I have developed a habit of planning trips based on amazing hotels and resorts I've seen in magazines like Conde Nast, Travel and Leisure or Afar. I see them, tear the pages out, tape them to the wall and proclaim "I am sooo going there one day!" I have to remind myself that traveling usually isn't about where you sleep but more so the adventures and experiences you have in a new place.
Having said that, this was one of those trips that surrounded two resorts I have been coveting for years.
My husband and I always like to go somewhere new and wonderful for our anniversaries.
Francis Ford Coppola has several resorts that have been taped to my wall for a very long time. So I pulled the travel trigger and booked 4 nights each at Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn in Belize.
I won't lie and I'll share with you, that this was a bit of a splurge for us. We spent what I thought was quite a lot for this trip but it did include round-trip airfare from LA to Belize City, a 3 hour van transfer from the airport to Blancaneaux, 4 nights in a Luxury Cabana, another 3-hour van transfer to Turtle Inn and 4 nights in a Seafront Cottage.
(We scored an upgrade through my awesome travel agent Dori Peterson at Cadence Travel.)
Oh, and it included a flight from Turtle Inn (Placencia) back to Belize City. So, maybe it was a pretty good deal.
Blancaneaux was our first stop.
As you can see, these cabanas are gorgeous. Ours was #12. This is the furthest and most secluded room at Blancaneaux. Once a Coppola family retreat, it's now a luxury eco retreat. Set up on a hillside in Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve. They are surrounded by lush vegetation and the sound of the river below. We had our very own private patio with a large plunge pool and views of the thick jungle surrounding us. We spent every night sitting in our lounge chairs watching the spectacular show of stars gleaming in the sky. There is no light pollution here so if you're a city girl like me, this will mesmerize you and make it difficult to go to bed.
I lingered in this outdoor shower way too long every day. Staring out past our pool into the jungle wishing my warm breezy shower would never end.
I assume you can see why.
An 11,000-gallon hot tub heated by the resorts hydroelectric plant was the perfect spot for me to relax with one of the resorts jaguar juice cocktails and a book.
This hot tub has made serval lists of the most unique, secluded, romantic and just most beautiful hot tubs in the world.
There are plenty of activities outside of the resort you can sign up for, but we just couldn't leave the serenity of our surroundings. The one outing we did was the local hike to Big Rock Waterfall. An up and down hour-long hike through the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve leads you to a roaring waterfall with multiple pools to soak in as a reward for your efforts of getting there.
Reluctantly leaving Blancaneaux, we traveled for three hours on a rocky dirt road (1 hour of the drive actually) to the town of Placencia. The second of my coveted resorts was awaiting us, Turtle Inn.
This is a luxury seaside resort with 25 Balinese styled cottages sitting on the Caribbean.
Some serious lounge time was about to go down, again.
Not once did we take an indoor shower at either resort. How could you pass this up?
Can you find your happy place here?
Turtle Inn has complimentary bikes that are the perfect way to cruise into the colorful town of Plancencia.
16 miles of perfect beaches with rowdy colorful beach bars where you can sip a rum drink with your feet in the sand.
Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce is a staple that you will find on every table in Belize. If you like HOT SAUCE you're going to want to stock up on a bunch of these while you're here and bring them home. You can't find these here in the states.
So painfully good!
If you're coming to Belize, you can't NOT go snorkeling. Belize is one of the best diving and snorkeling areas in the world. We have been fortunate to snorkel in a lot of wonderful places but this moved into the number one spot for us.
We used a popular company called Splash Dive Center which was a 15 minute walk from the resort.
This is no booze cruise. They motor you out to the Silk Cayes where you will experience the textbook visual delight off deserted islands. We were in the good hands of a guide whose knowledge of the underwater world was overwhelming and appreciated.
I'm sure you can now understand my wanting to experience these two resorts.
Belize is a country of amazing ancient ruins, fascinating culture and natural wonders. We didn't get our fill on these activities and many would say it's a shame to not see one of the many ruins that Belize is famous for. We were content with our gluttonous relaxation.
You should try it someday.
I started this blog so that I could document and share my adventures in travel, photography, food and the things that inspired me. It's a work in progress as are most things in life.