Travel to Beautiful Belize in Luxury and Explore.

By Alice Foerster, Contributor

Before the hotel

Belize has been on my shortlist for travel for quite some time. I especially had my eye on it the last few months as many places were closed to US travelers, but Belize remained largely open. I was hoping to make my trip a couple of weeks earlier, but when I found out a Marriott property was finally opening, I delayed my trip to align to the opening day of the new Alaia Autograph Collection.

The country is currently allowing US travelers who are fully vaccinated (at least two weeks from their final shot) to travel into the country without testing. I got my Johnson & Johnson vaccine one month before this trip to make my travel easier to this and other countries to come. Ahead of my trip, I had to download the Belize Travel Health app, fill out a questionnaire, obtain the QR code, and agree to the tracking while I was in Belize. I would also need to get a COVID test within two days of returning to the US per US regulations.

PRO TIP: Research the most up-to-date travel and entry requirements and make sure you can comply. I downloaded the Belize Travel Health app a couple of days ahead of my trip (and save a screenshot of my QR code in case I had issues accessing it once I arrived in Belize) and confirmed the hotel could arrange the required re-entry testing before I began my travels. I am storing my vaccination card in my passport. I also have pictures of both on my phone and printed copies that I keep in my luggage. The hotel reached out via email ahead of my trip and I had them arrange my hopper flight from BZE (the main airport for international travel) to the tiny San Pedro airport, where the hotel is located.

PRO TIP: Contact your hotel ahead of your travel to understand the best way to get to their property from the airport. Have them arrange transportation or provide you detailed directions for when you arrive.

The Flight

The connection into Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport / PGIA (BZE) from Delta (out of ATL) was easy and efficient. The airport is as small as you would expect, but the steps through are easy to follow and you can move through quickly. The Alaia arranged my flight on Tropic Air from PGIA over to the tiny airport in San Pedro. The plane was decidedly non-jet equipment, and I took the opportunity to get a picture during boarding. One of the disadvantages to traveling alone is having to rely on the kindness of strangers to get in pictures other than selfies (which I am terrible at!).

As I was waiting at the gate, I had been chatting with a local girl, Nadine, who was heading home from DC to visit family and she took pics of me in front of the plane. As I expect most people were heading for vacation, no one seemed annoyed with the brief delay in boarding as we took a few quick pics. Nadine then boarded ahead of me and to my surprise was seated in the co-pilot seat. My disappointment at missing out on that opportunity was short-lived, as Nadine was only traveling to the first stop, and I was able to move into the co-pilot seat for the second half of the flight! If you can snag this opportunity, I highly recommend it! Although every seat in the tiny planes will afford great views, it is quite a thrill to get the pilot’s perspective!

PRO TIP: If you are in a tiny plane, you may want to count the pilots to see if boarding first might allow you to experience sitting in the cockpit! Upon arrival at the San Pedro airport, I was met by a greeter with the Alaia sign, who directed me to the driver and assisted with my bag. From there it was a short trip to the hotel through narrow streets occupied mostly by golf carts, which is the most common form of transportation here.

Alaia Autograph Collection Hotel by Marriott

The Arrival

The entrance of the Alaia Belize Autograph Collection Hotel is a grand affair. The sweeping walls of the buildings tower above, culminating in round skylights through the bottom of the rooftop swimming pool six stories overhead. The driftwood bench leads your eye through to the main pool deck, with the crystalline waters beyond. Entering the lobby was a predictably beachy décor but was elegant in a way that reminded me of Rick’s Bar in the movie Casablanca.

This vibe was reinforced as I walked through to the Piano Bar in the back. The white baby grand piano was luxurious and the small namesake bar, refined. The check-in process was a small amount of chaos as approximately 20 people were arriving in the three vans at the same time, and the hotel had just opened its doors. The reservation system was down, and the staff was doing their best to get guests checked in manually. Thankfully, everyone seemed mostly understanding, as we were all aware it was the first day of operations and some hiccups were to be expected. Once Almira, the reservations manager, had my name, I was sent to wait at the poolside bar until my room was ready – not a bad way to wait! I quickly made friends with the bartenders, Josue and Julio.

