With over 75% of Belize still covered with dense tropical rainforest, the country has one of the most accessible jungles in the Western Hemisphere. The Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge, located along the brim of the Maya Mountains in Central Belize, is surrounded by over 100,000 acres of wilderness. This large swath of dense Maya rainforest is home to several habitats that shelter a diversity of flora and fauna, and holds some of the most picturesque trails in the country, making it a popular spot for hiking to discover spectacular, unspoiled scenery.

A group of excited hikers getting ready for the Gazebo Adventure
A group of excited hikers getting ready for the Gazebo Adventure

The lodge has a well-designed network of trails for guests to explore, one of which leads to our must-see Mountaintop Gazebo. Getting to the Gazebo is quite the adventure. From start to finish, you'll find yourself hiking through lush tropical rain-forest with guides who are well versed in natural history explaining how strangler figs parasitize other trees; how snake plants (Sansevieria Trifasciata) are used to treat snake bites, and how the Bay Cedar Tree (Tapaculo) use to treat stomach pain. One can be amazed at the mysteries trained naturalists can pick out from the mutinous visual background of the forests.

While on the hike to the Gazebo, several stops are made to learn about the flora of Belize...

Stops along the trail

It takes time and many years of experience to fine tune one’s wildlife-viewing skills. Guide Jester spotted a very well camouflage Helmeted Basilisk Lizard...

Helmeted Basilisk Lizard

Along the way experience and enjoy the beauty and sounds of nature. Be mesmerized by the different rhythmic tunes of the various birds that reside in this lush green canopy.

And when you make it to the top, not only are you rewarded with a view that is simply spectacular, but you can be content in knowing that you've now become more perceptive and informed about the biological wealth of the rain-forest.

Reached the top