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Luxurious, Secluded Riverfront Villa with spa, steps from Jungle and waterfall

Bedrooms 1
Half Baths1
Property type villa
Minimum Stay 1 - 2 nights


About the property

1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms

Welcome to Riverside Villa. This is the only one of the calabash Cottages collection located in Belize. This villa is located in a very secluded and serene setting on the banks of the Privassion. This river flows through the largely undeveloped Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve in the Cayo District of western Belize. It is a charming and romantic get away for adventuresome couples, honeymooners or any one seeking a quiet retreat. It is a truly unusual location on the banks of a gorgeous river where the Mountain Pine Ridge and the jungle meet. The villa is privately owned but managed by the friendly and capable staff of the adjacent Gaia River Lodge who can help visitors plan any of the many activities in the area. A full kitchen is provided but guests can also take all meals at the lodge's lovely restaurant over looking beautiful Five Sister's Falls or even have meals delivered from the lodge to enjoy in the privacy of the villa.

Our new hot tub has an up close and personal view of the river. Far away from light pollution you will enjoy incredibly starry skies on clear nights. It is also the perfect place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee as the mist rises off the river. Our hot tub contains no chemicals. Guests fill it from the hot and cold water faucet to their preferred temperature. Because our water comes from a spring high up on the property we have tons of water pressure and it fills quite quickly.

Riverside Villa consists of two log and thatch cabañas connected by an open air deck. The cheerful sleeping cabana which holds the bedroom and bathroom is warmly furnished with a bamboo bed and Mayan fabrics and wall hangings. The full bath contains a fancifully tiled bathtub and beautiful hardwood furnishings. A screened in porch at one end of the bedroom has a hammock as well as two chairs. It is nestled into the trees and overlooks the garden with the river just beyond.

The larger cabaña contains a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, writing desk and a small library. It is surrounded on four sides with fully screened porches arranged into relaxed and comfortable living spaces. Hammocks and seating areas are situated to take advantage of the tropical gardens as well as the entrancing views of the river. All furnishings are locally made by Belizean craftsman. Colorful Mayan rugs, fabrics and wall hangings complete the cozy ambiance of the interior.

For those who prefer to dine outdoors, a beautiful picnic table faces the water with the pines and ferns across the river. It is an especially lovely spot under the full moon. The smaller “river deck” is an intimate spot to enjoy morning coffee or to watch the sun slip behind the pines in the evening. Nighttime brings a soothing chorus of tree frogs from the surrounding jungle, a perfect ending to the day.

Additional Guest Accommodations

Riverside Villa was designed as a spacious one bedroom home. Over the years we have had many requests from guests interested in traveling with a third or fourth party. Recent additions and upgrades have made it possible to accommodate adventurous guests in a delightful setting. One of our covered screened porches, the jungle deck, serves as a living area when the villa is rented by two. This couch in the sitting area is a trundle bed that can be converted to a king sized bed. Curtains can be used to provide privacy on all sides or left open to face the gardens and jungle. There is an adjacent full bath with an armoire for storage.

One additional guest can chose from several options. The king sized bed can be set up on the jungle deck as described above or the lower portion of the trundle (a single bed) can be moved around the corner to “the banana deck’’. The banana deck is also adjacent to the full bath and overlooks our banana trees (of course) as well as the river. The banana deck does not have privacy curtains facing out although the location is secluded and private. It can be closed off from the main living area with shutter doors.

There is a maximum occupancy of four and there is an additional per night fee for each guest beyond two.

Larger groups or those who prefer a full second bedroom can choose from the wonderfully designed cabanas at Gaia River Lodge.

The majority of visitors to the interior of Belize come to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings as well as the abundance of bird and animal life. Riverside Villa was created to take advantage of the surroundings while protecting the environment. Water is gravity fed to the villa from a pure spring high above in the hills (providing abundant pressure) and then passed through a state of the art water filtration system. Electricity is provided by the hydro powered generator at Gaia Riverlodge and the eco-friendly septic system is designed to avoid polluting the pristine river.

The location of Riverside Villa is one of it's best features. It is accessed by a 4 wheel drive driveway (and most rental cars in Belize are 4 wheel drive) and a paved, lighted walkway to the villa. Luggage transfer is provided by the lodge for guests who do not have a rental car. Guests should be prepared with a light jacket or sweater in the evenings as the riverside location brings cooler temperatures in the evenings than in surrounding areas. Visits to Riverside Villa are intended to be a natural retreat. There are an abundance of screened in porch areas and open decks where guests can enjoy the view of the river as well as the birds and butterflies flitting through the gardens. The secluded and beautiful setting, the amenities of the villa, the proximity to the charming Gaia River Lodge and the many activities in the area will provide adventurous travelers with an unforgettable visit to Belize.

