The Best Wild-at-Heart Resorts to Book 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
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
Alex Robinson

From the jungle to the beach and the barrier reef, these hotels in Belize 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 – all an easy reach away, thanks to the country’s compact size. So, whether you’re here to scuba dive, wildlife-watch or simply collapse on the beach, there’s a suitable resort in Belize for you – bookable with Culture Trip.

1. Serenity Retreats Belize, for a plant-based vacation

Resort

Freshwater eco-pool set in rocks with lush foliage around it at Serenity Retreats Belize
Courtesy of Serenity Retreats Belize / Expedia

A few minutes from the Unesco-recognized 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 wood shacks, a wafer away from wildlife.

2. Copal Tree Lodge, a Muy'ono Resort, for immersing yourself

Resort

Large villa in white and tan with high ceilings, king bed, separate seating area and jute rug at Copal Tree Lodge, Belize
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 is a lodge in Belize that 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.

3. Sirenian Bay Resort and Villas, for an easy, sea-breezy stay

Resort, Villa

A woman floats in pristine lagoon-style pool surrounded by lounge chairs at Sirenian Bay Resort and Villas, Belize
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.

4. King Lewey's Island Resort, for an island escape

Resort

Colorful shutterboard cabins sit on tiny island in shallow aquamarine sea at King Leweys Island Resort, Belize
© ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

Your own private island with pearl-white beaches set in 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 (0.4ha), in vast shallow waters. The snorkeling and kayaking are a delight, and the bright shutterboard cabins and suites are 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.

5. The Placencia, A Muy'ono Resort, for swimming while sipping

Hotel

Flat sandy beach with palm trees and palapas over lounge chairs in front of the Placencia, a MuyOno Resort, Belize
Courtesy of the Placencia, a Muy'Ono Resort / Expedia.com

The Placencia Resort has a lot going for it: 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. 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.

6. Royal Palm Island Resort, for a family holiday

Resort, Luxury

Cottages in pastel colors sit on sandy beach surrounded by shallow sea at Royal Palm Island Resort, Belize
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.

7. Chabil Mar, for a tranquil getaway

Hotel

Deluxe villa with high exposed-beam ceilings, warm yellow walls, stone floors and four-poster bed at Chabil Mar, Belize
Courtesy of Chabil Mar / Expedia.com

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.

8. Turtle Inn by Francis Ford Coppola, for the director's cut

Hotel

Luxe villa in warm woods with thatched roof and windows looking out to beach at Turtle Inn by Francis Ford Coppola, Belize
Courtesy of Turtle Inn by Francis Ford Coppola / Expedia.com

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 the food and wine are first-class.

9. Belizean Dreams Resort, for true relaxation

Hotel

Red tile-roof villas of Belizean Dreams Resort face the beach dotted with palm trees, palapas and lounge chairs
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.

10. Brisa Oceano Resort, for meeting manatees

Hotel

Aerial view of red-roofed buildings of Brisa Oceano Resort on sandy beach with sea beyond
Courtesy of Brisa Oceano Resort / Expedia.com

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.

Looking for plush beach hotels in Belize? Check out the best beach hotels in Belize, bookable with Culture Trip.

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