Tucked high up on the hills, in the treetops of the tropical rain forest above the town of Unitedville in the Cayo District, sits a Belize luxury resort called Amber Sunset Jungle Resort. It is the perfect location to get away from it all, yet easily accessible to the wonders that Belize has to offer.
Should you visit ambersunsetbelize.com, these are the first words you’d read and perhaps truer words have never been written about a property.
Even the upper end of the river believes in the ocean.
I left for the jungle from the Belizean fishing village of Placencia. There, visitors and locals alike flitted about on bicycles snapping up delectable bites on the beach, fresh coffee on the roadside, and cocktails on the sand.
To get to Amber Sunset, I had a two-and-a-half hour drive ahead of me. First, it was up the Placencia peninsula along the beach, then inland before turning north to Dangriga. From there the road flirted with taking me to Belize City, before cutting west towards Belmopan. Along this section, the road climbed into misty mountains—perpetually cool and damp from recent rains.
Eventually, I reached a “T” in the road at Belmopan. Here the Belize River cuts off the road forcing a choice between jungle and beach. A turn inland at the T took me along the Western Highway skirting the river through rich farmlands and fields of grazing livestock.
Along the edge of all this agriculture, in the near distance, the jungle loomed. Concealed within its depths I knew exotic flora and fauna hid—flamboyant macaws, cunning hawks, neon-yellow eyelash vipers, acrobatic spider monkeys, and mysterious jaguars, to name just a few.
The city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo.
I arrived at the turn off for Amber Sunset in the late afternoon. The road to the property took me up and down and up, up, up along a rough dirt road… Honestly, as I pulled up to the foot of this unique property, still mostly obscured by jungle, I just didn’t know how to feel.
The jungle is just plain different. It requires a mental recalibration.
A welcome cocktail settled me a bit, but there was no sound of waves. The air was cool and comforting, not hot and lusty like on the beach I’d just left.
In my room “WELCOME” was spelled out in carefully cut leaves arranged on the foot of the bed as though well trained leaf cutter ants were on the welcoming committee. The bed itself was suspended from the ceiling with ropes and enclosed in a romantic (but in the back of my mind, foreboding) mosquito netting.
Beyond the bed, the room opened up into a large sitting area complete with a couple of low, wooden chairs—both nearly impossible to extricate yourself from once you’d planted your bum in ’em. A handmade hammock hung in the open area. It also appeared to have an embrace that’d be tough to escape.
Running the full length of the wall beyond these Venus flytrap-like seating arrangements was a wall devoted to a row of windows that provided a panoramic overview of the lush, green jungle valley below.
It’s always darkest before the dawn.
After a simple dinner in town, I settled back into my hammock with some rum. Slowly, my eyes closed…
I awoke bathed in moonlight streaming through the branches into my room. Despite my earlier fears upon seeing the mosquito netting over the bed, it wasn’t buggy at all. Still, I fell rolled out of the hammock and crawled underneath the netting into the suspended bed.
I had imagined nights in the jungles of Belize would be a raucous affair with all manner of beasts making a racket. Instead it was totally silent. Again, a huge and pleasant difference from the ever present sound of surf at the seaside.
I dozed off again…
When I re-opened my eyes, I had a temporary freak out.
My eyes were open. I was sure they were open! But I couldn’t see a thing. Nothing!
After a minute, I calmed down realizing the moon must have set—taking with it the last vestiges of light to penetrate my jungle home.
I imagined this must be a little what it’s like to be in a sensory depravation chamber. No sounds. No light. And with the bed suspended from the ceiling, movement was oddly elastic.
My breathing evened out.
My muscles completely relaxed.
A silent peace spread over me.
There was nothing else.
Just this incredibly quiet moment at this one-of-a-kind resort deep in the Belizean jungle.
Once I got used to the seclusion, quiet, and natural insulation from the outside world, it was truly an organically soothing experience.
As the sun began to peek through the trees illuminating the low fog clinging to the leaves I knew: Amber Sunset Jungle Resort really is the perfect place to get away from it all.