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Copal Tree Lodge – Punta Gorda, Belize

The beautiful Copal Tree Lodge is perched above the small village of Punta Gorda, Belize on a jungle hillside very near the southern border with Guatemala. The property boasts some 12,000 acres of private jungle land with a farm that supplies over 80% of all the food needs for the operation. Adventure is easy to come by at Copal Tree and the famed permit flats are only the beginning. Along with world-class hospitality and an organic farm-to-table dining experience, Copal Tree offers more than just a luxurious home base to target permit. Adventures and experiences including kayaking, cave tubing, snorkeling, sailing, hiking, and chocolate making are all available and can be scheduled on site. Or you can simply choose to relax at the spa, pool or craft-rum bar. A short 10 minute ride to town from the lodge, in a safari style Land Cruiser, brings you to the Garbutt Brother’s marina where you will access the expansive and permit-rich waters of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve.

Anglers spend their days chasing permit in the capable hands of the Garbutt brothers and their guiding team. The Garbutt’s remain some of the most sought-after, experienced and skilled permit guides found anywhere in the world. The fishery focuses on two main zones that are accessible out of the Garbutt’s marina. The first is an outer coral flats zone that encompasses some 130+ small islands forming the main archipelago of the Sapodilla Cayes. A secondary near shore lagoon area provides a change of pace and also shelter in the event of adverse weather conditions. The lagoon is a large shallow area with a soft bottom that is perfect for hunting tailing fish.

Whether you are looking for a hardcore permit destination or a couples trip with some fishing mixed in, Copal Tree offers refined luxury, brilliant cuisine, a wide range of adventure activities and a hard to beat off-the-beaten track Belizean jungle experience.

For more information please contact Dylan Rose at 800-552-2729 or email us HERE.

Expert Interview with Dylan Rose

Why go?
1. To experience a beautiful luxury jungle retreat with unique and tasteful accommodations.
2.  This is a true food-lovers paradise with outstanding organic, farm-to-table Belizean cuisine.
3. An incredible destination for guests wanting a wide range of experiences and outdoor adventures.
4. Learn to permit fish with some of the world’s most knowledgeable and skilled permit guides.
5. To enjoy serious hardcore fishing from a truly  luxurious base.

Where is the lodge?
Copal Tree Lodge is located on a dense, 12,000 acre private jungle property set in the hills above Punta Gorda, Belize – about 10 minutes away from town. Punta Gorda lies about 16 miles as the crow flies from Belize’s southern border with Guatemala.

How do I get there?
Anglers fly in to the Belize City International Airport (BZE) and then connect aboard an included short flight (approximately 45 minutes) to Punta Gorda via Tropic Air.

When should I go?
The lodge is open year-round with prime time being March – June. Shoulder season and off-season rates may apply as well. The summer months can be hot but may offer great fishing.

Where do they fish?
Anglers focus their efforts on the pristine, permit-rich waters of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve.

Where do we stay?
There are several accommodation options at Copal Tree Lodge. Guests primarily stay two per suite in luxurious jungle cottages, complete with king size beds, A/C, a private screened in patio and private bathrooms. The ridge suite offers a private swimming pool and bar area as well.

Who is best suited for this destination?
Anglers that are keen to chase permit and would like to stay in a luxury lodge with all of the creature comforts imaginable. Also this is a great place for mixed groups and couples that would like to take part in a wide range of experiences and outdoor adventures.

What are the accommodations and meals like?
Accommodations are luxurious, well-appointed and full of amenities. Meals are imaginative and fresh with ingredients procured locally or grown right there on the farm. Chef Renee Everett is master with the resources of a bustling farm at her full disposal.

Describe the atmosphere and style of the lodge?
The lodge is comfortable, beautiful and nestled in the canopy of a pristine jungle environment. Despite all the amenities of a true luxury operation, Copal Tree maintains a casual feel and their  friendly attentive staff makes people feel welcomed and relaxed.

