Belize: The Caribbean Underdog (And Where To Experience It)

by Carolee Chanona

Unsurprisingly, the Caribbean is reliably popular every winter as snow-whipped travelers head south in the colder months. It’s here that you’ll find sunny days in the Bahamas, rum-fuelled nights fete’n in Trinidad and Tobago, and lush hikes galore in Martinique. Even the rich and famous agree. Beyoncé slips away from the paparazzi by heading to St. Barts, while Rihanna heads home to Barbados for R&R. But what if I told you the next best thing in Caribbean luxury travel isn’t even a Caribbean island at all? Hear us out. Geographically in Central America yet culturally Caribbean, Belize guarantees tropical bliss and salty solitude. (There’s a reason it was nicknamed ‘Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret’). Here’s why you should indulge in a romantic, open-air resort overlooking the Caribbean Sea in Belize: the Caribbean underdog. 

“Where is Belize?” 


Welcome to the Caribbean side of Belize. Aerial via Casa Al Mar/Duarte Dellarole

Firstly, Belize isn’t an island. Wedged on the Yucatan Peninsula beneath Mexico and next to Guatemala, Belize is actually the only English-speaking country in Central America; the once-former British colony is also a destination that takes US dollars, making this underrated adventure hub one of the best places to ease into Caribbean travel. Given the diversity in its natural beauty and its people, it’s hardly surprising that Belize draws a broad range of travelers. Including royalty

The Duke and Duchess’ official Twitter page shared images of them diving the Belize Barrier Reef.

For such a small country, it breaks a number of records: Belize is home to the second-longest barrier reef in the world and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Also found here are three of the Western Hemisphere’s four coral atolls. And, the country is home to one of the world’s largest underwater sinkholes, the Blue Hole. A diving paradise, Belize has eleven marine-protected areas to explore. Inside them, it’s possible to see sharks, rays, turtles, dolphins, manatees, and an occasional saltwater crocodile. The best of Belize’s aquatic offerings can be experienced from any of its 400 offshore islands. Out of all of them, Ambergris Caye is the largest. And at 25 miles, with the highest visitation in the country, Ambergris Caye’s San Pedro Town has the amenities and activities to match those numbers–for discerning travelers looking for Caribbean luxury.

Ambergris Caye’s Quiet Side

Photo by Duarte Dellarole

For the uber-glamorous, you can quiet all the buzz around town by getting whisked away to Cayo Espanto, a private island that retails for about $2,795 US per night. Or, you can escape the hustle and bustle of San Pedro Town by a quick private transfer by boat–head far up north for gems like the up-and-coming Margaritaville Beach Resort, or south, to the boutique and luxe Matachica Resort. But if it’s the Caribbean underdog in Belize you’re looking for on the beaches of Ambergris Caye, there’s but one that’s quietly stolen the show for 40 years, and counting

We Recommend: Victoria House Resort & Spa 

A favorite of beach-worshipping duos and families, the Victoria House Resort & Spa is just two miles outside of San Pedro Town, where 42 rooms shine across 10 acres as intimate yet casual. Not to mention, it’s the perfect beach honeymoon destination for sun-seeking newlyweds. 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.

Think about it: luxury accommodations for everyone.Three distinct culinary establishments. Full use of the fitness center. Plus, there’s even a private stretch of sand for Instagram-ready selfies to keep you dreaming of the Caribbean weeks after your trip. That should be enough to convince you. However, there’s also a world-class spa and access to the world’s second-largest barrier reef for prime snorkeling and diving. Time to experience the Caribbean underdog, Belize, with a resort that’s been bidding its dues from the beginning! 

Images via Victoria House unless stated otherwise.

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