More about Jaguar Reef Lodge and Spa
Saved us from Grief
7 days at the Jaguar Reef Lodge was exactly what our relationship needed.
No phone, No Tv ...no stress. We got the opportunity to communicate and share and understand how each other feel. Its amazing the misunderstanding that can take place and cause so much unhapiness in a relationship. We realized that we care for each other more than we ever thought and we just did not take the time to express that emotion properly.
Jaguar Reef Lodge provided that venue we so badly needed to save our relationship.
Beautiful, Enchanting, Serene, Historic, Friendly. Great Food and Fun.....just do it people.
we will be there again next year with many others.
Beautiful setting and great adventures.
My girlfriend and I stayed at the Jaguar Reef Lodge over Thanksging 2005. We had a great time. The cabana was nice and spacious with a vaulted ceiling, strong shower and a nice view of the ocean from the porch. The AC worked well and it was quiet.
We enjoyed the different trips they offered each day. We went tubing through caves, snorkeling 2x, visited Mayan ruins, kayaked through a Jaguar preserve and went on a river tour. The guides were excellent and went out of their way to make sure you were having fun.
The only issue we had was in the dining room. It took a while to get served during dinner. They have to work on that. We didn't have a problem at breakfast and the lunches on the trips were good.
It's a relatively small place which enabled us to meet many of the other guests. We enjoyed that aspect of our trip. Everybody swapped stories about their different adventures.
There was a good mix of people there. We had a great time and would recommend it highly. You just have to have patience in the dining room. Things run a little slower down there.
This is a beautiful resort. It's small and the employees are amazingly friendly and helpful. It is quite isolated from any kind of major city, which means you are at the mercy of the resort and it's somewhat inflated prices. For $2USD, you could get a cab into Hopkins town. We did this a couple nights for some local food - since dinner on the lodge was a little pricey for our taste buds. But we did have dinner there on our last night to enjoy the peaceful view of the ocean from the huge gazebo styled dining room. If you want to do the Mayflower hike - get a cab to take you. It's cheaper and you can spend longer exploring. With minimum targets set on all trips - there are no guarantees that you will get to go on your excursion of choice.
All in all - a beautiful, well run facility. Just don't forget to bring your credit card!
Had a great time, but....
We were married at Jaguar Reef in July '05. We had a great time, but for the price I expected a little more attention to detail. We had one of the casitas on the south end of the resort. These are BEAUTIFUL rooms, unfortunately they have inadequate air conditioning and with the mosquitos and sand fleas, you can't really leave your doors/windows open at night. This made for miserably hot and restless nights. The wonderful sliding doors to the veranda have no screens, and the window screens were ripped away from the frames in places. We ran the A/C 24 hours a day, ceiling fan and floor stand fans at night and our room never got cool. We had the ultimate honeymoon package, which was great except again for the details. We were entitled to daily massages. We had 2 massages total between us in our 5 night stay, because the masseuses were always booked up by the time you return from your excursions. One of the masseuses, the male one, Ray I think, was the WORST massage I have ever had. I told him 4 times to be more gentle. I was sore and bruised the next day. He was completely untrained in the art of massage. He also made it clear in the first 2 minutes of my massage that he was inadequately paid by the resort and would appreciate a tip. Due to the fact I was wearing a bathrobe and swimsuit with no pockets, he didn't get one. He didn't deserve one. Someone should tell him massage is not supposed to be painful.
We felt the food was fine and the drinks were great. Service is "on Belize time". Meaning this is vacation so don't be in a hurry. We were disappointed that our "daily champagne in our room" appeared on 3 nights not five, and one of those was at 10:00 pm after we were in bed! Another night I had to walk down to the bar and fetch it myself. The "daily" flowers appeared in our room on 2 days out of 5. Not a big deal. We often had to find our own beach towels and on some occasions our own beverages at the pool bar, because it was rarely staffed.
