The jungles, beaches, and volcanoes that make up Central America combine to make a stunning landscape, and its top resorts take full advantage. But Travel + Leisure would be remiss not to acknowledge the incredible service, amenities, and food and drink; that’s what make these top 10 resorts in Central America a cut above the rest. These resorts highlight their beautiful surroundings while ensuring guests have an authentic and luxurious experience. Here’s the Belize resorts that stole the hearts of Travel + Leisure readers, nabbing three ‘World’s Best Awards’ for the top 10 resorts in Central America.
Every year for Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Additionally, properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.
Belize receives 3 out of 10 “World’s Best Awards” from Travel + Leisure
T+L particularly mentions Belize, which has steadily gained popularity among travelers in recent years, for having several winners this year. Notably, two of the three Francis Ford Coppola resorts in Belize. The beachfront Turtle Inn (No. 9) in Placencia maintains a “very cool, laid back vibe,” according to one voter, but still has an “excellent staff [that is] very attentive.” No. 8 Blancaneaux Lodge, set in the center of the country, gives guests access to stunning nature reserves and Mayan sites. And rounding out the middle with No. 5, Matachica Resort embodies all the niceties of desert island perfection.
5. Matachica Resort
Travel + Leisure Score: 93.00
A short taxi ride by speedboat from San Pedro’s bustling city life brings you to Matachica Resort – one of the most relaxed resorts on island time in Ambergris Caye. Here, a dreamy digital detox reduces your vacation to just the essentials: a thatched cottage, the glistening Caribbean Sea, and the delicately-pale Belizean beach. Go from bedside to aquamarine shoals in a matter of steps from your boutique accommodation. Although Matachica Resort is small, each room is its own private beach house. Besides, Matachica’s suites and casitas boldly compliment onsite sophistications, like its pool, meditative dock, Mambo Restaurant, and Jade Spa.
8. Blancaneaux Lodge, A Family Coppola Hideaway
Travel + Leisure Score: 92.33
One third of the remote luxury resorts of Family Coppola Hideaways in Belize, the innermost Blancaneaux Lodge was a labor of love for film legend Francis Ford Coppola. Starting as the Coppola family’s private retreat until 1993, the lodge has since expanded to 20 cabanas and villas. Within, each are meticulously decorated with Central American furnishings. With sparkling vistas of Privasson Creek cutting through the tropical foliage against starkly towering pine trees, this aesthetically pleasing retreat is also admirably sustainable; hydroelectricity fuels most of the property, while its on-site organic garden supplies most of the unprocessed, Italian-inspired menu.
9. Turtle Inn, A Family Coppola Hideaway
Travel + Leisure Score: 89.62
In 2001, Francis and Eleanor Coppola acquired this beachside hideaway, ultimately transforming it for those seeking a relaxing or adventure-filled getaway to Belize. Today, the modernist, tropical design of Turtle Inn is a mangrove-encircled yet beachfront vision. Individually thatched cottages, inspired by Balinese design, form this idyllic, magical refuge just minutes from the fishing village of Placencia. This stylish retreat on the Caribbean coast offers all the amenities of luxury, including a butler service, Thai-trained Sunset Spa, and three onsite restaurants serving rustic-Italian dishes from the organic garden.
This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect Travel + Leisure readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be. Explore more of the Top 10 Resorts in Central America here.