Dive in to your love affair with Belize

The romance never ends—and nobody get old—in this paradisal retreat

As soon as the leaves begin to fall and the air turns from crisp to damp and dreary, I start planning my winter escape. Sunshine, pampering and relaxation are the three things that my husband and I look for in a romantic getaway.

After some research I soon discovered that Belize, the Central-American country famous for its phenomenal diving, Mayan ruins and abundance of eco-activities, is also a tranquil haven for couples and honeymooners.

We divided our time between four unique regions of the country; however if you crave a more leisurely trip try to limit yourself to two areas:

PLACENCIABarefoot-perfect describes the brown-sugar sand beaches that fringe the colourful village of Placencia, on the Southern peninsula of Belize’s Staan Creek district. This once quiet fishing community has transformed itself into a burgeoning destination that still retains its traditional charm.

We spent our time lounging on the beach, strolling through the village and enjoying treatments at the Secret Garden day spa. Owned by the American born, Japanese trained masseuse Lee Nyhus, Secret Garden is a welcome oasis in the heart of Placencia.

Hot Stone, Deep Tissue, Swedish, Thai and Shiatsu massages are only $50 U.S. for 60 minutes, as is the All Natural Facial, which includes a nourishing mask and hand-and-foot massage.

Off the coast of Placencia, at the Gladden Spitt, is one of the few places in the world where you can snorkel and dive with whale sharks. Each spring more than 25 species of fish gather to spawn in Gladden, and the days following the full moon in March through June offer the best chance to experience swimming with these gentle giants.

We were also surprised and delighted by the variety and quality of restaurants in Placencia.

Rumfish Y Vino, a Central-American style Gastro Pub owned by an American husband and wife, stole our hearts and we’re still dreaming about the crispy conch fritters, beer-battered fish tacos and fresh fruit muddled drinks. Another favourite find was the handcrafted gelato at Tutti Frutti, which is made daily and rivals the many scoops we sampled in Italy.

To immerse ourselves in the vibrant local culture we chose to bypass the large-scale luxury resorts flanking Placencia and stay at the immaculate seafront Nirvana Beach Suites.

HOPKINSNorth of Placencia, on the Caribbean coast is Hopkins Village, an ideal location for anyone looking to experience the pristine natural wonders of Belize. Voted the ‘Friendliest Village in Belize’ by Belize First Magazine, this small traditional fishing village inhabited by the Garifuna (descendants of African slave-ship survivors) is rich in both history and culture.

Hopkins is also home to the Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort, which is ranked by TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice 2012 as top hotel for service in Central America and number two in the world.

After spending time at this boutique, eco-luxury, beach property, with its Tree house suites and ocean views, we immediately understood why guests return year after year. Beyond the extensive selection of reef and rainforest activities and incredible dining (care of Executive Chef Sheridan Polanco who cooked for Prince Harry on his March 2012 trip to Belize), the Hamanasi offers something that is extremely rare – a truly genuine appreciation and caring for its guests.

Read more: Dive in to your love affair with Belize

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