Beachfront Villas near Renowned Snorkeling
Belize is considered one of the best snorkeling destinations in all of the Caribbean. Its 180-mile barrier reef—the second longest in the world—is dotted with hundreds of dive sites, and two of the best are located just off the coast of Ambergris Caye. The north end of the island is home to La Perla del Caribe, a hotel comprising Mediterranean-style villas situated along 5 acres of secluded beachfront. By law, no building on the island can stand taller than the tallest coco palm, so you’ll enjoy unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea at every turn.
During a stay at La Perla del Caribe, you can explore the island’s renowned underwater world—a portion of the barrier reef runs past the hotel. Other nearby snorkeling sites, such as the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, harbor green morays and more than 160 fish species. In nearby Shark Ray Alley, you can swim amid nurse sharks and stingrays.
To take in the sights from above the sea’s surface, stroll to the edge of the 350-foot pier or rent a complimentary kayak and keep an eye out for lobsters and octopi as you paddle. In town, fuel up with local Caribbean cuisine at one of the many seafood restaurants.
Back at the hotel, individually designed villas await, each outfitted with artisan-crafted furniture. The two-bedroom villas—the most modern-looking of the bunch—are located closest to the water. In villa Sand, hand-hewn walls and mahogany floors share space with Guatemalan antiques. Mexican tiles and Moroccan bedding add bursts of color to the contemporary villa Amber, and you can enjoy the balmy ocean breeze from a hand-woven hammock on the porch at villa Emerald. All villas seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor space, which enhances the tropical vibe.
Ambergris Caye, Belize: Small Island near World’s Second-Largest Barrier Reef
Recognized by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the World’s Best Islands in 2011, Ambergris Caye sits just off the northeastern coast of mainland Belize. By law, none of the island's buildings can be taller than the highest coco palm, which helps create a serene, unspoiled vibe. The entire island is only about 25 miles long and 1 mile wide, but its varied ecosystems range from low sand ridges to lagoons and mangrove swamps.
Hop aboard a speedboat or glass-bottom boat to reach the Belize Barrier Reef, which lies about 10 minutes away. It's part of the second-longest barrier reef in the world and was designated an UNESCO World Heritage site for its biological diversity. The reef shelters a remarkable variety of sea life, including nearly 500 species of fish and rare, massive West Indian manatees that can reach the size of a compact car.
The town of San Pedro is situated on Ambergris’s southern end. Formerly a small fishing village, it’s now home to various boutiques, which stock artisan crafts ranging from ziricote woodcarvings to Guatemalan jewelry.
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