Scuba dive in the world’s second-largest barrier reef or sip rum punch under a palm tree while staying at one of these oceanfront hotels in Belize.
With hundreds of miles of pristine Caribbean coastline, Belize is dotted with as many beach hotels, resorts and cabanas. White sand, turquoise water and coral reefs teeming with wildlife draw visitors here all year round. We’ve compiled a list of the best ocean-facing hotels in Belize, from Ambergris Caye down to the Placencia Peninsula.
Put yourself at ease at Chabil Mar. Upon landing at the Placencia airstrip, staff will be waiting with cool towels, chilled water and a lemonade (rum optional). After a five-minute ride down Main Street, you’ll find your luggage, fresh flowers and clean robes laid out in your private villa with a view of the sea. Explore the peninsula by bike, kayak or paddleboard, all available from the resort.
Just at the southern tip of Placencia, the Belizean Nirvana resort feels more secluded than its counterparts up the road. You’ll have a choice of five fully-equipped suites, each with its own veranda and beachside view. If the fresh sea air from your balcony isn’t enough, dive right in with one of Belizean Nirvana’s tours of the Gladden Spit coral reef (you might spot a whale shark or two). Alternatively, kayak through the mangroves, home to howler monkeys, on the Monkey River tour.
Pick your paradise. Whether you’re looking for an authentic Belizean-style stay or a Hamptons-inspired beach home, you’ll find it at Caribbean Beach Cabanas, the only adults-only resort on the peninsula. Inside, the boutique hotel greets you with its lush, lagoon-like pool, while the Caribbean – and the seaside palapa bar – await, just a few steps beyond.
Cultures collide at film-maker Francis Ford Coppola’s 25-room beachside hideaway. Your breezy cottage will be decked out with hand-carved Balinese furniture and a Japanese bath. Come nightfall, dine on locally caught seafood and Dutch-Indonesian rijsttafel (rice table), paired with wine imported from Coppola’s wineries in Sonoma County, California. For the ultimate relaxing treat, book a traditional Thai massage and coconut hair rinse.
Halfway between Belize City and the Placencia Peninsula, you’ll find the Belizean Dreams Resort near the village of Hopkins. This all-inclusive hotel is ready to tend to your every need. With wall-to-wall windows, high ceilings and four-poster beds, your room will become a real sanctuary. Check out the resort’s weekly tour schedule for cave tubing, waterfall climbs and island hopping, all part of the package.
You’ll be barefoot the whole time at Brisa Oceano Resort, where the condo-style rooms open directly out onto the pristine, white-sand beach. Choose between one- and three-bedrooms, perfect for both couples and families. Borrow a kayak or fishing rod from the front desk, or strap on your sandals and take a stroll down the Placencia sidewalk into the village. Back on site, there’s a swim-up bar and spa, if you’re in need of pampering.
After a short ferry ride from Belize City, you’ll land in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Just a few feet from the ferry stop is Tradewinds Paradise Villas – although you will feel a world away from downtown. All rooms come with a view, either of the pool or ocean, where you can dive right off the dock into the water. Emanuel, Evy and Marely are on hand at the front desk to book golf trips or dive excursions.
Experience true beachfront living at Maya Beach Hotel. The standard Hibiscus Room opens straight onto the sand with a hammock perfectly placed for an afternoon nap. Alternatively, upgrade to the king-size Flip Flop Palace. Head to the resort’s bistro for dinner, where cacao pork, bacon-wrapped grouper and octopus eight ways are all on the menu. You’ll be miles from downtown Placencia, but that much closer to marine hotspots like Glover’s Reef and South Water Caye.
Bright colors, breezy balconies and wood-lined ceilings abound at Laru Beya Resort, just up the road from Placencia marina. The all-inclusive resort pays homage to the local Garifuna community, with its name (which means “on the beach”) and serves Belizean food, like chicken with fried plantain and conch ceviche. If you choose to venture out, tours range from exploring the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary to visiting the Mayan ruins of Nim Li Punit.
The Ellysian is a modern dream, right in Placencia village. With just 13 rooms, floor-to-ceiling glass doors and furniture handpicked by Belize’s first lady, a stay here feels both intimate and exclusive. At Muna, the rooftop restaurant, native food steals the show. Expect coconut refried beans, fry jacks and house-smoked bacon for breakfast, while dinners consist of seafood curry pasta and passionfruit cheesecake for dessert.