at an eco-lodge of this sort and I definitely see the benefit of doing so in such an incredible natural environment.
Knowing your trip to Belize is actually having little to no impact on the environment is one less thing to worry about as a traveler. And seeing how much they love and care for the natural environment makes you feel good about your decision to stay there.
At no point did I feel like I was missing anything during my stay at Black Rock Lodge. I never felt the toilets needed more water or that the food needed any artificial sweeteners or preservatives. *rolling my eyes here*
There was never a lack of fresh drinking water, electrical power, or anything else you might think you’d have to sacrifice by staying “off-the-grid.” It is blissfully quiet, impeccably clean, and so incredibly delicious.
A day at the Black Rock Lodge in Belize
There are countless ways to spend your days at Black Rock Lodge. Honestly, there are so many activities I was sad I hadn’t booked a whole month there. Here’s a look at what you can expect during a day at Black Rock Lodge in Belize:
Waking up at Black Rock Lodge
5:30 am – The sun rises to the sounds of jungle birds chirping. The howler monkeys start their morning scream on the other side of the river. In your sleepy state you try to remember if you activated the electric fence around the T-Rex paddock.
5:45 am – Your alarm goes off and brings you back to a serene, less frightening reality. You don’t even care that you’re on vacation and awake at this hour because the scene is so idyllic and you know you’ve got locally-grown coffee waiting for you.
6:10 am – You arrive in the restaurant and pour yourself a cup of the best coffee you’ve ever tasted. You order breakfast and sip your bean juice at the ledge overlooking the jungle and river below. Elvis, the resident bird nerd, searches for nesting toucans for you with his telescope.
6:20 am – You enjoy your breakfast of lodge-grown fruit, homemade breads and jams, and fresh eggs that were laid just down the path. You discuss the awesome stuff you did the day before, and all the awesome stuff you’ll do today, with the new friends you’ve made.
The awesome stuff
7:00 am – Whichever jungle adventure you’ve chosen for the day begins! Maybe it’s touring the ATM Cave; maybe it’s river tubing or hiking or biking. The list of possibilities is long – and I talk more about what all you can do a few sections down.
5:30 pm – You arrive back at Black Rock Lodge (if your adventures took you off the property) and immediately run down to the river to jump in for your first moment of relief from your day in the hot jungle sun. Tiny fish gather to nibble on your legs and feet, an unexpected but titillating welcome.
7:00 pm – You head to the bar for pre-dinner cocktails and complimentary chips and dip. You can’t decide what to drink so the bartender gives you whatever is leftover in the blender from making drinks for others. You’re alright with this.
7:15 pm – You find your seat for dinner. You’re seated with different groups of visitors each night and everyone has a great time discussing all the awesome things they did that day.
7:20 pm -Your 4-course dinner is served. Fresh baked breads, salad, soup, an entrée the size of two entrees, and dessert. Somewhere in there is something made from coconuts. You’re alright with this.
After dinner – You take the guided night hike through the jungle and experience an entirely new world! The jungle comes alive after the sun goes down and you’ll get to see all new creatures, hear all new sounds, and experience new fears and triumphs. It’s a can’t-miss experience!
10:30 pm – Black Rock Lodge shuts off all exterior lighting and tiki torches so you can experience a truly dark night in the jungle under a gazillion stars.
You fall asleep rocking in your hammock to the faraway screams of howler monkeys, the Guinness Book record holder for loudest animal on the face of the earth. Commence Jurassic Park dreams.
Black Rock Lodge rooms
The Black Rock Lodge in Belize offers 20 private cabins designed with views and jungle breezes in mind. They all have bathrooms, hammocks, in-room safes, towels, and eco-friendly toiletries.
The rooms at Black Rock Lodge are rustic jungle perfection. Open-air rooms and showers, full private decks in a rainforest setting, and stunning views are standard.
The rooms lack all the stuff you don’t need in the jungle: a TV, coffee maker, phone, hairdryer, etc. No matter what you think prior to your visit to Belize, you will not need a hairdryer. And that’s a bigger understatement than Andre the Giant saying, “I can reach that.”
The rooms are decorated with crafts made my local artisans and all include ceiling fans and a purified water dispenser. They have clothes lines for hanging up your wet bathing suits and all offer total privacy.
There are 5 different cabin types – and I stayed in two of them so I could compare for you.
Black Rock Lodge – Classic cabin
The Classic Cabins come with either a king bed or a queen + a double bed. These cabins are simple but in a fancy jungle-y way. They’re settled a little bit deeper in the jungle which means full rainforest feels. (It unfortunately does not mean you’ll wake up with a jaguar on your porch.
I absolutely loved how in-the-trees staying in this cabin felt and would definitely recommend the classic cabins. They may be the most basic option but they are truly the most jungle-y and that’s exactly what I was looking for!
Riverfront Deluxe Cabin
Can we just take a moment to appreciate this locale too? This is Cabin 17, the riverfront deluxe cabin and, if all goes according to plan, my future home.
My house in Boston just doesn’t have the same rush of river rapids and fluttering of butterfly wings. I miss the high-pitch clicks of bats of trying to find their way in the dark and being able to see Mars from my porch. But I digress.
I absolutely loved the coziness of the classic cabin, but the riverfront deluxe had something that far outweighed all else: a freaking spectacular breeze. (I visited Belize in June, during a drought. It was hot.) During our night in the deluxe cabin we actually needed the comforter—the comforter! A hilarious fact we would marvel at for the rest of our time in blazing Belize.
