Belize River Lodge is nestled into the rain forest just outside Belize City. It is the easiest Belizean lodge to get to, with nearly limitless flats, mangrove shorelines, and jungle rivers just a ten minute boatride away. Adult (100+ pound) tarpon are regularly found near the river mouth. Just a few more minutes in the skiff will put anglers in the midst of some of the best bonefish, permit, tarpon, and snook fishing in Belize.
Belize River Lodge (BRL) is a tried and proven world-class fishing operation and has been in continuous operation since 1961. It is unique in that it offers anglers an incredible variety of different angling opportunities, including the lodge program and the Long Caye Outpost. One thing is for sure, no matter what angling option you choose, the owners of BRL, Mike Heusner and Marguerite Miles, are wonderful, hard working, helpful people and run a top-notch operation. Their seasoned staff is among the best we have ever experienced and their work ethic is second to none in all the Caribbean. Non-angling activities are numerous, ranging from snorkeling to Mayan ruin tours. Boat tours and birding tours can be arranged for you and/or your partner as well as many other activities.
Fishing from the Lodge: Belize River Lodge is appropriately named as it sits right on the banks of the Belize River – a lazy and meandering tropical waterway, minutes from the international airport. The lodge can accommodate 16 guests at one time, and is surrounded by lush tropical gardens, and well manicured lawns. Air orchids hang from the ancient mahogany trees interspersed among the buildings. The setting at the lodge is truly beautiful, like something out of a Tarzan movie. It’s not uncommon to hear clans of howler monkeys deep in the jungle calling to one another and see large Iguanas making their way across the grounds.
Because of its unique location — the lodge is only 3.5 miles upriver from its mouth and from there the offshore cayes and flats are mere minutes away by boat — guests have two very distinct and different types of fishing available to them: the flats and channels in the clear waters of the Caribbean for tarpon, bonefish, permit, and snook, or the lodge can fish numerous inland jungle rivers, creeks, and lagoons for snook and tarpon. If you want a variety of fishing opportunities, don’t look any further than BRL; it offers the best of both worlds.
Something new: Belize River Lodge is now operating a private camp on Long Caye in Central Belize. This island resort sits on the front of Long Caye overlooking Belize’s Barrier Reef and offers spectacular views of the sparkling blue-green waters of the Caribbean Sea. Long Caye is one of the best fishing areas in Belize! As with fishing from the main Lodge, BRL’s guides fish long hours and since the island resort sits in some of Belize’s best fishing waters you can enjoy a lot of time on the flats; if that’s not enough, there are some great flats you can walk to from the lodge on arrival or departure days.
Belize River Lodge has always offered some of the best options in this tiny Caribbean nation, and with the addition of the Long Caye Outpost guests can arrange regular stays at the main lodge, time at the Outpost Island lodge, or a fun combo trip combining time at both lodges.
2023 Reservations & Rates
Cost per person, based on double occupancy
3 nights / 2 days of fishing – $2,125
4 nights / 3 days of fishing – $2,975
5 nights / 4 days of fishing – $3,775
6 nights / 5 days of fishing – $4,550
7 nights / 6 days of fishing – $5,350
8 nights / 7 days of fishing – $5,995
Cost per single angler, single room and guide
3 nights / 2 days of fishing – $3,050
4 nights / 3 days of fishing – $4,250
5 nights / 4 days of fishing – $5,425
6 nights / 5 days of fishing – $6,550
7 nights / 6 days of fishing – $7,695
8 nights / 7 days of fishing – $8,575
Round trip airport (BZE) transfers in Belize, accommodations, air conditioning in rooms, hair dryers, toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, lotion & soap), daily housekeeping, all meals – including a box lunch, soda & drinking water, guided fishing, skiff & fuel, Belize Taxes of 9% Hotel Tax & 12.5% GST tax.
Airfare to & from Belize, fishing equipment & tackle, Belize Fishing License (US$25.00 per angler, per week & can be purchased at BRL), alcoholic beverages, tips to guides and staff, Belize Departure Tax (approximately US$55.50 per person – included in ticket or paid at Airport)
The Fly Shop is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses.
