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There are dozens or even hundreds of places in Belize that refer to themselves as resorts, but very few of them are “resorts” in the sense that many people think of when they hear that term. If you are looking for a large hotel on 1,000 acres with a championship golf course, tennis courts, and a dozen different restaurants and bars all within the grounds, look elsewhere. There are a few large chain hotels on the outskirts of Belize City, but even they aren’t full-blown resorts in this sense. Just about everything in Belize operates on a small scale.
Don’t get us wrong, there are loads of excellent properties where you can indulge your upscale fantasies while on holiday in Belize, they just come in a packaging that isn’t your typical giant resort. First off, Belize is the only English-speaking country in the region, and it also has a vibe that feels much more like a Caribbean island than its Central American neighbors. The country only has around 300,000 residents and most of the better-known resort communities have only a few thousand each, and some far fewer.
Where to find resorts in Belize
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There are fancier upscale hotels in almost all the main tourism cities in Belize, but the main concentration of them are on Ambergris Caye and in its main town of San Pedro. If you are a “resort person” thinking of taking a long holiday in one spot in Belize, this is the place. But be aware that while Ambergris is lovely, the country’s best beaches are down in Placencia. If your idea of a vacation is parking yourself on an otherwise-empty plot of sand for a week, you should check out the Placencia Peninsula.
All resorts are not created equally
“Resorts” on Belize – according to their own names and internet searches – can be anything from one luxurious house for rent all the way up to a large complex with many dozens of rooms. Particularly on Ambergris Caye, the luxury possibilities go way up the scale. This isn’t the French Riveria, but there are plenty of places that know how to treat guests with some money. And speaking of money, even the high-end hotels in Belize are quite affordable compared to similar properties in the South Pacific. If you are normally a 2 or 3-star traveler elsewhere you may well be able to move up to 4 or 5-star here without spending any more money.
The resorts in Belize rarely have full menus of included activities, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be much to do. Since everything is so small and compact, most properties are a few minutes on foot to diving and snorkeling companies, as well as dozens or small restaurants and bars. Since prices tend to be low and competition is high, it’s usually cheaper to mix and match all these things yourself on an a la carte basis instead of paying one huge price for things you may not take advantage of.
Check the features carefully
When searching for resorts in Belize with all this in mind, make sure you closely inspect what is on offer. The loose definition of the term in Belize means that a place calling itself a resort might just be a slightly nicer than average hotel, while a “resort” next door might be plush enough for a royal honeymoon. The good news is that you generally get what you pay for here. If an $80 a night place sits next to a $150 a night place, you can be sure that the expensive one will be much nicer, and not just more effective at marketing itself.