By Larry Waight:Placencia Village in Stann Creek District has been named as one of Travel and Leisure’s top destinations for tourists to visit in 2016 for its amazing ocean views, luxury resorts and fine local cuisine.
According to Travel and Leisure, 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, according to the popular travel publication, has been drawing glamorous types to its cottages in the beach town of Placencia.
The secret is on the verge of getting out, it added, especially with the late 2016 opening of Itz’ana, an ambitious farm-restaurant-retreat hybrid with 39 upscale villas—all within mere 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, Travel and Leisure said, adding that she even has a personal fleet of fishermen.
The publication also highlighted that the property includes: a Mayan-inspired spa using locally harvested rainforest botanicals, a room (and sommelier) dedicated to rum, and chartered yachts for sundown cruises.
Another luxe resort in Placencia that has been putting the destination on the map this year is Chabil Mar Resort which features 400-feet of beachfront, 19 uniquely designed villas with private verandas and award-winning onsite dining.
To compile its annual list of the best places to travel in the upcoming year, Travel and Leisure editors thoroughly and meticulously consider a variety of factors. Among them: “Which under-the-radar gems are most exciting to our network of contributing writers and global correspondents? Which destinations are our A-List travel specialists fielding requests for? Which classic vacation spots are starting to emerge—but for entirely new and compelling reasons? Which global events and changes in travel restrictions have made certain destinations easier to get to?”
Travel + Leisure is a travel magazine based in New York City, New York. Published 12 times a year, it has 4.8 million readers, according to its corporate media kit. It is put out by Time Inc. Its main competitors are Condé Nast Traveler and National Geographic Traveler.
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