• Travel Insurance Information
Seasons at Belize River Lodge
The waters around Belize River Lodge offer year-round opportunities for excellent flats fishing. The biggest factor that impacts the fishing here is the wind, which is notably un-predictable. One of the best features of BRL is that they always have a reliable backup plan; when the winds really blow, they can find protection - and plenty of tarpon and snook - upriver in the jungle.
Bonefish are present in equal numbers throughout the year, and the fishing for bonefish in this part of Belize is consistent year round.
Permit are also present throughout the year, although permit fishing tends to be more predictable when the prevailing winds are most consistent - generally in the late winter, spring, summer, and early fall.
Belize River Lodge targets both resident and migratory tarpon in the flats and rivers near the lodge. Resident tarpon are available every month of the year, especially in the Belize and Sibun Rivers. On the flats, the tarpon fishing is somewhat seasonal since the majority of the fish are migratory, with numbers peaking in April, May, June, July, and Augsut. There are some resident tarpon (up to 200lbs!) that can be found near the river mouth anytime, so you always want to be prepared for the possibility of a bigger tarpon.
Snook are one of the most under-rated game fish in the region, but once most anglers hook into one or two big snook they quickly find they are among the hardest fighting fish. They are found regularly in the rivers and the flats near the river mouths, throughout the year, and provide an added bonus to any fishing day.
Belize is one of the best places in the world to try for the renowned "Grand Slam": a bonefish, tarpon, and permit all on the same day. In some circumstances at BRL, very fortunate anglers even connect with a "Super Slam", combining bonefish, tarpon, permit and snook. Slams can happen any day of the year, though the best time to try for a slam is March through July.
Barracuda are an underrated sport fish present in large numbers throughout the year. Reef species including snapper, grouper and jacks are also abundant year-round.
Temperatures throughout the year range from 75-95 degrees (average 84). Water temperatures average 79-80 degrees in the winter and 83 degrees in the summer.
Getting to Belize River Lodge
When traveling to Belize River Lodge or Long Caye Outpost Lodge, you need to get to Belize City, Belize. This is easy from most major cities in the US. You can arrive on any day of the week. There is no specific in and out day.
Getting to Belize is easy; there are numerous daily connecting flights into Belize City (Belize International Airport, airport code BZE) through
Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and Miami.
Upon your arrival in Belize you will go through immigrations. A valid passport is required to enter Belize. After picking up your luggage, you will clear customs; after which you will be met directly outside the airport exit by a member of the Belize River Lodge staff.
After loading your luggage into the lodge vehicle, you will make the short two mile drive to the Belize River Lodge boat dock. You and your luggage will then be loaded onto a skiff, and taken across the Belize River to the Lodge. Upon arriving at the Lodge, you will usually be met by Mike or Marguerite, your hosts. You will be offered a cool, refreshing beverage (The Lodge is known for its limeade), checked in, and given room assignments and fishing itineraries; after which you can retire to your room to settle in and unpack. This is a good time to start setting up your fishing equipment.
If you are arriving early (or departing late), you can often arrange either an additional 1/2 day fishing or a 1/2 day tour to the nearby Belize Zoo or Altun Ha Maya Site.
If you are scheduled for Long Caye Outpost, your itinerary may vary depending on arrival times. If you arrive late in the day, you will often stay the first night at the main lodge. The next morning, you will head out with your guide to start fishing, and a second boat will transport your luggage and gear to the lodge, where you will end your day. If your arriving flight is early in the day, you will often be able to arrange a partial day of fishing upon arrival, and end at Long Cay Outpost the first evening after a half day of fishing.
Lodging at Belize River Lodge
Belize River Lodge is appropriately named as it sits right on the banks of the Belize River; a lazy and meandering tropical water-way, minutes from the International Airport, and only a 10 minute boat ride to countless bonefish, tarpon, and permit flats.
