Modern Amenities on the Belizean Frontier
John and Carolyn Carr moved to Belize in 1977, and added a tourism component to their business in 1987. They began with two double room cabanas with a shared bath to accommodate families and friends.
Fast forward to 2004,and Banana Bank Lodge and & Jungle Equestrian Adventure has expanded into a jungle resort that offers a blend of the "Belizean Frontier" with modern amenities.
“There’s been a significant change, I think, from adventure pioneer traveler who accepted ‘rustic’conditions to a new guest who usually wants air-conditioning and wonders about available email and Internet service, ”notes John Carr, who owns and manages Banana Bank, along with his wife Carolyn. They are a couple with a colorful back-ground: he is a former saddle bronc rider born in Montana, and she is a Kansas native and an artist with many paintings in her studio and gallery that focus on Belizean culture.
The 4,000-acre Banana Bank Lodge,half of which is primary growth rainforest, holds a unique place in Belizean history. Back in the 1800’s,when logging was the primary industry and the only way to the interior was by boat, Banana Bank was an outpost on the Belize River,and served as headquarters for a land development company. Banana Bank later became a working cattle ranch, and in the 1950’s and 60’s, it became renowned for hosting horse races.
Around 1945, an old train station built around 1910 in a Belizean frontier town was dismantled and shipped in pieces by river to Banana Bank. It served for many years as the original ranch headquarters. Now, the Carrs have refurbished it into a clubhouse called “The Headquarters,” which plays host to receptions and serves as a guest lounge.
Banana Bank features 18 rooms, and is in the process of completing two more. Accommodations include the lodge’s unique three-story Chateau Brio, an architectural centerpiece with one of the most magnificent staircases in Belize.
An assortment of native animals and birds call Banana Bank home, including a collection of tropical birds, monkeys, and a beautiful jaguar named Tika. Accommodations are comfortable, all-you-can-eat home cooking is served family style, and free coffee and fresh squeezed juice are available anytime.
Banana Bank now offers 24/7 satellite Internet service, along with swimming pool access.
Strategically located in Belize’s center, myriad activities are available at Banana Bank, including a state of the art Equestrian Center for all levels of horseback riding and learning. Day trips include horseback riding into the jungle, visiting Maya ruins and caves, canoeing, star gazing, trail walks, birding or simply relaxing and enjoying the tranquil grounds of the lodge.
Banana Bank is especially well suited to accommodate groups and families with children. The lodge often hosts groups as well as students with special interests, such as photography, birding, horses, and art.