In addition to boasting an incredible stretch of coastline, Belize is home to many top-notch beach hotels, which can make deciding where to stay a challenge. To help you whittle down your choices, we’ve outlined one great pick each for Ambergris Caye, Placencia, Turneffe Island Atoll, and South Water Caye. Book at stay at any one of these properties, and you’ll be that much closer to creating a perfect beach getaway.
Where: Ambergris Caye
Great for: Couples & honeymooners
If you’re looking for the ultimate in secluded, tropical escapes, look no farther. Accessed by speedboat only, El Secreto sits on a palm-studded, private stretch of pristine beach at the mellow northern end of Ambergris Caye. Its sandy, tropical grounds boast 13 thatched-roof villas with private plunge pools, outdoor showers, and über-chic interiors: You’ll find rich hardwoods, fine marble finishes, big bathrooms with Malin+Goetz products, and state-of-the-art technology. (An iPhone lets you program the music, TV, air-conditioning, and lighting with a few quick taps.) If you can, opt for an ocean-side Sea Villa or the Spa Villa, with its own steam room and massage cabin. El Secreto’s infinity-edge pool, replete with over-water hammocks, boasts one of the best views on Ambergris and sits just steps away from a giant thatched-roof palapa with a breezy open-air restaurant and bar—the coconut mojito is a must.
Great for: Couples, small groups & families
Quite possibly the jewel in Francis Ford Coppola’s crown of Central American properties, Turtle Inn sits just outside the small fishing village of Placencia. In addition to a modernist-tropical beach house, a nautically themed private bungalow, and a spacious family pavilion, the property features one-bedroom cottages and two-bedroom villas (making for 25 accommodations in total), all of which are naturally cooled by sea breezes and ceiling fans. Expect thatched-roofs, Balinese-inspired décor, artisan-crafted furniture, spacious baths with organic, handmade toiletries, screened porches, and outdoor showers—all just steps from a gorgeous stretch of gold-sand beach. A handful of on-premise eateries serve up fresh, locally caught seafood and regional fare and offer children’s menus, too. (There’s even a kid’s gelato bar.) There are two infinity-edge pools, an on-site dive shop (here, you can plan dive trips and rent snorkel gear, bikes, kayaks, and even sailboats), and an excellent spa.
Where: Turneffe Island Atoll
Great for: Families, anglers & divers
Located on the Turneffe Island Atoll, Turneffe Flats sits on a palm-speckled spot of land with a white-sand beach and incredible views. It is 90 minutes by boat from Belize City and just outside the Belize barrier reef and caters to guests who love to fish and dive. (Most guests sign up for a package that focuses on one or the other or a combo of both.) Fishing aficionados set out in five-meter-long (16-foot) Dolphin Superskiffs with top-notch guides to hunt for snapper, jack, barracuda, bonefish, permit, or tarpon. Divers enjoy three daily boat dives at anyone of more than 60 possible sites; top spots include the Elbow and the famous Blue Hole. The resort also offers “atoll adventures,” guided activities that could include snorkeling, birding, kayaking, or walking tours along the flats (look out for small sharks and rays.) Eight beachfront cabanas boast views of the atoll’s coral reef; two individual villas feature three bedrooms each as well as plenty of space to spread out. (All accommodations are air-conditioned.) When you’re ready to recharge, there’s an infinity-edge pool, 10 hectares (25 acres) of manicured grounds, a bar, and a restaurant where family-style meals often feature fresh seafood, tropical produce, and home-baked pastries.
Where: South Water Caye
Great for: Snorkelers & fans of remote island getaways
Approximately 40 minutes by boat from the southern town of Dangriga, South Water Caye is a six-hectare (15-acre) island located directly on the Belize barrier reef. Here, you’ll find swaying palms, perfect stretches of sand, and the Pelican Beach Resort, which is ideally suited for snorkelers. Set out with fins and a mask from the resort’s beach, and discover a world of colorful coral and incredible reef fish just offshore. Two private cottages plus six cottage units are nestled amongst the trees and offer airy bedrooms and shaded porches from which you can watch both the sunset and sunrise. There are four simple rooms located above the main lodge, too. Food served at Pelican Beach is prepared fresh daily; expect tasty local dishes, tropical fruits and vegetables, and plenty of seafood. Activities of the non-snorkeling variety include kayaking, birding, fly-fishing, scuba diving, and, best of all, lounging with a Belikin beer in hand.