Until about ten years ago, Belize's most noted environmental practices were gill-netting and reef destruction. Now, the same fishermen who once pillaged reefs work as guides in a sustainable-tourism industry, thanks to the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment, a local environmental NGO. Our favorite result of the sea change: fishing-resort-turned-eco-lodge Machaca Hill. Machaca, which opened in December 2006, sits on an 11,000-acre nature reserve. From one of 12 hilltop cabanas, hike to Belize's Rio Grande and take a panga ride down the river. Eleven miles later, you and your fly-fishing guide will be playing catch-and-release in the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, where the permit grow to 30 pounds.
An on-site organic farm provides much of the lodge's food, and solar panels are being installed this summer.
It's a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Houston to Belize City, and then a puddle-jumper flight to Punta Gorda. Doubles, $210; machacahill.com