Costa Rica may be the go-to spot for land-based Central American activities, but Belize is where it’s at for travelers seeking coastal adventure. From the relaxed tourist town of Placencia to the stunning island beauty of Ambergris Caye, these three beachfront hotels in Belize provide travelers with the country’s very best oceanside lodging.
Turtle Inn (Placencia, Belize)
Francis Ford Coppola is best known for his long resume of award-winning Hollywood films. But the director has also tried his hand — quite successfully — at California wine-making and, now, as a hotelier. After the success of his Blancaneaux Lodge (also in Belize), he opened the doors to Turtle Inn. Where most eco-hotel designers prefer to blend their properties into the surrounding natural landscape as seamlessly as possible, Turtle Inn is a purposeful departure. Every aspect of the grounds and rooms features an eclectic, intentional hodgepodge of seemingly disparate elements from countries around the world. Curious Asian-inspired bath fixtures, Indonesian artisan sculptures, and hand-carved antique wooden doors from Bali often occupy the same space. It sidesteps traditional Belizean design, but it’s still plenty tropical in a way that just … works. Daily dive and boating excursions run to the country’s world-famous barrier reef, while after dark, guests can sip a bottle of (wait for it …) Coppola wine while relaxing on the hotel’s semi-private, soft white sand beach.
Las Terrazas (Ambergris Caye, Belize)
With just 37 rooms, nothing about the intimate Las Terrazas Resort & Residences feels like a resort. Yet, the hotel boasts a solid list of on-site amenities to ensure guests never need to leave the property. There’s a gourmet restaurant, a stunning infinity pool, and a full-service wellness center with a spa. But adventurous travelers will appreciate the free use of kayaks, Hobie Cats, paddleboards, and fishing gear (the onsite restaurant will also clean and prep your catch). Plus scuba lessons are complimentary, courtesy of the on-site five-star, PADI-certified dive shop. Every “room” is actually a spacious, luxury apartment-style villa with multiple bathrooms, full kitchens, dining rooms, and (optional) plunge pools. Even travel to and from the hotel is a surprisingly welcome “feature” that requires a short puddle jumper flight and a private boat ride over the Powerade-blue waters of the Belize Barrier Reef.
El Secreto (San Pedro, Belize)
With a name like El Secreto (“the secret”), it’s no wonder the hotel fancies itself an “antidote for civilization.” Indeed the upscale property is just 11 miles north of the popular town of San Pedro. But, its location on a secluded and impossibly beautiful Caribbean cove (accessible only by boat) is ideal for travelers looking to feel far, far away from Belize’s maddening crowds. This is casual contemporary island luxury done right. Most days start late with fresh watermelon juice delivered to your room, followed by a stretch of relaxation in a poolside hammock, capped off with happy hour and gourmet seafood sourced from local fishermen and organic produce from the hotel’s on-site garden. But, travelers seeking to get off-property will also find plenty of opportunities. Most of the hotel’s water-based activities center around the Belize’s famous Blue Hole, including sea kayaking, snorkeling, sport fishing, and overwater helicopter rides.
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