Our excursions were a little bit impacted by our wedding arrangements and the weather (rainy season). But we were accomodated in every way possible. Our guides, Junior and Charlton, were absolutely fantastic. I could not have asked for more personable service. Our waiter, Denroy, was so sweet we invited him to be one of our wedding witnesses. The wedding went off without a hitch and, thanks to Junior, obtaining the necessary documents beforehand went smoothly. The resort is lovely, and with the exception of the points above, I would recommend it. I would not recommend the "ultimate honeymoon package" as it will be improbable that you will be able to access all the features that are offered, making it not as economical as if you paid for what you actually use a la carte style.
Bug spray just don't cut it!
We wanted to get away to a place that was laid back. One where we could do nothing but sit on the beach, enjoy the sun and read a book. We arrived and immediately went for a romantic sunset walk on the beach. We noticed that the beutiful beach was completely deserted and thought that we were in for the R&R that we so desparately needed. After walking for what seemed like three minutes, we found out why the beach was deserted. Swarms of man eating no-see-ums patrol the beaches waiting for fresh tourist meat. We were so bitten up that we never went on the beach again. This is despite the gallons of OFF bug spray (generously supplied by the lodge) liberally applied to our flesh.
The staff was outstanding and very friendly. The rooms were neat and the lodge was well maintained. The food was rather mediocre but the open air dining room is a great place to have dinner. Unfortunatly, the swarms of biting no-see-ums make their way on to the terrace whenever the wind dies down and you must coat yourself with enough DEET to cause convulsions in small mammals if you want to eat. I must appologize to the management for having my arms actually melt off the varnish on their chairs.
We had a great time touring the jungle, fishing and the guides supplied by the lodge were excellent and freindly. The village of Hopkins was very warm freindly despite the catcalls that my wife attracted from the ever present construction crews.
Overall, the place would be great for what we wanted but the bugs ruined it. I hope and imagine that there is a season that does not have the beach bug problem but the management seems reluctant to post that season. They seem to downplay the bug issue alot. I mean you litterally CANNOT go on the beaches. My wife ended up getting something called cutaneous leishmaniasis, which is a parasite caused by the bugs. The skin sores of cutaneous leishmaniasis will heal on their own, but this can take months or even years. The sores can leave ugly scars.
I guess it's our own fault. The management posts that there are bugs, but they don't really indicate how bad they really are. We expected, with a jungle environment to deal with some discomfort, just not in the lodge iteslf. We ended up leaving two days earlier than expected and was very disappointed.
We just came back from a terrific holiday week at Jaguar Reef. Three generations, ages 11-73, and everybody had a great time. The site and the facilities were lovely, with carefully raked sand around tropical plantings, spacious clean rooms and a gorgeous view. The staff was uniformly friendly and helpful. Ervin and Jorge in the bar shared "bar tricks" with us. Kimberly in reception greeted us by name whenever she saw us, including passing each other on bikes when she was off duty. The guides were full of information and more than willing to answer our many questions about wildlife, agriculture, history and current conditions in Belize. We had great fun on our tours, from cave tubing (exciting!) to Mayan ruins to snorkeling. Everybody also enjoyed just hanging out at the lodge, going from pool to beach to the other pool to the hot tub. Every night after dinner, we headed back to the hot tub to watch the stars. On Christmas Eve, we were treated to shooting strs in the clear sky. We also took advantage of the sea kayaks and bikes. My son loved hanging out in the hammocks at the Iguana Lodge, while his dad birded or photographed butterflies.
As we were planning our trip, we read various reviews posted here and it seemed like people were talking about two completely different places. Some people absolutely loved Jaguar Reef and others couldn't stand it. Well, put us in the first category!Yes, there were a few bugs (no-see-ums, mostly), but they weren't unbearable and they certainly weren't as bad as what we deal with every summer in Maine. Yes, the food service was sometimes slow, but why should I complain when we were waiting in such a comfortable open-air setting with ocean breezes and views of palm trees, white sand and blue water and sky? During the busy holiday week all breakfasts and dinners were buffet style, with many excellent choices to please our whole family, from carving stations to a pasta station to Belizean staples like red beans and rice and conch. When we ordered lunch, we knew it might take a little while so we just relaxed with a cold drink and enjoyed each other's company. Every special request we made was dealt with easily, from scheduling a massage (out on the dock, with the water lapping gently below) to getting a second bed in my kids' room to arranging a cake and champagne for my inlaws' 50th anniversary. My only suggestion to Jaguar Reef would be to update their website, because they don't list some amenities we enjoyed, such as the swim-up bar and hot tub, and services like massages and manicures, etc., but do include some outdated information. There is no longer snokeling just down the beach, courtesy of a recent hurricane. You need to boat out to the reefs, where the snorkeling is excellent. The facilities and adventure opportunties are too nice to be spoiled by people's disappointment at the few things they might not expect. We would definitely recommend a stay at Jaguar reef; our kids are already asking when we'll go back!
