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An UnBelizable Adventure

Austin-owned Muy ‘Ono Resorts’ 10 properties in Belize provide beach-to-jungle experiences that give back

Ten years ago Muy ‘Ono acquired its first property in Belize. Today the company, owned by Austin’s Cortney Lebens and Bill Poston, have 10 properties across the country, from private islands and jungle lodges to beach resorts as well as a robust social impact program.

The ultimate Belize vacation is spending time in the jungle and at the beach and Muy ‘Ono makes it easy with their own transportation service. A car between the two takes about two hours during which you can take in the view of the Central America country.

All of the properties, where Wi-Fi and cell service are spotty and a digital detox is encouraged, allow guests to stay active with diving, snorkeling, kayaking, island hopping and chocolate-making adventures at the beach and hiking, bird watching, horseback riding, visits to Mayan ruins, cave tubing and more in the jungle. The food at the properties comes largely from Muy’Ono Farms which supplies the resorts with organic, farm-to-table dining. At Thatch Caye, meals are community-style with all guests dining together - a great way to make new friends. If looking for something more romantic, they’ll set up private tables for two.

Beyond what you see is the positive impact Muy ‘Ono has on the people of Belize and the part they play in keeping the country operating sustainably. Cortney spearheaded Muy’Ono’s Travel Better Promise  Travel Better Promise which focuses on philanthropy, sustainability, celebrating culture and innovation. They donate a portion of every reservation to a local community program, school, or non-profit organization in need of financial assistance and each property selects a different charity each month to be the recipient. Muy ‘Ono properties use solar power, wind power and LED lighting wherever possible, have a rainwater catchment system for water source and use reclaimed materials for renovations.

“When we started the company we sat down and asked ourselves, ‘What are the things that we want to be known for? What are the things that we stand for as an organization? That's when we created the six pillars,” shared Cortney, explaining, “They really became the foundation for what we stand for, how we operate day-to-day. Everything that we do revolves around these pillars: philanthropy, sustainability, creating wow, celebrating culture, being the employer of choice and innovation. Philanthropy is the forefront and the core of our identity. We knew that by enriching ourselves in the community we could really elevate our organization's impact for the greater good and Belize has so much opportunity when it comes to that.”

She continues “We started a nightly donation program and love this program because it really aims to spread the love. We’re not just donating one lump sum to one or two organizations, we have a program that is specific to each resort in each property, so each property donates a specific dollar amount for every guest stay to a different charity every single month. Each property chooses with their employees organizations that are based around health and education. By the end of the year, we're donating to over a hundred charities throughout the year.”

Muy ‘Ono are also members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers to bring items needed by a local school or charity. Each resort supports a project that needs specific items, which can be found on their website. The items can be left at the property or sometimes, if asked, staff will take guests to drop off the gifts in-person, which is a truly heart-warming experience, and if you ask, they sometimes are able to take you!


Facts & Stats

-Monetary Donation: Over $900,000 BZD since 2018 and on track to surpass $1 million before the end of the year

-Plastic Bottles Saved: 1,428,852 at press time.With refillable jugs of filtered water in the rooms, they’ve eliminated single-use plastics.

Jobs Created in Belize: 300 All of the on-the-ground staff are from Belize. Muy ‘Ono provides education and training for people to grow within the organization, with everyone from line cooks and housekeeping staff given the opportunity to move up to manager.

Pack For A Purpose: Find needs for the philanthropy or school aligned with the property where you’re stay here:

  • Sweet Songs
  • Thatch Caye drone view
  • Thatch Caye
  • Sweet Songs