Placencia on Travel and Leisure’s top 50 destinations for 2016

Posted by David Kafka on 12/14/2015 09:17 AM

Belize is great for backpackers—much like Costa Rica in the 1980s—but certain areas have also become bona fide retreats for the well-heeled.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn has been drawing glamorous types to its cottages in the beach town of Placencia in Stann Creek District.

The secret is on the verge of getting out, especially with the late 2016 opening of Itz’ana, an ambitious farm-restaurant-retreat hybrid with 39 upscale villas—all within feet of the world’s second-largest coral reef system.

The project, which is just down the road from Turtle Inn, is not just ambitious for its five-star creature comforts (rooms will have terraces with daybeds, waterfront views, and soaring ceilings). It’s also a stage for chef Mara Jernigan, of the immensely popular Limilita pop-up restaurant in Placencia, who will be using indigenous ingredients to spotlight Belizean agriculture and fine dining.

The property also includes: a Mayan-inspired spa using locally harvested rainforest botanicals, a room (and sommelier) dedicated to rum, and chartered yachts for sundown cruises.

— Travel and Leisure’s top 50 destinations for 2016 http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-places-to-travel-in-2016/15

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