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Jaguar Reef Lodge & Spa
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Reviewed 4 December 2013

My fiance and I saw a deal on Living Social for Jaguar Reef for $600 for 6 nights, which we thought was a really good deal for a resort, so after reading some reviews on Trip Advisor, we went on to book our stay. I actually had pretty high expectations for this place since the reviews were so good and this place ended up being better than we even expected!

We flew into Belize City, rented a car and drove all the way to Hopkins. Long story short, we got lost and it ended up taking us over 5 hours to arrive at Jaguar Reef. We got lucky and checked in at 9:20pm, especially since the front desk closes at 9:30pm. They greeted us with a couple cocktails and asked if we were hungry. We told them that we were starving and they even asked if there was something in particular that we were craving, but we told them anything would do. The cook, who had literally just gotten off work and was already in his street clothes, delivered some hamburgers and fries to our room.

The room was very spacious and I thought it was a huge plus to have our own filter water dispenser, especially since I read that the water in Belize isn't all that clean, so it was nice to have clean water. We would fill up a few water bottles before leaving the resort every day. Each room also has a couple lawn chairs on the porch as well as a hammock. We only spent our first full day on the resort to settle in and relax since the day before was a very long day. When I saw the swim up bar, we just had to check it out since I've never been to one. There were a lot of lawn chairs and hammocks all along the beach. They even had kayaks and bicycles that you could borrow for free. We only ate at the continental breakfast once and didn't even on the resort after that since we wanted to support the local nearby restaurants in Hopkins (plus it was cheaper to eat off the resort).

Our only complaint was that our shower had almost no pressure and the water practically just trickled out of the shower head. We would just rinse off at the showers next to the pool before going back to our hotel room to finish showering. We probably should have mentioned it to the hotel manager, but never got around to it.

At night, there are a couple security guards walking around so we felt a bit more secure. In the lobby/restaurant area, there is a laptop you can use if you need to check your email or Facebook. There is Wi-Fi on the resort, but the signal was very weak and I couldn't access Wi-Fi from inside our room. I was able to connect to Wi-Fi when I was on the hammock outside our room though.

The Hopkins village is a nice, cozy place to check out. We ate at a few restaurants nearby, which I will review on their Trip Advisor pages such as:

- Driftwood Pizza
- Laruni Hati
- Tina's Kitchen
- Innie's Restaurant

One huge downside for us (which isn't Jaguar Reef's fault) was that the location of Hopkins is extremely far away from all the excursions that we did. We have a couple excursions with Caves Branch (an hour away), Pacz Tour (meet in Teakettle Village, about 1½ hours away) and even drove to the Mayan Ruins in Tikal, Guatemala (4 hour drive each way). So I just wanted to give you guys a big heads up that if you're doing any excursions not with Jaguar Reef, be prepared to drive A LOT. I put about 900 miles on our rental car in a week. And gas is NOT cheap over there. Be prepared to pay about $6-7 USD a gallon. And the highways can be a bit narrow sometimes and there aren't much street signs. I don't even recall seeing a stop sign. There are a lot of speedbumps and potholes (especially in Hopkins), so I would suggest renting a SUV or Jeep (we rented a Jeep Patriot). When I say there are a lot of potholes in Hopkins, (keep in mind that I'm not even exaggerating about this) the roads look like it used to be a minefield.

We vlogged a good amount on our trip so if you're interested in seeing what Jaguar Reef and the rest of vacation was like, search "babyblueeclipse Belize" on YouTube and you'll see all of our videos, split up into days.

Room Tip: The resort isn't all that big, so any room on the resort is very close to the beach and you can see the beach from the front door.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank BabyBlueJeff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2013

Just spent an amazing long weekend at Jaguar Reef with a deal we bought on Living Social. It was a very easy transfer in Belize City from the commercial flight to the short flight out to Dangriga, and Jamal was waiting there to drive us to Jaguar Reef. He offered to stop at a store if we needed anything and answered all our questions about where to eat and what to do.

