Top 8 eco resorts in Belize
Unbeatable resorts for eco-minded travellers heading to this jewel in the Caribbean.
Home to the world's second-largest coral reef, untouched jungle and kilometres of uninhabited coastline, Belize has recognised the importance of preserving its biodiversity right from day dot.
Now, eco-tourism in Belize is backed by hundreds of resorts across the country, heaps of wildlife preserves, remote community projects and the government, which introduced a nationwide ban on single-use plastics in 2019.
With all of this infrastructure already in place, it's not hard to be green when you holiday in Belize, especially if you stay at one of these eco-resorts.
Harbouring the perfect balance of natural beauty and all-inclusive luxury, this is the ideal place for a spa retreat turned jungle adventure.
- Regularly plants native trees as part of a reforestation program aiming to undo years of damage by loggers in the local area.
- Collects, filters and purifies rainwater, which is so clean that it can be used as drinking water.
- All of the kitchen's produce is grown in the resort's garden. The kitchen also makes its own cheese from goat's milk.
- Electricity is generated through solar panels and used to power LED lighting around the resort.
With ancient Mayan ruins right on its doorstep, in-spa facilities and private pools, it's no surprise that this eco-resort has won a number of awards for its 5-star setting.
- The resort is constructed primarily from wood that was sourced and fashioned within 48 kilometres of Ka'ana by local craftsmen.
- All artwork around the suites is commissioned by local artists.
- Organic soaps in the rooms were made just 13km away.
- It's part of the Pack for a Purpose initiative, which saw the reconstruction of a local school. The resort also generates funds to buy students school supplies and get them involved in sustainable practices.
- All produce in the kitchen is ethically and sustainably sourced, including the seafood, which helps combat overfishing off the coast of Belize.
- It has created and distributed more than 40 durable bins around the local community to promote recycling and discourage littering.
If you're searching for the most green-fingered resort in Belize, then Chaa Creek should be top of your list.
- 10% of all room revenue generated is reinvested into community outreach programs and environmental projects.
Guests are encouraged to participate in the Pack-a-Pound project, where pencils, books and other supplies are donated to the local schools.
- All of the 155 staff employed at the resort are from local towns and villages. Through their employment, they are educated on green practices around the hotel and in daily life.
- The resort is run completely on solar power and only LED lighting is used. Motion sensors and timed controls are in place to further reduce energy usage.
- Rainwater is harvested, filtered and stored for use in the dry season.
- Guests are given an aluminium water bottle on arrival to use at the rainwater drinking stations around the lodge.
Share the rainforest with parrots and toucans when you spend a night in one of these off-the-grid treehouses in West Belize.
- Provides all guests with clean drinking water refills, eliminating the need to buy plastic water bottles.
- All treehouses and cabins are made from natural materials, mainly recycled wood, and have been designed to interrupt the natural environment as little as possible. For this reason, it's remained the natural habitat for birds and mammals including toucans and agouti.
- All tours are booked through local operators who take care to provide an authentic and sustainable experience. Boat and bicycle tours are favoured over those that require motorised vehicles.
This rustic eco lodge, tucked 15km back from San Ignacio, gives even the most budget travellers a chance to experience the Belizean rainforest.
- 85% of electricity is generated through solar power and low-fluorescent lights are used to lower energy usage. These also reduce light pollution, which can affect nocturnal animals.
- An organic, on-site garden produces seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. Free-range chickens provide the lodge with eggs for breakfast.
- Glass and plastic recycling and the organic waste composting helps reduce waste.
- Only Belizean staff are hired and are provided free training in the hospitality industry.
Bocawina Rainforest Resort sits on 7,000 acres of protected jungle, laden with hidden lagoons, waterfalls and Mayan ruins.
- It's powered solely by an on-site hydroelectric power station and solar panels, which also gives life to the nifty solar-powered golf cart.
- Refillable shampoo and body wash dispensers are used in guests' bathrooms.
- Guests are discouraged from using single-use plastics, for example, disposable water bottles.
- The resort supports the local public library for the Garifuna Children of Hopkins through monthly donations. Guests are encouraged to help where they can.
- Fluorescent light bulbs are used in most areas along with motion-sensors to reduce the impact of light pollution on nocturnal animals and bird species.
Venture into the unexplored region of Toledo, where you'll find this hidden gem waiting for you.
- The on-site farm-to-table restaurant uses fruit and vegetables from its own organic farm.
- Free-range chickens are raised for eggs and meat, goats are raised for milk, and bacon is cured from the lodge's very own pigs.
- All 10 of the jungle cabanas are made from natural wood found locally and designed in a traditional Mayan style.
- Electricity and hot water are powered by solar panels as much as possible. A backup generator is used when the sun isn't shining.
- Rainwater is collected and filtered to create drinking water for guests.
This luxury eco-resort gives back to the local community and protects native landscapes as much as possible, without compromising your creature comforts.
- Sustainable hardwoods, pine, bamboo and locally crafted tiles were used to construct the buildings in a way that allows for natural airflow. This lessens the need for air conditioning.
- The lodge has installed a hydroelectric plant that utilises the natural flow of a nearby creek. This supplies the property with electricity. Excess energy is used to heat the pools in the spa.
- On-site organic gardens provide fruits, vegetables and herbs to the restaurant. Other food is sourced as locally as possible.
- The lodge works closely with local schools to educate children on the importance of conservation, habitat preservation and organic farming.
- It introduced a comprehensive recycling system whereby plastics, glass and paper is recycled and organic waste is composted.
Why we chose these accommodation options
All of these resorts share similar eco-initiatives to help achieve a sustainable future:
- They're involved in local community projects or wildlife conservation programs to help preserve the country's culture, heritage and landscapes for future generations.
- Whether it be through solar panels or hydroelectric systems, these resorts all have a system in place to move towards reusable energy sources.
- Collecting rainwater is an essential part of being green in Belize. This is because it can be used to provide drinking water, run showers and toilets and maintain gardens during the dry season.
- Fertile soil is abundant in Belize, which makes growing produce organically and raising animals relatively easy. By growing their own food and sourcing locally, these resorts lessen their carbon emissions.
What to know before you go to Belize
- There's no need to buy water in Belize. Most resorts filter rainwater and provide it to guests free of charge. Consider taking a reusable bottle with you.
- During the dry season, Belize is prone to droughts, especially on the islands. Do your bit by taking shorter showers and turning the tap off while brushing your teeth.
- Speak to a professional before you go out swimming on the reef and educate yourself on all of the dos and don'ts in the water. A couple of general rules are to not touch the coral and to avoid kicking up the sand onto the coral.
- Much of Belize is still covered by wilderness that can only be visited with an experienced guide. If you decide to venture out to other parts by yourself, make sure you understand what to do in case you come face-to-face with large mammals. Also, try to avoid getting too close to animal habitats.
Things to avoid when booking eco-resorts in Belize
- Avoid resorts that work with unethical tour operators. These include boats that anchor up too close to the coral reef and allow touching or feeding of wild animals. Any careless behaviour should be reported to the Belize Tourist Industry Association.
- Despite efforts, over-fishing of certain species is still a problem in Belize. Avoid resorts that encourage eating these fish and check for sustainable menu options.
- Buy local rather than imported goods. However, be aware that some illegal products are still in circulation. These include jewellery and toiletries made from sea turtles, trinkets made from exotic birds feathers and furs of ocelots. Avoid accommodation and shops that encourage you to buy these products.
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