Judy’s Jungle Journal – Belize Travel Blog
I’m Judy duPlooy, owner-manager of duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge, along with Belize Botanic Gardens and partner with Ronald Cruz in duPlooy Travel, our in-house Belize Travel agency, specializing in multi-destination vacations to Belize …. And Travel Learning , with itineraries for students, seniors, families or gatherings of 6 or more, from 7 days to an entire semester. This Belize Travel Blog contains some interesting information not found in our website. Hope you like it!
Having arrived in 1988 when the tourist industry was in its infancy we have watched Belize grown from a sleepy and charming place to visit to a tourist destination known world-wide. Belize is still charming, but by no means sleepy.
Our story is a bit unusual. There is an excerpt here. For more click on this link. People say that our stories are interesting. Only because they are a bit out of the ordinary.
The duPlooy Story – Some of it
From Suburbia to Belize
Just before Christmas in 1987, Ken and I loaded our five children and dog into our Suburban and left our home just outside of Charleston, South Carolina to head for Belize. After an adventurous road trip through Mexico, we found ourselves in San Ignacio a quaint town in Western Belize, locally known as “Cayo”.
After getting stuck in the mud 4 times in one day, we took this as a sign that we should start looking for a house. And after having been in Belize a whole three days, we found an isolated 20 acre farm at the end of the worst road we had ever driven on. However, when we walked down to river we were awed by the majestic limestone bluff facing us and the beauty of the river and large sandy beach. With no hesitation we went to find the owner and signed a contract, ignoring the fact that the farm had running water from only a small rainwater collection tank (not nearly enough to provide for a family of 7) and no electricity.
Returning to our hotel, we announced to our daughters, who ranged in age from 4-16, that we had just bought a farm in the jungle. The three youngest were thrilled. They had the beautiful river in which to frolic and rolling hills to explore and when they saw the beach and the 20-ft rock from which they could jump into the river, the little girls shouted with glee. When they found out that we weren’t kidding about the lack of running water and electricity, the two teenagers shouted, but not with glee.
Within a week of purchasing the property, Ken hired a crew of workers and the planting and building began.
Despite setbacks, wailings and sometimes even gnashing of teeth, duPlooy’s Jungle Lodge opened 9 months later with 6 rooms and a dining room/bar. Over the next few years the great “Hangover Bar” (later renamed the Canopy Bar) was added, as well as a few more lodge rooms and three bungalows. The year 2000 saw the completion of La Casita.
In 2009, we were able to convert partially to solar power and while we still use the generator at peak times and during heavy rains, most of our power is now supplied by the sun. Recognizing the need to accommodate more visitors during the busy season, in December 2011, we converted our spa room into the Tree House. We now offer in-room spa services. Recently we have completed an extensive trail network and you can even hike to the Maya archeological site of Xunantunich from duPlooy’s.
Over the years additions such as running water, refrigeration, chairs and adult sized stoves have added much to the place, but the most noteworthy change has been the property itself. At the time of purchase a few citrus trees were the only plants around, as everything else had been cleared for farming by the previous owner. If you look around now it is hard to imagine this, as duPlooy’s has really grown into its ‘Nature Lodge’ title. There are now hundreds of tropical plant species and thanks to the lush tropical climate the trees look like they have been around for decades.
Patricia, the eldest, lives with her two children, Kayla and Ethan in Austin Texas and takes care of reservations for duPlooy’s and our travel agency, duPlooy Travel; Heather, Brett and daughter, Ila (Eye-lah) live in Hendersonville, North Carolina, trying their hands at farming; Shayla and Chris ; Lorna and Raul live in Panama where Raul manages a Ferguson’s wholesale plumbing outlet and Lorna holds down the fort at home taking care of Gavin, Brooke and Brynn; Youngest daughter Stephanie and Nick, his son, Tyler, her daughter Eve and their daughter, Hannah, live in Austin, Texas where Nick makes and installs commercial windows and Stephanie cares for the children.
Looking back on it all, everyone remembers the early days before generators and running water as good times. Evening baths and play in the river were a must after a hot day in the tropics and, amid much laughter and tears, an unbreakable bond was formed among the duPlooy girls.
Belize – duPlooy Family Photo (1993) – Ken, Judy, Stephanie, Heather, Patricia, Lorna, Xela
As one of the early pioneers in the Belize Tourism Industry and living and experiencing Belize for 25 years; there are many adventures and life experiences that have occurred along the way, some of which I’ll be sharing with you in this Belize Travel Blog via Judy’s Jungle Journal.
Belizean Humor –
Want to make a small fortune in Belize? …. Bring a Big One!