THE HAPPIEST PLACES TO STAY
Belize is the northernmost Central American country. It is a country about the size of New Hampshire, about 1/10th the size of the United Kingdom. It is the only Central American country that does not border the Pacific Ocean. It only borders the Caribbean Sea. It enjoys 174 miles alongside the Meso-American Reef, the longest such neighbor to the reef, a scuba diving and snorkeling paradise. The mainland has lush tropical rainforests and the Ancient Mayan ruins.
Between the sea, the mountains, and the Mayan ruins and culture, the adventures are endless. Ambergris Caye, is its most densely populated Caye and Belize’s most popular tourist destination. Belizeans are warm and friendly people, virtually all of whom speak English.
Given its relatively small size and the limited commercial investments to date, Belize does not have a large amount of luxury hotels. However, it does boost some fantastic mountain retreat spas and boutique beach hotels. Planning a visit to Belize? Let’s explore some of your lodging choices by region. We’ll share our views as to the best and happiest places to stay in Belize. We’ll start with hotels on Ambergris Caye as we know the area best and it is the home of the most hotels in Belize.
AMBERGRIS CAYE HOTELS
Ambergris Caye is approximately 25 miles long by 1 mile wide and is located about 10 miles off the coast of mainland Belize and is surrounded by the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. San Pedro, the only town on Ambergris Caye, is the center of gravity here. One can find all possible lodging here from boutique hotels to luxury hotels to specialty hotels. We highlight a few of the best San Pedro hotels, etc.
This is by far the biggest category of San Pedro hotels. There are too many really good ones to feature here, but we’ll go with our favorites! It is important to note that you can find really happy places all over the Caye, but most of us generally break the geography into three areas: south of town, downtown San Pedro, and north of town. We’ve organized this list of “best boutique hotels on Ambergris Caye” from southern most to northern most, excepting for the two “Specialty Hotels”.
South of Town
Pelican Reef Villas Resort
This hotel stands out with its beautiful natural environment. It is an exclusive Belize boutique resort located 2.6 miles south of San Pedro. With only twenty-four suites we are one of the smallest and most exclusive hotels in Ambergris Caye. This ensures a personalized vacation experience that you won’t get from many other Ambergris Caye, Belize hotels.
Downtown San Pedro
SunBreeze Suites is situated in the laid-back beach downtown of San Pedro. On one side of the hotel are the festive streets of the downtown welcoming you to join in the fun, and out the other door, you are just a few steps from the Caribbean Sea. SunBreeze Suites is comprised of twenty-one comfortable one-bedroom vacation suites overlooking the beautiful blue sea. Each comes with a private balcony from where you can enjoy breath-taking sunrises, refreshing cool sea-breezes and romantic moonlight nights.
North of Town
Twisted Palms Villas
Twisted Palm Villas is an ocean-front boutique hotel with just 6 suites overlooking the spectacular Caribbean and Belize Barrier Reef. This hidden gem was recently completed and is an 18+ only suite hotel located just ½ mile north of the bridge leaving downtown.
Bella Vista Resort is 2.5 Miles North of San Pedro Town and is home to Aji Tapa Bar & Restaurant. The boutique suite hotel is also a hidden gem. Take a couple steps into the property, you will encounter a wonderful beach with a spectacular view of the Barrier Reef while feeling the warm Caribbean breeze. The property also boasts of having a top 5 San Pedro restaurant and bar, Aji, serving delicious Caribbean style dinners
Far North of Town
Costa Blu Adults Only Beach Resort lets you get away from it all in Belize. The unique property combines pristine Caribbean waters, natural beauty and exceptional personal service to create an idyllic tropical island retreat. The quiet location 6.5 miles north of San Pedro Town, with expansive beachfront, lets you unwind in peace.
The 38 one-bedroom Sea View suites, each with their own private balcony, ensure that no matter where you look, you will always enjoy the beautiful Belizean seascape. The villas are provisioned with everything you need for a romantic getaway, including air conditioning, a private bedroom with king bed, newly remodeled bathroom, separate living area and kitchenette.
