Hotel Review: Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge (San Ignacio, Belize)
When we went: June 2021
Ages of kids at time of travel: 8, 6 and almost 3
Number of nights: 5
Closest airport: Belize City (BZE)
Getting to the lodge: Approximately 2 hours by car. Modern, paved roads with the exception of the last few minutes. The Mayan Flats Airstrip is a few minutes from the lodge but currently closed.
What To Expect
Upon arrival at the Belize City Airport (BZE), we were greeted by a driver from Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge and began the 2 hour drive to the hotel. As we got further from the coast, we noticed the change in vegetation to a more lush, jungle look. Upon arrival in the town of San Ignacio, we had a short drive to get to our destination. As soon as we arrived, the incredible hospitality of the Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge staff was evident – introductions, a cool towel and a welcome drink at the bar.
We booked the 2 bedroom casita and it was perfect for a family of 5. We entered into a screened-in porch with a hammock and then into the first bedroom which had two queen beds. A separate bedroom had a king-sized bed. Both rooms had access to a private bathroom with a huge shower, toilet and sink. The bedrooms had A/C wall units and fans; the bathroom is not climate controlled but does have a screen to the outside next to the shower.
The sprawling grounds of the property offer lots to do:
- Visiting the Belize Botanical Garden which is just adjacent to Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge ($7.50 USD per adult, children ages 7+ are $5.00 USD for general admission, tours available for additional fee)
- Cycling (the lodge has a few bikes)
- Trail walks/hikes
- Playing in the Macal River and along the rocky shore
- Tubing (they have a short trail to take you upstream and you can float back to the property)
- Visiting the lodge’s stables and going on a trail ride
- A pool is coming in the near future!
We didn’t really have too many expectations on food but were blown away by the quality, freshness and presentation of every meal and drink at Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge. We opted for the all inclusive plan given the remoteness of the lodge and were happy we did. Every breakfast was on-point, lunches and snacks were just what we needed and dinner was a set menu with a few options to flex between (usually two appetizer choices, two to three entrees and two desserts). Even when we were out for lunch one day, the hotel coordinated with a local restaurant and our meal was covered.
The staff of Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge was really the best part. They all made an effort to get to know us and would address my entire family by name. They effortlessly helped accommodate meal requests from the kids and even arranged a tortilla making class when we had some extra time one afternoon.
Things To Keep in Mind
Our trip was absolutely magical and we would love to return one day. Some considerations for planning:
- The rainy season in Belize is June – November. We went at the very beginning of rainy season and we were just fine. It did rain a couple times but it was usually overnight. If you do come in wet season, be sure to be prepared with appropriate gear.
- The lodge is family friendly with little ones but you will need to keep a close eye on them as the lodge is located on a hillside with many steps and the dining area is perched up where toys could easily be dropped down accidentally. Many of the dining tables are bar height so try to see if the restaurant staff can reserve one of the lower tables for you if you have kids.
- As you’re in the tropics, there are lots of bugs but we were not too bothered by them. We did use BuzzPatch essential oil patches (2-3 per person) and we opted to eat dinner indoors (they have a small indoor dining space).
- There is no wi-fi in the rooms but you can get it in the dining area/bar.
- Along the river, there is a small beach but it is quite rocky and can get hot in the sun. A sturdy pair of water shoes is key.
- The river is a nice temperature, especially on a hot and humid day. The current is gentle and it is relatively shallow so we could give the kids some space to play. There are, however, tons of tiny fish (sardines) and they are curious! Be prepared for them to come give you little nips (painless but very shocking at first!). I have a long sleeved rash guard that goes down to mid thigh plus I was wearing water shoes so I had good protection when floating in the tubes!
- Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge does provide on-site COVID testing to re-enter the United States. The fee will be billed to your room.
- No Spanish knowledge is needed – English is actually one of the official languages of Belize!
- While we did 5 nights, you could reduce to 3 nights and still have plenty of time to do a lot if you don’t mind a packed schedule. Belize is a small country so getting for place to place is very doable.
What Else To Do in the Area
This area of Belize is full of activities to do – from short outings to full day.
For all ages:
- Green Iguana Conversation Project – we absolutely loved the private tour to meet some baby and adult Green Iguanas. About 45 minutes long.
- AJAW Chocolate Tour – learn about how the Mayans made chocolate and then try your hand at making a delicious chocolate drink. They do have a small shop where you can buy chocolate confections to bring home.
- Canoeing down the Macal River to San Ignacio
- Mayan Ruins in Belize: Xunantunich is only about 20 minutes from Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge and perfect for a cultural excursion with younger kids. Cahal Pech is another nearby option, Caracol is slightly farther away.
- Tikal – located in Guatemala, it is one of the most famous Mayan sites. This is a full day tour and does require crossing an international border so better for slightly older kids. (At publishing time, the Belize-Guatemala land border is closed).
- Bird walk – guided tour to spot local species.
- Horseback riding – trail rides are available. For our younger kids, we just coordinated some time to visit the horses.
For the more adventurous folks:
- Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave – one of the most physically demanding tours which involves hiking, wading in rivers and climbing into a cave where there are skeletal remains of Mayan human sacrifices, pottery and other artifacts! There are also a few other cave exploration options.
- Zipline tours
- Jungle Pontoon Waterfall Adventure
What to Pack
Check out my packing list for a family trip to Belize post.
How to Book
Book directly with Sweet Songs Jungle Lodge on their website.