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‘Why would anyone want to go to a place that has nothing to offer beyond mysterious jungle paths, hidden Mayan pyramids, exotic flora and fauna, spectacular Caribbean beaches and the world’s second-largest barrier reef – where you can dive among undulating rays and schools of iridescent fish – plus hospitable people, political stability and an incredible array of luxury accommodations? Ah. Right. Well, then, if you can look past all of that and imagine a bespoke vacation in Belize, we’ll see what we can do’…
AMBERGRIS CAYE | CAYE CAULKER | MOUNTAIN PINE RIDGE | PLACENCIA
Things not to miss in belize
Belize’s rich cultural treasures and scenic countryside offer plenty of opportunities to explore. Check out Mayan ruins in Xunantunich or, for a more modern atmosphere, experience the nightlife in the capital city Belmopan. Other popular Belize destinations include:
• Scuba-diving with whale sharks. These staggerlingly huge but gentle giants are seen off the coast of Belize between March and June, and are most likely to be spotted when it’s a full moon. You can also snorkel above them as they often come right up to surface.
• The Hol Chan Marine Reserve, where you can snorkel with stingrays
• Caving the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves, one of Belize’s many Mayan caves. Plunging into darkness, clambering through crevices, and dipping under water, before exploring the site of a Mayan sacrifice.
• Snorkelling with manatees. Otherwise known as sea-cows, these curious creatures are an endangered species but thrive in Belize. Swimming with them is a magical and really quite hypnotic experience
• The Blue Hole, a popular destination among scuba divers looking to spot Caribbean reef sharks
HOTELS WE LOVE
BLANCANEAUX, mountain pine ridge
It was film director Francis Ford Coppola who put Belize on the jet-setter’s map almost two decades ago, when he transformed his 70-acre family retreat in Belize’s western mountains into Blancaneaux Lodge. And although the family has opened a handful of lodges since then, this property—a collection of 10 cabanas, six villas, and a cottage set in the jungle of the Maya Mountains—remains a favourite of true Belizean hospitality. Deep in the jungle, it’s the setting that draw travelers from around the globe. The friendly staff will prepare picnic lunches for day hikes to the waterfalls, and Thailand-trained massage therapists await back at the hotel. The restaurant’s wine selection includes a great selection of bottles imported from Coppola’s California winery.
TURTLE INN, Placencia (top pick!)
What makes Turtle Inn, a collection of 17 cottages, eight villas, and six restaurants and bars stand out among Francis Ford Coppola’s small collection of Latin American properties? Its location right on the Caribbean Sea, which means that after travelers unpack in one of the hotel’s thatched cottages, they’ll have plenty of time to explore some of the world’s best diving and fishing spots. For even more wildlife spotting, a half-hour boat ride away is the Monkey River, in a jungle that’s home to more than 50 species of birds and colonies of howler monkeys, while nearby Placencia gives a taste of the Caribbean circa 1968, with its hippie cafés and funky guesthouses. (The ideal way to get to the village is on one of the resort’s fleet of wildly painted retro bikes.)
Matachica beach resort, ambergris Caye
Laid-back Ambergris Cay is just a 20min flight from gritty Belize City, but a world apart. The beaches are powdery white, shopping barefoot is encouraged, and the pace is laidback, thanks to the island’s car-free roads (locals walk, use electric golf carts, or ride bikes). This Beach Resort, makes an ideal base: it’s sufficiently secluded, but only a short water-taxi ride from lively downtown San Pedro. Not that you’ll feel like leaving—the resort has film screenings in its martini lounge and banana-and-brown-sugar facials at the spa. Visit the hotel website.
VICTORIA HOUSE, ambergris caye
“Barefoot elegance” is the self-described vibe of this plantation-style 42-room hotel, set on an island one mile from the world’s second-largest barrier reef. Sleeping quarters—which include thatch-roof casitas, suites, and villas—are chic, with cream-on-white palettes accented with blonde Belizian-wood dressers, bamboo four-poster beds, rich mahogany trim, and framed prints of tropical plants. Because the 20-odd buildings fan out around a central lawn, with two pools on opposite ends of the grounds, Victoria House never feels full, even when it’s at capacity; there’s always an empty poolside lounge chair, plenty of room on the powder-white beach, and an unharried, always-smiling staff. There’s also an on-site dive shop if the urge to scuba or snorkel strikes.
NAIA RESORT AND SPA
Listed as one of the 52 “Places to Go in 2017” by the New York Times, the Naia Resort offers barefoot luxury, with warm and personalized service. Nestled within a private reserve on the Placencia Peninsula, Naia is a great place to recharge. Whether paddleboarding in the beautiful Caribbean Sea, indulging in a customized spa ritual or relaxing among the resort’s secluded beach houses and swimming pools… Oh, and did I mention, it also a fantastic yoga/pilates studio with high ceilings, overlooking beautiful surrounding. Visit the hotel website.
your own private island
CORAL CAYE, placencia
Imagine slowing down time and inhabiting an intimate island where your only neighbors will be your traveling companions, exotic birds, and attentive caretakers to prepare your meal, pour your wine or chop a fresh coconut. Your trip to Belize and Turtle Inn will be an even more exquisite memory when you add on a few nights on their two acre, isolated, private island, just a 25min boat ride Placencia. Sheltered behind the world famous Belize Barrier Reef, Coral Caye is a completely private island that can be yours alone for a romantic, restorative or adventurous get away.
CAYO ESPANTO, ambergris caye
Just three miles from San Pedro, the secluded Cayo Espanto private island resort has seven villas, each with private beach access and a personal houseman. Each villa is outfitted with luxury amenities, such as Egyptian cotton sheets, and spa treatments such as aromatherapy massage are performed in-room. Master chefs prepare fresh meals daily that are tailed to fit each guest’s preferences. Cayo Espanto also offers activities like diving, exotic jungle tours, and private cruises. The entire island can be rented for up to eighteen guests.
We are on our way home and wanted to thank you again for booking an incredible trip. Both the Resort in Mexico and Belize were beautiful. Great weather and service. We even decided to do a second snorkeling excursion while here (doing both the inner and outer reef).
Couldn’t have asked for more.
Thank you again.Richard &Tanya, November 2017 - Romantic Getaway for 2. Destination: Mexico and Belize
I had a great experience having MF as my trip planner. It was less hassle for me to do and it helps to have a trip planner who has been to the countries you’re going to visit (Belize and Guatemala). I arrived late on the first day, and she made all the arrangements with the local guide to ensure the group was waiting for me. Thanks to MF’s patience and passion for travel, I had an amazing trip!Ainsley Prince, - Summer Trip - Solo Adventure | Destinations: Belize & Guatemala, Mayan Encounter (10 days), Central America.
Create your own story
We’ll help craft a bespoke travel experience tailored to your unique needs and tastes. To discuss what interests you about this or any other destination, please call us: +1 416 901 6435
WE LOOK FORWARD TO GETTING STARTED ON YOUR TRIP.