We recently added Mystic River Resort in Belize to our portfolio of family-friendly hotels. The reviewer raved about the resort so much that we wanted to share more details with CB readers.
This is an interview with Leanne Armstrong about her family vacation in Belize and their stay at the property. Leanne and her husband traveled with their three children ages 9, 11 and 14.
What was your Belize itinerary?
We spent 17 days in Belize; 4 days at the Mystic River Resort, 4 days at Lamanai (which we discovered on Ciao Bambino) and a week at The Grand Caribe on Ambergris. We did the active part of our trip first and were ready to relax on Ambergris after a week of adventure-packed days.
What were the highlights of your stay at Mystic River?
The two main highlights were the numerous activities offered at the resort and surrounding area and the high level of service. We spent 4 nights at Mystic River and couldn’t do all of the activities that were offered. Of the three places we stayed in Belize, we would return to Mystic River because there was so much to do for all of us. Many of the activities can be done right from the lodge. There’s a small pool too.
Activities include horseback riding, canoe rides, swimming in the river, caving, visiting the Iguana Project and the Hummingbird Gallery.
I can’t say enough about the owners, Nedege and Tom. They bent over backwards to make suggestions to keep the kids happy and helped us plan excursions in advance. The food was really good and the chef would make anything for the kids, even if it was not on the menu.
Any lowlights to report from the trip?
The cost of food! We thought food would be less expensive here but to take a family of five out to dinner, including one glass of wine for each adult, we never spent less than $100.
We would have preferred to have a separate bedroom from our kids but we were all so tired at the end of the day that we all went to bed at 10 PM anyway. Mystic River is now building two-bedroom huts.
Do you have any tips for other families considering a trip to Belize?
Don’t be nervous about renting a car in Belize. We flew into Belize City and rented a car and drove to Mystic River. The roads were fine until the last few kilometers where they became more windy and bumpy.
Having a car gives you flexibility to go out on your own or you can hire a guide for the day and he will ride in the car with you. We did this one day and it worked out very well. Everyone speaks English in Belize so that makes it more comfortable as well.
Plan ahead. My husband did most of the correspondence with the owners, Nedege and Tom, at Mystic River and he had many of our guided activities arranged by the time we arrived. Because the guides in the area do not work exclusively for one resort, the owners have access to many to different guides and can really find one that works best for your family.
What do you think is an ideal age for kids on this kind of trip?
I would say school-age and up is best, although there were families with younger kids at the lodge. Mystic River has the small pool which is perfect for them and there are some activities here they can do as well.
I would not, however, recommend Lamanai for families with young children because the all-inclusive activities are not geared towards them. The irony is that the boat ride to Lamanai is better than any Disney ride. The only activity my kids could not do was the zip-lining because of the weight restrictions, although it may be possible to go tandem with a guide.
Our 14-year-old didn’t want to go on the trip because he thought there would be nothing to do; we continually reminded him of this as he had one adventure-packed day after another and had the best time.
Any additional notes on Mystic River?
The grounds are spacious and lovely with birds all around. The huts are well-spaced out with verandas that face the river so you aren’t looking into another hut. There’s no air conditioning but with the river breeze and fans we never felt like we needed it. Vegetables from the resort’s organic garden are used in the restaurant and they also raise their own chickens – the food was great!
Want More Information and Help Booking a Holiday at Mystic River Resort?
We can help! Our kid-friendly hotel review of Mystic River Resort has more information about why this property works so well for families. Use the Check Availability button to reach out for Best Available Rates and one of our Family Vacation Consultants will follow up with you to advise about any additional questions you may have regarding a stay here.
If you’d like comprehensive help planning a full beach vacation anywhere in the world, request assistance on our Connect with a Family Travel Advisor page.
Tips for planning a family vacation with a tour operator
Family vacation in the jungle of Costa Rica
Want to save all the great intel and tips you are finding on Ciao Bambino? My Trip Planner allows you to bookmark articles, family-friendly hotel reviews, and family vacation packages. Simply click the heart icon on anything you want to save. Site registration is required to get started. Happy planning!
Please fillout the form below to create your free My Trip Planner account.
This is a challenging time for our clients given the uncertainty around the spread of coronavirus, particularly for those with near-term travel plans in impacted areas. We’re working with our suppliers on being flexible with their booking conditions, and enabling families to postpone travel to a later date without a penalty, when possible. Likewise, given the unpredictability around destinations that may be impacted in the future, we’re helping clients planning new trips and understand ways that they can protect themselves until the situation improves. We are ready to help our clients work through questions and concerns.
Our offices are closed for the holiday. We will respond to your request on Monday, November 28th. If you are a Ciao Bambino client experiencing an emergency while traveling, please leave a voicemail on
Start a Discussion1 Comments
Thank you for this post! My husband studied abroad in Belize during college and we have always wanted to take our family there. We are getting closer and closer to a house full of school aged kids! I’m so glad to know a little more about vacationing there with children.