Advisor Adventures

Belize Bound: A Central American Adventure
August 9, 2023

I recently got back from Belize, which was a wonderful tropical excursion! I am especially grateful to my sponsor, Memorable Belize for curating a personal, beautiful, and informative time in Belize. I was struck by how knowledgeable everyone was, and their commitment to and love for their country. 

Monday – Arrival 

I arrived in Belize and was picked up by a friendly driver. Our drive was through the lowlands, offering a glimpse of Belize’s natural beauty and an opportunity for him to explain the history of the sugar cane we were passing. We arrived at Chaa Creek Resort, a beautiful resort that directs 10% of all accommodation revenue to environmental and community projects. As I got to my room, I discovered one particularly unique aspect of this resort: the incorporation of butterflies into the stay. Upon arrival, guests are given larvae in their room that hatch the next day as butterflies! The butterflies then go to their beautiful butterfly farm.

We did our tour of Chaa Creek. The resort offers exciting and relaxing activities for all ages. Their complimentary amenities include canoeing, bird watching, and a natural history center. They also have helicopter and cave tours on offer. 

We then visited the Ka’Ana Resort, where I had the unique opportunity to cook with two Mayan sisters. Together, we prepared empanadas using fresh  hand picked ingredients from their garden. We used traditional cooking techniques passed down through generations, rolling tamales in palm leaves and placing them to cook on an outside grill. This experience was a unique way to connect to the culture of Belize, and it was gratifying to cook our lunch authentically.

After a full morning and afternoon, I spent the evening relaxing at Chaa Creek.

Butterflies at Chaa Creek

Chaa Creek Lodge

Cooking empanadas

Tuesday – Waterfall Hike 

Another day of exploration awaited as I joined a guided onsite tour at Chaa Creek to visit the medicinal plant trail, butterfly farm, and other amenities the resort offers. My favorite was the butterfly garden– I was amazed at how vibrant the colors were and highly recommend spending time in there just enjoying the beauty.

At noon we visited the Gaïa Riverlodge, nestled in Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve on top of a waterfall. The Lodge is a sustainable hotel operating off of hydropower. After lunch, we set out on a guided forest bathing hike, learning about the plant life in the forest reserve. Our hike led us to a beautiful waterfall with a small beach where the falling water pooled. We sipped refreshing drinks and ate fresh fruits, which felt like a tropical oasis.

After a full day, the evening was free to unwind and sneak in some work back at Chaa Creek.

Beautiful view at Gaïa Riverlodge

Part of our hike

Wednesday – Chocolate and Visits

Following breakfast at Chaa Creek, we had a scenic drive to the Central Coast of Belize near Placencia. The drive through the mountains offered breathtaking views, reminding me of the country’s diverse landscapes.

Upon arrival, we enjoyed a delicious lunch and a tour of Naia Resort & Spa, a beachfront property with beautiful rooms and a rejuvenating spa area. They offer a variety of accommodations, from private villas and houses to more hotel-style rooms. There’s plenty to do there, from aerial yoga to tours of Mayan sites and spice farms.

That afternoon we visited the Sub Umbra Floreo farm, a cocoa farm where we saw the process of chocolate making. Our guide showed us how they extracted the beans from the fruit, and then we went to try some chocolate for ourselves. The coconut-infused chocolate was divine, and I bought some to bring home.

We then visited Chabil Mar. A unique aspect of the resort is the access to the Placencia village. The location is a real draw because it offers both seclusion and the opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture as you so desire. 

Our last visit of the night was to the Itz’Ana Resort, where we stayed. We arrived to handwritten greeting cards from the staff made out of recycled paper with seeds in it which you then have the opportunity to plant. I felt truly welcomed there. The resort is spacious, stylish, and beautiful, with a natural decor style. They offered a range of activities, from complimentary paddle boards and kayaks to ziplining to snorkeling. Another adventure they offer is a lesson in throwing a cast net with an expert, and then you get to catch a fish and cook it on the beach afterward! For those looking for a more relaxing time, the resort offers a beautiful spa, individual plunge pools, and a speakeasy. 

If you’re looking to get out into the city, there is a $5 10-minute shuttle to the lively Palencia, making this location a great option if you’re looking for some separation but also easy access from the city. We took this opportunity to go to Rumfish, a gastro bar in the city. The outdoor seating offers beautiful views, and they have a wonderful wine list in addition to Belizean and international food. 

Dining space at Naia Resort & Spa

Room at Itz’Ana

Thursday – Private island 

After breakfast, we took a beautiful boat ride to a private island, Royal Island. We had the whole island to ourselves to explore. There was an overwater bungalow resort with an all-inclusive option. We had many options for the day, from water sports to relaxing in a hammock by the beach. We then transferred to Thatch Caye Resort, where I opted for snorkeling as we were at the 2nd best snorkeling spot in the world, right beside the Great Barrier Reef. The clear water allowed us to see all sorts of marine life, though beware the occasional spot of seaweed! Seeing and getting to hold starfish was the highlight for me.

I really enjoyed this luxurious experience. Everyone at this location was so friendly and social, and I appreciated the time I had getting to know the island’s people better. One of my favorite things that I learned about was the thatch roofs around Belize. Indigenous lore has always held that you can only harvest thatch from palm trees during a full moon. Research has proven this to be true as the moisture levels are at their lowest during this time which prevents mold and bugs.

Hammock at Royal Island 

Starfish at Royal Island 

Beach front at Iza’Ana

Personal plunge pool at Iza’Ana

Friday – Departure 

On Friday, it was time to return home, and we took a plane from the local Placencia airport to Belize City. The airport is small and easy to navigate. We deplaned on the tarmac and then headed inside for our trip back to the States. 

Plane from Placencia

With its diverse landscapes, rich heritage, and warm hospitality, Belize was a truly captivating destination. The locations I visited would be perfect for honeymooners and families alike. I appreciate that you can be as adventurous as you want or simply enjoy the kick-back tropical atmosphere. The nearby rainforest is very calm, and you can hear the rivers flowing, which makes it a perfect place to unwind. Everyone I met working at the resorts was knowledgeable about Belize– its history, the best places to visit, and best travel practices. The food, particularly the seafood, is delicious and fresh, and most places I visited had their own gardens on site. Belize is focused on sustainability and preserving its natural beauty, so this is an excellent location for those looking to be environmentally conscious as they travel.