We all need a little bit of luxury every once in a while, especially when you’re on vacation. Located in the Cayo District of Belize, The Mystic River Resort is about a 25-minute drive from the town of San Ignacio. The property is nestled on a steep bank of the Macal River. Take a yoga class, go on a hike or take out one of the canoes for a river cruise during your stay at this eco-friendly lodge. The property is pristine, and the rooms all come with a fireplace to keep you cozy on those cold nights. The staff is so friendly and will help you organize a trip to Actun Tunichil Muknal – also known as ATM Cave.
Here is what I did during my 5-night stay.
Day 1 –
As soon as you check in you will receive a rum punch welcome drink. A nice touch after a one hour ride from Belize City. Take a dip in the Jasmine Pool for a few hours and enjoy dinner in the restaurant with views of the Macal River. Wednesday is Belize night, and I enjoyed the traditional Belize plate – Stew Chicken.
Day 2 –
Start your day off with yoga on the deck.
The resort will provide a mat, towel and water bottle for your stay. All of the water is filtered here so you can drink directly from the tap. In the afternoon, take out one of the canoes for a paddle on the river. We spotted an iguana perched on top of a tree.
Day 3 –
During our yoga class, we met Tom, the owner of the resort. He was so kind and offered to take us on a hike on the property. We zigzagged through several trails including the Ridge trail and after about 2 hours we made it to the top of the mountain. The view from here is pretty incredible! Don’t forget to stop and say hello to the goats. The resort also offers milk goating, if that’s your thing. We passed on the opportunity and finished off the evening with dinner and a cold beverage at the restaurant.
Day 4 –
The jungle is so relaxing and you won’t really want to leave. Each room has a balcony with views of the river. You can also walk through the resort’s Butterfly Trail or visit the nearby town of San Ignacio. It’s about a $25 US cab ride from the resort.
Day 5 –
Exploring the ATM cave was the highlight of my stay! If you book the tour from the resort, it will cost you approximately $150 US. The upside of this is you will be one of the first groups to arrive at the cave. For the first 50 minutes of your visit, you and your group will be the only ones inside the cave. You’ll have to swim through the first stream and walk through two more streams before you get to the cave. It truly an adventure of a lifetime. Unfortunately, cameras are not allowed on this tour.
Our guide Ben was one of the best tour guides I have ever met. The cave is approximately five kilometers long filled with beautiful stalactites, stalagmites. Bat sightings are not rare. You’ll also learn about Mayan culture and see the burial site where skulls, bones, and pottery still lay.
A guide is required for this tour and lunch is included. (The woman who owns the resort told us that breakfast was also included, but ended up charging us for it.)
Here is a look at the property.