Belize, Three Ways

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia - - / HIDEAWAY / -

BELIZE HAS LONG BEEN big with adventure travelers, who come to dive the world’s second-longest barrier-reef system, hike through Mayan ruins and see wildlife in the dense jungles of the interior. The only catch: upscale hotels were always in short supply.

That’s changing. Last December, I visited three sophisticated new properties—Coral Caye, Naia Resort & Spa and Mahogany Bay—that offer wellness experiences, chic suites and premium privacy. More are coming within the year, including the Samuel Amoia–designed Itz’ana Resort & Residences in the bohemian beach village of Placencia and Leonardo DiCaprio’s eco-friendly privateisland resort, Blackadore Caye.

Despite all the development, Belize still feels earthy and untouched. The beaches on its more than 200 cays are uncrowded, and the people, whose heritages include mestizo, Mayan, Creole and Garifuna, are warm and welcoming. Choose among the new hotels for the Belize experience that best suits you.

The Central American country has always offered plenty of activities, and now, Erin Riley discovers, there are even more luxe resorts to match its pristine beaches and rain forest.

The sprawling Naia Resort & Spa on Placencia Peninsula.

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