The deluxe cabins offer more space and total comfort. In addition to all the standard amenities, these cabins also have a sofa sleeper.
I loved staying in the Riverfront Deluxe cabin and it definitely felt luxurious. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for more space in which to spread out or river views.
Black Rock Lodge property amenities
Black Rock Lodge in Belize has all the standard property amenities you would look for in a hotel but with their own take, like:
- 24-hour front deck
- Farm-to-fork restaurant and bar
- Beautiful outdoor pool & relaxing jungle-side patio
- Daily housekeeping
- WiFi (but please don’t use it – it’s too beautiful here!)
- Free on-site parking (if you dare drive yourself there)
- Spa treatment menu
- A network of trails and countless activities
But it also has so much more that no “regular” hotel could ever boast. There wasn’t anything I thought I was missing during my stay at Black Rock Lodge.
Black Rock Lodge does have a pool, but swimming in the river is so much more fun! (Though I understand friendly but curious fish aren’t for everyone.) They have chairs set up on the riverbank and it’s easy to get to.
Food and Drinks at Black Rock Lodge
The Black Rock Lodge in Belize has an onsite bar and farm-to-fork restaurant where they serve seasonal items harvested right there on the property.
They have goats and free-roaming chickens on the property that provide fresh milk and eggs, as well as an extensive garden and hundreds of fruit trees, 70 cacao trees, and 300 pineapple plants. They also grow their own sugar cane and cultivate their own small coffee plantation!
They make their own yogurt and cheese, granola, jams, breads and pastries. They get their fresh meat and fish from local vendors in San Ignacio. And they bake their own breads and squeeze their own juices. It cannot get any better than this in the jungle, right?
They have unlimited fresh water for your consumption and they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And it’s all fresh and delicious. Can you tell the food was maybe my favorite part?
Black Rock Lodge activities & adventures
Black Rock Lodge has a long list of activities and tours both on and off site. I was very excited about this, but this is where we met our dilemma: too much to do, too little time. In our three days at Black Rock Lodge we managed to fit in:
What we couldn’t fit in we’ve already added to our itinerary for next time. We easily could have spent three more days at Black Rock Lodge. What they offer that we didn’t have time for includes:
- More caving
- River tubing – If you can stay on your tube while going over the falls you get a free rum punch!
- More of watching the people river tubing fall off their tubes on the falls
- Horseback riding to Maya ruins
- Outdoor yoga & meditation – Black Rock Lodge regularly hosts yoga retreats.
- Guided bird-watching – Belize is one of the top birding destinations and Black Rock Lodge is the premier birding hot spot in Belize! You will see the coolest birds ever!
Black Rock Lodge tours
In addition to the ones listed above, they also have chocolate tours, visits to the Green Iguana Conservation Project, Market Day in San Ignacio, and so many more cultural experiences to check out.
They have fully-licensed tour guides and drivers and I can personally attest to how amazing and accommodating they are! And really, this is still not the full list of things to do at Black Rock Lodge in Belize. You will be neither bored nor disappointed.
How to get to Black Rock Lodge in Belize
Black Rock Lodge in all its off-the-grid splendor is virtually impossible to get to on your own without some serious 4-wheel drive and a PhD – a degree in Pothole Diversion, I was told.
Black Rock Lodge airport shuttle
Luckily, Black Rock Lodge offers shuttle services to/from just about anywhere in Belize, including the airport.
After my time at Black Rock Lodge, I took advantage of the shuttle service to get from there to the water taxi in Belize City to catch a boat to Caye Caulker. There was another couple going to the same place so we were able to split the shuttle with them and save some cash.
But to get to Black Rock Lodge upon arriving in Belize, I opted for the $4 city bus which was an experience, to say the least.
If this is the route you want to take, get a cab from the Belize airport to the main bus station, then a bus to San Ignacio. Once in San Ignacio, you will need to call Black Rock Lodge and they will send someone to pick you up. (I called from the Belize tourism office in town.)
Otherwise, you can prearrange an airport pickup (which is totally what I’m doing next time).
As far as renting a car and driving there yourself… maybe reconsider that. The roads in Belize leave a lot to be desired and in order to get to Black Rock Lodge itself you’ll need all kinds of off-road equipment. Personally, I wouldn’t attempt it. Honestly, just let the professionals handle it. And maybe wear padded shorts.
Black Rock Lodge reviews
Staying at Black Rock Lodge in Belize is like getting a surprise upgrade to first class. Like getting two bags of Cheetos from the vending machine when you only paid for one. Like your next door neighbor installing a pool.
It’s so much better than any other “hotel” or accommodation you’ve ever stayed at. Black Rock Lodge in Belize far exceeded my expectations to become one of my favorite stays of all time.
The staff consistently goes above and beyond and they really are a treasure! The wait staff and tour guides learned our names and order preferences. They arranged our day trips with zero effort on our part. They told me I could steal the fan from the restaurant if it got too hot in my room.
You’re provided with all the free water you could possibly consume (it will be A LOT). They welcomed us with an orientation to the property and the best damn watermelon juice I’ve ever had. The place is clean and safe, beautiful and serene, and a welcome change of pace. It felt so great to go totally off-the-grid here. No lights, no unnatural sounds, no electrical hum. No Twitter notifications or constant reminders of how far behind I am on just about everything. Only the jungle, my wild imagination, and endless Jurassic Park one-liners.
Honestly, there are no downsides to staying here. None. This place is a dream!
More info for your trip to Black Rock Lodge in Belize
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