The Best Hotels in Belize

Belize is that rare combination of Caribbean sea and Central American jungle that allows for unrivaled adventures. The hotels and lodges here specialize in showing visitors the best side of their enchanted country so whether you’re in Belize for zip lining the jungle canopy or diving into a blue hole, you can find a place to stay that will give you the best, wildest, and most comfortable experience.

Wilson Road, Punta Gorda, Belize
Formerly Belcampo.

Each of the 16 rooms at Copal Tree Lodge is a spacious villa-style suite set on the edge of the jungle, which gives a sense of privacy and peacefulness. Guests shouldn’t be surprised to see coatimundi, agouti, and other wildlife while showering in the spa-style bathrooms with their floor-to-ceiling windows. Tile floors, comfortable beds wrapped with gauzy mosquito nets, and private verandas are standard in every suite, as is Wi-Fi and complimentary laundry service, and the hotel has a pool and a restaurant/bar. The numerous outdoor activities include exploring Copal Tree Lodge’s chocolate trail and kayaking or canoeing on the Rio Grande River at the base of the property; various trips can be organized off-site, too. The hotel is closed from mid-September to late October.
Cayo Espanto, Belize
Cayo Espanto is one of those fantasy vacation spots, the kind that one might think exists only in daydreams. But this private island actually is the stuff of dreams, with powdery sand and private beaches lapped by the clear Caribbean waters, doting service, and plenty to do—or not. Cayo Espanto, one of Belize’s hundreds of cays (off-shore islands), sits three miles off the coast of another Belizean island, San Pedro, and can boast what few other properties can: a location right along the second-largest barrier reef in the world.

Each of the seven villas occupies its own private slice of the cay, and an excess of amenities is included: airport pick-up service, boat transfers to and from the island, personal butler service, three customized meals per day, snacks and drinks, and all non-motorized activities, including the use of kayaks and a sailboat. Villas are painted in tropical hues and are exceedingly comfortable, with windows that open right up to ocean views. Some have private infinity-edge plunge pools.
Gallon Jug Estate, Orange Walk District, Belize
Though Belize is replete with Maya sites, including some spectacular archaeological examples that are open to the public, Chan Chich may well be the only hotel in the country that can claim to sit atop a known former Maya site. In the late 1980s, owner Barry Bowen sought and received permission from the country’s Department of Archaeology to build on the site, whose plaza was beyond repair. No doubt guests are surrounded by the spirits of ancient Maya as well as actual artifacts that remain hidden in the soil around the lodge. Accommodations are individual casitas and cabanas decorated with local art, fresh tropical flowers, and simple but sturdy furnishings. The hotel is part of the historic 130,000-acre Gallon Jug Estate, which is, among other things, a private nature preserve. Guests enjoy wildlife spotting on the property, whose staff has kept a running list of the bird species seen here: the current count tops 350 types.
San Ignacio, Chaa Creek Road, Belize
Often referred to as Belize‘s original eco-lodge, Chaa Creek opened in 1981 as a simple rain forest hotel. In the decades since, it has become one of the country’s most popular options for upscale jungle accommodations, winning awards for its hospitality and its practices emphasizing environmental sustainability. Guests have two main options in terms of room types and price points. Luxurious rooms and suites are in the main lodge, featuring polished wood or tile floors and locally made furniture; the simpler, more budget-friendly casitas sit along the Macal River. The latter are sparsely furnished and offer few distractions. Guests of either room type have access to the property’s amenities and grounds, which include a natural history center and butterfly exhibit, a rain forest medicine trail, binoculars for bird-watching, and canoes for paddling along the river.
North Rd, Hopkins, Belize
Hopkins Bay Resort is located on the beach right near the town of Hopkins; accommodations include one-, two-, and three-bedroom beach houses. Local art and polished mahogany furniture signal that this is no cookie-cutter chain hotel. The spacious houses are perfect for families or small groups traveling together. Resort activities include dance and music performances that reflect the traditions of the local Garifuna people, descendants of Africans brought to the New World as slaves. Staff can also arrange excursions to numerous cultural and historic attractions, not only in and around Hopkins, but also to iconic sites such as Xunantunich, a Maya site, and the Blue Hole, one of the world’s most popular destinations for scuba diving.
Mile 69¼ Western Hwy., San Ignacio, Cayo District, Belize
Ka’ana is described as a “boutique resort,” and it appeals to guests who want a sense of being in the Belizean rain forest while also enjoying the comforts and amenities of a full-service resort. Rooms and villas here seem to blend into the jungle, but it’s clear that all is carefully tamed to ensure that guests don’t feel overwhelmed by the wildness. Rooms are decorated in earth tones, with textiles and design accents all locally crafted. Furniture is sturdy local hardwood. Master suites have outdoor showers, and there are two spacious, private villas, each with its own plunge pool, garden, and outdoor terrace, among other luxuries. Staff can arrange land and sea excursions to the country’s most popular cultural, historic, and natural sites.
Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, Belize
Movie director Francis Ford Coppola had traveled the world, but when he visited Belize in the 1980s, in search of a “jungle paradise” like the one where he had filmed Apocalypse Now, he was taken by the untamed land and bought Blancaneaux, the first of two resort properties he would eventually own in Belize. (The other is Turtle Inn.) Initially, Blancaneaux was a family retreat, but by the early 1990s, Coppola decided to turn it into a small luxury resort. Today, guests with deep pockets enjoy visiting Blancaneaux for its sense of exclusivity; travelers have to really want to stay here. An hour’s drive down a bone-jarring road away from civilization, one doesn’t just happen upon the resort. Accommodations are gigantic villa- and cabana-style lodgings lavishly decorated with handmade furniture, textiles, and crafts. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and swimming are a few of the activities for guests on-site at Blancaneaux.
Placencia, Belize
Turtle Inn is one of two upscale resort properties in Belize owned by American movie director Francis Ford Coppola. (The other is Blancaneaux.) This inn is in the town of Placencia, but despite its proximity to the town’s services, the privacy afforded by the resort makes guests feel insulated and more isolated than they actually are. The cabana-style accommodations are luxurious and spacious, with high ceilings and exceptional attention to design detail. The architecture blends in with the environment, but inside the cabanas and villas, guests will feel as if they’ve been transported to another part of the world. The decor is inspired by Bali, with hand-carved wooden wardrobes and trunks and richly embroidered textiles and tapestries. These sit alongside ultramodern amenities and conveniences, such as Delonghi espresso machines and iPod docking stations. Common areas include a triangle-shaped, infinity-edge pool and a gift shop with pricey luxury goods, including handbags and clothing.
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