The lodge can accommodate up to 16 guests at one time, and is
surrounded by lush tropical gardens, well-manicured lawns, with air orchids hanging from the ancient Mahogany trees interspersed among the buildings. The setting at the lodge is truly beautiful, like something out of a Tarzan Movie. It's not uncommon to hear clans of howler monkeys deep in the jungle calling to one another. Or see Iguanas roaming the lodge grounds munching on the vegetation.
Belize River Lodge is a fly fishers dream. Because of its unique location, the lodge can fish numerous inland jungle rivers, creeks, and lagoons for snook and tarpon as well as venturing outside to the saltwater. Within the confines of the second largest barrier reef in the world are vast living flats, harboring healthy populations of tarpon, bonefish, and permit. If you want a variety of fishing opportunities, don't look any further than BRL, it offers the best of both worlds. Anglers are fished two to a 23' fiberglass skiff, and are accompanied by hard working seasoned guides.
The Belize River Lodge, previously known as Barothy's Lodge Ltd., was the first of three fishing lodges built in Belize. In the early 1960's, Vic Barothy came to Belize from Cuba, fleeing the late 50's situation there. In Belize, he located the ideal settings for three different fishing lodges; one on the southern end of Turneffe Atoll, one on Spanish Creek about thirty miles inland and one about four miles up the Belize Olde River, which is the present day Belize River Lodge. After operating these three Lodges for a few years, he decided logistically that the four mile river site was best suited for a wide variety of fishing opportunities and the ideal lodging in Belize. This setting allowed easy access to a few different rivers, several creeks, and also very easy access to the flats, mangrove cayes and the Barrier Reef. Since Barothy's days, Mike and Marguerite have continued the fishing and also added eco-tours to many inland wonders.
The Lodge was built amongst the palm, coconut, mahogany, logwood and mango trees, in a genuine jungle setting. Many native trees were left in place around the Lodge for atmosphere and shade. Mahogany was the wood used for building this fishing Lodge. Today, Belize River Lodge still rests quietly on the banks of the Belize Olde River, amidst the lush green tropical setting. Balmy breezes, rich with bird song, drift among the private mahogany cottages.
The "Guest House" is a two story mahogany building. It contains four rooms, each with two single beds, private hot and cold showers, ceiling fans, a/c and screened verandas overlooking the Belize Old River.
The "Cottage" is set up for two groups of two or for a family of four. Each room has separate hot and cold showers, ceiling fans, a/c and two single beds. Both are separated by a connecting door and share an open veranda. One of the cottage rooms has a cozy sitting area.
The "Bungalow" has two rooms, each with a queen and a double bed, private hot and cold shower, ceiling fan, a/c, and a large screened veranda, which allows the tropical trade winds to blow through. All of the Lodge rooms are air conditioned and decorated with a tropical Belizean ambience. When you return from fishing, fresh purified water and ice will be ready in your room, and your bed will be turned down for you during dinner. BRL's accommodations offer excellent service with an old world charm.
The main Lodge houses the kitchen, office, Mags' gift shop, Mike's fishing closet, the dining room, lounge area, screened in porch & self service bar. From the Belize River Lodge's kitchen comes an excellent combination of the best Belizean, Creole and American cuisine. The Lodge cooks use the freshest and finest ingredients (even coconuts off the trees in the front yard), and along with some of Mags' old family recipes, create some of the most memorable tasty meals, which will have you asking for a few of her recipes. Remember, save room for coffee or tea and dessert!
The dining room's claim to fame are the three solid slab mahogany tables, where you can find some of the finest dining and socializing in Belize. Relax and enjoy the atmosphere, and tell a couple of stories yourself. After dinner, you can retire to the lounge or the porch for an after dinner refreshment. Located within this area is our self-service bar and the fly tying table.
Because of the beautiful scenery, cleanliness of the lodge, tasty food and the diversity of the activities offered, Belize River Lodge is one of the best places to stay in Belize!
