The Best Wild-at-Heart Resorts in Belize
Whether you want to dive along the barrier reef, explore the jungle or enjoy life on the beach, there’s a plush resort in Belize for you | Courtesy of Copal Tree Lodge, a Muy'ono Resort / Expedia.com
From the jungle to the beach and the barrier reef, these hotels hit the mark for those who want to get up close to nature in Central America.
Belize may be smaller than New Hampshire, but it squeezes in so much – rainforests as wild as a hunting jaguar, pine-covered sierra mountains, coral islands dotting an emerald-green sea and ancient temple cities abandoned when Europe was in the Dark Ages. There are plush resorts for every landscape, too. So, whether you’re here to scuba dive, wildlife-watch or simply collapse on the beach, there’s a suitable spot for you – all an easy reach away, thanks to the country’s compact size.
Anchorage Beach Resort
Courtesy of Anchorage Beach Resort / Expedia.com
The pocket-sized islet of Caye Caulker has no long white strands. But the offshore reef teems with marine life and is within paddling distance. The main beach where Anchorage Bay Resort lies, Playa Asuncion, may only be a few strides wide. But the hotel has its own tennis court-sized patch of sand, scattered with chaise lounges, and the over-the-sea views from the brightly painted, if simply furnished, balcony-fronted rooms are dreamy.
Serenity Retreats Belize
Courtesy of Serenity Retreats Belize / Expedia.com
A few minutes from the Unesco-pipped Belize Barrier Reef, in the northerly, dry-tropical forest that fringes the Mexican border, Serenity is as much a retreat as a guest house, with an emphasis on back-to-nature wellbeing. Food is vegan-only, and guests join morning meditation sessions, learn to make Mayan crafts and get up close with nature on jungle walks, river kayaking trips and reef swims. Accommodation is hiking-lodge simple – in wattle-walled wooden shacks, a wafer away from wildlife.
Copal Tree Lodge, a Muy'ono Resort
Courtesy of Copal Tree Lodge, a Muy'ono Resort / Expedia.com
Named after the sacred incense tree used by Maya people for millennia, Copal Tree sits in pristine rainforest in Belize’s indigenous heartlands – the southern province of Toledo. The main resort area and bijou pool sit right under the tree canopy, and the modish rooms (mood-lit in modern off-whites and with expansive terraces) have floor-to-ceiling rainforest views. Organic food is grown in the on-site garden, and there’s a big menu of reef and rainforest excursions.
Itz'ana Resort and Residences
Courtesy of Itz'ana Resort and Residences / Expedia.com
The name may be Maya, but this beachside resort in the bustling tourist town of Placencia is business-like. It’s hard to fault the location: rooms, in large villa-style buildings overlooking a generous infinity pool, sit on a palm-shaded sandspit between a gentle sea and a manatee-filled lagoon. Rooms come in fashionable muted tones – with splashes of tropical color from anodyne art – the staff are well-schooled, and there’s a wealth of tours on offer.
Sirenian Bay Resort and Villas
Courtesy of Sirenian Bay Resort and Villas / Expedia.com
Overlooking a narrow beach and calm sea just outside of Placencia town, Sirenian’s sprawling mock-hacienda villas feel like Florida homes. Each comes with a private swimming pool, a big workable kitchen and suites of rooms with wall-high windows decorated in off-white, with beige floor tiles. Bungalows without pools are similar but on a smaller scale. All are built for vacationers hankering for a fuss-free beach break.
King Lewey's Island Resort
© ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo
Your own private island with pearl-white beaches set in shallow aquamarine fish-filled seas? That’s the feeling you get at King Lewey’s, set on a tiny mound of sand barely covering an acre, in a vast shallow ocean. The snorkeling and kayaking are a delight, and the bright, shutter board cabins and suites prettily furnished and breeze-cooled. Plus, it’s all-inclusive, with an island restaurant catering to all, and more options available a short boat ride away in Placencia on the mainland.
The Placencia, A Muy'ono Resort
4/5 (132 Reviews)
Courtesy of the Placencia, a Muy'Ono Resort / Expedia.com
Now from $147 per night
A huge pool with a swim-up bar, an on-site PADI-certified dive resort, suites with dining rooms, kitchens and space for a large family… and all on Maya Beach, one of Placencia’s best swathes of sand. The Muy’Ono has much appeal. Plus, it’s big on included extras, such as free volleyball, kayaks, paddleboards and bikes and on-the-house welcome drinks and water bottles, making the process of exploring Belize’s jungle and sea all the more accessible.
Royal Palm Island Resort
Courtesy of Royal Palm Island Resort / Expedia.com
As private-island getaways go in Belize, this lovely little family-owned resort is one of the best – set on a small caye with enough beach, lagoons and outlying islets never to feel cramped and crowded. Accommodation is in simple weatherboard shacks – all with two bedrooms, sitting rooms and terraces, affording sunset or sunrise views over the sea. It’s kind on the wallet, too, with all food, transfers and some excursions included. Kids stay for reduced rates, babies for free.
4.9/5 (69 Reviews)
Courtesy of Chabil Mar / Expedia.com
Now from $278 per night
These copper-roofed, Coral Gables-style houses are good for families, with a large living area, fully equipped kitchens and one or two bedrooms. The best, the seafront luxury villas, have beautiful views. And while the beach is narrow, the resort has two palm-shaded pools and lies close enough to Placencia village – 15 minutes’ walk along the sand – for a real sense of place.
Turtle Inn by Francis Ford Coppola
4.6/5 (8 Reviews)
Courtesy of Turtle Inn by Francis Ford Coppola / Expedia.com
Now from $391 per night
Director turned hotelier Francis Ford Coppola’s Balinese-style palm-thatch cabanas lie clustered around a pool in lush woodland surrounds, next to the beach in Placencia. All the rooms at Turtle Inn are fan-cooled, making the best cabanas the sea-front cottages, which are fresher, breezier and brighter than those in the garden. C1 is the most secluded and intimate. Coppola is a gastronome, so food and wine are first-class.
Belizean Dreams Resort
4.6/5 (106 Reviews)
Courtesy of Belizean Dreams Resort / Expedia.com
Sleepy Hopkins village is as laid-back as a snooze in a hammock and has one of Belize’s best beaches. Dreams Resort sits right on the sand, with modern rooms and villas in whitewashed shades and warm woods, a big pool and a good restaurant. The resort gives guests no reason to leave. But you should: Hopkins is a center for Garifuna Afro-Central American culture, has some excellent eateries, and the nearby atolls are the wildest in the Caribbean.
Brisa Oceano Resort
4.5/5 (68 Reviews)
Courtesy of Brisa Oceano Resort / Expedia.com
Now from $162 per night
With a range of airy suites and rooms sitting in bright-blue wooden houses in the heart of Placencia village, furnished with comfy sofas, wicker and coconut chairs and tables, Brisa Oceano feels genuinely Belizean. The beach is broad and powdery, the sea warm and calm, and manatees swim offshore. Guests also get gratis use of the hotel’s kayaks, paddleboards and other non-motorized water toys, making it easy to get out and explore.
These recommendations were updated on March 9, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.