Is there an onsite manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
Yes. There is always an on-site manager that can respond to requests or questions that guests have.

Is there internet and cell service?
Yes, internet is available at the lodge. Cell service is spotty, please check with your carrier.

What is the cost?
Please see the Rates and Details section of our Copal Tree Lodge Belize web page for the current rates:

How do they fish?
Two anglers fish in a private flats skiff with one guide. Fishing is primarily sight fishing in shallow water.

Is there wade fishing?
Some wade fishing is available although most of the time is spent effectively covering the water from the boat. 

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?
Guest will drive ten minutes to the water by Land Cruiser to meet their guides. Runs to the fishing grounds range from 35 – 45 minutes. Some areas may take an hour to reach depending on conditions.

What fish will I catch?
Permit are the main quarry every day, however, some bonefish, snook and tarpon opportunities also exist.

How many fish will I catch?
When chasing permit, even one fish landed in the course of a week should be considered a success. We tell folks that they will typically catch between zero and three permit in dedicated week of fishing. Permit remain one of the most elusive, challenging and awe-inspiring species in the saltwater fly fishing world.

Will we see other anglers?
You will rarely ever see other anglers. Sometimes commercial fisherman can be seen but competition for water is non-existent.

Do the guides speak English?
Yes. English is their first language.

What are the guides like?
The Garbutt Brothers’ team of guides are highly skilled, and very experienced on the water. They are true permit hunters and have the ability to teach and give good direction.

Does the lodge provide equipment?
It’s best to bring your own equipment, but the lodge does have a small, well equipped fly shop on site with any items that you may have forgotten.

What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
A fast action 9wt or 10wt. My new favorite permit rod is the Sage Salt 9wt.

Are there other activities?
Yes! There are plenty of other activities including canoeing, kayaking, chocolate making classes, cave snorkeling, beach outings, birding, hiking, biking, tours of Punta Gorda and plenty more!

What are the physical demands?
This trip is suitable for anyone, however, physically active adults can fully partake in all of the various adventures and activities that Copal Tree offers.

Are there other special skills required?
Permit can be an extremely challenging species to target on the fly. Precision casting, high line speed, an effective double-haul, and a lot of good luck will greatly help your chances at landing a permit.

Dangers and annoyances?
There are some mosquitoes and various insects around the lodge. It is a thriving, pristine jungle after all. However, the bugs are nothing a quality bug repellent can’t handle. Also, adding to the sounds around the lodge are a troop of resident Howler monkeys. These guys can make an unholy racket very early in the morning, but it is both a sight and sound to behold.

What is your favorite memory of this trip?
Other than spending several amazing days chasing permit with a master permit hunter in Scully Garbutt, it has to be waking up at about 5am with a Howler monkey just outside my window roaring to life! If you haven’t experienced the amazing power and roar of a Howler monkey up close at full steam, you haven’t experienced the jungle! It’s just an incredible sound and one that will surely create an indelible imprint on your trip.


A beautiful specimen of a Punta Gorda permit comes to hand for this lucky angler.


A lounge in the main lodge at Copal Tree Lodge, Belize.


Scully Garbutt eases us through a vast maze of shallow water lagoons, pocked marked with a billion little crab holes, searching for an elusive permit. 


Typical jungle suite accommodations at Copal Tree Lodge, Belize.


This is what it’s all about! A beautiful and very challenging quarry indeed.


Copal Tree is perched high on a hill overlooking an immense, private 12,000 acre jungle.


Cool off from a long day of fishing or spend the day relaxing in one of Copal Tree’s beautiful pool areas. 


The world’s greatest bathtub, overlooking the jungle and stunning Rio Grande river below.


Copal Tree produces 70% – 80% of everything it serves on their massive and meticulously maintained farm. 


Horses on the farm help to do a lot of the heavy lifting for maintaining the farm. 


Kayaking the Rio Grande River.


Spouses non-fishing adventure seeking guests welcome! Or just stay at the lodge and lounge in the pool!