They made the time fly by with gin martinis. The first was the Gin Honey Martini and followed that with the Pineapple Ginger Martini. I normally stick to vodka martinis, but after these, I may be convinced to switch to gin! As I passed the time, I chatted with other guests. One couple has purchased two condos within the property. I had not realized this was available but is an exciting option if you are looking for a simple way to have a vacation home. Be sure to get your finances in check with help from an informative resource before you opt to buy one, though! A vacation home being an exciting investment, should also be a carefully considered one.

PRO TIP: Pack your patience and be prepared to weather the unexpected! I always ask about an upgraded room, which I can often get based on my loyalty status, but these can also be available with little or no status if they have availability – they may charge for the upgrade, but this is often less than the full difference if they have the availability to accommodate.

The Room

After much anticipation, my room was finally ready, and it was worth the wait! After one more minor issue with the key which required assistance from the IT technician, I finally entered my room. The first view of my 1,570 square foot suite is of a beautiful white kitchen with counter island seating for four. The birds’ nest lighting lends a beachy air. The blue tones of the artwork whisper the turquoise water outside. There are modern, stainless steel appliances in the full kitchen. To the right, enter the master bathroom, with a large stone double sink and backlit mirror. If such a bathroom encounters plumbing issues, there is a great content online on how to fix it with convenience.

The wall behind is slatted and open to the bedroom. The shower has a half-glass door and looks to have the much-needed bathroom fittings, like those B-5837 grab bars. Additionally, the shower also shares a sliding mirrored barn door with the toilet. The toiletries are tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.

Though the products are good, the thicker items (lotion and conditioner) are exceedingly difficult to get out of the tiny bottles. Notably absent are tissues, body wash, robes, and slippers (because I am fancy like that and expect a hotel of this level to provide these). There are only two full-size towels, which are enough for me, but if this room were occupied by two people, as intended, this could pose a problem. Especially in a beachy, humid environment like this, people are likely to take more than one shower in a day.

Moving through the bedroom I see that the window ahead is a sliding door to the (first!) balcony. There are two chairs and a small table. The view here is quite lovely, overlooking a regal, Victorian-looking property across the street with a pool and lagoon. This is facing west, so provides a sunset view for the room.

There is a half bath between the bedroom and living room. This could be useful if you decide to entertain friends who were not smart (or lucky!) enough to book this upgraded room. Next, I follow back into the living room, which is an open floorplan to the right of the kitchen. There is a spacious couch, and another full wall sliding door leading to balcony number two. This does not have any furniture and has the same view as the bedroom. The crisscrossed driftwood art above the couch is modern without being fussy. Finally, the grand finale of my suite tour and saving the best for last. Balcony number three is to the left of the kitchen. Opening the sliding doors, I am greeted by sweeping views of the entire property – overlooking the main pool deck, the beach, and beyond to the wavering blues of the ocean.

There is a spacious couch and a large brushed grey metal coffee table. This is where I enjoy my in-room dining breakfast for the next four days. I was able to book a rate that includes breakfast for two each day and will take full advantage of that perk.

The room was lovely and luxurious! However, there were a few reviews that I shared with the manager and, unless resolved, you may want to be aware. I found the mattress to be too hard for my liking. This is obviously a preference, but I have spent a lot of nights in hotels and rarely have I found mattresses to be this hard, it wasn’t like my one at home which is similar to a sleepify latex mattress that allows me to have the most amazing night’s sleep, so I missed that on our trip. The room is not at all soundproof. The roosters start early and crow well into the day. You will also likely hear music from the pool/rooftop bars if you retire early, and traffic from the street. So, if you are on your honeymoon or anniversary trip, your adventures with sex toys like an arm binder might get interrupted! There was a vehicle that went by several times in the mornings over the course of my stay that had blaring music that I could hear very clearly despite being on the fifth floor. The last night, a pickup crashed into the wall along the entrance to the property and I heard it clearly from my room and watched them clean up the wreck over the course with the help of professionals from Zerorez for the next 30 minutes. If you are a light sleeper (and maybe even if you are not) I highly recommend earplugs. Some items were not in the room that I would have expected. I think some of these simply had not arrived in time for opening.