Upon arrival at the resort, we received our welcome drinks and had lunch. Ashley gave us a tour of the property and showed us to our room. It was quite spacious, even with a roll-away bed added, and we never felt like we were on top of each other.

TOURS: We did the barrier reef snorkeling and the Mayflower Waterfall hike with rappelling. Both were excellent! It was my first time doing both, and the guides made me feel very comfortable and safe.

DINING: We only ate breakfast and lunch at Jaguar Reef. Decent food, but you should definitely explore the area for other options. We went to Chef Rob’s and Barracuda Bar & Grill (down the beach to the right) and Hamanasi (down the beach to the left). Incredible meals at all three places, although you are paying resort prices.

VILLAGE: Go into Hopkins! We rode the free bikes, but you can also take a motorbike or golf cart. There are several good restaurants, as well as shops. We had breakfast one morning at Thong’s Café, lunch at Iris’s (seafood soup to die for), and dinner at Frog’s Point. Everything is so fresh and delicious! If you are in the market for jewelry, go to Seashell Art by Alex (right across the street from Iris’s). His pieces, made from various shells, sea creatures, coconut and local woods, are exquisite, and the prices are reasonable.

PEOPLE: Everyone is so warm and friendly! Not just resort staff, but the villagers you meet, as well. One evening, we took a taxi to the main crossroad in town (at King Cassava’s). The road from the resort is very dark at night, and being 2 females, we felt safer doing that. Barbara was our driver, and we arranged a pick-up time for the ride back. We were about 10 minutes late to meet her and she was no longer there, but she lives across the street from King Cassava’s, so someone went to get her. She told us she was getting worried about us and was going to drive the road back to the resort to look for us if we hadn’t shown up in a few more minutes.

TIPS: Bring cash for shopping and dining in Hopkins (bills less than $20 US, preferably). Bug spray is VITAL, especially in the jungle.

Overall, I highly recommend Belize and Jaguar Reef. I don’t know if it’s different during the high season, but it wasn’t a wild, party atmosphere, or overrun by kids. It was a great mix of families, couples, friends. We are already talking about going back next year!

Room Tip: Beachfront rooms are better than ocean view rooms – mainly because the ocean view rooms back up to the road and there is some traffic and other noise during the night.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Kim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 December 2013

My Family and I got there Saturday night around 7 pm. When we first got there the servers came over and greeted us with rum and punch, since I'm not 18 i just had punch. We went over to our place we were staying at, very nice place and they showed us around. It was beach front and there was a kids pool in front of it. We headed over to dinner and had the best waiter ever, his name was Justin. He was so funny and kept us all entertain. The dinner was expensive but we had a meal plan, so we didn't have to pay. The dinner was always great. You could have appetizer meal and then desert. If you go there make sure to get soursop ice-cream. Its a super fruit and super delicious . Breakfast was good to , They usually have women serving breakfast and they were a little slow getting your stuff. Lunch was probley my favorite, there food was so good. The Resort provide us with bikes and all we had to do was go down to the bike rack and take a bike . We went down into the villages 2 times. The people are all nice. The roads are in bad conditions so you have to watch out for the potholes. We went on 4 excursions and they were all the blast. On monday we decided to go on the barrier reef snorkeling trip. It was a long boat ride out there but it was worth it . When we were riding along we saw a group of dolphins, they didn't come up to great us because it was the moms babies and the mom was protective of them. Tuesday was a chill day and we just swam in the beach. Wednesday we went on the jaguar preserve hike. It was a short hike and it wasn't that hard . When you get to the top you get to go swim in a waterfall, its really cold. Thursday we went zip lining, That was my favorite thing ever . It was so fun. It was very safe and they had this one hipline that was the longest in Belize. It was half a mile long. You did have to hike up sometimes to get where you need to be . Friday we went on a all day excursions and that was river cave tubing. It was expensive but it was cool to see the inside of a cave . There were also to strong rapids that took you further out . That was cool. Saturday was our last day, we had to get out of the house by 11 am and we just relaxed and hung out by the beach till 1 pm and then someone picked us up and we started our trip back home. This resort was great, Everything was perfect but we may not come back because of the bugs. There called sand fly/ Sand flees and they tore us up and same with the mosquitos when your in the rain forest. Other then that everything was awesome and great.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Grace D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 November 2013

