Sirenian Bay Placencia Belize beach (2) 1-3-22 copy

The Best of Belize


September 5, 2023
Words by Sarah Padilla
Photos courtesy of Sirenian Bay Resort & Villas

At less than 9,000 square miles, Belize is one of the smallest countries in Central and South America, and it also boasts the lowest population density. However, don’t let its size deceive you – this tiny tropical getaway is rich in adventure, personality, culture, and romance.

Belize is a diverse melting pot with an exceptionally varied landscape, making it an ideal choice for couples struggling to decide on their destination wedding vibe. Are you seeking adventure or relaxation? Do you prefer the jungle or the beach? Latin American or Caribbean ambiance? Luxury or a laid-back atmosphere?

For those yearning for a bit of everything, Placencia, a 16-mile-long peninsula near the country’s southern border, is the perfect destination. Once a humble fishing community, Placencia has evolved into a burgeoning tourist hotspot where vibrant restaurants, bars, and accommodations overlook the pristine Caribbean Sea on one side and a mangrove lagoon on the other. Most of the area’s restaurants, shops, and excursion options are concentrated at the southernmost tip, while various accommodations catering to every taste and budget span the length of the peninsula.

One standout option is Sirenian Bay Resort & Villas, situated roughly at the midpoint of the peninsula. This exquisite property offers 12 beachfront bungalows and four family-style villas, ideal for a romantic retreat for two or to accommodate your entire guest list (the resort can host about 80 guests). Sirenian Bay’s wedding planner can help you create the celebration of your dreams, whether it’s a simple elopement ceremony on the beach or a more elaborate reception for up to 150 people. Despite the resort’s small staff size, they are devoted to meticulous attention to detail, ensuring your stay matches your expectations.

Onsite dining options range from casual poolside fare to an intimate wine-tasting room and the three60 Martini Bar, a rooftop open-air bar boasting an extensive cocktail menu and stunning views. The villas are equipped with complete kitchens and dining areas, and the resort also offers all-inclusive options, a rare find in Belize.

Sirenian Bay features a full-service spa (ever tried a chocolate body wrap?), a fitness center, multiple pools, a mini-golf course, two pickleball courts, and a private white-sand beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. Bicycles and kayaks are available for additional exploration. Guests at the resort could easily spend their entire Belize vacation simply enjoying these amenities and return home feeling blissfully relaxed.

However, opting for this could mean missing out on one of Belize’s most remarkable offerings: adventure!

Belize is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts, and the journey begins upon your arrival in Belize City. From there, you can either take a small puddle jumper for a 30-minute flight to Placencia (not recommended for those with a fear of flying!) or explore the landscape via a rental car or public transportation, which takes about three hours to reach the peninsula.

Belize has been a prime scuba-diving destination for decades, home to one of the world’s most impressive and largest barrier reefs. Snorkeling alongside nurse sharks, manta rays, and sea turtles off the coast of tiny islands, known as The Cayes, is another beloved activity. If fishing is your passion, you might just reel in a barracuda or marlin.

Inland, Belizean jungles beckon adventure seekers. Options include zip-lining above the jungle canopy, rappelling down waterfalls, tubing through caves and rivers, and exploring via ATV. The historically Mayan region also offers unique cultural experiences, such as tours of impressive ruins in various stages of excavation and visits to modern-day rudimentary Mayan chocolate farms.

While numerous tour and excursion companies operate in the area, consider Captain Jak’s – a reputable group offering rentals, snorkel and dive classes, and a wide variety of water and land adventures.

No matter how you choose to spend your time in Belize, one thing is almost guaranteed: Belizean people are warm and welcoming. With strong Latin American, Caribbean, African, and Mayan influences, the people of this diverse nation genuinely look forward to showcasing all the unique experiences their country has to offer – and there are plenty. Belizean hospitality is second to none.

Andrew Usher, a Belize native and the managing director of Sirenian Bay, sums it up: “Two things we excel at here are culture and adventure, and we’re proud to share that with the world.”

Belize is a country that thrives on the fusion of multiple cultures. What better place to embark on your own adventure together?

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • English is the official language of Belize, a member of the British Commonwealth (they gained independence in 1981).
  • Many Belizean businesses accept U.S. dollars.
  • Belize’s rainy season is from June to November. While you may or may not encounter rain, you can expect high humidity levels of around 85%.
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