[Note: At long last, our final entry from Belize! Now – adventure awaits elsewhere in the world!]
Our little lodge was founded by a family from the United States who had 5 daughters. Believe it or not, their grandparents were from Tilghman Island, right by St. Michaels, Maryland! They were living in Sullivans Island, South Carolina (another small world story) when they decided to explore Central America. They drove down through Mexico, camping along the way.
Eventually, they landed in Belize, where an overgrown farm on the Macal River was for sale. They bought it – no buildings, electricity, or running water – but it did have a beach and a river. The story goes that when they realized the river was their new bathtub, the youngest daughters yelled with glee, while the teen-age daughters also yelled – but not with glee. : )
Soon, the girls were enrolled in the local schools and within a year, they built and opened the first rooms of duPlooy Jungle Lodge.
I loved this story – it was the main reason I booked. Nowadays, their mom, Judy, lives at the Lodge – we had breakfast with her one morning. And the children play various roles. Patricia lives in Texas and takes reservations – I emailed with her several times.
Their father, Ken (who has passed away), had a dream of building a botanical garden to show off the plants of Belize. His years of effort have paid off with what is today a 45-acre garden that is the Belize Botanical Garden.
It is right down the path from our bungalow, and we spent a relaxing day exploring it.
Our favorite parts were:
The Bird Hide – where you could sit inside and watch the birds undetected.
The Fire Tower – amazing view!
The Maya House – a depiction of what was on top of all those ruins back in the day – they would have been covered with thatched housing.
And my favorite flower – the Panama Flame.
Thank you Mr. duPlooy – for your vision and perseverance. You have made the jungle a magical place for us.