If you haven’t stayed in the middle of the rainforest before (and we assume you most likely haven’t) here’s a list of helpful things to pack.
What to Bring:
- Summer clothes: shorts and short-sleeve shirts. The rainforest tends to be hot and humid at times – so comfortable, lightweight, and breathable clothes are best.
- Lightweight long sleeve shirt and pants for layering when it cools down at night.
- Swim suit. Our creek is a great place to cool off, plus it’s a stream that pops up out of the ground, runs for about 300 yards, then dives back into the volcanic underground caves. Why wouldn’t you want to take a dip in that?
- Water shoes. There are volcanic rocks in the creek that can get tough on bare feet. Bring tevas, old running shoes, or anything that will protect your feet, just to be safe.
- Sturdy, lightweight shoes for hikes, walks, and generally getting around.
- Hat and sunglasses.
- Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries (just in case).
- Insect repellent. We also sell some in our gift shop if you prefer to purchase it upon arrival.
- Camera and/or your smart phone. We may be partial, but Jaguar Creek is one of the most beautiful locations on earth.
- Binoculars – to see some of the 130+ species of birds that call Jaguar Creek home. We also provide binoculars at our front desk for you to check out.
- Water bottle. We offer UV filtered drinking water in our lodge. We encourage you to bring a water bottle to fill up to stay hydrated throughout your trip.
- Body powder. In any humid environment, body powder can help you freshen up and feel less sticky. What’s not to love about that?
- Ear plugs. It gets loud here at night. If you need respite from the loud neighbors, ear plugs might be good to have.
- Zip-lock bags (gallon and larger). These are great for all kinds of ways to keep wet stuff from touching dry stuff, or vice-versa.
One thing many of our guests don’t realize is that the rainforest, particularly in the Mayan Mountain rainforest of Belize, can get pretty cold. Depending on the season, the temperature at Jaguar Creek can get in the 90s during the day – and into the 50s at night. When you’re sweating in the hot, humidity of the day it is amazing to think you’ll actually need the fleece you brought (and which you gave up precious luggage space for) but you’ll be thankful for it later.
The key to layering in the rainforest is thin and breathable. For the heat of the day, go with a thin cotton shirt and shorts or pants, or go with thin synthetic materials that provide protection from the sun. Most synthetic base layers these days are both breathable and fashionable, and the upside is they can be hand washed very easily. But tight fitting base layers don’t always provide sun protection, and if they’re thin enough, stinging insects like mosquitoes can drill right through them. So light, airy materials are the best.
As evening comes, you can then put on another layer (thin and breathable) like a long-sleeve shirt that should hold you off until you finally need that fleece.
And fashionistas: layering doesn’t just have to just be about utility. You can express your creativity and fashion sense even in the rainforest. Here are some good ideas for women (men, you’re on your own): herpackinglist, travelfashiongirl, cosmopolitan.
Shorts are good to wear during the day (where cultural sensitivity allows) but wearing light pants at night is a great idea. As you would expect, the mosquitos come out to hunt and they love (love) ankles, feet, and calves.
Some travelers like the pants that can become shorts by zipping off the pant legs. But we think pants are pants, and, well, shorts should be shorts. If you go with the “think thin and breathable” packing philosophy, the extra pants and shorts you pack will take up very little room. Then you’ll be able to vary your short/short combo, allowing you to stay cool while you stay cool. Plus, nothing screams tourist like zip-off pants.
You’ll be in the rainforest – one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet – so as you would imagine, bugs live here. Insects in the rainforest are incredibly diverse. Some are very, very small, and some are very big compared to what you may see at home. Some insects actually look like leaves to disguise themselves, while others pretty much look like neon signs to get attention. And almost all of them are loud at night.
Virtually all the bugs you will see are friendly, or at least don’t have any interest in you besides not being stepped on. But there are indeed a few insects that want something from you. These are the ones you should be mildly concerned about.
Very few insects in the rainforest are harmful to you beyond an inconvenient itch. You’re an outsider to the rainforest ecosystem, so none of these bugs evolved with you in mind (sorry). So keep that in mind as you’re exploring the wonders of the jungle and seeing/hearing/feeling insects around you.
Side note: You do have to look out for ants – considered one of the most dangerous creatures in the rainforest. While very cool to look at, ant colonies survive in the rainforest because they’re tough, and do a good job of protecting themselves.
So with that in mind, bringing some insect repellent with you is recommended not for protection from the dangers of rainforest insects but from the inconvenience bug bites will have on your overall rainforest experience.
There are numerous types of insect repellent, ranging from all-natural types to the hardcore 100% DEET kind. The type you bring is up to you. Our guests have found that regular applications of all-natural insect repellent works, or the occasional application of a repellent that has 30% DEET. Anything more than 30% DEET is overkill and can be harmful to your health.
