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Where to stay

Ac Belize Gaia River Lodge

Where to stay in Belize

Belize is renowned for having some of the continent’s best eco-lodges that tend to combine the best of both worlds – a perfect mix of nature and wildlife combined with luxurious accommodation. Some of the most popular ecolodges on the mainland are in remote location, so this must be considered when planning your trip. On the Cayes, you will find hotels with a good range of facilities for the ultimate in relaxation and proximity to superb beaches and dive centres to explore the marine life.

1. Lamanai Outpost Lodge

Sat on the banks of a 28 mile long, spring fed lagoon, Lamanai Outpost Lodge is a calm, natural and wild place to spend time whilst in Belize. Without the need for day tours or trips, you can embark on the adventure of a lifetime, straight from your cabana. There are just 20 cabanas for guests and all trips are limited to between 6 and 10, enhancing your jungle experience for a more personal and ‘in touch with nature’ feel. The rustic cabanas provide everything you need for comfort under their tropical palm thatched roofs. Made from local woods, they fit in naturally with their surroundings and have a peaceful, cosy atmosphere, disturbed only by the calls of the jungle. All rooms are en-suite with hot running water, ceiling fans and 24 hours of electricity a day. The private verandas have wonderful views over the tropical gardens and the lagoon.

2. Chan Chich Lodge

Just 12 thatched cabanas and one suite sit in the plaza of an ancient Maya city, in north-western Belize. Chan Chich Lodge provides everything you need for a luxurious and authentic jungle stay. Discover and retrace the footsteps of the Maya civilisation, uncover the abundance of wildlife and navigate a system of wild and extensive trails. After just a year of construction, Chan Chich (meaning ‘little bird’ in Mayan) was opened in 1988, helping protect the heavily looted temples as well as discouraging hunting in the area. For those who like walking the lodge is ideal, with expansive trails to explore for over 9 miles. This can be done alone with the use of maps or on a guided tour. Vehicles can transport you to various areas of interest in the area such Laguna Seca, the upper Escarpment, Sylvester Village and Laguna Verde. Day trips to La Milpa are also available in the Rio Bravo conservation area. Guests may also ride horseback on guided tours through jungle trails or Mayan sites or canoe on Laguna Verde, where you might see turtles or crocodiles. Chan Chich is known for being a great place for birders with over 350 recorded species.

3. Gaia Riverlodge

Get up close and personal with nature in this river lodge located atop the magnificent Five Sisters Falls in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. The facilities here make use of naturally sourced materials, although guests are not deprived of modern amenities, such as Wi-Fi. The rooms are split into various options, each one offering a unique experience and a unique view. You can choose from a waterfall, jungle or mountain view, but whichever one you go for you're sure of an astonishing natural vista. The rooms are distinctly different, but all carry a feeling of luxury mixed perfectly with local style and natural ambience. The rooms all have showers and a ceiling fan, with internet available in the public areas of the lodge. The lodge offers private access to the waterfall as well as access to private organic gardens. The lodge also has its own private spa on site, offering a selection of massage treatments and traditional beauty treatments.

4. Blancaeaux Lodge

The luxurious and remote Blancaneaux Lodge was opened to the public in 1993 and its setting amongst jungle canopies, waterfalls and mountains make it just the place for a relaxing and adventurous stay. Tucked away on the banks of Privassion Creek, surrounded by tropical trees and shrubs, the lodge is within the spectacular 107,000 acre Mountain Pine Ridge Forest. Explore the ancient Maya civilisations, venture through deep lush rainforests and swim turquoise pools before heading back to your jungle cabana or watching the Belizean sun set, cocktail in hand…

5. The Lodge at Chaa Creek

In a place of diverse ecology, wild jungle, rich civilisations and archaeological sites, Chaa Creek Lodge has become recognised as a great example of green tourism in Belize. Within a 365 acre reserve, the resort is surrounded by wildlife and natural history and there are vibrant, rich cultures to discover, such as the Maya civilisation. Despite being such a nature and community focused resort, the accommodation is surprisingly luxurious and comfortable. A variety of palm thatched cottages are available, as well as luxurious suites; some in the garden, others in the tree tops, yet all with their own private Jacuzzi and unique, solid furnishings. A stay here contributes towards sustainable tourism without sacrificing your enjoyment, topped off with an amazing restaurant and a jungle bar.

