Travel & Culture

Belizean Bliss

April 22, 2024

Elevated amenities and world-class snorkeling and diving make this Central American country a haven for your next luxe adventure. —Lise Boullard


With the first sip of our coconut rum, nutmeg and pineapple cocktail, and the first waft of warm Belizean breeze washing over us as our Fountaine Pajot Saona 47 yacht glided away from the Belize City boat launch, we knew this would be a trip unlike any other. Operated by Belize Sailing Vacations, Tranquilo features five private cabins and multiple opportunities for lounging, making it the ultimate escape for families, friends or couples to recharge and reconnect. On our two-night trip, two crew kept us moving gracefully through our lounge-snorkel-swim-eat-sleep-repeat schedule, ensuring smooth sailing on all fronts. After fun-filled days, we had some of the best sleep of our lives to the sound of lapping waves, and we won’t soon forget waking up to the view of the ocean horizon, then walking upstairs for a rum pancake, papaya and strawberry breakfast overlooking the sparkling sea. 


Covering 296 kilometres along the Mesoamerican Reef, the Belize Barrier Reef system is home to more than 500 fish species and one of the world’s top diving and snorkeling destinations. On our two snorkeling excursions with Belize Sailing Vacations, we swam in turquoise waters alongside a kaleidoscope of angelfish, blue tang, parrot fish, barracudas, Caribbean rays, Southern stingrays and brain coral. Later, we got a birds’ eye view of that same spot from six hundred feet up while flying over the famed Blue Hole—a 124-metre-deep sinkhole believed to have been formed during the last ice age—in our Tropic Air Cessna. |


With 38 beach houses set amidst white sand and swaying palms along 1.6 kilometres of Southern Belizean coastline, Naia Resort and Spa is a quintessential Caribbean paradise. The property is a 20-minute drive from the village of Placencia, but with complimentary bicycle rentals, sunrise yoga classes, a beachside pool and seaside hammocks, you may not feel the need to leave. The vibe is laid back, but the resort’s architecture and interior design is elevated, as evidenced by modern contemporary beach houses featuring French doors, high ceilings and natural wood craftsmanship. We felt like princesses taking a dip in our front deck plunge pool then sauntering over to our outdoor garden shower to rinse off before heading over to Naia Spa. 


The Naia Spa experience begins the moment you step foot on the path through a lush jungle forest across bridges and quiet streams to arrive at the spa reception. Pre-treatment, we sat in one of the outdoor lounge’s hanging rattan chairs, admiring the surroundings while sipping orange-infused ice water. After the masseuse soothed our sore muscles with locally sourced ginger and Ylang Ylang essential oils during our 90-minute Native Healing massage, we blissed out even more in the spa’s oasis-style pool. 


Featuring fresh-caught seafood, fragrant coconut and sun-ripened tropical fruit, Belizean cuisine is an ode to its local bounty. On our first night aboard Tranquilo, we celebrated with a meal of delicately flavoured coconut curry fish stew with coconut rice, followed by (you guessed it) coconut chocolate cakes drizzled with chocolate sauce. The next day, on our Taste of Caye Caulker food tour, everyone in our group raved about the addictively good crushed plantain tostones at Salty’s Restaurant and Beach Bar, topped with fresh local shrimp, guacamole and pico de gallo. At our last dinner in Placencia, the rich flakiness of Rumfish y Vino’s coffee-encrusted red snapper, served with tangy lime and cilantro rice was an exhilarating ending to an incredible trip. 


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