I will say as a caveat that I am so grateful that they opened despite some missing items and a little ongoing construction rather than delay the opening, so these are minor and likely temporary complaints. I had to call twice to get a robe delivered, and I was not able to get slippers until my last day after I had discussed my feedback with the manager. I also received notepaper and pens after this discussion, and the IT technician finally showed up to connect both my work and personal laptops to the internet after I was unable to, and he had not come to help when originally promised on my first day. The lack of tissues was likely a supply delay issue, but I am not sure if the remaining missing items were due to delayed supplies or were never intended to be part of their normal offering.

The bathroom sink –though beautiful – sprayed water behind the basin to an extent that I had to block the water from flowing around the back with a washcloth after I had washed my face, then my mask. The phones in the room are exceptionally light and have VERY short cords. So even sitting on the bed right next to the phone, it would lift and I had to set it on my lap to use it (although I don’t expect to use hotel phones often, I did use them daily to order my breakfast as well as make some of my other room requests). The lighting in the bathroom is not good for putting on makeup or seeing details. Be aware that the thermostats are set to reset at sometime early in the morning, so if you are sleeping in on your vacation, you will likely wake up much warmer than you would like (I like a very cold room to sleep, so often had to get up in the early morning and turn it down again. I think you may be able to reprogram these, but I never bothered to figure it out). You should also make a quick run to purchase sunscreen as it was not available to purchase in the hotel gift shop (which consisted of beach clothing and jewelry and nothing with the hotel branding or other merchandise that you may find helpful). Also, be aware that although the suite I booked was massive, the connecting room is only a bedroom and bathroom – probably less than a quarter the size of my suite.

The single balcony on that room is only a small portion in front of the bedroom and is open to the hallway, so anyone could wander onto your patio (as did my room service delivery staff). I would very strongly recommend upgrading to the suite unless you truly plan to spend extremely limited time in your room. I generally would not have expected to spend as much time in my room as I did, but with how beautiful and accommodating it was, I spent much more time there, so you should consider carefully when booking.

PRO TIP: If a particular room/view is important to ensure you have the best possible experience on your trip, it may be worth purchasing the room you want if it is within your budget. Sometimes these rooms are only nominally more and can be well worth the extra cost. PRO TIP: Upon arrival in my hotel, I always take stock of the items that are important to me and call to request any missing items immediately. My usual requests include a robe and slippers, extra toiletries (especially extra shampoo if they do not have body wash!), extra towels, coffee/creamer/tea, a notepad, and a pen.

The Deck

The Deck is the hotel’s fine dining restaurant and is reached by a winding path past the spa, and the adjoining property known as the Reef Villas. This includes another, simpler, pool as well as a playground area. In front of The Deck are a cute open-air bar and beach games, such as a large chessboard and giant Jenga.

The Deck has a nautical theme with ropes wound around a tall mast to the ceiling. One wall displays bottles of wine on hooks, and the floor is dock-style wooden planks. The high vaulted ceiling gave the small restaurant an airy feel. After I let the waitress know that I have an allium intolerance and needed to avoid onions and garlic as much as possible, the chef came to my table to confirm his understanding of my restrictions. I appreciated the personal attention and concern. My first night I decided on the duck pappardelle, which was a decadent dish with rich flavors.

The by-the-glass wine list left something to be desired, but I settled on a medium-intensity red that was not at all memorable. Overall, the meal was wonderful, and the atmosphere was relaxed but upscale.

I returned to The Deck two nights later and tried the margarita pizza. I sat in the gazebo with a lovely view of the resort lights at night. It was breezy but worth the effort to enjoy the outdoors. The chef stopped by to say hello and welcomed me back. He remembered my dietary restrictions and assured me that the pizza would be safe. Again, I greatly appreciated this courtesy. The pizza was one of the best margarita pizzas I have had. Although the waitress assured me the ingredients were as simple as listed on the menu and the typical margarita, there was a wonderful flavor that I could not identify. The chef had mentioned that the mozzarella was very fresh, so perhaps it was just the freshness of the ingredients, but the flavor was divine.