6. Victoria House

On the stunning island of Ambergris Caye, under the Caribbean sun, surrounded by tropical waters just waiting to be explored, Victoria House provides exclusive and award recognised accommodation. With just 42 accommodations set into tropical gardens, Victoria House has retained a casual and relaxed ambience, ideal for that indulgent, yet still adventurous, time after an activity packed holiday.All accommodation has great views, some with the ocean a few steps out of the door, others set back into colourful, wild gardens. There are 7 thatched casitas facing the ocean, 8 plantation rooms in 2 buildings surrounded by gardens and 4 suites. The suites are all individually decorated and provide bright spacious areas for guests; the 6 villas provide that extra space, each in different locations across the beachfront. All accommodation is luxuriously appointed, featuring intricate furnishings and clean lines, all with little quirks such as outdoor showers and mahogany 4 poster beds.

7. Matachica Resort & Spa

With its distinct and individual styles, Matachica Resort has managed to become a world class boutique resort, yet is small enough to remain intimate. Brightly coloured accommodation carries the Caribbean theme, whilst eclectic Central American fabrics and artefacts give it a rustic appeal. Bright on the outside, yet cool and calm on the inside, Matachica provides a range of luxurious accommodation for guests. Featuring local motifs and original international art, all of the accommodation is spread out for complete privacy with huge mosaic bathrooms and private patios. Rooms and suites range in facilities and views, from Reef View Suites and Beachfront Casitas to a Beach Mansion and Sea breeze Bungalows.In very close proximity to Belize’s Great Barrier Reef, the diving and snorkelling here is unmissable and being on such a perfectly secluded sandy beach, complete with swaying palms, it makes the ideal honeymoon spot!

8. Turtle Inn

Owned by Francis and Eleanor Coppola, Turtle Inn was swept away soon after it was purchased, by Hurricane Iris. Taking 2 years to restore, this is now one of the most popular beach resorts in Central America, and in such close proximity to pristine beaches and a naturally luxurious style, it’s not surprising! Featuring individual thatched hideaways for guests, cooled by the ocean breeze, Turtle Inn can boast very attentive staff and truly unique place to stay. The cottage-like cabanas are Balinese inspired and feature hand crafted furnishings and wide decks. These luxurious accommodations come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes; Poolside, Sea View Cottages and Honeymoon Cottages and Villas, Bungalows, a House and even a Chinese Matrimonial Suite. Some so close to the ocean you can taste it, others nestled into the lush gardens – you are sure to find one the suits. All rooms and suites include bathrobes, a safe, mini bar and tea and coffee supplies.With 2 infinity pools here and some of the best beach swimming in Belize, there are plenty of places to cool off. There is a dive shop on location for those wanting to explore a little further into the ocean.

9. Cayo Espanto

Situated three miles off the coast of Belize, the private island of Cayo Espanto epitomises luxury. While staying in your artfully furnished villa, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the glittering Caribbean Sea and be attended to by your own personal houseman. White sands, palm trees, private verandas and azure waters make this every inch a tropical paradise. You can even book the entire island for yourself, with space for up to 18 guests. This is one Belize’s most exclusive and unashamedly extravagant retreats, perfect for the traveller seeking something special. Cayo Espanto’s guests have the choice between one of six beachfront villas and an overwater bungalow, complete with private dock. The 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom villas all boast their own brand of chic Caribbean design, while the private plunge pools and verandas provide the perfect place to unwind. Refreshing alfresco showers, complimentary Turkish bath robes and exquisite Egyptian cotton bedsheets add to the luxury.

10. Naia Resort & 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 paddleboarding in the beautiful Caribbean Sea, indulging in a customized spa ritual, or relaxing among the resort’s secluded beach houses and swimming pools. Accommodations range from studio beach houses that are ideal for a honeymoon couple to a lavish three-bedroom beach house that is perfect for families or a group of friends. There are no "bad views" at Naïa either, as every beach house offers spectacular sightlines from the verandah. Different excursions are available which focus on certain local species. For example, a day trip through the jungle aims to find scarlet macaws, as well as other parrot species and possibly even toucan. Visiting the Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve offers the opportunity to see these extraordinary yet elusive members of the big cat family, whilst a boat trip through the mangroves offers sightings of howler monkeys, iguanas and crocodiles. Venturing out into the barrier reef give guests the chance to see a wide array of corals and tropical fish species, as well as nurse and reef sharks, various ray species and turtles.