Exceeded all expectations
My wife and I recently returned from our December 2005 honeymoon at Jaguar Reef. Every aspect of the resort exceeded our expectations (expectations which were based largely on the website and other people’s reviews). The pictures on the resort’s website are quite dated as Jaguar Reef has been much improved with the addition of a second pool and several more suites. We did many of the tours including the Mayan ruins, the black hole cave drop, river cave tubing, the jaguar preserve, and several snorkel trips; each was fantastic with a very knowledgeable tour guide. This really was an ideal vacation spot for us as we are very active and try to make the most out of visiting new places. We went adventuring during the day and lounged at the pool and the beach with drinks in the afternoon. I would definitely recommend one of the all-inclusive packages that the resort offers, it made everything very simple for us and there were never any questions about what was included in our package.
Great Honeymoon for Adventurous Couples!
My husband and I went to Jaguar Reef Lodge (the Almond Beach portion) for our honeymoon over Thanksgiving in 2005. We have both travelled extensively (we're the backpacking, Lonely Planet toting, third world country enthusiast type), and I have lived abroad. We absolutely LOVED this place, and can't wait to go back. It would be a great place to bring kids (regardless of age) and parents (who aren't as adventurous as us) alike. For $4,000 we did the Ultimate Honeymoon Package which is the largest package they have. Never before have we been anywhere where "all inclusive" really meant "all inclusive." We cleaned out our mini fridge of snacks, water, and beer daily, they did our laundry for us, we had massages every morning on the end of the dock, we ate our meals privately on our veranda in the evenings (with our own private waiter), champagne was waiting by our bed in a bucket with fresh flowers in chocolates every evening, I had a manicure, pedicure and facial, we went on an excursion every day (black hole drop, Jaguar Preserve kayaking, Mayan ruins, Glovers Reef snorkeling and cave tubing), we spent $100 in the gift shop, etc. and we walked out of there without a bill. Nothing! It was awesome! The staff were all very nice and helpful, and we were there at a busy time. Things got slow for a couple days closer to Thanksgiving, but it wasn't the end of the world. They made us this huge Thanksgiving dinner and brought in traditional Garifuna dancers to put on a show afterwards. On our kayaking trip we saw two ocelots run in front of our vehicle on the way to the put-in, a puma swam in front of our kayaks, we watched a sunbathing croc slither off a sand bar into the water under our boats and tons of Iguanas and birds. It was truly amazing. This place was worth every penny, we almost felt guilty about how little it cost for everything we received. We spend a lot of time in beautiful hotels in Aspen, NYC, etc. and this place was still top notch for quality in that respect. And we had awesome adventures. Great combo!
An experience beyond expectations
My husband and I stayed at JRL Almond Beach side for our honeymoon and it was the most fantastic experience. There were so many things that made our trip special. First, All-inclusive MEANS all inclusive we never paid for a thing and i'm pretty sure we cleared the bar (poolside) every night. Amir and Edwin were such a blast that we would just sit and socialize with them. We recieved all of the amenities promised by doing the ultimate honeymooners package. All of our adventures were great, the snorkeling was by far the best. Terry, our guide was so great and we were able to customize a package for what we wanted to do which was a Full-day of snorkeling and hand-line fishing. The wildlife was amazing we saw so many creatures tons of stingrays, a leopard ray swam beneath us for the longest time. On one of the boats out we actually had three dolphins swimming with the boat.
We went in the rainy season so the bugs were not that bad, yep we got bitten but that was mostly because we forgot to re-apply bug spray after getting out of the water.