Travel to Riverside Villa a can be arranged in a number of ways. Gaia Riverlodge can meet your flight and provide van service directly to the lodge. Guests can rent a car at the airport and drive out to the Pine Ridge which is about a three hour drive. It is also possible to charter a small plane from the airport to a landing strip two miles from the villa. The staff at Gaia river Lodge will meet your plane.

eeking a quiet retreat. It is a truly unusual location on the banks of a gorgeous river where the Mountain Pine Ridge and the jungle meet. The villa is privately owned but managed by the friendly and capable staff of the adjacent Gaia River Lodge who can help visitors plan any of the many activities in the area. A full kitchen is provided but guests can also take all meals at the lodges lovely restaurant overlooking beautiful Five Sister's Falls.

Riverside Villa consists of two log and thatch cabanas connected by an open air deck. One contains the bedroom, full bath, and a porch. The other contains the kitchen, dining and living areas, wraparound screen porches, and a half bath. Both cabanas are cheerfully decorated with colorful Central American tiles, Mayan fabrics and weavings, and all furnishings are handmade by Belizean craftsman. Hammocks and seating areas are strategically placed for guests to enjoy the lovely views of the river and gardens. There is a lovely hand crafted table for outdoor dining and the cozy river deck is a perfect spot for morning coffee.

Riverside Villa is an eco-friendly home, with fully filtered gravity fed spring water, hydroelectric power, and a nonpolluting waste system. The remote location is one of the villa's best features but guests can drive to a parking area which is two minutes walk from the villa. Luggage transfer can be provided but the villa is not handicap accessible.

The fast flowing section of the creek in front of the villa has numerous small swimming holes and a large slow moving pool is just a minute's walk down stream. The base of Five Sister's Waterfall is a short walk up stream. This beautiful waterfall has a lovely white sand beach, excellent swimming, a shaded gazebo and a thatched palapa furnished with hammocks. The majority of visitors to the interior of Belize come to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings as well as the abundance of bird and animal life. Riverside Villa was created to allow guests to take advantage of these surroundings.

More Details

Property Manager
Susan Brierley
Member since: 1998
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a day
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
April 22, 2018

About Susan Brierley

My husband and I are thirty year residents of Coral Bay St. John in the US Virgin Islands. We travel frequently always choosing places where we can surround ourselves with natural beauty. It may seem counter intuitive to live in the tropics and choose another tropical location as a vacation home but it works for us. They are very different locales. St. John is a dry island which is great for endless sunny beach days but being in the jungle has an entirely different feel. We love to spend time out doors and this location offers plenty of that.

Why Susan Brierley chose Cayo

My husband and I are residents of the US Virgin Islands. We originally came to Belize on a mountain bike trip. At the end of our two weeks we reflected that during that time we had also gone hiking, birding, horseback riding, caving, canoeing and visited beautiful Mayan ruins. We were surrounded by people who went out of the way to be kind and gracious and we could tell immediately what great love and pride they felt for their country.

On the way back to the airport we stopped into a real estate office and grabbed a card. We were back three weeks later. We had already stayed at the neighboring lodge and knew that this property was for sale. We were already in love with it but knew we had to due our due diligence. We traveled around the country with our agent who showed us anything that might fit our needs. But by dumb luck we had wandered into the right place the first time. In the ensuing years we have never come across a piece of property that we wished we found instead. An impulsive decision to be sure but we have gotten incredible joy out of the time spent in the villa. We love sharing it.

What makes this villa unique

Riverside Villa allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature from both inside and out side. A floor to ceiling screened in porch is on four sides of the main building. There are more places t relax and enjoy the setting than you will likely have time for. We recently added a hot tub which is fabulous for stargazing. Although my husband and I (Calabash Cottages) own the villa it is managed by the wonderful adjoining lodge Gaia RiverLodge. They can help you with any of the logistics of your visit.


Cayo Villa Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • villa
  • Guests provide their own meals
  • Housekeeper Included
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 4:00 PM / Check-out: 11:00 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 4
  • pets not allowed
Location Type:
  • Mountain ...
  • Mountain View ...
  • River ...
  • Rural ...
  • Water View ...
  • Waterfront ...
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Romantic
  • Basic Soaps
  • Filtered Water
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Local Activities Guide
  • Paper Towels
  • Parking
  • Telephone
  • Toilet Paper
  • Towels Provided
  • Blender
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Kitchen ...
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Stove
  • Dining
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • 1 Half Bath
  • Bathroom - toilet , tub , shower
    Bathroom 2 - toilet
    Bathroom 3 - toilet , shower , Beautifully tiled bathroom with large shower
  • 1 Bedroom, Sleeps 4
  • Bedroom - 1 queen
  • Cheerful and roomy with a screened porch and hammock. Sleep to the soothing sound of the fast flowing river.
  • Books
  • Balcony
  • Beach Towels
  • Bicycles ...
  • Deck / Patio
  • Gazebo
  • Lawn / Garden
  • Walkway to Water
  • Wood Deck
  • 2 garden chairs
  • unsuitable for elderly or infirm
  • wheelchair inaccessible
Pool / Spa:
  • Hot Tub
Onsite Services:
  • Daily Maid Service
  • caves
  • forests
  • rain forests
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • waterfalls
  • zoo
Leisure Activities:
  • bird watching
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • swimming


