Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A collection of rustic cottages in a riverside jungle clearing overlooking a forest preserve
Pook’s Hill Lodge consists of 11 thatched-roof bungalows set on a 300-acre private nature reserve. It’s definitely one of Belize’s more remote jungle lodges, accessed from the main road via a very rough dirt road suitable only for vehicles with high clearance. It’s about five miles (and 45 minutes) from the main road to the lodge. Four-wheel-drive is highly recommended.
The caretakers greet guests upon arrival with a free Belikin beer. The front desk is really just a tiny office in a thatched-roof structure; opposite this structure is the modest main lodge (also with a thatched roof), housing a wooden bar and a fair amount of open-air lounge space. Downstairs is a small garden and the lodge’s dining room, where meals are served communal style. The main lodge fronts the Roaring River. Two Bird Cabanas lie across the river on raised platforms, and the rest of the lodge’s accommodations are built on the hill overlooking the main lodge, amid the restored Maya ruins of a small residential complex, from which the property gets its name. Travelers familiar with the Maya ruins at the Chan Chich Lodge may find the ruins at Pook’s Hill unimpressive, as there are no large ceremonial buildings to be found here.
Because of the communal nature of meals and the spaciousness of the bar area, Pook’s Hill makes a great place to travel to with a group of friends. Even if you’re traveling alone, you’ll find the communal nature of the activities conducive to meeting fellow travelers and making new friends. The on-site staff and the live-in owner are extremely helpful and accommodating, providing warm, personalized service. Therein lies the property’s charm.
In the Cayo District, deep in a rainforest on its own 300-acre preserve, seemingly far away from anything remotely civilized
Pook’s Hill is remote, which quickly becomes evident as you make your way down the rugged dirt road leading to the lodge. The lodge is located on its own 300-acre forest reserve, bordered by the larger (6,700-acre) Tapir Mountain Forest Reserve. The nearest town is Teakettle Village, which lies on Belize’s Western Highway. Despite the remote feel of Pook’s Hill, there are in fact large areas of cleared forest just a few miles east that are under intense cultivation.
Rustic, whitewashed, thatched-roof bungalows overlooking jungle scenery
Rooms are done in a typical, if basic, eco-lodge style, with thatched roofs (visible from the interior), terracotta tiles, and wooden furniture. They are cooled by ceiling fans and breezes coming in from screened windows. Beds and linens aren't luxurious, but feature colorful Guatemalan bedspreads.
No pool to beat the jungle heat, but there’s a cool river and inner tubes; plus hiking and birdwatching
Good international cuisine served in the ground-level dining room
Pook’s Hill Lodge isn't as evolved as other high-end Belize eco-lodges: It feels like it's about where its competitors were when they first opened some 25 years ago. It’s a perfectly fine place to stay in a wonderfully remote location; just don’t arrive expecting luxury on par with that found in other long-established properties such as Chaa Creek. There’s no pool, the 11 rooms are fairly basic and small, meals are served communal style, and hot water is only available during limited hours. It’s also hard to get to, and priced about the same as higher-end jungle lodges elsewhere in the country. Adventurous travelers looking for rusticity might like it; other travelers may want to reconsider.