Even a single gal like myself canít help but notice Belize’s romantic aura. The coconut trees on not-so-distant islands, the rainforests with waterfalls, the fresh water rivers and birds that greet at sunrise, and the towering Mayan temples–it’s no wonder more couples than ever flock to Belize for their weddings, honeymoons or just a private getaway. Even ABC’s The Bachelor headed here for some romantic dates (the episode aired in February 2012).
Add a lack of monstrous high rises, no chain resorts, and fewer crowds: it’s hard to beat in Central America and the Caribbean.
Couple relaxing on the dock at Sea Dreams Hotel, Caye Caulker – © Lebawit Girma
Romance in Belize can be as easy as walking along the shores of Caye Caulker or laying on a dock on a starlit night.
But there are a few other unique places and ways to experience the magic, when you’re on a special voyage a deux. You won’t be able to do it all on a short visit, but you can at least select a couple.
- Swim and picnic by waterfalls: Belize has stunning falls and parks, particularly if you head inland to some of the less crowded spots. Good choices include Butterfly Falls by†Hidden Valley Inn in the Cayo District, or Rio Blanco National Park, just an hour’s drive outside the southern town of Punta Gorda. More than likely, you’ll be the only ones there. Another beautiful day trip would be to the Blue Hole National Park.
- Rent an island: Belize’s offshore islands or cayes (pronounced “keys”) are straight out of a Caribbean postcard. Over a dozen have small on site resorts, from charming cottages to higher end villas. Better yet, you can rent an entire caye to yourselves, complete with staff. Look into the two-acre French Louie Caye for three day stays or week-long stays. If you have even more cash available, you might want to rub elbows with jet setters at the exclusive Cayo Espanto.
Swimming hole at the Blue Hole National Park – © Lebawit Girma
- Stay in the rainforest: Many a time I’ve found myself deep in nature in Belize, whether camping out or staying in a luxury cottage, wishing I were sharing the experience with someone special. For the upscale, try the treehouse at Ian Anderson’s Caves Branch in Cayo- a favorite jungle lodge among couples and honeymooners for its well organized and unique set of extreme adventure activities. Other great choices include Black Rock Lodge, set above the Macal River in Cayo, or Chan Chich Lodge in the north–Belize’s very first jungle lodge,a veritable birding paradise set on a 130,000 acre nature reserve, where guests have spotted jaguars and ocelots on their hikes.
- Escape to Glover’s Reef Atoll: Stargaze, camp out on the beach or cozy up in a seafront cottage or villa with views of the Belize Barrier Reef. Besides being one of the most secluded and beautiful atolls in Belize, Glover’s Reef is ideal if you love watersports and don’t wish to take day-long tours to get to the best snorkeling and dive spots in Belize. Stay on Glover’s Southwest Caye–either with Isla Marisol, if you’re a creature of comfort, or with Island Expeditions, which runs an adventure tent camp on the north end of the island.
- Brave the Mayan underworld together: A fast-paced, mucky cave hike together can be romantic and fun at the same time. How many couples can say they’ve braved dark Mayan caves and spotted skeletal remains together? Your best bet is the Actun Tunichil Muknal adventure in Cayo.
- Spend a weekend in Crooked Tree Village: From Belize City, drive or catch the Jex bus to Crooked Tree, a charming Creole village where everyone knows each other and where you can stay in a lagoon front guesthouse, surrounded by the protected Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, home to some of Belize’s most impressive bird life. Go horseback riding, or rise at dawn to go kayak-birding across the lake, and lunch at local eateries.
- Hop on a sunset boat ride for two: While staying on Caye Caulker, get whisked away at sunset on a boat for two, and while you wait for the sun to go down, let your boat captain make fresh conch ceviche.
- Hideaway at a jungle spa resort: Just have a weekend? Fly into Belize City, then get a ride to Maruba Resort Jungle Spa, only 33 miles away, for a couple of days of spa indulgence. The Mood Mud massage is a must – prepare to disrobe completely and get covered in mud, head to toe, before soaking in a massive outdoor hot tub.
And of course, you can have your quiet candlelit beachfront dinners, climb up Mayan temples together or just relax in your hammock.
~ Lebawit Lily Girma