We took a five-day trip to Belize to celebrate my dad’s wedding in early 2017. The wedding was held at Turtle Inn in Placencia, an intimate resort owned by Francis Ford Coppola. All of the wedding guests stayed in beachside cottages looking out onto the Pacific Ocean. We enjoyed tropical cocktails at the beachside bar, borrowed snorkeling equipment to explore the reefs right off their beach, and loved our private and spacious thatched cottage with outdoor shower.
Getting there: To get to the inn, we first flew from New York to Miami, then from Miami to Belize City. Then, we had to take a small prop plane from Belize City to Placencia—in fact, it was so small that one of the passengers sat in the cockpit with the pilot! The travel from New York was definitely the most difficult part of this trip. Be prepared to have an entire day go toward travel, involving multiple connections, baggage pickups and customs checkpoints.
What we did: Right after we arrived at Turtle Inn, we were whisked onto a helicopter tour over Belize’s rainforests and mountains. We loved getting to see a different side of Belize from the air.
The next day, Andrew and I went on a snorkeling trip to Laughing Bird Caye. We saw so many animals and coral types during our trip—huge sting rays, conchs, starfish as big as my head, an octopus, and even a few (non-threatening) sharks. I was a little seasick at first, until I learned a trick that helped me feel better: look straight down when you are snorkeling. For some reason, keeping my head level and looking straight at the ocean floor helped alleviate my seasickness. If you have trouble, try it yourself!
That night we went into the town of Placencia for dinner. We asked our cab driver for a recommendation, and he chose Omar’s, a local spot run by an artist, where we enjoyed spicy devil crab and lobster curry. The restaurant is BYOB, and you can pick up drinks at the market right across the street. Omar himself was there, and even called a cab for us after our meal.
The next day, I was able to have a massage at Turtle Inn. My masseuse was great, though way more hands on than I’m used to. She literally stood on my back at one point! The massage huts are secluded and private, but also open to the air so you can feel the sea breeze during your massage.
We also did a little bit of fishing at the resort that day and caught a few small tropical fish off the pier. Andrew was forced to use a pair of pliers and his shoe to get the poor fish off the hook, but we eventually got him free and released him.
Our fourth day was the wedding and then we had to start the trek back home early the next morning.
Our Honest Feelings on Belize: I must admit, zika virus was definitely a concern for us in going to Belize. We took the precaution of always wearing bug spray and reapplying multiple times a day, especially after swimming. We also followed our doctor’s recommendations and waited at least six months after our trip before trying to get pregnant. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant and traveling to Belize, the good news is we did not get bitten during our stay. The bad side is, I really do believe you should follow the CDC recommendation no matter what, and hold off for six months before trying to get pregnant, whether you are bitten or not.
While we loved the resort and all the experiences they set up for us, we were struck by the huge discrepancy between the high-end tourist hotels and the poverty of some of those living only a mile or so away in Placencia. Andrew and I rarely travel to beach resorts like this, and I think this is one of the reasons why it’s not our favorite type of travel. You really do center your whole vacation around the resort, whereas we like to wander and explore on our own, set our own itineraries and be more independent travelers.