If what you want is utter seclusion and perfect peace, in a location (seemingly) off-limits to everyone but the resort staff and a few other guests, then a private island is the only place to go. But what if there’s an option that offers everything we just mentioned, sans the private island price tag? Today, we’re putting a spotlight on these beachside resorts in Belize that give off a private island feel.
To get familiarized with Belize, let’s lay down its geography: on the Caribbean coast of northern Central America, this English-speaking nation shares a border with both Guatemala and Mexico. With the lowest population density in the region, Belize is also known for its extreme biodiversity and distinctive ecosystems. Offshore, you’ll find over 400 islands—locally known as cayes—that stud the 185-mile-long Belize Barrier Reef. Part of the Mesoamerica Reef system, extending from Ambergris Caye in the north to Sapodilla Cayes in the south, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System is UNESCO World Heritage-attested. In short? It’s beautiful.
Not that Belize’s beachside feels anything but private, especially in comparison to our more-crowded neighbors like the Riviera Maya, but a few destinations shine even brighter. The Placencia Peninsula on the southeast coast culminates towards the tip with a traditional fishing village peppered with resorts and restaurants, but ultimately boasts more than 16 miles of beaches perfect for peace and quiet. Meanwhile, north of Belize’s most popular destination—San Pedro Town on the 25-mile island of Ambergris Caye, by the way—a pace that was almost forgotten reveals itself even louder as the further you venture outside of town.
Margaritaville Beach Villa Resort
Combined, a margarita’s three simple ingredients transport you with peace of a beachy escape or island, for blissful beach bumming. And there’s some commonality here too: The newest Margaritaville hits the beachfront of Belize on northern Ambergris Caye in late 2022 with 55 units as one-, two-, and three-bedroom fully-furnished rooms. It’s an island oasis that insinuates a private island feel—echoed by the private boat transfer for the 13 miles from San Pedro Town. Amenities will include two pools, an overwater spa, and the brand’s signature food and beverage concepts, but the real beauty of this resort is its calculated seclusion. Starting this winter, days and nights at Margaritaville can be spent relaxing by the Caribbean Sea or in a chockfull of activities, like snorkeling, standup paddleboarding, sailing, scuba diving, and offshore fishing.
Victoria House Resort & Spa
Despite more than 40 years of experience, Victora House Resort & Spa has always boasted the path less traveled, humbly tucked away on Ambergris Caye as a boutique beachfront resort. And despite its far away feeling, Victoria House isn’t as hard to reach as you might think; it’s only two miles south of San Pedro Town. You arrive, and all their accolades become obvious. Like a private island where it’s just you and the staff, they memorize your favorite orders and bring them poolside to the infinity-edge blues that border the breezy Palmilla rooms. At night, it’s hard to tell dreams from reality: stargazing out onto the vast abyss of an inky black horizon means the only clue of your bearings is the lull of the reef. Add in the escapism of their world-class spa and manicured romanticism at every corner, and the bustle of town could be a whole island away.
Chabil Mar Guest Exclusive Villas
Built to face 400 feet of private, barefoot-perfect beach, Chabil Mar Guest Exclusive Villas is a beachfront tropical paradise that’ll have you swooning on the Placencia Peninsula. Combined with experiences on-site like stand-up paddleboarding, yoga, and private BBQ dinners, you’ll have an authentic guest-exclusive experience that feels intimate yet indulgent—all within reach of your Placencia beach villa. This is the closest beachside Belize resort option on this list, in terms of proximity to a town, but the private island-esque vibe is thanks to its guest exclusive clause, which also means having your villa entirely to yourself.
Brightly-colored thatch-roofed beachside casitas, white cement towering villas, and an unmistakeably geometric-patterned pier…the 32 lodgings at Matachica Resort in northern Ambergris Caye are straight out of a (Belizean) fairytale. Anything but cookie-cutter, the charm of this beachfront resort is often listed among Central America’s top resorts alongside its on-site spa, large pool deck, and darling sunbathing nooks. The boutique resort is indulgent as an adults-only stay on a true white sand beach just 5 miles north (which btw, the further north you go, the coastline inches closer to the breaking reef just feet away) with great dining, thanks to open-air dining at Mambo’s Bistro and Restaurant.
La Perla del Caribe
Lying like a string of pearls 5.5 miles north of San Pedro Town, the oasis of La Perla del Caribe is a collection of private vacation rentals. Thanks to a private boat transfer from town, La Perla del Caribe is a dream for multi-gen trips or large groups of travelers looking for a tucked-away island experience or a beachy end to a mainland visit. Watch the sunrise from expansive rooftop terraces, glide away in one of the onsite kayaks, book a tour with the concierge service, or choose your menu alongside a private chef as an add-on service to your villa. With an undeniably homey atmosphere brought out by the owner’s eye for design (teetering on Central American influences), get cozy with options from 1-bedroom up to 5-bedrooms, where the only neighbors are your fellow guests.