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Wouldn’t it be nice to vacation in Bali but not spend a full day on a plane getting there?  Consider taking a short flight to Belize where you will find the Turtle Inn, Francis Ford Coppola’s idyllic Balinese style resort located in the southern part of Belize.  The beautiful beach-front property was acquired by Francis Coppola in the early 2000’s where he built a small eco-friendly resort that looks like a rural village in Bali.  The resort is near the charming sea-front fishing village of Placencia in a part of Belize that has largely been untouched by tourism.  It is a perfect spot for a romantic weekend (or a full week if combined with Blancaneaux Lodge, Coppola’s other Belize resort located in the jungles of western Belize’s Cayo District).

Photos courtesy of Turtle Inn

The resort’s 25 individual thatched cottages are nicely dispersed throughout the large beachside property.  The resort is built in a Balinese style and the public areas and guest rooms are decorated with handcrafted Balinese furnishings.  The cottages include a private garden with an outdoor shower, screened porch, and a bathroom with a Japanese bath. All rooms feature Balinese hand-carved doors and décor, ceiling fans, and thatched roofs that naturally cool the cottages. Note that the resort is very eco-friendly so there are no air conditioners, only ceiling fans.  The best room on the property is the Francis' Family Pavilion, which is located at the southern edge of the property and surrounded on three sides by a high walled garden designed to maximize privacy. There are two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and a third loft bedroom accessed by a ladder. Francis' Family Pavilion features antique hand-carved wooden doorways and detailing, stone sculptures, and artwork selected by Francis and Eleanor Coppola. 

The resort has an Italian restaurant and a seafood restaurant located right on the beach with tables set just a few feet from the sea, both of which serve fresh and delicious meals.  In addition, the resort operates a small authentic Belizean diner overlooking the calm, shallow waters of Placencia Lagoon that serves a casual menu filled with regional fare like curry chicken, coconut shrimp, seasonal conch fritter, and home-baked key lime pie. The resort is just a short walk or bike ride from the village of Placencia, where there are a handful of excellent restaurants serving just-caught seafood and fish and regional specialties.

Belize's is one of the world's great scuba destinations. The Caribbean's largest barrier reef lies just offshore and offers divers and snorkelers easy access to dive sites that are rich with coral and vibrant tropical fish.  For a truly special experience, plan your trip during the full moon weeks of April, May, and June when whale sharks pass through the area, giving divers and snorkelers an incredible opportunity to swim among these magnificent and graceful creatures.

If you are looking for a rustic, but luxurious, resort that is easy to reach from the United States, Turtle Inn is a great option.

Turtle Inn // Placencia, Belize // Website