Long Caye Outpost Lodge is an idyllic angling outpost perfectly situated in the heart of the absolute best flats in Belize. The rustic lodge is perfect for small groups who want a more intimate setting out in the cayes. The outpost lodge features three double occupancy bedrooms, each with two twin beds, and is ideal for groups of 4-6 anglers. There is a shared bath for all (with hot and cold water). There is no air conditioning here, but it is almost never necessary as the fresh breeze blowing off the sea -- combined with ceiling fans in every room -- keeps the building comfortably cool. The main building has a full verandah overlooking the beach and sea, and some of the best views in Belize.
At the main Lodge, BRL is very well known for their Belizean hospitality and their delicious Belizean Creole cuisine. The same wonderful BRL cooks will be preparing your meals at Long Caye, so expect hearty meals.
Fishing at Belize River Lodge
Because of its unique location -- the lodge is only 3.5 miles upriver from its mouth and from there the offshore cayes and flats are mere minutes away by boat -- guests have two very distinct and different types of fishing available to them: the flats and channels in the clear waters of the Caribbean for tarpon, bonefish, permit, and snook, or the lodge can fish numerous inland jungle rivers, creeks, and lagoons for snook and tarpon. If you want a variety of fishing opportunities, don't look any further than
BRL; it offers the best of both worlds.
The flats, channels, cayes, reef, mangrove islands and channels, Belize River, Sibun River, Manatee River, Black Creek, and several other creeks and lagoons in between are the areas fished from the lodge in a normal week's fishing. This represents a very alrge area with a great variety of fishing conditions, fish species, and scenery. Visual Saltwater Grand Slams and Back Country Grand Slams occur almost every day of the year, while actually landing a slam will depend on each angler's skill, the fish, and more than a little luck!
Many species of birds and other wildlife such as manatees, howler monkeys, iguanas, turtles, and occasionally crocodiles may be seen while fishing from the Lodge. Fishing is from 23' Pangas, the best boats for the various waters of Belize. There are typically two anglers to a skiff, with an English speaking, licensed and experienced guides. BRL guides have long been recognized as the hardest-working guides in Belize.
The coast of Belize is a complex system of river mouths, creeks, lagoons, flats, small cayes, mangrove islands, and the Barrier Reef. The ecosystem that exists here supports millions of crabs, shrimp, bait fish, and other aquatic life, which is why there is an abundance of game fish. Central Belize, where BRL is located, is a year round fishery offering both saltwater fishing and river fishing.
Typical Fishing Day:
Of course, if you have special requests for your fishing, just discuss it with Mike or the guide the day before.
6:00 am - Coffee or Tea on the lodge verandah, conversation, check tackle and equipment. If you are a birder, this is a great time to get out your binoculars and enjoy BRL's many wild tropical birds.
7:00 am - Breakfast, then back to your room, grab your gear, and go to the dock where you will meet your awaiting guide.
7:30 am - Guides are ready on skiffs at the dock, a few minutes for guides to check your tackle (especially if guests are changing guides daily). Then you and your guide can determine where and what to fish for that day based on weather and target species. Your BRL guide will help you tie or select the right leaders, lines, shock tippets and flies for the areas you are concentrating on for that day. Note that your first morning will take a few minutes longer for initial set up of equipment.
7:30 - 8:00 am - Leave dock for fishing areas - can be flats, reef, mangroves, creeks, lagoons or river; usually a half hour to 40 minutes running time (as close as 20 minutes away). Most of the day is spent hunting or casting to fish, checking out many different places, such as flats, channels, mangrove shorelines, etc. The guides will usually pole or paddle during fishing most of the day with each angler taking turns on the bow, if there are two anglers to the boat. It is mostly sight fishing: casting to tailing, rolling or cruising fish or casting to fish held up under the mangroves or casting to mudding spots. There will be some blind casting to areas that guides know hold fish. The guide will motor to other areas during the day always with wind, tide, light and species in mind.