A waterfront paradise resort on a secluded white sand beach catches your eye as you arrive to X’tan Ha Resort (pronounced "ISH-tan HA"), located 7.2 miles north of San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye. Beyond the best beach on the island lies the Belize Barrier Reef, offering world-class snorkeling and diving.
The vibrant rooftops and tropical landscaping frame wooden buildings that offer private balconies overlooking the Caribbean Sea or one of two pools. The resort offers fully furnished one-bedroom casitas and villas that feature a private veranda, fully equipped kitchenette, dining area, bathroom with shower, bedroom with Cable TV.
Victoria House Resort and Spa
Spectacular, private, and located south of town and on the Caribbean Sea, the award-winning Victoria House beach resort features 42 rooms offering a variety of world-class accommodations. As a boutique resort, Victoria House is unsurpassed in the art of pampering its guests with an abundance of services and conveniences. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a dream beach wedding, or an unforgettable family vacation, Victoria House is sure to deliver an unforgettable experience.
A Laidback Luxury Resort located 3.5 miles north of San Pedro is the spot for romance, barefoot luxury, relaxation, and adventure. This 4-star luxury resort offers the utmost in beachfront relaxation, including two large, freeform swimming pools, a swim-up pool bar, Jacuzzi, and waterslide. Coco Beach Resort offers a wide range of accommodations to suit every guest’s needs. From our perspective, this is the ideal sized resort, not too big nor too small. There is something for everyone here.
Matachica Resort and Spa
Matachica’s serene and technology-free property (rooms are WiFi-, phone- and television-free) allows guests to disconnect in order to reconnect with nature, and in the process, themselves. The unique beachfront casitas, relaxed atmosphere, elegant design and adults-only property merge to create a truly authentic, restorative getaway—no matter your reason for visiting, we welcome all of our guests with open arms. Matachica offers a luxury beach resort that makes the ideal destination for a romantic honeymoon, girls’ getaway, mother-daughter weekend or celebration with friends. We are located just 5 miles from San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. The warm staff looks forward to helping you create amazing experiences during your stay and memories that last a lifetime.
Ramon’s Village – A Diver’s ParadisE
Located on the southern edge of downtown, this resort is styled after the Tahitian cottages on the Polynesian island of Bora Bora, our cabanas are built from native materials by craftsmen utilizing the same skill and techniques the islanders used in the days of the great sailing ships. Ramon’s Village is a sanctuary nestled in a tropical garden of Royal Palms, bougainvillea, lilies, hibiscus and dozens of other types of tropical flora. Surrounded by the plant life are Mayan sculptures that provide a glimpse of the civilization that preceded us in this Caribbean paradise. Once inside our enchanted village, you’ll be in a world of your own choosing.
Ramon’s Village Diver’s has one of the largest dive operations on Ambergris Caye. Ramon’s maintains a fleet of four skiffs ranging in size from 28′ to 34′. These boats are used for dives along the Belize Barrier Reef in the vicinity of Ambergris Caye and carry up to eight divers plus crew. The Miss Gina, our Pro 42 dive boat, carries up to 16 divers plus crew making it an excellent choice for dive groups and can also be used for dive trips to the Turneffe Atoll. The Lady Grace, our Newton 46 dive boat, can accommodate up to 24 divers plus crew and provides a comfortable outing for those wanting to dive Jacques Cousteau’s Blue Hole.
Ramon’s Village Divers also offers a full slate of PADI Scuba Courses or we accept referrals from other certification organizations such as NAUI, SSI, YMCA and NASDS for completion of entry-level training. Ramon’s employs a full staff of PADI professional instructors and dive masters ensure a dive experience unequaled anywhere in Belize, or for that matter, the world!
