Turtle Inn: A Review
Turtle Inn is one of the Family Coppola Hideaways in Belize. It’s always on my itinerary after I’m done staying at their sister property, Blancaneaux Lodge. Located in Placencia you’ll have your back to the lagoon while facing the ocean at Turtle Inn.
While my visit this year has been postponed you can bet I’ll be heading back soon! Belize is a favorite of mine and Mr. BGB so we tend to go annually (you can read more about why it’s a favorite in my post here). You’ll find this beachy hideaway a perfect addition to your Belize trip! For me it’s all about the service, however the location certainly doesn’t hurt. Want to know more? Check out my review for yourself:
The property is broken up into 25 cottages (singles) and villas (multiple) and all are stand-alone. Designed after Balinese thatched huts they’re either ocean front, ocean view or garden view but the proximity to the water is really the only difference. All have screened porches/living areas along with private walled gardens (and outdoor showers!).
There are also several unique properties on site: Starfish Cottage (the only unit with AC) shines with its private pool, yoga deck and large “yard”, the Family Pavilion is a dreamy thatched property complete with two bedrooms and a loft, along with massive private pool and personal attendant. There’s also the modern (and marvelous!) Sophia’s Beach House which, as you might have guessed, is Sophia Coppola’s when she visits. This one boasts a very modern house with two bedrooms, massive pool, media room, outdoor fire pit and two guest houses (Leonardo DiCaprio is reportedly one of the guests that’s been hosted here)……and, of course, a personal attendant. Want to stay in style? This is it! Finally, if you’re more into the lagoon side you can stay at Roman’s Lagoon Bungalow, the only property on the lagoon side. Again, there’s a private pool (of course!).
There are also a couple of privately owned villas that are managed by Turtle Inn and, depending on availability, can be booked as well. My most recent stay was in the Colibri Villa and I absolutely loved it! Two massive bedrooms off the main living area, both with equally large screened private living areas and massive bathrooms with outdoor showers/garden areas. Colibri Villa also has a private infinity pool and a dock, sitting at the very end of the Turtle Inn property and is oceanfront. C’mon, who wouldn’t love it here?
Property & Grounds
You’ll notice the turtles when you’re walking over the small bridge upon arrival at Turtle Inn, where you’ll check in at the main desk. Get the name now? The main building is a large open-air building with the thatched roof you’ll see throughout the property. It houses the front desk, gift shop, main restaurant, wine aquarium and indoor bar. Heading closer to the ocean front you’ll pass the main pool and hit the beach bar.
On the lagoon side you’ll find the spa hidden away. There’s also a dive shop and dock, along with the Belizean restaurant. There’s an organic garden tucked to the side of the main building (you can ask for a tour!) and winding pathways between the cabanas, villas and pools. There’s a second pool, hidden towards the garden area, that’s adults only. You’ll also find the seafood grill restaurant tucked back here.
There’s a main restaurant, the Mare, that’s located in the main building. They do breakfast, lunch and dinner here however you can also get lunch and snacks from the Mare at the beach bar. The menu here is mostly Italian, ranging from pizzas and sandwiches for lunch to pasta dishes and grilled meats for dinner. You’ll also have the opportunity to try their Dutch Indonesian dinner special if you’re here on a Monday or Thursday. Don’t forget to order a bottle of Coppola wine!
There are two other restaurants on site: Gaugin Grill is a seafood grill restuarant and Auntie Luba’s serves Belizean specialities on the lagoon side. They alternate the nights that they’re open (one open/one closed each night) and it’s usually best to request reservations via the front desk if you’re interested.
You could easily not do a single thing and still enjoy your stay here, however there’s so much to offer you’d really be missing out!
Want to stay close? There’s plenty for you! You can book a spa treatment via the front desk (and even have the massage done in your cabana if you choose!). There are two pools to lounge by, along with the beach bar. Fancy a dip in the Caribbean? They have floating platforms to lounge on or you can grab a paddleboard or kayak to explore the ocean (or the lagoon!). Really want to hunker down in your private beach hut? Grab a board game from the main building (or the deck of cards provided in your room), order room service and crack open some Belikin beers right on your own screened patio.
Turtle Inn also offers free yoga classes, garden tours and bird watching – all on-site! The dive shop has bicycles to loan or you can always hop into the resort’s private boat for a sunset cruise on the lagoon.
One of the first things you’ll notice is the stunning wine aquarium when you enter the main building at Turtle Inn. They also offer wine tastings! This is a fun way to tour the facility and sample some wines (and Belizean snacks!).
Feeling a bit more adventurous? There’s something for you, too! Placencia is a short walk (or two minute ride) from Turtle Inn and it’s worth exploring. Grab one of the loan bikes from the dive shop and peddle into town. You’ll find a beachfront boardwalk with beach bars, restaurants and small shops. The location of Turtle Inn puts you in a great position to head out onto the ocean. Did you know that the second largest reef in the world is here? The ocean is full of life and worth exploring – you can do private boat hire, visit an island, go fishing, snorkeling or diving. Heading here in June? You might be one of the lucky folks who get to catch the whale shark migration!
If you’d rather show the land some love there are a ton of options for you! Belize is full of Mayan ruins and there are some interesting sites within a short drive of Placencia, like Nim Li Punit. There’s also the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary for hiking and wildlife spotting. You can visit the howler monkeys down Monkey River or check out an organic farm, banana plantation or a hot sauce factory tour.
- Make sure you go into Placencia to eat! There are so many options you’ll find something no matter what mood you’re in.
- Pack sunblock and bug spray.
- Take advantage of getting your breakfast delivered to your room (gratis!) in the morning – it’s pure luxury to sit, watching the day break over the ocean while eating breakfast.
- Do the free sunrise birding tour (offered several days per week – check with the front desk). Without even leaving the property you’ll see a wide variety of birds and learn a bit about the local wildlife.
- Order a coconut at the beach bar! They chop them open right there and there’s nothing better than a fresh one. Want to get wild? Ask for some rum in it!
Turtle Inn is always a stop on my trips to Belize and after reading my review I’m hoping you can understand why! The service, location and the facilities are absolutely top notch (something you expect from a Family Coppola Hideaway). My most recent trip I was fortunate enough to get to check out the newest offering in Belize: Coral Caye! You can read my review here (spoiler: it was spectacular).
Have you been to Belize? I’d love to know your favorite place to stay!