WHO SHOULD GO Beach bums and adventure-junkies will find Belize an easy getaway: no visas, language classes or serious jet-lag remedies required. Travel insiders have been talking up the country as the next hot Central American destination for a few years, extolling the virtues of its lush jungles, Mayan temples and pyramids, snorkeling-friendly reefs and overwater bungalows.
WHY NOW Belize’s wet season usually ends by mid-November and, like other Caribbean destinations, hotel rates rise sharply starting around Christmas.
HOW TO GET THERE Although some airlines begin their direct flights to Belize City in December, various Southern cities offer quick nonstop service year-round, including Miami, Houston, Dallas and Atlanta. In 2017, Southwest Airlines launched a nonstop flight from Denver.
WHERE TO STAY AND PLAY Four Seasons isn’t expected to debut in Belize until 2021 (in the form of a private island), and Blackadore Caye, an eco-resort owned by the actor Leonardo DiCaprio, hasn’t opened yet either. But even before those projects raise the high end of the Belizean hotel market, there are plenty of family-friendly options that meld luxury, sustainability and adventure.
On Ambergris Caye, Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club, Curio Collection by Hilton (from around $144 a night), Hilton Worldwide’s first hotel in Belize, offers a mini-town of sorts, complete with 205 British Colonial cottages and villas, a beach club with overwater cabanas, a full slate of restaurants and operators for just about every adventure imaginable, from scuba diving to cave tubing. Mahogany Bay will offer a classic Thanksgiving buffet featuring live music.
In Punta Gorda in the south, the eco-focused Copal Tree Lodge (from $261 a night) has the Copalli Rum distillery right on-site and a culinary team that sources most of its ingredients from the property. The hotel, which sits in the heart of the rainforest, also offers cooking classes (for children and adults), kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing expeditions and more.
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