El Pescador - A Fisherman’s Dream
Located a few miles north of downtown, El Pescador Lodge and Villas is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, and known as a world-class fly-fishing resort. El Pescador is a top choice for anglers, eco-adventurers, couples and families looking for the best of Belize. If fishing is your passion, there is no better specialty fishing hotel on Ambergris Caye.
THE BLUE DOLPHIN
The Blue Dolphin is a whole house rental owned by a lovely couple from Minnesota, Dr. Mark and Joan Johnson. They have lovingly entertained many guests in this beautiful 5 bedroom/ 5 bath / sleeps 12, beach house with a fabulous private pool. This beautifully landscaped, very private and expansive 2 acre estate includes 150 feet of white sand beach right on the Caribbean Sea with a pier that's wonderful for snorkeling and fishing from and reaches back 700' to a beautiful wildlife filled, mangrove lagoon with another pier for fishing. They also have available to their guests 3 kayaks to carry you swiftly (5 to 10min. depending on the breeze) to the reef for your own private snorkeling adventures and a Belizean canoe and a small row boat for touring/fishing the lagoon. We have enjoyed many visits to the Blue Dolphin. It is the perfect spot for a large family vacation retreat.
CAYE CAULKER HOTELS
Caye Caulker is located about 10 miles south of Ambergris Caye, is considerably smaller by every measure. It’s an island popular among backpackers and the budget travelers. Hotels and restaurants are less expensive than on Ambergris Caye and the vibe of Caye Caulker is much more mellow – ‘Go Slow’ is the island’s motto. It’s really two islands having been separated by Hurricane Hattie in 1961. Virtually all of the development, such as it is, is located on “South Caye Caulker”.
On the sandy streets of (south) Caye Caulker you’ll find restaurants, artists booths, grocery stores, and a few bars. At the north end you’ll find the split where you can get drinks and food at the Lazy Lizard. This village is all about ‘chillaxing’ on a small, hassle-free Caribbean island. You can relax in a chaise, sunbathe, enjoy seafood and cold beverages, or go for a swim, or jump off the dive platform or do nothing.
We’ll offer a few hotels that we’re familiar with on Caye Caulker.
Iguana Reef Inn
Discover the idyllic, island lifestyle of Caye Caulker and the luxury accommodations at the Iguana Reef seaside Inn. After a day of exploring the wonders of the barrier reef or Mayan ruins on the Belize mainland, relax in one of the few fresh water swimming pools on Caye Caulker.
Iguana Reef is an inn that blends casual elegance with barefoot informality. Located on the water's edge, on the leeward side of the Caye, the Inn is in the heart of a charming fishing village, Iguana Reef offers decidedly upscale accommodations and the enchantment of the "Old Caribbean" island lifestyle. Don’t forget to visit the seahorses at the dock.
Sea Dreams Hotel
A lovely guesthouse on the north side of the island, Sea Dreams offers a rare combination of easy access and sweet tranquility. Spend the day lounging around the Split, then retreat to the cozy accommodations just a few steps away. Original paintings by local artists adorn the colorful walls of the rooms and apartments, which are elegant and comfortable.
Weezie’s Oceanfront Hotel and Garden Cottages
Experience Weezie’s island charm and attention to detail from the moment you arrive. The Caribbean ocean view and tropical breeze set the tone for a relaxing getaway. The Oceanfront hotel is located on the eastern shore of Caye Caulker and offers spectacular views of the barrier reef. The Garden Cottages are situated two blocks inland on a quiet palm-lined residential street, providing the perfect setting for a calm, worry-free vacation.
Both properties are just outside of the hustle and bustle of town, removed enough for a quiet, relaxing environment, but close enough to provide easy access to ample restaurants, grocery stores, and local shops. The island’s “Go Slow” mantra perfectly illustrates the laid back, friendly, and easy going vibe of Caye Caulker and its residents. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation, Weezie’s is the perfect location to enjoy all that Caye Caulker has to offer.
san ignacio hotels
San Ignacio is a small town in the Cayo district of Western Belize. It is a working town located near the Guatemala border. San Ignacio is the heart and soul of Cayo, which travelers to the area use a base for exploring the country’s Mayan ruins and elaborate cave systems. San Ignacio is a jungle mountain town. Along with its sister town of Santa Elena, these twin-towns offer good budget accommodations, good restaurants, and a nearby luxury resort.
