When Bart first came to Belize on the recommendation of friends back in 1976, he thought he might stay for a couple of months. Instead, he ended up buying property on the edge of San Ignacio Town in the Cayo District.
Bart traveled to Honduras during his bachelor era and met a single mom teacher in a bi-lingual school. That was me! Bart invited me and my three kids to Belize and showed us his favorite ice cream shop. By the end of the trip, he fell in love with my three kids and I fell in love with his ice cream! We had a simple Baha’i wedding in the tropical garden at Maya Mountain. This began a journey together of developing our jungle property into an eco resort and spa.
Belize was known to be rather wild back in those days but all five of us were adventurous enough to live ‘bak-a-bush’ in the Cayo jungle with no electricity, no running water, and no telephone. On the fourth day of July, exactly one year after our marriage, we gave birth to identical twin girls! We were now a family of seven! What a blessing and what a challenge!
Awe-inspired by the beauty of the tropical rainforest, the diversity of the Belizean people and cultures, and the comfortable climate of Belize, we started on a shoestring to build our ‘bare bones’ mountain hotel. We also ran our own adventure tours to sustain us financially. For me, this meant managing all aspects of the hotel while Bart introduced guests to the rich natural history, diverse cultures, and ancient Mayan temple sites of Belize.
From a meager beginning with camp facilities, we added cottages, one by one. Remember… there were no cell phones or computers in those days! Telephone landline, town water, and electricity arrived by 1989, then the pool (1995) and air conditioning about 2005.
Living in an eco resort has never been boring. From archaeology teams with on-site labs to bird, butterfly, and spider specialists, the Mickler family has enjoyed many aspects of this beautiful rainforest. Tourism activities expand yearly to date and more exciting yet-to-be-discovered adventures await!
Rarely did Bart and I travel abroad together until our 25th anniversary. Since then we had many wonderful adventures including Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island, Canada; China cultural food and dancing; Israel camel riding, Thai cooking classes, New Zealand glacier lakes camping; Haifa, Israel Baha’i Holy places; Chile Baha’i Temple dedication, Chile Mapuche organic farm school, and Belize wind-surfing!
Our Faith encourages us to make this world a better place. This has led us to participate in numerous educational, social, environmental, and artistic endeavors such as reviving ceramics in Belize, “green” sustainability programs, a Baha’i-inspired empowerment program for young people, tourism training, eco tourism internship programs, and more.
Our newest passion is wellness education. We focus on prevention of chronic diseases through holistic lifestyle changes that include diet, natural whole foods, herbs, spa services, yoga, meditation, and exercise. Bart and I and another staff member trained as naturopathic practitioners and wellness and life coaches. Together we are implementing an affordable rejuvenation, detox, and lifestyle change program here at the hotel called Maya Mountain Wellness Center.
We are both involved in many other aspects of wellness including organic permaculture, medicinal herbs, spa treatments, and training others in vegetarian, vegan, and raw food cooking. Bart manages an organic vegetable CSA and has a regular TV and radio program called “Let’s Live Healthy Belize”. I put together wellness menus and materials and manage trainings that help people be healthier.
We really enjoy our healthy lifestyle here in Belize. You are likely to find us in the evening taking a rainforest walk, hiking the hill to our own Mayan Ruins, canoeing on the river, sipping a ‘green’ smoothie by the pool, giving wellness cooking demonstrations, or tending the gardens and enjoying their fruits.
Many overseas travelers express a desire to be our neighbors, so we created a river access residential development called One World Village with lots adjacent to the Lodge. Lot owners have access to the hotel’s restaurant, pool, spa and wellness services. Each new neighbor brings something special that enriches our area. Of course, we would welcome you to Belize as a neighbor as well!
We hope that you enjoy the hospitality of Maya Mountain Lodge and its wonderful staff who share, along with us, the privilege of hosting you. We look forward to meeting you, your family, and friends on future trips!
May your life be filled with happiness and health!
Owners: Bart & Suzi Mickler
The Micklers hope that each of you enjoy the hospitality of Maya Mountain Lodge and its wonderful staff who share along with us the privilege of hosting you. We look forward to meeting you, your family, and friends on future trips!