Sometime about midday, depending on fishing, the guide will find a cool, shady spot for lunch (usually under an overhanging mangrove). Lunch is prepared by the Lodge staff and consists of a delicious boxed meal of sandwiches, fruit, chips and dessert and is packed in a cooler with an assortment of soft drinks, beer, water, etc. Many anglers catch a power nap at this time and then plan for the afternoon. The afternoon fishing continues and the skiff heads for the Lodge, getting back around 5:00 to 5:30 pm. All boats should be back in the river before dusk. Rods and reels are rinsed at the dockside and stored in a convenient rack near the main Lodge, safe from screen doors and ceiling fans.
After a shower; drinks, appetizers and fishing stories are shared on the verandah. At 7:00 pm a delicious family style dinner is served and after dinner, relax on the screened-in porch, enjoy an after dinner cocktail and reminisce on the day's fishing. Maybe even find out what the hot lure or fly of the day was and learn to tie it yourself at the fly tying table.
If you enjoy snorkeling, bring your equipment with you, and take an hour or so out of your fishing day and snorkel if you are near the reef. Let your guide know in the morning that you would like to snorkel, so he can plan it into your day.
Guests staying at BRL's Long Caye Outpost Lodge will spend long days fishing some of the best waters in all of Belize. Tarpon and snook are routinely found on the back side of the island, less than 5 minutes away. Some of the best permit and bonefish flats are out front and just a cast away. The Long Caye Channel and Miami Beach Flat are known for large resident and migratory tarpon. The days on the Cay can start as early as you want, and you can fish as late as you want. Be prepared for long days, full of hot fly fishing action!
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• BRL offers the most diverse fishing program in the Caribbean. From their great location just a few miles upriver on the Belize River, they have access to an incredible array of habitats, home to great populations of all the major flats fish including bonefish, permit, tarpon (both juvenile and massive adult tarpon), and snook. Anglers fishing out of BRL can fish shallow flats for bonefish, deeper pancake flats for permit, flats and channels for big tarpon, plus mangrove lagoons, inland lakes, and jungle rivers for juvenile tarpon and snook. There is something here for everyone, and it’s one of the best spots in the world for an elusive Super Slam!
• BRL is the easiest, most convenient lodge to get to in Belize. There are direct flights into Belize City (airport code BZE) from several major hubs in the US, and the lodge is only 10 minutes from the airport. You don’t need any small plane or boat transfers, and many guests are able to fish a half day upon arrival or departure. Travel to and from BRL is simple fast and easy a great short trip get-away.
• Sometimes in saltwater fishing, bad weather can wreak havoc on the flats and potentially ruin a great trip. At BRL, if the wind is howling on the flats, they have great backup options with the ability to fish inland on a series of jungle rivers and lagoons. This is a fun adventure even in good weather – howler monkeys, crocodiles, incredible bird life, tropical flowers, plus tarpon and snook – and can really save a trip if your luck runs out with inclement weather on the flats. Every day is fishing day at Belize River Lodge!
• BRL is the longest operating lodge in Belize. It is built out of local hardwoods and mahogany, and gives you a sense of Colonial Belize. This isn’t the touristy San Pedro with resorts and spring break fever; rather a quiet, tranquil return to the real Belize, within striking distance of a plethora of fisheries. It’s all about relaxing, fishing and soaking up the culture of Belize which makes for lifetime memories and new friends.
• The guides at BRL are the hardest working pros in Belize. They are not clock watchers who hit the dock at 3 pm sharp…rather, they’ll fish long days, and are notorious for coming in after dark when a big tarpon is hooked in the evening. Combine that with the lodge’s close proximity to the flats, and anglers fishing at BRL get more time on the water, which usually ends up with more fish on the end of the line. Put that work ethic to work for you.
• The lodge boasts an ideal location in Central Belize, just upstream from the mouth of the Belize River. They are the only lodge that regularly fishes these waters, allowing for some of the least-pressured flats in the country. The closest tarpon and snook fishing grounds are only 10 minutes from the lodge, and the longest run times are 45 minutes, so you’re never far from quality fishing waters and you won’t waste your fishing day getting to and from.