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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Discover Chocolate’s Origins in Punta Gorda

Explore Mayan ruins and tour organic farms as you retrace the past in southern Belize.


1. Where to Stay

A cabana at the Cotton Tree Lodge.  

Along the sun-dappled banks of the Moho River, the Cotton Tree Lodge (cabanas from $139) is choco central for cacao lovers. The property produces its own brand of chocolate and is equipped with solar-powered conching machines (cocoa mixers).

Find sanctuary only fifteen minutes from downtown Punta Gorda at Hickatee Cottages (from $55). Cool off on the wild-plum-tree-shaded verandah or in the plunge pool, and be on the lookout for howler monkeys, Rufus-tailed hummingbirds, jaguars, free bike rentals, Wi-Fi, and home-baked bread.

The dozen cabanas at Machaca Hill Rainforest Lodge (rooms from $267) reopened this month in an 11,000-acre private reserve and Valencia-orange orchard—ideal for toucan spotting. Explore the Mayan (Mopan and Kek'chi-speaking) villages and cacao farms scattered throughout the Toledo District and delivers National Geographic–like views of the jungle-choked hills of Guatemala and Honduras in the distance.

Published on Jan 22, 2009 as a web exclusive.

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