Belize’s Cayo district is in the west of the country, bordering Guatemala.   We wanted to spend some time there exploring the Pine Mountain Reserve area, which is a highland area of pine forest and jungle.  When we were considering where to stay, we had looked at a number of places in our guides and then the brother-in-law of a friend, who spends a lot of time in Belize, recommended the Five Sisters Lodge, so that’s what we chose.

It is a beautiful place, set above a series of small waterfalls (The Five Sisters) in the middle of a large swath of pine forest.  The grounds are beautifully landscaped and the cabanas are rustic, yet comfortable.   We had a family cabana which gave Kelly and me a private room with king sized bed and our own bathroom downstairs, while Aaron slept upstairs in his own double bed.  He has his own bathroom and there was a small living area and lovely screened in balcony overlooking the forest.

Since this is up in the mountains, it was a little cooler than the heat of the lowland jungle.  Nights were pleasantly cool and we only needed fans in our rooms rather than a/c.  Daytime temperatures were warm, but not oppressive, although apparently it gets very hot here in April – up to 107.  The coolest is in December when it can drop to 40.

The staff was wonderful – extremely friendly and very helpful.  We ate all our meals there (realistically the only option unless we wanted to drive a long way over a very bumpy road) and although the food was relatively simple, it was very tasty and filling.

Around the lodge itself there are a ton of birds.  I got up early on our last morning to greet the dawn around 5:30am and before breakfast I had seen more than 20 different varieties of birds, some amazingly colorful.  Unfortunately without a field guide, I could not identify most of the birds, but Fermin, our waiter, was a good bird spotter and helped me identify some.   Luckily I had brought my Nikon compact binoculars so we got a good view of many of the birds.   Some of the birds I saw included red legged honeycreepers, parrots, acorn woodpecker, crimson collared tanagers, laughing falcons, montezuma oropendula, and many others.  We also found a very large toad outside our cabin as we went to bed one night.  I showed Fermin a picture in the morning and told him this was probably the biggest toad I had seen.  He said it actually wasn’t very big – they see them twice as large as this!  A few days before we arrived one of the cleaning staff had seen a jaguar early in the morning near the property but we had no such luck.  We did see a creature dash into the bush on our drive out of the Pine Mountain area, which was probably a jaguarundi.

Below the lodge one can go swimming in the cool water underneath the waterfalls.  The lodge has its own hyrdoelectic generator upstream to supply their power needs.  Just down the road from the lodge is Big Rock, another, much taller waterfall and deep pools that Aaron and I visited on our last day (Kelly was still sore from her fall) using the lodge’s mountain bikes.  It was a lovely place to swim and Aaron built a kind of castle from drift wood pieces and sand.  Before leaving, Aaron was able to take a big leap off one of the rocks into the deep pools.

If you ever find yourself in Belize, and want a great outdoor experience, I recommend a visit to the Five Sisters Lodge.

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