Belize’s wild jungle interior provides a natural adventure playground, whilst Mayan Ruins concealed within the rainforest offer an insight into a fascinating ancient civilisation, and a sparkling Caribbean coastline as well as thousands of off-shore islands, are the perfect setting for a relaxing barefoot escape.
The Belize coast has a strong Caribbean feel in terms of its scenery, as well as culture, food, music and laid-back attitude. White sand beaches are lined with palm trees, and rustic shacks serve freshly caught fish, grilled to perfect right there on the beach. Most hotels encourage barefoot, wifi-free living, with luxuries coming in the form of stylish and comfortable accommodation, exquisite food, bespoke experiences, and stunning natural surroundings.
For watersports, the offering is varied and professional, and there’s excellent deep sea fishing from Punta Gorda.
Perhaps the most extraordinary natural wonder to discover on a trip to Belize is the Blue Hole, one of the world’s most famous scuba diving sites. You also have the second largest barrier reef in the world just a short boat ride from the coast, which you can explore with a snorkel and mask, spotting colourful marine life, turtles and manta rays, and beautiful coral formations.
For the adventurous traveller, the mountains, forests, river and canyons of Cayo District lend themselves perfectly to adrenaline-charged activities, such as caving, rappelling, tubing and trekking.
In Belize we work with a number of stunning private islands that are only accessible by boat, as well as small and secluded boutique hotels that are perfect for intimate, romantic holidays, and private luxury villas that work really well for families. Please get in touch to find out which is the best option for you and your family. In each region, we have a host of handpicked private guides to suit varying interests, from ancient cultures to birding and fishing, as well as fantastic chefs that we can lay on to make your stay even more special.
Amongst our favourite properties are the remote luxury hideaways: Francis Ford Coppola Resorts, which are rustic in style, boast the most beautiful settings, and offer high-end service and bespoke experiences that are unparalleled in the region.
Blancaneaux Lodge is an extraordinary hideaway immersed in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, set on the banks of the Privassion Creek, offering a lovely balance of nature, adventure and relaxation. The stunning rural setting of this luxury eco-lodge provides absolute tranquillity, with a natural soundtrack of rustling trees and the fast-flowing river winding past the thatch casitas, where guests enjoy plenty of privacy. The lodge swimming pool is beautiful, built into natural rock pools, and there is a Thai Spa offering the most amazing treatments. The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve is a gorgeous area to explore on outdoor adventures, where we can arrange caving, canoeing, mountain biking, canyoning, hiking and horse riding. I recommend taking a walk through the forest to see the incredible array of birdlife, wild swimming in nearby waterfalls, and enjoying private picnics. At Blancaneaux Lodge it’s an easy drive to the impressive site of Xunantunich, where you can wander around Mayan ruins and learn all about this fascinating ancient culture.
Combine your stay at Blancaneaux with a few days of complete relaxation at sister property, Turtle Inn, located on a beautiful white-sand bay in Placencia; a pretty, unspoilt stretch of coastline that is home to sleepy fishing villages, a few boating and watersports outfitters, and a handful of gorgeous boutique luxury hotels and seafood restaurants. At Turtle Inn, sleep in stylish thatch palapas, relax on the beach, try deep-sea fishing for your supper, and treat yourself to incredible massages or therapies in the Balinese Spa. The accommodation is all steps from the sand, beautifully designed in Asian style, with spacious bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms, outdoor showers and Japanese bathtubs. There are a few larger luxury villas to choose from, with their own gardens and pools, and butler service. Whilst the atmosphere here is very laid-back, the experience is certainly luxurious, and the gastronomy is of the highest standard. Turtle Inn’s Italian restaurant serves spectacular stone-baked pizzas under a shaded palapa where you’ll be dining with your toes in the sand, and in the evenings, cocktails around the firepit is a must. Days are spent lazing on the beach, trying yoga at sunrise, swimming in the an adult only pool which is lovely and peaceful, and enjoying life on the water (there’s an on-site dive shop which makes organising excursions really quick and simple).
For an even more exclusive castaway experience, Turtle Inn owns a picturesque private island just a 25-minute boat ride off-shore: Coral Caye, where you can stay in complete privacy enjoying your own piece of paradise. Coral Caye is home to white sands, palm trees, and surrounded by warm turquoise waters. It sleeps up to 10 guests and there is a wonderful team of staff on hand providing butler and chef service, taking care of your every need. Days are relaxed and peaceful, making the most of sun-kissed siestas in hammocks slung between palm trees, kayaking around the island, and indulging in fresh seafood dishes and beach BBQs.
A journey through Belize combines very well with neighbouring Guatemala, where you can hike volcanos, explore colonial cities, discover fascinating ancient ruins deep in the jungle, and enjoy spectacular unspoilt landscapes, as well a county with a rich culture. Francis Ford Coppola Resort, La Lancha in Guatemala, is positioned in another striking setting, high up on a hill overlooking Lago Peten Itza. This is a peaceful retreat and I would highly recommend staying here for both R&R, as well as visiting the Mayan ruins of Tikal and Uxmal nearby, which are arguably two of the most remarkable Mayan sites that can be visited.
Every time I explore a new destination, whether it’s on an adventure holiday in Peru or a luxury beach escape in the Indian Ocean, I return home full of excitement to share the amazing sights I have seen. Through my own experiences I have developed a love of helping others experience the great wonders of the world; truly getting under the skin of the extraordinary destinations that are at your fingertips. Getting the details right, from which hotel is perfectly located for exploring away from the crowds, to which local guide is most knowledgeable on history or culture or art, is of paramount importance to me. I am constantly seeking out new and exciting experiences and exploring off the beaten track to ensure my clients are receiving the best and most honest first-hand advice.
Take a look at my travel diaries for food for thought on your next trip...