San Ignacio exists for more than tourism. It has a a robust marketplace and a great local vibe. Residents are principally Mestizos and Maya, with a few Garifuna. You will also find expats from the US, Canada, and Europe. As expected, the area also attracts immigrants from nearby Guatemala.
Here are our favorite Cayo area hotels, one in the jungle, the other in San Ignacio.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek
A wildly civilized Belize luxury resort, The Lodge at Chaa Creek is rated as one of the world's best Eco Lodges & a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981. Wildly civilized sums up the philosophy of the award-winning Belize Jungle Resort, located in the heart of Maya civilization. Since Chaa Creek’s inception in 1981, owners Mick & Lucy Fleming strove to coexist with nature while creating a true jungle experience & the result is an exquisite blend of natural beauty & man-made comforts. We are proud that Chaa Creek continues to win recognition as one of the Caribbean region’s best examples of sustainable, Green tourism.
San Ignacio Resort Hotel
Established in 1976, San Ignacio Resort Hotel is a Belizean and family-owned boutique Hotel located in the Cayo District, Western Belize. The Resort is centrally situated on a 17-acre private estate and 5-minutes away of the popular San Ignacio Town—an area that features a variety of cultural, adventurous, and culinary experiences. This characteristic has dubbed the Resort as “the only jungle in town”. The 27-room Resort is renowned for its hospitality services and features the award-winning Running W Steakhouse & Restaurant.
Perched atop of the magnificent Five-Sisters Waterfalls in Belize’s famed Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, Gaia will fulfill its promise to reconnect you to your adventurous and truest being by disconnecting you from everything else. The mysteries of ancient Mayan history will surround you, in every cave, archeological site and wonderfully preserved artifacts that still lie in the Reserve. Gaia is both a physical and a spiritual experience. Wanting to offer its clientele the opportunity to reconnect with themselves and their travel partners, they’ve chosen to keep Gaia an adult-only environment, that is also free of intrusive technologies in the sanctuary of the rooms.
Don’t miss the opportunity to experience this Belizean treasure and grasp how infinitely generous nature can be.
In the early 1980s, Francis Ford Coppola visited Belize, immediately fell in love with the location, and purchased the abandoned Blancaneaux Lodge. For more than a decade the hideaway was used as a family retreat before Francis opened his tropical paradise to the public in 1993.
Blancaneaux Lodge is a 20-room luxury hideaway where waterfalls tumble into turquoise pools above the jungle canopy. Its remote mountain setting allows guests to explore the ancient civilization of the Maya and to return to their own thatched roof dwelling, rich with Guatemalan décor and nestled in the foliage of the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve.
Hopkins is located in the central part of Stann Creek District on the southeastern coast of Belize. It is a small village named for a popular preacher who was once traveled the area frequently. Hopkins is divided into two sections. The area of town north of the bay is called Baila, the one to the south is called False Sittee.
Belizean Dreams is an intimate, locally owned and managed all-inclusive resort nestled on the coast of Hopkins Village, in southern Belize. Accommodations and packages are tailored to providing vacations to discerning travelers who crave relaxation, romance and adventure. The all-inclusive resort is comprised of nine standalone villas. The villas are positioned in the shape of a horseshoe, or "U" shape, all are only footsteps away from the Caribbean Sea and beach.
Belizean Dreams is the perfect combination of modern casual elegance and resort-style service in the heart of one of the most pristine places on Earth.
Escape to a relaxing beach getaway where picturesque sunsets, white sandy beaches and alluring waters of the Caribbean Sea, is at the heart of your doorstep!
