A Belize Vacation Curated for Every Type of Traveler in 2023

by Carolee Chanona

After time at home to scroll through the list of destinations of “where to next” for the past year, we’ve got a Belize vacation curated for every type of traveler in 2023 as the vast majority of the world drops all it’s COVID-related travel restrictions. It’s more like, ‘Let’s think outside the box.’ Because we’ve been in the box.

Nature-Lovers

Hidden deep in the rainforest on the southern coast of Belize, Copal Tree Lodge is the definition of a rural retreat at its best. At the heart of the lodge, there is a commitment to sustainability and the local community while 16 canopy suites, farm-to-table cuisine, a restoring spa, and a host of outdoor activities truly make this lodge a place like no other. Our top tip: make sure to visit the property’s cocktail garden. They grow their own limes, coconut, and pitaya – the perfect garnishes for your pre-dinner drink at The Rum Bar. 

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Redefining an ‘outdoor shower’ at Copal Tree Lodge.

Meanwhile, in the Cayo District of Belize’s western corner with towering pines in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, GAIA Riverlodge is a stylish, open-air lodge beautifully perched above Privassion Creek. Cabanas and villas are well spaced out on site, naturally creating a sense of privacy by nature. Gaia is an hour’s jeep ride from the more populous San Ignacio area; here, guests can recharge inside the 24 private and spacious cabanas to the waterfall’s sounds. If you’re the type of traveler that wants to unplug in Belize while on vacation, enjoy the rainforest’s intimacy with its native birds, butterflies, and remarkable flora; it is all set against the soft glow of the setting sun.

For Couples

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Relaxing beachside on Ambergris Caye at Victoria House Resort & Spa. Image by Duarte Dellarole

Named the “Best Hotel for Romance in Central and South America” in the Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2020, Victoria House Resort & Spa lives up to all its accolades. Two miles outside of San Pedro Town, 42 rooms shine across 10 acres as intimate yet casual—perfect for couples.

And inland, San Ignacio Resort Hotelfurnished with hardwood floors, local art, and woven tapestriesoffers views of the swimming pool area, river valley, and San Ignacio’s rainforests. To add that extra touch of luxury, the Honeymoon Suite contains a Jacuzzi and a private butler upon request.

The Lodge at Jaguar Reef is a southern sweetheart, found in the lowkey and beach casual village of Hopkins. Beach-bound romantics can indulge in the dreamy seclusion and panoramic sea views that await at the Lodge; the serene blues and clean lines of the rooms invoke an instant sense of calm, with all suites featuring balcony views over the sea and a private plunge pool for you and yours.

A Millenial Travel Pod

Since the pandemic, younger travelers are looking for incredible escapes with opportunities for immersion and discovery, oftentimes influenced by social media and always within a particular budget. This screams a private island experience, like Royal Belize and Ray Caye, both of which are found a few miles from the coast in Southern Belize. Royal Belize, a Muy’Ono Resort, caters to one party for a maximum of 16 at a time, while Ray Caye Island Resort offers a total island buy-out for up to 48 guests.

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Royal Belize is a perfect getaway for a gal pal group. Image via Muy’Ono Resorts

Meanwhile, last year’s buzziest hotel opening in Belize was undoubtedly Alaia, which launched as a highly anticipated boutique resort under the Marriott Autograph Collection brand. Fast forward a year later, Alaia has forged a name for sleek, beachfront opulence with many firsts—including the country’s first suspended rooftop pool, the first true four-diamond resort on Ambergris Caye, and the first-ever Marriott International property in Belize.

Fishing Anglers

This is a no-brainer. Blue Horizon Lodge in the heart of Permit Alley, puts in prime hunting grounds for every fly-fisher that’s chasing a grand slam in Belize! Flitting across the Caribbean Sea before gliding upon to the 7-acre island, locally known as Northeast Caye, Blue Horizon Lodge caters to dedicated and beginner anglers alike. Nearby, also leaving from Dangriga, Blue Marlin Beach Resort is an easy 14 miles away from the coast on South Water Caye, an island that sits directly atop the reef inside the South Water Caye Marine Reserve. Throw a hand line from the dock, whose accommodations cater for no more than 36 guests at a time, or get serious with a deep-sea fishing excursion. The resort wasn’t named after a billfish for anything!

Families with Teens

Lounging poolside at Grand Caribe.

Grand Caribe offers spacious Caribbean-themed, Belize family resort condos, luxurious beachfront walkouts, and cozy studios. Here, you’ll find the perfect place to stay—all with outstanding beach and pool access. Featuring 800 feet of beach, 6 swimming pools, 3 restaurants, 2 hot tubs, a gym, spa, and a convenience store, there’s more than enough inside Caribeville to keep the kids—whether tweens or teens—entertained for hours on end. After all, Grand Caribe is the type of place to appeal to every type of traveler on a Belize vacation with its embarrassment of amenities and accommodation types, beyond just families with kids.

Snorkellers & Divers

In late 2022, Belize was named the Leading Dive Destination in the World Travel Awards, which should come as no surprise to any diver that’s experienced the underwater fascination that lies off the coast. UNESCO-attested, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System cuddles the coast for 185 miles as the largest reef complex in the Atlantic-Caribbean region. Within, the seven protected areas constituting the BBRRS comprises 12% of the entire Reef Complex. Experience some of the most pristine reefs of the Belize Barrier Reef with Hamanasi, a locally-run, exclusively-priced resort that also doubles as a PADI 5-Star Resort; besides, divers have prime access to a spectacular underwater world home to whale sharks, eagle rays, and manatees on the Southern Belize Barrier Reef. After, retreat to a stylish treehouse or oceanfront room. 

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Snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef in front Ambergris Caye. Image via SunBreeze Hotel

Besides being beachside on Ambergris Caye, Sunbreeze Hotel on the south edge of the picturesque San Pedro offers the perfect base for snorkels and divers. After all, the reef is within eyeshot of the hotel! The resort directly faces the Caribbean Sea and the infamous Belize Barrier Reef, found just a half mile offshore, complete with an on-site dive shop with Ambergris Divers.

Wellness Junkies

Wellness tourism is growing in Belize and Belize Retreats—Muy’Ono Resorts’ retreat arm of wellness packages—almost always has Thatch Caye on the calendar for a yoga retreat. After all, it’s easy to unplug when you’re nine miles from Dangriga Town in Southern Belize. Housing only 30 guests at a time in overwater bungalows or cabanas, it’s blissfully tropical with only 15 rooms (with only one central connection to Wi-Fi).

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Meanwhile, inside Cayo’s lush interiors, Ka’ana Resort near the border of Guatemala in the Maya Mountains of Belize is a green oasis of tranquility. Tropical gardens and 17 atmospheric yet equally-beautiful rooms come in the form of beautiful hacienda-style casitas. Expect garden-fresh produce on the menu, while each interior’s natural materials, a private patio, local art, high ceilings, outdoor showers, or plunge pools comfort you.

All-Inclusive

Overlooking a strip of private beach and the Caribbean Sea in the village of Seine Bight, Sirenian Bay‘s all-inclusive beach bungalows and sprawling villas are a great option for families, including multi-generational ones. There are 12 bungalows and four beach villas, the latter comes with a private pool for each, which is reminiscent of how owners Brian and Brenda Montgomery do things: bigger in Texas. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive Belize vacation, this is the type of place to take a closer look at.

Header image via Itz’ana Resort.

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