Wonderful! 4.9/5 -
(8 traveler reviews)

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Luxurious, Secluded Riverfront Villa with spa, steps from Jungle and waterfall
average rating of 4.875 based on 8 reviews
Chicago, IL, USA

Perfect for romantic adventurers

  • 5 of 5

My partner and I spent nearly a week at this beautiful and secluded open-air palapa "compound" in Belize. Every morning we would wake up to the sound of the rushing river--the Provision--right at our doorstep and the day would begin. We spent several days mountain biking, hiking, and waterfall climbing and then either having home cooked meals or going to the Gaia River Lodge (next door) for drinks or dinner. (The breakfast fry cakes alone are worth a trip to Belize.)

The area is a nature lover's paradise, with lots of birds and every kind of jungle and pine forest plant imagineable. It rained one day and we just read and explored the house, which is one of the most unique places I have ever stayed. It is basically two buildings--one building has the master bedroom and bathroom, and then another building with kitchen/living spaces/dining room. They are separated by a wide porch with a long wood table, where we ate most of our meals. The buildings are traditional thatched-roof structures, so it feels very different than what we were used to. The house is beautifully appointed, with a very well equipped kitchen (so you don't have to go out at night), wide library selections, and super comfortable beds. It was a real pleasure to have very physical days and then be able to relax by cooking (definitely go to the market at St Ignacio to stock up on the most amazing produce and Amish cheeses) and having cocktails right out on the river under the moon and stars. The long road into the mountains was brutal but one we got there it was all worth it.

The house is very private and very remote, which makes it very romantic. We had one of our best vacations ever here and would return in a heartbeat!

  • Submitted: May 10, 2015
  • Stayed: November 2014
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks for staying at Riverside and for your lovely review. Potential guests really like to read about the experiences of former guests. I appreciate that you took the time to give such a detailed and happy account of your experiences. Thanks again, Susan and Paul
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James & Debbie (You will love it!!)

  • 5 of 5

This is one of the most unique spot we have ever stayed it has comfort, privacy, and beauty.

Even with all the privacy you have if you want you can still order food in!! We did and i loved it.

We also road houses throught the rain forest. When I go back i want to save more time to just stay on the porch that over looks the river, read, and look at the amaizng view.

  • Submitted: Apr 26, 2015
  • Stayed: March 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear James and Debbie, I am so happy that you enjoyed the uniqueness of Riverside Villa. I am always interested to hear how guests spent their time. I'm glad to hear that you took advantage of the jungle horseback ride. It's a beautiful trip! We keep the kitchen very well set up for guests that want to do their own cooking but we have also gotten a lot of feedback about how much guests enjoyed having a romantic dinner delivered. Thanks for taking the time to write a review. We hope to see you again in the future. All the best, Susan and Paul
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Merrit Isl. Fl., USA

Keeping it simple

  • 4 of 5

I will start by telling you that I do not wish to write a review similar to what has been written by other guests. This will not be about the tropical gardens. It will not be about the idyllic setting. I will not mention the cascading water falls or the many swimming spots. No mention will be made of the toucans, parrots or parakeets. Instead, let me tell you that my wife and I most enjoyed the serenity and peacefulness of being in this remote locale. We spent 5 days off the grid and it was a vacation to remember and to be repeated. The Gaia Lodge was welcoming, friendly and helpful. If you enjoy being outside the "box" and discovering the simpler things the "riverfront villa" is an easy decision.

  • Submitted: Jan 7, 2015
  • Stayed: December 2014
  • Source: HomeAway
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Clintonville, Wisconsin

Gorgeous, beautiful, amazing.....perfect!

