Culture, Cuisine, Adventure: You Can Pick Your Own Vacation Experience at this Belize Resort

by Gisselle Hernandez

Naia Resort & Spa in Placencia is a microcosm of the very best Belize offers – lush jungle feels, immaculate beachscapes, and personalized adventures for each traveler. With a lack of major chain hotels, boutique resorts in Belize already offer unique experiences by default. But at Naia, the personalization is taken up a notch. Upon arrival at the stunning Placencia grounds, you’ll quickly notice the celebrity-approved resort is more than a beachfront stay. Whether you’re an epicurean, culture buff, or a thrill-seeker, Naia Resort delivers. 

For the Adventurer

Naia may be the place to rest and rejuvenate (it’s a spa after all) but that doesn’t mean adventurers can’t be entertained. The resort hosts lagoon kayaking tours that are paired with a stunning wildlife watch. At the Placencia Lagoon, you’ll be paddling through thick mangrove forests, the sunlight filtering in through the branches cocooning the waterways. During this peaceful venture, your guide will point out various bird species, green iguanas, and — if you’re lucky — even some manatees. 

Image courtesy Mooger Fooger.

For a more heart-pumping venture, Naia Resort can arrange a trip to the daunting yet rewarding Mayflower Bocawina National Park. The arduous hike will lead you to a stunning waterfall overlooking the deep valleys of the Maya Mountains. Combine this with ziplining or waterfall rappelling for a truly adrenaline-inducing day. 

For the Epicurean 

Those with refined palates will be happy to learn Naia Resort offers the ultimate food/adventure combo with the chocolate & waterfalls experience. Wake up bright and early to visit the famous Ixcacao farm and see first-hand how the sweet treat gets its start by growing on cacao trees. Learn the history of the fruit and how to make it from scratch. Using traditional stone tools, you’ll take the chocolate from bean to liquid in a few simple and rewarding steps.

Touring the Belize Spice Farm in Toledo. Image courtesy Roeming Belize

In the afternoon, stop by the waterfalls hidden within the hills of San Antonio village. You can also combine the chocolate experience with a spice tour at the Belize Spice Farm and indulge in the smell of sweet vanilla, sharp all-spice, and musky nutmeg. 

For the Culture Buff 

Nim Li Punit maya sitee

Nim Li Punit Maya Site. © Roeming Belize

Belize is rife with ancient Maya sites, making it the ultimate sacred playground for history buffs. Naia guests with a penchant for culture can reserve a Southern Maya Sites tour a few hours away from the resort. Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun are stunning sites in the Toledo District that are rarely trafficked. The former is known for its massive stellae containing glyphs of ancient Maya history. The latter, whose name means “place of fallen stones,” is known for intricate mortarless stonework as its name suggests. 

about Belize

ATM Cave

If you’d like a more immersive cultural experience in the literal sense, head to the infamous Actun Tunichil Muknal cave which holds ancient Maya pottery and even a crystallized skeleton. The journey is not for the faint of heart, so strap on your best-hiking boots, headlamp, and a change of clothing since your guide will be leading you through a river into the cave. 

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No matter what adventure you decide to embark on when at Naia Resort, the added relief is knowing you’ll be returning to state-of-the-art accommodations well-suited for re-energizing. 

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