Traveled in a group of 4 people (two mid-twenties couples). (Found JRL through Living Social deal). Our trip was better than could have ever been expected! We had a 2BR/2Bath suite (Hibiscus). There is no stove/oven in the kitchen, but there is a microwave. There was plenty of space, A/C in all areas, and we overlooked the "family" pool as well as straight out to the ocean. I Think JRL is one of the few places I have traveled where the it's actually better in person!
We flew into Belize City and rented a car to have with us all week, which turned out to be great. The drive can be confusing but I had really good directions from a friend. There are bikes at the resort that are free, but they are first come, first serve, and only single gear bikes (also as many have mentioned, scooters and golf carts for rent).
The beach was pristine. We did not have any issues with bugs. Our beds were comfortable. Honestly we did not spend much time inside - why bother?!?! The pool bar was gorgeous, and we all made friends with Juan, Flaco and Swift. The Happy Hour deal (2 for 1 drinks from 5-6) is great and the "bar snacks" are really tasty (especially the cajun fried shrimp and the ceviche!). On Tuesday nights in Hopkins, all the way down to the other side of the town is the Driftwood Bar that is on the beach and has live drumming with pizza - an amazing time!!!!
There was an issue with water pressure, but as I understand it, the town of Hopkins was in a bit of a drought and the resort was getting more water than anywhere in town (some of the employees said they hadn't had any in 5 days!). Such is life in Central America during dry season!
We like to adventure to "local" eating places... delicious, authentic, and much more affordable than any kind of resort eating. We also had a fancy dinner at Chef Rob's (4 course meal for BZ 59pp (that is 29.50 US! I felt it was a really amazing deal). For local Belizean food we went to: Innie's, Tina's Kitchen, Iris' SunnySide Up Cafe, and King Cassava. They were all great and I recommend them.
We did the Cave Tubing/Mayan tour which was $140pp but AMAZING. A full day with lunch included.
Bioluminescent lagoon boat tour - the salinity of the lagoon was just right when we were there and we got to see the bioluminescent activity... amazing. We even convinced them to let us swim in the water (originally "not allowed").
Snorkeling - two different spots with snacks on an island in between. A highlight.
Mayflower waterfall hike - our counterparts did this, they loved it. HOWEVER, if you have your own transportation, the entrance fee is only $5 pp and you can do it without a guide (as opposed to $70pp thru JRL).
Jaguar Preserve - Also a tour we did on our own, instead of through the resort (this is how the rental car expense actually ends up saving you money!). We drove the 10 minutes to Maya Center town to buy our $5 pp national park entrance fee and then drove to into the jungle. We rented tubes for $2.50 each and tubed the Stann Creek river through the jungle for about an hour, then hiked to a waterfall and Ben's Bluff to take in the stunning vista. We saw lots of beautiful butterflies, a snake, ants, a rubber tree (we think), and also possibly an ocelot!!!
Check out was a bit of a problem because we had two separate credit cards for room charges and they were completely incorrect. We eventually sorted everything out but it took a long time. I guess they have just implemented a new computer system so hopefully this becomes better! Despite this, I would not change my overall rating. We would love to go back any time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Proud member of ViVA BELiZE, the leading Hotel Group and Adventure Company in Belize for the past 20 years. This beachfront resort is - An Untouched Paradise offering a unique Jungle and Sea Venture. It is an oasis of relaxation, with sunny skies, panoramic views of the ocean and just minutes away from the Garifuna Fishing Village of Hopkins. Other features of Jaguar Reef Lodge & Spa: -WINNER 2015 TripAdvisor HALL OF FAME Award -FULL Service In-house Spa -Longest & Finest Beach in Belize -Pool with Swim up Tiki Bar -Kids pool -Beachfront Dining -Water Sports & Land Adventure Tour Desk ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Jaguar Reef Hotel Hopkins
- Jaguar Reef Resort
- Jaguar Reef Lodge & Spa Belize/Hopkins