PRO TIP: If you have any allergies/intolerances be sure to mention them to the wait staff as soon as you arrive to make sure that they can assist you in ordering dishes that you can fully enjoy. If it is severe, I would recommend alerting the hotel to this when you check-in so that they can note it in your reservation. Also, if you are in a country where you do not speak the language, ask the hotel staff to write this information down for you in the local language so that you can easily make your allergies known when you are eating out as well.

In-Room Dining

There was a coffee maker in the room, but a small note indicated that complimentary coffee was available in the lobby in place of in-room brewing. I need my coffee before any social interaction, so that led me to order my breakfast. My room included complimentary Alaia breakfast for two. There were a few options for a starter. I always chose the fruit plate, but granola, pastries, and oatmeal were also available. For the main course, I tried the two eggs my way, the French toast with Nutella and cream, and the souffle pancakes over the four days. It also came with coffee and juice. I selected the watermelon and lime juices (they also had orange). Although the lime was exceptionally good, the watermelon was my favorite. I also requested cups of water, as it is not recommended to drink tap water and I was only provided with two bottles of water on my first day.

I had expected these to be replenished each day, but that was not the case. Each meal also came with a choice of two sides: breakfast potatoes, sausage, or bacon. The breakfast potatoes were good, and I was able to pick out the onions that were pre-mixed in and were not able to be removed in preparation. The sausage was my favorite of the sides. The bacon did not survive well once cold and the breakfast was always delivered cold. This was very disappointing, and I hope they find a way to improve this service. They utilize recyclable cardboard boxes and paper cups, but the cups do not hold up well in the humidity and the boxes apparently do not maintain the heat of the food. The cup lids were also ill-fitting and were only helpful to reduce spills in transport but were not able to be kept on when drinking. It should also be noted that when you are on the third balcony, you will NOT be able to hear knocking at the door. The staff would come through the balcony of the connecting room from the hallway and call around the wall to let me know they were there, which may have slightly delayed delivery and contributed to the consistently cold food.

The French toast with Nutella and cream was my favorite of the breakfast options and I ordered this twice, but the eggs were also a good and healthier choice. The fruit plates were also particularly good and came with a small side of yogurt with chia seeds. These were a mix that varied by day and included papaya, bananas, dragon fruit, mango, pineapple, and cantaloupe. The sweet dishes were also served with small portions of fresh berries.

PRO TIP: Understand what is included in your reservation. When there is breakfast included, I try to get it as late as possible as that will usually hold me through the day until dinner.

The K’Iin Spa

The spa opened the day I visited (the second day of my stay). I booked the Swedish & Relaxation massage, the 30-minute Barefoot foot massage, and the Balancing Facial. My service was delayed nearly 30 min as the client ahead of me took longer than expected or was delayed. However, despite starting nearly 30 minutes late, my services concluded at the original time, so I felt I was shorted in my service. Also, although the massage was relaxing, the staff friendly and seemingly knowledgeable, and the property lovely, I did not think I received the full amount of service for what was paid. The facial portion was a total of two serums and a couple of swipes with an exfoliating cloth. Not nearly what I was anticipating as a 60-minute service. There was also a massage of my legs and some on my feet, but again, not what I anticipated after requesting the separate 30-minute foot service.

PRO TIP: I would recommend booking only one service in a session to make sure you are comfortable that you received the service you requested and for which you paid.

