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Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Author: Elle Canada

Travel

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

 

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Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Adventurer: Go inland

Much of what you hear about Belize has to do with its beaches, but the interior, with its lush jungle, gentle mountains, ancient ruins and small towns, is not to be missed and can be a welcome reprieve from your typical sunbathing-with-a-cocktail-in-hand vacation. Put your hiking shoes on and get set to explore the nooks and crannies of Belize’s western side. READ MORE: Florence Black Book: An insider's guide to the Italian city

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: Getty Images Credits: ELLE Canada

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Adventurer: Hit the road

Book a car and drive from Belize City Airport to the inland town of San Ignacio. On the trip, which takes just under two hours, you’ll make your way from the coast through the central, mainly flat part of the country before ending up in the hills of San Ignacio. Once there, you’ll see why it’s one of the most popular destinations in Belize. READ MORE: Verona Black Book: An insider's guide to the Italian city

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: Instagram/amber.sea.witch Credits: ELLE Canada

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Adventurer: Take in some Mayan ruins

The nearby Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech date back to 1000 B.C., and the 34 structures provide perfect climbing ground for those seeking Instagram-worthy snaps. If a water adventure appeals, a part-trekking, part-swimming tour through Actun Tunichil Muknal (in English, “the Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre”) will have you retracing the footsteps of Mayan queens. Just make sure you’re at a Beyoncé level of fitness because the trek is challenging. READ MORE: One perfectly imperfect day in Florence, Italy

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: Justin Harrington Credits: ELLE Canada

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Adventurer: Where to stay

The Cahal Pech Village Resort is just a short walk from the ruins, making it perfect for culture fans who want to spend the day exploring the Mayan world and the night swinging in a hammock on a porch. The resort features 24 thatched-roof cabanas decked out in traditional woods and fabrics, all perfectly situated for enjoying the Belizean sunsets and sunrises. READ MORE: One perfect day in Verona, Italy

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: Cahal Pech Village Resort Credits: ELLE Canada

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Relaxer: Head to the beach

Placencia, a sleepy town on the southern coast of the country, is the perfect spot to turn off your iPhone (except for when you’re taking some Insta pics, of course), unplug your devices and truly unwind. The small stretch of land is fringed with more than 25 kilometres of beach with coral-studded cays, an inviting lagoon and endless opportunities for me time. READ MORE: A beauty editor's guide to staying in New York during Fashion Week

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: Singing Sands Inn Credits: ELLE Canada

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Relaxer: Get on a boat

Sailing along the coast of Belize is the travel equivalent of adding 30 extra massage minutes to your normal pedicure: pure bliss. Rum-spiked drink in hand, take in that golden sunset from a yacht, and we guarantee the stresses of yesterday will melt away. Plus, you’ll see sunsets like this. Need we say more? READ MORE: Cambodia's islands of change

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: Justin Harrington Credits: ELLE Canada

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Relaxer: Where to stay

With just six cabanas and four apartments dotting an intimate stretch of beach, the Singing Sands Inn is a hidden gem where you could simply fall off the grid if you wanted to. (But a few selfies wouldn’t hurt.) If you don’t want to take a dip in the ocean, you can enjoy a more private soak in the lushly lined pool while sipping from fresh, chilled coconuts. READ MORE: Travel memoir: Lands of contradiction

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: Singing Sands Inn Credits: ELLE Canada

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Relax: Shop for souvenirs

Tucking into traditional dishes and decadent chocolate sweets at the Singing Sands restaurant might make you never want to leave. But if you do decide to venture away from your tropical retreat, grab a bike or golf cart and zip into the tiny village for a scoop of ice cream and some locally handcrafted souvenirs. READ MORE: A perfect day at the beach: Antigua

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: Getty Images Credits: ELLE Canada

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Partier: Go island-hopping

After a few days of hiding away in Placencia, hop on a 12-seater plane and rise above the clouds on your way to San Pedro. With a year-round population of just over 10,000, the charming island town that inspired Madonna’s 1987 hit “La Isla Bonita” is the happening spot in Belize. Its bustling streets are a lively contrast to typical beach towns (a night spent bar-hopping is a must), and it’s a stone’s throw from the sand if you have the beach on your mind. READ MORE: Island upgrade: The Dominican Republic

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: Getty Images Credits: ELLE Canada

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Partier: Go swimming with sharks

We’re not talking great whites here – nurse sharks are much smaller and tamer than Jaws, and they live along the coral reef (which happens to be the second-largest in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef). Snorkel here to spy some of them, along with giant sea turtles and colourful fish, while admiring the intricate coral creations. The reef is also a scuba divers haven. READ MORE: What to pack for a beach getaway

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: Instagram/surfzach Credits: ELLE Canada

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Partier: Where to stay

Once you’ve explored San Pedro, hop into a water taxi and head north to the X’tan Ha Resort on Ambergris Caye. It’s a more secluded part of the island but is still close to the action (so you’re just a short boat ride away from a night out). Book a room with a view because you’ll never tire of seeing palm trees against an ocean backdrop. READ MORE: Jamaica: Swim Another Day

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: Justin Harrington Credits: ELLE Canada

Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller

Partier: Indulge in some day drinking

X'tan Ha Resort also happens to sit on a stretch of water that brings to mind an Erdem watercolour floral print with shades of turquoise and vivid blues. Park yourself at the swim-up bar for an afternoon and order extravagant fruity cocktails before dining on local fare at the resort restaurant. READ MORE: Set-jetting in Jamaica: James Bond movie locations

By: Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington Source: X'tan Ha Resort Credits: ELLE Canada
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Tropical Escape: Belize for every traveller