My husband and I came here for our honeymoon at the end of October after purchasing a deal on Tripadvisor. It had been raining in Belize for 4 days straight prior to our arrival and when Alphonso came in his van from the lodge to pick us up, he wasn't sure we were going to be able to make it because of the flooded roads. He made a few phone calls and the lodge sent a larger van to come and take us the rest of the way from Dangriga. This man was amazing, but what is also amazing is that the lodge paid for him to rescue us and get us there safely - in waist-deep water! When we arrived we were greeted by some of the nicest people and a rum punch (which was much needed after the ride to the lodge)!

We stayed in a beachfront cabana which was lovely. The room was very spacious and clean. I know they have oceanfront cabanas as well, but honestly, ours was steps from the beach and I don't know if it's really worth the money you'd spend upgrading. The food was delicious every single night (I had seafood chowder twice, so good). I think what really struck us about the lodge was just how friendly and hospitable everyone was. Every single person went out of their way to smile and check in with us during our stay.

We did two excursions on our trip - snorkeling and the Cayo Mayan ruins. Snorkeling was amazing! The guide was really knowledgeable and the sea life was beautiful. We wished that we had done more while we were there. The ruins were equally amazing. Unfortunately we were only able to see one set due to flooding of a river but our guide let us walk around the town of San Ignacio in an attempt to make up for it. The drive through the country to get to the ruins was beautiful and the guide told us so much about Belize that we never would have learned otherwise.

There were really only a few things that kept us from rating this at 5 instead of 4. First, there was some pretty slow service a few times. You can ask that food be brought to your room and it's a free service, which is wonderful. The only problem is there aren't any phones to just dial the desk to place an order, you have to walk to the main building. We ordered nachos one afternoon and it took them an hour to bring them. My husband went to check on them after a half an hour which meant he had to walk back over to the main building again. It was another 30 minutes before they arrived. Second, there was one bar tender who was incredibly slow (I think his name was Alex). We sat at the bar in the main building and it took him 25 minutes to take our drink order. He was filling orders for the servers who had tables, but there really weren't that many people in the restaurant at the time so I'm not sure what the hold up was. He was very nice, but another night he was tending bar and we ordered drinks with our meal, it took him quite a long time to fill those as well so it wasn't a one-time thing. Our waitress that evening even commented on how slow it was. We didn't have any problems with any other bar tenders. Finally, I wish that we'd been able to get some reimbursement for the Cayo Mayan ruins trip. We were only able to see one site and we paid for two. The one we missed was the one I was most looking forward to. I let a manager know, but I didn't ask for any sort of compensation so I can't really fault the lodge for that. I should have pressed it if I wanted results so that's more on me. Still, it would have been nice if it had been offered.

Overall the place is beautiful, the beach is wonderful, the food is great and the staff are amazing. I would definitely recommend a trip here!

Room Tip: You don't need to upgrade to an oceanfront cabana. The beachfront ones are only steps from the ocean.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank MoonliteMaven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2013

Go to Hopkins village!! It is just a matter of time until the cat is out of the bag. This cozy little village has some great resorts located in close proximity. Jaguar Reef is one of the best. Our trip started when we landed in Belize city and caught our transfer to Dangriga. The Maya Air rep said that he would contact the resort and they would be waiting to take us the 40 min. to the resort. Sure enough they were there when we landed. We arrived to a fresh rumpunch and a great table for lunch. Our room was very spacious and clean, the bed was a little rickety but comfortable... the lounge chairs and hammock on the porch was a great addition. I would return to Jaguar Reef for sure. I think they have a sister resort in the Cayo district so you get the best of both worlds.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Heath J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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