Located in proximity to their other resorts Almond Beach Resort and The Lodge at Jaguar Reef, lies this exquisite three-story dwelling known as Villa Margarita. Its expansive amenities and comfortable rooms are suitable for families, friends or business persons seeking a gratifying and gorgeous atmosphere.
Be awakened to the sound of waves lapping on pristine beaches. Abandon your cares, relax and rejuvenate at our Beachfront Resort featuring a swimming pool, hot tub, bar, spa services and an array of exciting adventures, nature and water tours that Belize has to offer!
Lodge at Jaguar Reef
For over twenty years, The Lodge at Jaguar Reef has been the resort of choice for thousands of travelers who enjoy our central location, our comfortable cabanas and suites, our beachfront dining and our easy access to many of the natural wonders that have made Belize a world-class adventure travel destination!
Escape to a tropical paradise and discover a quaint, tranquil and laid-back beachfront retreat with sunny skies and panoramic views of the ocean, just minutes away from the Garifuna Fishing Village of Hopkins. This Belize beachfront resort is a haven of relaxation, with an onsite full service spa, beachfront dining, lounge bar, a kids' pool, a heated infinity pool with swim up Tiki bar, beachfront accommodations, kayaks, bicycles, hobie cat, paddle boards, land and water sports adventures.
Corozal is a seaside town, located just south of the Río Hondo, which forms the mainland border between Mexico and Belize. This town is making its way to a higher profile with a growing expatriate community and a commitment to eco-tourism. Until recently not considered a tourist destination, Corozal now makes for a good base for fishing and wildlife/birdwatching excursions. In addition, the coastal Mayan ruins site of Cerros is the only one of its kind. And, of course, Corozal is convenient for shopping trips to nearby Chetumal, Mexico.
Tony’s Inn & Beach Resort
This resort is family-oriented with spectacular surroundings of well-manicured landscapes and lush tropical gardens. There are 24 guest rooms each tastefully decorated with locally made mahogany furniture. Dine on authentic food with a Belizean flavor overlooking the bay; at sunrise enjoy the view that is breath-taking!
Almond Tree Resort
Almond Tree is a highly rated small resort designed to make each guest feel special. Your hosts provide a unique environment with comfort and a touch of elegance. From the distinctive decor in our private bedrooms to the expansive sky and bay experienced from our backyard veranda, you will find yourself in a place you can relax and feel at home, but with a sense of quiet luxury.
Serenity Sands B&B
Located approximately 4.5 miles from the town of Corozal, Serenity Sands Bed & Breakfast is a tranquil and eco-friendly small resort. Guests can enjoy a hotel like atmosphere with personal attention to detail and experience a unique tropical escape with the peace of mind that comes from responsible travel. For those looking to relocate to Belize, Serenity Sands is the perfect spot to recharge after a day searching for your own piece of paradise.
Placencia is a small village in the south of Belize. It is located on the southern tip of a peninsula, the one-of-a-kind Caye to which you can drive. Placencia is now a hot destination for visitors to Belize. The area is lush and beautiful and the weather is ideal all year round. The mellow vibe is apparent as you walk along the beaches or the “sidewalk” where you can find shops and food. Area restaurants specialize in seafood and are moderately priced. Placencia is also popular among snorkelers and divers, particularly in May and June when the full moons draw whale sharks to feed nearby. This area now boasts numerous hotel choices.
Belize Ocean Club
Belize Ocean Club is situated on the beautiful Maya Beach, just a short drive away from the quaint village of Placencia. This PADI 5-Star Dive Resort is perfectly located for access to both jungle and ocean adventures. Complete your vacation experience by seeing the stunning Belize Barrier Reef, Mayan Mountains or simply lounging by our incredible pool and its tropical swim-up bar. After a day of adventure, live in luxury with a unique all-suite experience.
Caribbean Beach Cabanas - A PUR Hotel
This is the tropical paradise you picture when you think about a beach vacation in the Caribbean. The rustic-luxury boutique micro-resort, beachfront, is right on the famous Placencia Sidewalk and the fun of the village is just steps away. Experience tranquility in this peaceful and exotic oasis. This the only adults-only (18+) resort on the peninsula, and one of the only resort experiences where you can walk on the “sidewalk” to everything in town.
