A Design Lover’s Guide to Sustainable Travel in Belize for 2021

by Carolee Chanona
Muna_by_DuarteDellarole Ellysian Placencia Belize

As a beautiful pioneer in sustainable hospitality, Belize continues to bank on its natural environment is the main draw itself, however, lodges push past ahead the eco-curve with boutique accommodations. In sustainability, Belize has taken bold steps—preserving coastal mangroves, banning Styrofoam and single-use plastic—to give Costa Rica a little friendly competition as the region’s eco-tourism hub. If you’re looking for a spark of wanderlust to travel to Belize in 2021, let these hotel-luxe resorts inspire the interior design lover in each of us.

Integrating Culture

Maya cooking class belize ka'ana resort

Experience an authentic Maya cooking class at Ka’ana Resort.

As an extension of the unique personality of each property, Belize’s boutique hotels celebrate the local flavor with a strong sense of place by incorporating locally-sourced materials and reflecting the heritage of the location through color and art. Themed boutique hotels build the entire guest experience, from décor to services, around a particular subject such as art, fashion, or sports. Resorts like Copal Tree Lodge and Gaia Riverlodge are a pair of high-end jungle lodges that supply their kitchens from on-site farms; not to mention, achieve an extra degree of culinary sustainability in the process.


The architecture and interior design of Belize boutique hotels are as unique as its operations, but always upscale and often combining historic details with chic elegance. The lines may be sleek and contemporary or quaint and homey – or even an artistic amalgamation. For example, high-end Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn, two of Francis Ford Coppola’s hideaways in Belize, feature signature thatch-style housing with Balinese stylings within. Sister properties of Ka’ana and Itz’ana Resorts use distinctive biophilic design to connect the natural environment of Belize both indirectly and directly.

Intimate in Size

San Ignacio room suite

The 27-room San Ignacio Resort Hotel is renowned for its hospitality services and features the award-winning Running W Restaurant, which showcases meats from the family’s ranch.

Boutique hotels are typically small, with 10 to 100 rooms. They are intimate in scale, creating the ambiance of being a personal guest in a private home, rather than just a hotel occupant. For example, San Ignacio Resort Hotel offers 26 luxury rooms and suites that offer hillside, garden, and rainforest views. Each accommodation is sleek in design, featuring exotic local art and furnishings made from Belizean hardwood and sustainable mahogany.

Individuality in Details

Properties have a distinctive vibe and never have the “cookie-cutter” feel of being one in a series. That said, individuality lies in its details. That is, the view from the shower or a sweet pick-me-up treat left in your villa after dinner. However, the true individual craft lies in the heart of hospitality: our people. As travel will undoubtedly look differently in 2021, the difference will be in the service. Ensuring guests feel not only confident in their health, but also safe. After so long at home, this is an opportunity to rejoin travel to Belize with a gentler approach, to be more compassionate and holistic in our outlook, and to design the way we travel with the efforts we make to live sustainably, healthily, and thoughtfully at home. In the meantime, stay curious: Belize awaits.

All photos courtesy of respective properties. Our full hotel listing can be found here.
Header Photo Courtesy Muna Restaurant at The Ellysian

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