  • 5 of 5

This was exactly what we were looking for in a vacation. The house was everything the pictures made it out to be and more; as pictures just cannot do this place justice. This vacation was our Christmas and first anniversary present to each other. We are 52 and wanted to get away to someplace warm and just relax. We did just that. It rained 4 of the 6 days we were there but the sound of the river and rain was so relaxing. It didn't stop us from walking the nature trail or going down to the river. The only trip we did was into San Ignacio on Saturday for the market. That was a fun experience and we spent the whole day there. The folks from Gaia River Lodge were so friendly and helpful and were more than happy to take us anywhere, even made several suggestions, but we were happy to just hang out at the Villa or up at the Lodge. There were plenty of options for trips that the Gaia Rivere Lodge folks could arrange but we didn't want to do any of that as our agenda was to get away and relax. Every morning my husband sat either on the deck or at the inside table drinking his coffee, with the bird book provided by the Villa, watching and trying to name the birds that flew by or stopped in the nearby trees. The property was immaculate and taken care of on a daily basis by the Gaia River Lodge staff; a sweet group of ladies that would clean the house, change towels, sheets, and pick fresh flowers from the gardens around the house to arrange inside. They were great! We ate most of our meals up at the Lodge except for a couple. The walk up to the Lodge was beautiful and my work out for the day. I called it the Belizean Butt Lift; 214 steps! The Lodge would pick us up if we wanted with a quick phone call, but we always chose to walk because we would see different things at different times of the day. The food at the Lodge was excellent and the staff are there to serve you. I got the flu two days before we arrived so I wasn't quite up to par on our arrival. On our first breakfast there, Yassir, the waiter, brought me peppermint tea (to help clear my congestion) and a cool cloth (214 steps). The staff at Gaia always asked me how I was feeling. We both would recommend the Riverside Villa for whatever your vacation destination is for; relaxing, waterfalls, cave tubing, ziplining, or just plain fun. This location has it all.

  • Submitted: Feb 14, 2013
  • Stayed: January 2013
  • Source: HomeAway
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Berkeley, California

An Incredible Place!

  • 5 of 5

In a stunning natural setting, this villa gave us everything we wanted and nothing we didn't. Comfort and luxury, privacy, and a seamless existence with the beautiful river and jungle that surrounds. We highly recommend the riverside villa for anyone wanting to commune with nature and rest and relax with complete privacy. All with Gaia lodge a few minutes hike away to offer any food or amenities you wish. The perfect place!

  • Submitted: Jan 8, 2013
  • Stayed: December 2012
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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One of a kind!

  • 5 of 5

Where to begin: 1. The pictures don't do the place justice! The location was beautiful, very secluded and romantic.The house was immaculate, and all the details added so much charm to the place. There was tons of space for just my wife and I to enjoy. There were probably 15 different spots to just chill: hand carved tables, comfy chairs, and hammocks. The villa also has a fully furnished kitchen so my wife and I were able to cook up some great meals together.

2. The scenery was gorgeous! The house sits right on the river at the bottom of a valley. The constant flow of the river was so peaceful. There is so much to explore even on the nature hike around the lodge. At night sitting by the river, we saw tons of shooting stars. This is the place you come to just get away and explore nature. The nearby waterfalls are beautiful.

3. The owner Susan was very helpful and available for phone calls and emails. She gave us some great travel advice for Belize. If its your first time to the country, give her a call and take her recommendations.

4. This property is privately owned but a part of the Gaia River Lodge. The staff were all very friendly and helpful. The restaurant on site was very tasty and the service impeccable. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast each morning on the house. The dinner menu featured several terrific options. My wife even left her phone and the manager Nigel helped get it shipped back to us.

5. Make this place the majority of your stay in Belize! You need at least 4 days to explore, relax and enjoy all that the River Villa has to offer. It was the perfect place for my wife and I to adventure together and enjoy each other. Hope to come back again soon!

  • Submitted: Jan 2, 2013
  • Stayed: December 2012
  • Source: HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
100 Miles
Belize City
Nearest Barpub
1 Miles
Gaia Riverlodge
Nearest Restaurant
1 Miles
Gaia Riverlodge
Car: not necessary

The Cayo region is adventure central for Belize and this location provides peace and quiet in addition to access to the tours in the area. There are many activities nearby for those who wish an active vacation. The lodge can arrange for horseback visits to the jungle as well as canoeing trips into the caves of Barton creek or along the peaceful Macal River. The Mayan ruins of Caracol and Xunantunich are common day trips from the Pine Ridge as is the somewhat longer trip over the Guatemalan border to the famous ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal. There is also a lovely nature trail which takes guests from the steps of the villa through lush broadleaf jungle and on to a private waterfall on Little Vaqueros Creek. A steeper trail to nearby Big Rock falls rewards hikers with a stunning waterfall in a gorgeous natural setting. Mountain bike tours can also be arranged.

Those looking for a relaxing vacation will find Riverside to be a very peaceful haven. The decks and gardens provide a lovely spot to enjoy the view and watch the birds and butterflies. A palapa at the waters edge has two comfortable hammocks that are perfect for enjoying a book on a lazy afternoon. The fast flowing section of the creek in front of the villa has numerous small swimming holes and a large slow moving pool is just a minute's walk down stream. The base of Five Sister's Waterfall is a short walk up stream. This beautiful waterfall has a lovely white sand beach, excellent swimming, a shaded gazebo and a thatched palapa furnished with hammocks.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Manager's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 7 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 14 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.