Francis and Eleanor Coppola acquired this beachside hideaway in 2001 and created an idyllic refuge for those seeking a relaxing or adventure-filled getaway to Belize. This 25-room seafront escape delights guests with individual thatched cottages, decorated with handcrafted Balinese furnishings, naturally cooled by the ever-present sea breezes. Just steps beyond your private deck, the white-sand beach dissolves into the clear Caribbean Sea. In addition to offering an ideal location to experience the sea, Turtle Inn is located a short bicycle ride or walk from the charming sea-front fishing village of Placencia, where local artisan shops and dining spots can be enjoyed.
Chabil Mar, Maya for “Beautiful Sea”!
A contemporary Full-Service Luxury boutique beach resort. The Guest Exclusive Resort on the Placencia Peninsula, exceptionally located on the beach, the closest full-service Resort to Placencia Village. An All-Villa resort, infused with local art, Belizean hardwoods and décor, graced by an exquisite landscape of flora and fauna, inspired by the natural beauty of Belize.
With pride in 12 years of award-winning service, their passion for Belize cuisine, brought to you at Café Mar, “Restaurant at the Sea”, by Chef Daniel, and their enthusiasm for creating tailor-made authentic Belize vacations.
LARU BEYA RESORT
Spanning the beautiful, white-sand beach in Belize, Laru Beya (which means “on the beach” in Garifuna, a local Afro-Caribbean dialect), is a vacation destination known for its laidback charm. One of the only Placencia all inclusive resorts on the Peninsula, Laru Beya is strategically located between Seine Bight and Placencia. Our Belize beach resort offers guests an all inclusive resort experience within walking distance of these uniquely cultural communities. Standout features of Laru Beya include a secluded beach area as well as an outdoor infinity swimming pool, a wide variety of rooms & suites and an onsite restaurant and bar, the Quarterdeck, which serves up a full range of tropical drinks and a mouthwatering array of both local and international dishes overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Naia Resort and Spa
Nestled within a private 200-acre reserve on the Placencia Peninsula, Naia is an intimate, natural playground that sets the stage for uncommon adventures and personal growth. Whether paddle boarding in the beautiful Caribbean Sea, indulging in a customized spa ritual, or relaxing among the resort’s secluded beach houses and swimming pools...the opportunities for discovery are endless
private island hotels
The islands in the coastal waters of Belize (along the Meso-American Reef) are too many to name. This includes, of course, three of the four coral atolls in this hemisphere: Turneffe Atoll, Lighthouse Reef, and Glover’s Reef. Many small islands have boutique hotels and make a great place for a hideaway Caribbean vacation.
Discover your own private island at Cayo Espanto, where paradise and luxury come together as one. This five-star, world class resort offers travelers the best life has to offer. You are invited to spend your evenings enchanted and your days engulfed in the Caribbean waters that surround each private villa. Located three miles off the coast of San Pedro, Belize, Cayo Espanto is truly an unforgettable private island retreat.
Coco Plum Island ResorT
Dreaming of utter seclusion and a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Make your dream a reality at Coco Plum Island Resort. Dotted with beach beds, lounge chairs, and swaying hammocks, this Belize all-inclusive resort is the perfect place to cast your worries away. They’ve thought of just about everything to make your Belize vacation as easy and seamless as possible.
Each of the 18 stand-alone private cabanas, all steps from the beach, offer awe-inspiring views of the Caribbean Sea. There is no need to wait in long lines or wake up early to reserve a spot on a crowded beach. Instead, we provide an intimate setting for you and your loved one to reconnect. Enjoy dinner under starlit nights on overwater docks or on the beach; wake up to blissful sunrises. At this unique Belize all-inclusive resort you can be as relaxed or as adventurous as you wish.