You might not think much about dehydration while you’re in such a humid, wet environment as the jungle, but the heat and humidity can sap the moisture from you pretty quickly. So staying hydrated is a key component of an enjoyable experience in the rainforest.
(In case you’re interested, here’s an interesting conversation about the question Do we need to drink less water in humid weather than in dry weather?)
While bottled water is pretty much readily available anywhere in the world, you’ll be both economical and environmentally friendly by using your own bottle for water. And since most tourist accommodations have filtered water on site, you can fill up your bottle as often as you’d like – for free. (At Jaguar Creek, guests have unlimited access to water from our robust UV filtration system in the Lodge – a gift from our friends at Living Water for the World).
So having water with you wherever you go in the rainforest is a good idea, particularly if you head out on a trail or take a tour. And having your own bottle to carry water with will give you the uplift of knowing you are helping keep the rainforest free of plastic.
At night, two things happen in the rainforest: its gets really loud and it gets really dark.
The rainforest canopy is an amazing thing. Even during a full moon at Jaguar Creek, it stays pretty dark at night even though there is ample open space around our Lodge and Cabanas.
If you think about it, the rainforest is one big photosynthesis machine and the colors of the rainforest have an amazing aptitude for absorbing light. (For a cool article about a particular rainforest plant that absorbs light via quantum mechanics click here.)
Just about any flashlight will do, but the most user-friendly flashlight is going to be a headlamp. Most headlamps have a few different settings – high beam, low beam, red reading light – making them very useful in many different situations. Walking to your Cabana, reading in bed, or navigating Jaguar Creek’s elevated boardwalks. Plus a headlamp frees up your hands to do whatever your hands need to do.
If you prefer to bring a hand-held flashlight, the best type to bring to the rainforest is the kind that throws a wide beam or that can dial to wide beam. Since the rainforest is so dense, there is very little need for a flashlight that can throw a narrow beam long distances. Most flashlight use at Jaguar Creek is to find ones way from Lodge to Cabana, which only requires a short, wide beam.
The quick answer is no – it’s best to plan on having no wi-fi during your stay. The longer answer is sometimes we do have limited internet available. Because we’re so deep into the rainforest, our only internet connection is via satellite and we only have a small allotment of data per day. Plus our internet connection can get tricky – particularly during stormy weather. This is why we ask guests to only use the wifi connection at the office for basic emailing and instant messaging. No streaming or large uploads/downloads please.
The Belize dollar (BZD) is tagged to the US dollar (USD), 2 to 1. So all businesses accept both BZD and USD. Thus there is no need to exchange USD for BZD at the airport.
One of the things that makes your jungle experience at Jaguar Creek so unique is how deep into the Mayan Mountain rainforest you are. We recently had electricity brought out to Jaguar Creek, meaning that things like running fans or using a blow dryer in your room are now options! Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on what you’re looking for), internet is still very limited. We’re working hard to fix this.
Despite the ‘middle of the jungle’ location, we are within walking distance of St. Hermans Blue Hole National Park and about 30 minutes drive from Belmopan.
Yes! It can rain hard and our neighbors (otherwise known as the 50,000,000 species surrounding us) can get loud, especially at night. However, they tend to be one of our guests’ highlights.
Insects are out and about during the day, but it’s at night that they start making noise – to feed, mate, whatever. And when your rambunctious neighbors party all night and outnumber you by 50,000,000 to 1, it can be difficult to fall asleep.
The rainforest has mammal residents as well, of course. At Jaguar Creek, in addition to our insect neighbors, we have a couple families of Howler monkeys that swing by at times, often at night. Our Howler monkey neighbors are great and not only are they completely benign, they add a lot to the rainforest experience for our guests.
When Howler monkeys call to each other, it’s a sound you probably won’t ever forget. If you have never heard a Howler monkey call, it can be sobering the first time you hear it. A good friend of Jaguar Creek once mentioned (only half jokingly) that when he first heard the Howler monkeys at 2:00am one night, he curled up into the fetal position and called for his mom.
Along with all these great rainforest creature sounds, in the rainforest it, well, rains. And on the metal roofs of our Cabanas at Jaguar Creek, a downpour can be quite an (awesome) experience. Most guests love listening to the rain on our Cabana roofs and comment that this was a highlight to their stay, but some guests prefer total quiet when they sleep.
All this to say some guests wish they had a way to shut off some of the noise at night so they can fall asleep easier. If this is you, or you just want a little peace and quiet from the loud neighbors, bringing ear plugs might be a good idea.
Yes! We welcome children of all ages and encourage you to check with the CDC for recommended vaccinations or medicines to take during your trip. Children love exploring on the boardwalks, playing soccer on the field, and swimming (with adult supervision) in our creek.
We have a dining lodge on site that serves a homemade buffet meal three times a day. We also have a small bar with cocktails, wine and beer available. Meals are a set price with drinks and desserts offered at an additional price.