Copal Tree Lodge: About

Located in Punta Gorda, Belize

The best of Belize converges in the remote Toledo District, where thick tangles of rainforest meet sparkling Caribbean waters, and Maya traditions meld with Garifuna, Creole, and other local cultures. Few places on the planet offer such astonishing diversity—and yet Copal Tree Lodge feels as if it’s tucked away at the end of the world. The property, which has been heralded as one of the world’s premier agritourism hotels, overlooks a 12,000-acre nature reserve that encompasses pristine jungle, an organic farm, and cocoa and coffee plantations. Settle into a villa-style suite, and set out on excursions as diverse as the surrounding landscapes, from fly-fishing in the neighboring Rio Grande to snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef or delving into the cultural and culinary legacies of the Maya.

Highlights

  • Learn about sustainable agriculture on a guided tour of the lodge’s farm and organic gardens, then go foraging for wild produce in the bordering jungle.
  • Spot iguanas and tropical birds along the banks of the Rio Grande as you paddle the path of ancient Maya traders in a canoe or kayak.
  • Sail and snorkel Caribbean waters with the lodge chef, then tuck into an incredibly fresh sea-to-table meal of crab and lobster just pulled from the water.
  • Tour the remote Maya ruins of Lubaantun and Nim Li Punit, and experience warm hospitality in the home of a local Maya family.
  • Try your hand at saltwater fly-fishing, angling for elusive permit in the coastal flats and casting for tarpon and snook on the river.

Why We Love the Lodge

In 2005, marine conservationist Todd Robinson bought the property where Copal Tree now sits with the hopes of transforming the former farm-turned-fishing lodge into a world-class eco-resort. He first worked with the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment to preserve more than 45,000 acres of surrounding rainforest, including 12,000 that belong to the lodge. Then he joined forces with sustainable food expert Anya Fernald to help bring agriculture back to the heart of Copal Tree.

Today, sustainable methods are used to cultivate organic sugarcane, cacao, coffee, and other native and heirloom crops on the lodge farm, which sources more than 70 percent of the food served to guests. With this agricultural ethos comes an in-depth culinary experience for travelers, as well as ample employment opportunities for local people. Nearly all of the lodge employees—from expert guides to farmers and kitchen staff—are from southern Belize.

Lodge Features

  • 16 elegant suites and a family villa perched amid the jungle canopy
  • Main lodge with wraparound balcony, a swimming pool, and observation decks
  • Restaurant and bar serving meals made from produce sourced on site
  • Working farm with organic gardens and orchards; livestock; and coffee, cacao, and sugarcane fields
  • Farm center hosting chocolate-making classes and other culinary experiences
  • Elevated tramways for easy access to the riverside dock
  • Kayaks, canoes, and mountain bikes for guest use
  • A spa with a full menu of treatments and therapies using locally sourced botanicals
  • Air-conditioned exercise center
  • Free Wi-fi throughout the property

National Geographic Exclusive

Each of our lodges has created a special complimentary experience offered exclusively to guests who visit on a National Geographic expedition. At Copal Tree Lodge, National Geographic guests enjoy a bean-to-bar chocolate-making class, followed by a coffee cupping. Visit the lodge’s cacao nursery, try your hand at grinding dried cacao beans on a traditional matate, and mold a chocolate bar to take home. Later, join the resident coffee expert for an in-depth coffee tasting.

Awards and Recognitions

Condé Nast Johansens, Best Green Hotel, 2017
World Luxury Hotel Awards, Country Winner: Best Luxury Forest Resort, 2016

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