Diabetes in the Rainforest

I’d like to stay at an eco-lodge deep in the jungle near San Ignacio, Belize in December. I’ve been thinking through how to handle my D while on the trip, and I’d love to hear any suggestions you all have. I know December is a ways off, but I want to plan ahead before booking the lodging and flights.

The cabin would not have any air conditioning, but there will be a fan directly above the bed. I’d like to keep some of my D supplies with me on our day trips, and I’d like to leave some behind at in the cabin. I can ask the lodge to store my insulin, but I’d like to explore other options first. I assume the lodge would have a fridge because they serve food, but I’d need to reach out to them. I don’t really like putting my insulin in unknown refrigerators, and there may be quite a few people with access.

The average high in Belize in December is 85F with average low of 68F… The average humidity is 81%, putting it on the edge of the Frio’s upper range posted by @michel.

We’re planning to spend 5 nights at the eco-lodge then 3 nights on Caye Caulker. Our lodging on Caye Caulker will have air conditioning. If the worst were to happen, insulin is available OTC in Belize. There are pharmacies in San Ignacio, and I believe that’s around a 40 minute drive.

I’m planning to purchase some kind of waterproof bag that I can use to hold my meter/phone/insulin when we go cave tubing and snorkeling. Maybe something like the link below. My pens are 6-7 inches long, so this bag should be able to fit them. For lows, I’m planning to bring some Transcend gels that @Eric mentioned in this post: Camping report

I’m not that worried about the temperature of the insulin I’m carrying around with me. I just want to make sure my back-up insulin at the lodge won’t go bad. We will be staying near the Macal river, so I will have easy access to cool water every day.

Have any of you handled a similar situation? Do you think the Frio bag would work alright? Do you have any suggestions?



Wow, this trip sounds incredible!! I don’t have any suggestions but it’ll be cool to hear what others come up with. Also, I hadn’t heard of the Frio bag before. Super amazing

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If you have access to a freezer, this might work. Even if you don’t the thermos would be my first choice , since it won’t heat up easily. Simple, easy, and no threat of your insulin freezing.


Thanks for linking this! Very, very helptul. I think using a thermos like this is a great idea. I’m much more comfortable with storing the ice cube balls in the lodge’s freezer than storing my insulin in their refrigerator. I will ask if they have a freezer I can use.

Yes, I would think you could have two sets of the balls, keep one in the freezer, then change them out every couple of days.


@Katers87, I agree with @Chris. At higher temperatures and high humidity we found the Frio bag to be useless. We have used Thermoses nonstop for the past 9 months as we are traveling around Europe.

We have a bit more than two sets of ice balls. One is in the freezer, the other in the two Thermoses (we use 2 for redundancy, if one gets lost somehow). We recently spent 2 weeks in South Africa, right at the end of the summer season. It was still quite hot and we did not have a fridge. We had to swap the ice balls from freezer to Thermoses twice a day, and kept the Thermos temperature quite cool.

Another trick: keep the Thermoses as low as possible, in contact with the floor (in the shade of course). Adding extra clothes on top of them will also keep them cooler.

I was going to write this trip up but we ran into some trouble and have not quite recovered—will do that soon.

Btw, we did a very similar trip in Costa Rica a couple of years ago and had a great time!


Thanks for the great suggestion. I loved your detailed thread! I emailed the lodge and am waiting on a response now. I’m buying the same thermos in your thread. It looks perfect. I’m very happy :smiley:

Hopefully the lodge has a freezer. If they don’t, we can always switch to a different lodge. I really liked this one in particular because it’s a bit deeper in the jungle than the others. It’s the Black Rock Jungle Lodge:

I hope you’re all okay. Hopefully you’ll be doing better soon!


No worries, we are good now. I will tell the story some time soon :slight_smile:

One more trick I just realized I had not mentioned in the original thread (I’ll have to add it there):

You can buy insulated thermos sleeves. For instance, I found some at Decathlon—the large model (1.5L) there exactly fits the Thermos in the thread above. I can’t find it listed for some reason, but the smaller model looks very much the same:


The frio is generally not a good option for anything more than a few hours imo…

I’d find out if the lodge has an ice maker and if so take the smallest 6-pack cooler you can find to keep your insulin in with ice… should be able to just change the ice out once a day or so… I like to keep mine in a gallon storage bag inside the cooler then fill cooler mostly up with ice. There is zero chance of insulin being damaged by this method

I would not put my insulin in an unknown fridge that I didn’t have 24/7 access to for long enough for it to earn my trust

That said, if it doesn’t get above 85 it’d probably be fine in the frio even if the frio isn’t doing much. The fan blowing on it will help it evap a little more than it would otherwise too


The lodge has a freezer, and they said they can store some ice for me. I think I’ll bring the little ice balls and small thermos. I’ll bring the frio bag anyway just in case I want it for day trips with the supplies I carry around. I don’t think that’s necessary, but it’ll be good to have it anyway. It’s flat so it’s easy to pack. We might do a day trip
to Tikal, and I would want more medication with me for that because we’d be crossing into Guatemala (with a guide from the lodge).

Thanks for all the suggestions!!!


Your trip sounds amazing! December will be here before you know it!

I’ve used Frios before too and I like them. Remember though, you don’t pack them when in use, they need air circulation to work properly, but keep them loose and on top of other items.


FRIO®s need to breathe. They work by evaporation and need to be in contact with the air. The Cambrelle (outer) cover allows this to happen enhancing the stability of the pouch’s temperature. Carrying in hand luggage or in a pocket is satisfactory.



@Michel Haven’t seen you on the forum for awhile. I hope you’re doing well!!

I just want to thank you again for your posts/advice regarding the thermos & plastic ice balls. I used that method for my back-up insulin while we were in Belize/Guatemala - though I purchased little plastic cylinders filled with water. Everything worked out great! My approach was much less scientific than yours - no thermometer- but the inside of the thermos always felt cool when I opened it to switch out the frozen cylinders each day.

I kept a Lantus pen and Humalog pen out of the thermos (with me), and the Lantus did seem to be less effective after we got back - I ended up replacing it early. My Humalog seems unaffected. I suspect it is a bit hardier. I kept two pens of each insulin in the thermos as my back-up insulin. It was reassuring to know that I had a back-up plan in case my insulin went bad while I was there.

It was a great adventure, and I felt more unlimited than ever before :blush:


I stayed in “Table Rock Jungle Lodge”, which is adjacent to San Ignacio, in 2015. No problems with insulin or other stuff, but we were there in September and conditions were not particularly hot. I can’t remember if they had in-room refrigerators, quite possible; it was not like camping out! The best part was that the local guides that we had going up into the highlands really did believe in where they lived and, of course, the place has a culture that makes us realize that our European culture is hardly without compare, or history.

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Sounds like a new thread with pics might be in order


Will do :slight_smile: Holidays are making life busy, but everything should settle down soon I think.