June 16, 2015 by Terumi
Before kids, when the hubby and I traveled, where we stayed wasn’t totally important. We cared about location, price and cleanliness but everything else was a bonus and if something didn’t work out we could always figure out something that could make do. But now with kids, I pour hours into our itineraries-sometimes where we stay can affect the whole feeling of a trip because it’s a lot more difficult to change plans for a family of four than when it was just the two of us. When we get crammed into a teeny tiny room, we can go crazy or if a hotel is too far from activities we miss out because it’s too much of an ordeal to pack up the kids and go. And now my kids love it when a hotel has a pool so I have to factor that into where we stay too. So when I found an incredible deal on Expedia at the Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge in Belize, I was a little skeptical on how it would turn out, but it was too good of a deal to pass up and it was very close to the inland Blue Hole, a place I wanted to see and it had a swimming pool too. (It was also free to cancel when I booked it so I could think about it for a little while, and I tend to look for free-to-cancel hotels on Expedia when I first book my airfare so I know we have a place to stay and then if we find something else I can easily change.)
I was unprepared for how stunningly beautiful the Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge was in real life. The guys (my hubby included) and I were amazed. This was a jungle paradise.
The grounds were set on an orange grove and some afternoons we’d see the giant trucks rumble through carrying oranges away. (The orange juice at this resort was AMAZING and it’s no wonder why.)
And everything was beautifully manicured and there were so many delightful tropical flowers and plants.
We loved our gorgeous casita- our little cabin was all one room but very spacious with air conditioning and comfortable furniture and the outdoor bathtub was a really nice touch. The boys were impressed with the daily towel art and thought the bunk-beds were really cool (even though I thought the top bunk was a little high and only let them sleep on the bottom one.) They also had a lot of fun with the staff, especially Jason, who made them amazing drinks and joked with them every time we went into the main lodge area where we ended up eating a lot of our meals. (The lodge is a little secluded from other places to eat, but the food was excellent here.) At night we looked forward to seeing fireflies dotting our path as we walked back “home”.
We like to be spontaneous so I am really glad that we rented a car (We rented from Crystal Auto and had a great experience there too!). It was easy to drive to the lodge from the airport and when we were there we had fun exploring the nearby Blue Hole National Park and St. Herman’s cave. The hubby and the Bean did a cave-tubing excursion one afternoon with Belize Inland Tours and had an amazing time. We thought we might try the one at Cave’s Branch but it was a little too adventurous for us. The two and half hour tour in the darkness the guys took was perfect for my brave-not-scared-of-the-dark-little six-year-old and his dad and later they showed LeeLee and I a little peek into the cave and a tarantula that lived nearby and that was enough cave to tide us two over for a long time.
The Blue Hole was refreshing in the heat and we even had it to ourselves for a little while one afternoon. (This is not the one in the sea that is famous, but it was a really nice stop.)
We also loved stopping by an ice cream stand up the road about 15 minutes heading towards Dangriga. I will have to find a picture of this pastoral little place as well as some of the pool-the boys LOVED the ginormous swimming pool here too. (We brought multiple cameras and the hardest part of coming back sometimes is actually uploading the pictures. I find I make the best use of pictures I shoot on my phone or on point and shoot.)
So after all my worry beforehand, the Sleeping Giant Lodge turned out to be a great place to stay with kids and if you’re headed to the area with your family in tow, it might be worthwhile for you too!
(PS. have you been to Belize with kids before? What did you like to see? Where did you stay?)
(PPS. we gave ourselves ample time to get from the Sleeping Giant to the airport in Belize-it is about a 90 minute drive without traffic but you never know what kind of traffic you might encounter. On our way home there was some sort of a bike race in between Belmopan and the airport and it added another 20 minutes onto our trip!)