From Pamela Murdock, West Palm Beach, FL
“We spent a week in May at Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn in southern Belize. The hotel’s architecture and décor reminded us of Indonesia and we loved that our seafront villa had a large screened front porch and a pretty, walled garden with an outdoor shower. We also thought the staff was very nice and massages at the spa were great.
The other happy surprise was that the nearby, really funky village of Placencia actually has a very good restaurant: The French Connection, which was voted “Best Meal in Belize” by Traveler Magazine in 2007 (Tel: 523-3656. www.frenchconnection.bz). Also surprisingly, Placencia’s Main Street sidewalk (literally) is in the Guinness Book of Records for having the world’s narrowest street. The only negatives were the hotel’s sliver of beach, which has sea grass growing right up to the shoreline and the temperature (May is the hottest month with very high humidity). Unlike our fellow guests, most of whom were enthusiastic honeymooners, we used the heat as a perfect excuse to just loll under a ceiling fan or in the pool with a book.
Though the hotel offered several daily tours and expeditions, we ventured out only once for a private tour of Lubaantun. We always love visiting ruins and were also intrigued as one of the mysterious 13 crystal skulls was allegedly discovered at Lubaantun in 1924. Located about 1.5 hours from the Turtle Inn, this is one of the least known Mayan ruins yet it’s the largest in Southern Belize. One of its interesting features is that unlike other Mayan sites, here all the structures are made of curved stone seemingly held together without mortar. Making the ruins even more charming is that its hillside location has a wonderful view across a dense rainforest to the sea. While not as large and imposing as other sites, there is something haunting about the place. Below the ruins are bathrooms (bring own toilet paper!) and a tiny “museum.” www.southernbelize.com/lubaantun.html”