COVID Testing / Restrictions

As I was more than 14 days past my vaccination. I did not have to test to travel to Belize. The mask requirements and other restrictions were like what I was experiencing in the US at the time, although I understand there is a curfew (I believe it was 10 pm during the week and midnight on weekends). Wear a mask inside, except when seated at a restaurant/bar, and whenever you cannot maintain social distancing. We did not have to wear masks at the pool (chairs/cabanas were well spaced). However, due to the US requirements, I had to be tested within three days of my return flight to the US. The hotel arranged testing in my room for US$90 (it could have been $75 if I had gone to the hospital for testing). It took the better part of an hour start-to-finish but was quite easy. And thankfully I tested negative so could travel home (as expected, but there is always a fear of being asymptomatic or a false positive). They provided a hard copy of the required paperwork for my travel back home and I had no issues presenting this at the airport.

PRO TIP: Get printed copies of any required testing/vaccinations and keep them with your passport to ease your transit through the airport.

The Pool

I did not spend nearly enough time at the beautiful pool. The cabanas could be rented for the day for a reasonable fee ranging from US$50-$125 (reasonable at least from a Vegas girl’s perspective!). I was also informed later that it could have been done as a minimum food and beverage spend, but I was already stocked with my own bottles, so I did not use that option. I rented cabana number 5 for my last day in Belize. I am so glad I did and wish I would have done it sooner.

The day was beautiful – sunny and relaxing. I selected this cabana as I felt it had the best view of the pool, the property, and a little of the beach/ocean as well. I was able to shift where I was in the cabana to have some control over how much fun I had (and where). I wanted to make sure I got a little bit of island tan before I returned home. I had a bottle of Veuve that had been sent to me from an “Admirer” at home, so I was set for drinks for the day. Raheem and Rita (and a couple of others whose names I did not catch) took great care of me, pouring my champagne and bringing me water while I spent my most relaxing day of the trip. There are also many open lounge chairs available both in the pool area and on the beach. I suspect these will be less available when the resort is more full, but I think the opening days were a little light on guests. I moved around once the sun was no longer available in my cabana, eventually ending up on the rooftop as I followed the sun.

PRO TIP: Plan for sunscreen. I never check bags, so cannot bring them with me, so this is one of the first things I look to purchase upon arrival in a sunny locale.

The Rooftop

There is a pool (with the afore-mentioned skylights over the grand entrance) and a bar on the sixth floor of the main building. I highly recommend visiting, especially if you are unlucky enough to not have a west-facing balcony for the sunset. The patio areas are genuinely nice but make your choice on whether you are looking for social interaction versus your own balcony if you have a room like mine. The bar is particularly good but other than sunset, I preferred the pool bar with Julio and Josue (not that the bartenders upstairs are not wonderful, but I personally made a better connection at the pool bar). I enjoyed the rooftop pool/bar when I was chasing the setting sun on my last day, but otherwise, the ground-level pool and bar were better for me.

Other Activities on the Island

I did not stay awfully long and did not have time to take advantage of much beyond the resort. I will need to plan another (longer) trip soon and see more of this beautiful country!

Victoria House

This was the immediate and overwhelming response when I asked about other places I should consider for a nice dinner. I found out why and completely agree with this recommendation! First, they provide golf cart transportation to and from your dinner reservation, which is very convenient, especially for those few of us who rejected the repeated recommendations to rent a golf cart. My reservation was after dark, so I was not able to fully see the beauty of the property, but it is apparently one of the oldest and grandest properties on the island. The restaurant was old-world luxury and refinement. The staff went above and beyond to help me get the table I wanted. The weather that evening was lovely, so I was hoping for a table outside, however, the hotel had made my reservation for indoors and there was not anything available outside when I arrived. They sat me at a nice table inside, but shortly after I placed my order, the waitress came back and let me know something was available outside.

I quickly moved outside and had a much nicer experience (although inside was nice as well). I ordered the fish of the day snapper filet (grouper was the other option that day). It was served with seasonal vegetables and jasmine rice with drawn butter. It was delicious! I ate every bite including the rice. When the waitress was clearing my plate, I realize that I had not touched the bread but wanted to give that a try as well. It was served with wonderful citrus butter. I am so glad I did not let her clear without trying that delicious butter! The bread was good as well, but the butter truly made it memorable. I highly recommend dining here – preferably with a table outside (weather permitting – it does tend to get breezy) and early enough to see the property before dark (I will make sure to make these arrangements better on my next trip!).

