Where to Stay

1. Chaa Creek - Set on a 33-acre organic farm surrounded by jungle, this secluded resort is a 4-minute walk from Macal River. Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the world's best Eco Lodges. They are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981. They offer an array of eco-friendly adventures with very knowledgeable guides, including ruins and cave exploring. The elegant suites, villas and cottages feature mahogany furnishings. Most have verandas and Jacuzzis, and some suites are set in treehouses. Quarters with 4-poster beds are available. Parking and breakfast are complimentary. Other amenities include an infinity pool and an upmarket restaurant. Horseback riding and jungle excursions are offered, and massages are available in the spa.

 

2. Black Rock Lodge - A bird-watcher's paradise, Black Rock Lodge is a unique eco-lodge nestled in the dense rainforest above the Macal River in the Mayan Mountains of Belize, 2.5 hours west of Belize City, south of San Ignacio. Over 390 species of birds live around Black Rock’s property and the Lodge is one of the rare places in Central America where you can observe all three species of Toucan in one morning. They have 20 cabins with stunning views of Black Rock Canyon, the Macal River, and the surrounding rainforest and wildlife. Since 1989, Black Rock Lodge has been producing electricity with clean energy, through both solar and hydro power. They are very focused on conservation, both in terms of their own resource use and the surrounding ecology. In addition to bird watching they offer yoga, canoeing, river tubing, and hiking. 

 

3. Blancaneux Lodge - Blancaneaux is often frequented by celebrities and renowned for being a secluded getaway with spectacular views. As listed on their site, "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 resort was used as a family retreat before Francis opened his tropical paradise to the public in 1993. Blancaneaux Lodge is a 20-room luxury resort 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." This is one of two Coppola resorts in Belize. The other is Turtle Inn, another sustainably built lodge of villas. 

 

4. Hamanasi Dive Resorts - Hamanasi is very committed to sustainability, and has a section of their site devoted to their varied efforts and contributions to sustainable tourism. They  were recently recognized by the Belize Tourism Board for being the first beach resort in Belize to be Green Globe Certified and they have also received several other awards and certifications in their efforts for sustainability. Hamanasi offers rooms from $250/night on the low end up to $600 on the high end. Their resort offers a myriad of nature and culture focused activities, including scuba diving, snorkeling, bird watching, waterfall hikes, cave adventures, Mayan ruins, and river canoeing. 

 

5. Cotton Tree Lodge - For travelers looking for a true local culture experience, Cotton Tree Lodge is nestled between two Mayan villages and many of its employees live there. They actively donate school supplies to the local villages and encourage travelers to do the same if willing. Cotton Tree has a focus on sustainability and offers locally guided tours to Mayan villagesancient ruins, waterfalls, and caves. Activities available on the grounds include birdinghorseback ridingkayaking, swimming,medicinal plant walks, and off the grid yoga/massage

 

6. Turtle Inn - A diver's paradise, this other Coppola location has beachfront property and the villas feature outdoor showers and are made from restored wood, including intricate doorways Mr. Coppola and his wife found in Indonesia. They also own the dive shop across the street and offer a myriad of activities from ruins to cave exploring, which can be organized with their staff. 

 

7. Belcampo - Belcampo Belize is built on lands that dates back to the Classic Maya period -- around 600 AD -- when the Maya people used the Rio Grande river as an important transportation route to the sea. At the heart of Belcampo Belize is the Main Lodge with The Jungle Farm Restaurant, The Rum Bar, the Jungle Spa, lounge areas, a swimming pool, and observation decks that open to stunning vistas of the coast, the Maya Mountains and a seemingly endless pristine rain forest. Our 16 individual, spacious suites are well appointed with plush beds, screened fresh-air verandas, and spa-style bathrooms with floor to ceiling tropical rain forest views.  In only a few short years Belcampo Belize has grown from pioneering ideas of sustainable food production and agritourism to an award-winning, world-class destination welcoming discerning travelers from around the globe.

 

 

Incredible Scuba Diving and Nature Exploring Trip to Belize!

Itinerary:

May 2015

Days 1-5 in Placencia at Turtle Inn

Days 6-10 in Chaa Creek

Turtle Inn 5 stars overall experience / 5 stars sustainability / 4 stars cuisine

Francis Ford Coppola and his wife bought old restored wood from Indonesia, along with various old antique mirrors and other beautiful pieces that they used to build the huts at their resort in Placencia. The decor is gorgeous and no new trees were cut down in the making of their huts. The huts also have tons of plants and little birds living around them, so every day you wake up to birds singing and ocean sounds, and an amazing outdoor shower all to yourself. Turtle Inn is right on the beach and you can walk to snorkel right from your hut, or go lie on the floating platforms and relax. They have a dive shop directly across the main street and we took advantage of that to go diving 3 days. We saw turtles, lionfish, eels, rays, dolphins, tons of amazing and brightly colored fishes, and lobsters. They also offer a lionfish hunt where divers can learn to spearfish lionfish, who are an invasive species and are causing destruction to the eco-system. The chefs will cook up the fish for you after. We took time to explore the local village and experience local cuisine, which was excellent. The staff at Turtle Inn were incredible and so helpful. Turtle Inn is magical and It was such a wonderful and relaxing stay, I would love to go back. 

Chaa Creek - Overall experience 4.5 stars, Sustainability 5 stars, Cuisine 4 stars

Chaa Creek prides itself on being not only eco-friendly, but also giving back to the community. They run camps for local kids at no cost to the children to teach them about nature. They have walking tours where you can learn about plants and birds, and they use sustainable and reclaimed materials in their huts. They also promote nature tours offsite and work with local tour guides and protected parks to offer incredible experiences like Aktun Tunichil Muchnal - a cave with old Mayan relics and skulls which has been incredibly preserved and managed. A portion of all activities managed through Chaa go towards preservation of nature. For that reason alone I loved this place. Only thing lacking was any type of nightlife or happenings past 6pm. It gets very quiet and the only noise is the sound of the cicadas.