If you’re looking to social distance in either golden sand beaches, lush tropical jungles, and ancient Mayan ruins, look no further than Belize—a tiny Central American country. Besides, that’s what one Montreal lawyer did many moons ago. For his first Christmas alone in 2005, Daniel Lighter‘s fantasy of tropical isolation came to life. Thanks to overwhelming suggestions from colleagues and friends, Lighter chose Belize; immediately falling in love with the authenticity and kindness of the people. Fast forward a decade and a half later, travelers to Belize can find privacy by nature at the duo of charming little hotels in Belize: Matachica Resort and GAÏA Riverlodge. Get the most bang for your buck by booking a “reef and rainforest” package, which combines both jungle and beach resorts. After all, you can social distance by nature in Belize—from Mountain Pine Ridge to sunny Ambergris Caye.
Matachica Resort on sunny Ambergris Caye
As the first love child for the unintentional hotelier, Matachica Resort is perfectly suited for those looking to social distance in Belize. Spread across 10 acres of pristine beach, 30 individual villas combine the best of natural elements; like thatch roofing and open air hammocks. That is, alongside modern touches like air conditioning and colorful murals in the bedroom from Montreal illustrator Cécile Gariépy. Besides, the eco-chic island lodge in Belize with colorful beach casitas is perched within steps of the Caribbean Sea. One benefit of beachside living? No shoes means no problem at the onsite Mambo Restaurant, serving up the freshly-caught seafood from local fishermen nonetheless.
Just this year, the adults-only, carbon-friendly boutique resort took home number 5 on Travel + Leisure’s Top 10 Resort Hotels in Central America. Designed with the purpose to disconnect from the world, Matachica Resort prompts you to reimagine the Belizean beach experience with a strong focus on sustainability. But hey, there’s no complaints about The Jade Spa either.
GAÏA Riverlodge, tucked away in Mountain Pine Ridge
In 2012, Lighter got it into his head to open a second Matachica, possibly in Cuba. Finally, a small hotel for sale at the foot of a waterfall in Belize became available, which later rebranded to GAÏA Riverlodge. Surrounded by towering pines in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, GAÏA Riverlodge is a stylish, open-air lodge beautifully perched above the Privassion Creek. However, the Belize cabanas and villas are well spaced out onsite, naturally creating a sense of social distance in Belize. Meanwhile, the resort is just an an hour’s jeep ride from the more populous San Ignacio area; guests can recharge inside the 15 private and spacious cabanas to the waterfall’s sounds. Enjoy the rainforest’s intimacy with its native birds, butterflies, and remarkable flora; that is, with a cocktail in hand set against the pink and orange glow of the setting sun.
Ps: the riverside and waterfall-view rooms give unrivaled sunrise vistas amongst rural luxury. After all, GAÏA Riverlodge (as well as Matachica) received a Trip Advisor Best of the Best Award this year, which means that there has been a Travelers’ Choice Award for several years in a row.