PRO TIP: Ask the hotel concierge and staff for recommendations for the best places to eat and other activities. Not only can they provide recommendations based on their own experiences, but on feedback, they have received from other guests. They can also help you get reservations that may be tricky to plan on your own.

Secret Beach

I did not take time to research what I should do and see while in Belize for this trip. I booked my flights on my favorite airline, Delta, and booked the only Marriott in Belize for the day it opened. When I arrive at locations with which I am not already familiar (and often even those that I am), I rely on the hotel concierge and staff to assist me in planning my activities either via email ahead of my visit and/or in-person once I arrive.

The Secret Beach came up early and often in the small amount of searching I did before I arrived, and the concierge also recommended I go there. To get there, it was approximately 45 minutes by golf cart or 30 minutes by taxi. As I was not comfortable driving myself in the golf cart and preferred to both save time and have air conditioning, I had the hotel arrange a taxi for the day for US$100. It was a little pricy, but I considered it like getting a private tour guide for the day, so the cost was reasonable from that perspective.

We first needed to make a couple of stops to pick up sunscreen, a beach towel, and some alcohol for drinking on the beach. Unfortunately, following the preparatory supply stops, my driver got a flat tire and had to transfer me to another driver.

The switch was arranged quickly, and I was back on my way. Joel had been the driver for the minister of tourism for many years so was truly knowledgeable and a great driver. As we made our way out to Secret Beach, I could understand why my first driver had a flat tire and honestly wondered why everyone’s tires were not perpetually flat (or maybe they are!). I was also glad to not be driving myself, as, despite everyone’s insistence that there is only one main road, the route seemed long and confusing. It was also through a lot of very marshy land with water often along the sides of the road and I have a longstanding fear of driving along the water. Upon our arrival at Secret Beach, I was disappointed to see very regular-looking ocean water, with the bottom covered in sharp rocks and shells, rather than crystalline water and smooth sand I was expecting. The water may have been shallow for some distance, but I did not bother to venture out. I took some pictures with the Secret Beach sign and briefly settled into a lounge chair. The staff of the Happy Island restaurant was very friendly and attentive, but it was not the relaxing, picturesque scene I was expecting. I bought a colored starfish necklace and multi-colored stone bead bracelet from a vendor on the beach, as I like to buy souvenirs that I can wear later and will bring back memories of my wonderful travels. Some very friendly locals introduced me to pickleback shots of tequila, buying a couple of rounds for me and a few other guests.

But as I was looking for a relaxing day on a beautiful beach, I had my driver take me over to Blue Bayou next, which had been recommended by Eric, the driver from Victoria House the night before. Blue Bayou was an overwater bar, which also had the familiar tables in the water, as they had at Happy Island. There was a DJ and I enjoyed a pineapple cocktail, but I wasn’t terribly hungry at that point and nothing jumped out at me from the menu, so after I’d finished the cocktail, I was ready to move on.

PRO TIP: Just because an attraction is popular does not mean it will meet your expectations or be the right fit for you. Do not be afraid to cut your losses and move on. I also found that although there were restrooms available at both locations on Secret Beach, they were of the quality and cleanliness you would imagine of an island beach bar restroom. Usable, but only when you must. Always travel with hand sanitizer and some tissues/napkins!

Shopping / Bars / The Town

Finally, it was time for shopping. What can I say, a girl must do what a girl must do, and I need souvenirs! I always buy a magnet in every location I visit, so made that a priority. I found a cute one and got a similar one as a gift for a friend at I Love Belize. I also bought two dresses off the clearance rack and a San Pedro mug. All five items came to BZE$50 (US$25). The dresses will need alterations, but at that price, I am happy to pay a little more to get them to fit well. I also went to a little dress store called Pink and bought one very island long dress that will be inappropriate in most places but will be great for future island vacations and can also be very wearable in the Vegas heat.

