Belize is brimming over with natural beauty, with everything from rainforests and waterfalls to pristine reefs, bat-filled caves and lagoons where crocodiles lurk. It’s a small country, so you can see it all on a single vacation. And our advice is to stay in a Belize ecolodge – a number practise genuine sustainable tourism – and wake to the call of macaws. These lodges in Belize – bookable on Culture Trip – are, for our money, the best.
As much a beach hotel as an ecolodge, Xanadu Island Resort offers accommodation in mock-Mayan palm-roofed shacks on the sand, just south of San Pedro village on the island of Ambergris Caye. The rooms come in a range of sizes: there are whitewashed two- and three-bed villas done out in taupe tiles, with hammocks on wrap-around balconies (some have sunrise-over-the-ocean views) and large living areas with wicker sofas; at the other end of the scale are one-bedroom suites with kitchenettes and studios. Ecofriendly features include solar-heated water and a degree of recycling.
Table Rock Jungle Lodge is in a stunning rainforest location, overlooking the Macal River in the western jungles, and here, sustainable practices (including solar power, community support, mahogany tree planting and rainwater harvesting) are balanced with jungle-chic comfort. The stylish thatched cottages are whitewashed and open plan. They were built using sumptuous hardwoods and are flooded with natural light from wall-high windows. These open onto wrap-around balconies that deliver rainforest or river views. Feast on farm-to-table food from milpa plantations, and choose from a variety of nature-based tours.
Mick and Lucy Fleming have been Belize ecolodge pioneers since the early 1980s, when they set up Chaa Creek in an area of depleted forest in Western Belize. The surroundings are now a private wild reserve, and the lodge actively supports the local community. Stays are as luxurious as heart-of-the-wild tourism gets: there’s a fabulous restaurant, an infinity pool and a butterfly farm; meanwhile, the villas are the business, with polished woods, bespoke wall art and private plunge pools. Book a treetop villa for canopy-level views of the toucans in the trees.
If you’re looking for genuine sustainable tourism, there are better choices than this Belize ecolodge, but it’s hard to beat the spectacular rainforest setting. Elegant, palm-thatched treehouse cabins, linked by long wooden walkways, are decked out entirely in warm tropical hardwoods. They’re at canopy level, with netted sides entirely open to the forest so you get to enjoy the bird life, the monkeys in the branches and the tree frog chorus. The lodge offers a range of light adventure tours and trips to nearby Mayan ruins in Cayo.
Film director Francis Ford Coppola’s Belize ecolodge is a breathtaking place, with waterfall views from the beautifully appointed, Mayan-style cottages, and rainforest wildlife all around: expect everything from hummingbirds feeding in the heliconias to ocelots padding silently through the grounds at night. Steep paths link the villas, and Blancaneaux, like Coppola’s Placencia beach retreat Turtle Inn, is one of the most sustainable lodges in Belize. It was made using certified local woods, with electricity generated on site, water recycling, no single-use plastics and active support for conservation initiatives.
The duplex cabins in this hilltop lodge in central San Ignacio town are certainly simple: you get a bed, a workstation and a balcony. But it has sustainability credentials – and spectacular views. The lodge is right next to Cahal Pech Archaeological Reserve. Balconies overlook the Mayan ruins, the downtown district and the surrounding rainforests. Best of all, the lodge runs tours throughout the Cayo region, including rainforest hikes, zip lining, birdwatching and visits to Mayan ruins in Belize and neighboring Guatemala.
Belize ecolodge stays don’t get much wilder than Chan Chich Lodge, which stands among semi-excavated Mayan ruins in the heart of the largest stretch of rainforest in the Americas north of the Amazon. Jaguars live in the surrounding reserve, and guides have enough know-how to please the most demanding birder. This is a lodge with first-class sustainable credentials, from recycling to reusing materials and reducing waste. Stays are comfortable, in palm-thatched cottages with high-gleam timber walls, cosy living areas and walk-in showers.
Fancy a stay in the capital? Check out the best hotels in and around Belize City, bookable with Culture Trip.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.