travel

Boomers in Belize for Jungle Boogie

Maruba poolMaruba Resort Jungle Spa is a wonderful little slice of heaven carved out of the Belize jungle near Maskall, Belize. Maruba Resort is located about 40 miles northwest of the international airport at Belize City, Belize on the Old Northern Highway.

We're the kind of people who go to the jungle in August, Paris in March, Cancun in the summertime, Disney World in the fall, Grand Canyon in March. We love off season travel because we can stretch our dollars and stay in places that would be outside our budget if we stayed at high season. It also helps that we don’t mind a little unanticipated adventure or inconvenience.

Have you ever been to a luxury resort and made to feel like you didn’t belong? There was never a moment that even came close to that feeling at Maruba Resort. From the minute we were picked up until the minute we were dropped off for our return, everybody was friendly and accommodating.

Everything was fresh. Every meal. Everyday. Fresh. It was amazing! Chicken, water buffalo, boar, lobster, octopus, conch, talapia, bruschetta, mango, papaya, star fruit -- all fresh. Every meal had a palm frond instead of a placemat. Hibiscus everywhere! For liquid libations, I pretty much settled in to the local Belikin beer and gigantic rum punch. Nancy loved the iced coffee - sometimes with a little Kahlua. The jungle tea was wonderful too.

Maruba villaWhen it comes to activities, Maruba has it all. There's the jungle medicine/herb walk, a side trip to the Altun Ha Mayan ruins, boat trips up the Northern River, tubing on the Cave Branch River, mood mud body treatments, fishing, diving and snorkely trips, horseback ridng, trip to the baboon sanctuary, croc and bird watching, or just sitting by the pool with a good book.

One huge advantage to traveling to the jungle in August --- nobody else does! The day we arrived there were nine other people in three rooms. Two days later, we had the place to ourselves. A private pool! It was pure heaven. Quiet, a nice breeze every once in a while, staff at our beck and call! We didn’t even get out to eat lunch, they served us on the pool deck while we stayed in the water.

Was it hot and humid? Hell YES. It’s the friggin’ jungle. Altun Ha Mayan ruinsIt was high 80’s, low 90’s every day. Usually a breeze would rustle the palm trees, sometimes a slight wind. Rainy? Twice in seven days. One little bitty shower that barely got the pool deck wet and again on the river for about eighteen seconds.

Take plenty of bug repellent. Remember, you can’t take aerosol, so go for the pump bottles. We used repellent with Deet. We used it often but still came home with nice cases of Fly-bite-us.

Bottom line: Maruba Resort may be past it’s prime, but the food, the people and the setting compensate well. As they say on their website, if you want a home away from home, why travel?

Mark Van Patten writes a blog called Going Like Sixty and has been married to the same woman since 1968.

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