PRO TIP: Only purchase as much as you can fit into your luggage to get home! and I found that American Express was not widely accepted in Belize, so I had to switch to my Visa on a couple of occasions. Also, I had forgotten to purchase Belizean currency before traveling, so was happy to learn that the US dollar was not only widely accepted but was at such a stable and simple exchange rate that it was even printed on laminated menus/signs! It is an easy 2BZ$-to-1US$. Generally, I order foreign currency from my bank a few days ahead of my trip to have cash available when I arrive (especially if you may need to pay for transportation to the hotel immediately on arrival).

We then made our way to the bar district on the beach in town. We passed a few, and I would have liked to check out Wayo’s but save that for a future trip. I did stop at Sandy Toes and was quickly noticed by a group of local guys sitting at a table out front. They bought me a rum punch – I think the first I have had. It was quite good, and they were very nice. One of the guys stopped a vendor with chicken dip and bought me some – also a first and I really liked it! Do not be afraid to try this local specialty! It is basically a creamy chicken dip served with tortilla chips. Simple but tasty! While I was there, another local guy came over and introduced himself as one of the servers from Victoria House the night before! It really is a small island, and I was pleasantly surprised to see someone who recognized me on the island of approximately 19,000 permanent residents. I also passed on Loser’s, even though it had also been recommended, as the guys I was with said it was a chain and was comparable to a Buffalo Wild Wings (nothing wrong with that, but I was really looking for more local, unique establishments).

PRO TIP: Do not be afraid to try the local cuisine – you never know when you may find a new favorite! As I was traveling alone and do not like to be out too late by myself in unfamiliar places (even with a driver), I decided it was time to head home after I had emptied a couple of rum punches. As I was wrapping up, I saw one of the girls from earlier in the afternoon at Happy Island walking down the street past us. I stopped her to say hi and she disintegrated into tears. Apparently, there had been some drama with her husband. I convinced her to let my driver and I take her home and she called me an hour later to let me know she was okay. It was a very strange coincidence, and I was happy to provide what assistance I could when she needed a friend. Again, this seems to be a very small island where everyone knows everyone, and you will likely see people again from one day/location to the next!

PRO TIP: Know your limits and what you need to make sure you feel safe and can always get back to your hotel at the end of the night. The hotel name/address is another thing I always ask the hotel to write for me in the local language if English is not commonly spoken.

Overall / Final Impressions

I am so grateful to have finally visited the beautiful country of Belize! This marks my 31 st country, most of which I have traveled alone. I am glad that I waited for the Alaia Autograph Collection hotel. The property is stunning, and my room was over the top. It seemed every single person on staff knew my name within hours of my arrival. This may have been due to my status, the fact that I was alone so was more interactive with the staff, or a training point that they apply to all their guests, but regardless of the reason, I felt valued and appreciated. Zariah and Veronica were my favorites for all my questions at the front desk, but everyone was incredibly helpful and friendly. If you are looking for a luxury resort experience in Belize, the Alaia will deliver!

My next trip will include additional time at the hotel pool, more research on additional activities off-property, and maybe some time on the mainland including the Mayan ruins. I also had really wanted to do a sunset dinner cruise and glass-bottom boat tour, but Manuel (the hotel concierge) was not able to find these available on the days that I was there.

PRO TIP: If certain activities are especially important to your trip, plan to make sure that you will be able to schedule them during the days you are there, as many tours/museums/markets are only open on certain days or may be subject to minimum (or maximum) capacity requirements.

About Alice Foerster

Alice is a passionate traveler living in Las Vegas, Nevada, but was born and raised in a small-town North Dakota. In the past ten years, she has visited over 30 countries and six continents, most of which have been as a solo traveler. She enjoys vacations to international cities but has been recently focusing on the relaxation afforded by tropical beach vacations. She found her passion for travel when she started a new job that required travel domestically and a friend who introduced her to the joys of traveling internationally. Her work has allowed her to obtain Lifetime Titanium Elite Status with Marriott and currently holds Ambassador status. She is also a Million Miler on Delta and currently holds Diamond status. She is determined to maintain her Delta Diamond status even though her work travel has been essentially eliminated. @Alicein1derlust