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Mariposa Jungle Lodge – Belize Diary, January 26

Mariposa exceeded all of our expectations, a bright gem in a fairy tale forest.

Mountain Equestrian Trails was not renting rooms during our time in Belize, so we stayed at Mariposa Jungle Lodge a couple of miles up the road and discovered the same rainforest ambience we remember from the ’90s.

Robbie and Gladimir

First off, the staff was intelligent, engaged, kind, and hard-working, so that hadn’t changed about this part of the world.

Bob’s jokes for Glad were, “I’m happy to see you, Glad,” or “I’m glad to see you happy.”

The well-groomed walkways quickly gave way to luxuriant wildness.

The cabana were named after plant and animals. We stayed in the Jaguar.

Bob booked the jaguar because he knew I would enjoy the non-airconditioned screen porch.

It also featured an outdoor shower, which he greatly enjoyed.

Our bed. Comfortable, spacious, and lit for nighttime reading.

We woke in darkness to the otherworldly roar of howler monkeys calling for rain. That was our first morning, and it did rain, but not until later, after we’d gone for a long, guided bird hike where we heard and/or saw thirty different species.

Camille at the breakfast table, appetite sharpened by exercise and anticipation.

A very Belizean breakfast of fry jacks, black beans refried in coconut oil, freshly squeezed orange juice, fruit, a muffin, and—special for Camille—scrambled tofu. All the meals were above the cut. Good, wholesome, food, extraordinarily presented, stunning in its simplicity.

Chef Norma generously shared her refried bean secrets with Camille.

We often went hiking in the morning, but the afternoons were perfect for a cool dip.

You may not know this, but Bob is a water baby.

Bob and Sevilla. She and Robbie were servers who worked behind the scenes the rest of the time to make our stay comfortable. One afternoon Sevilla saw me scrubbing our shoes after a particularly muddy hike and she talked me into letting her clean them for me.

The Black Orchid (Encyclia Cochleatum) is the National Flower of Belize

Bob, with his eye for orchids, found these gems beyond our back deck.

Retired jungle guides

By now we were giddy with jungle vibes, good food, and exercise.

Uncanny resemblence

Could it be that Camille’s family line erupted from Central America?

The rooms filled up over the weekend and the tables moved outdoors. Out came the tiki torches, giving dinner a fairytale vibe.

The howlers woke us again on our last morning. We rolled towards the center of the bed, grinning in the darkness. When the monkeys were finished, we laughed to hear a laughing falcon calling, “Hah hah hah haaah!” And when it was finished, the chachalacas started in. All calling for rain, the forest’s life blood. Making magic happen just for us.

Will we come back? people ask. Why, yes we will. Yes, indeedy.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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