If you ignore every single piece of wedding planning advice I offer on this blog, do yourself a favor and follow this one nugget of wisdom – honeymoon at Hamanasi Resort. I mean it. Don’t even mess around with other post-wedding vacation ideas. You’ll be wasting your time. Justin and I have done an extensive amount of traveling and none of our trips have come close to the experience we had at Hamanasi this past November. We spent five glorious nights at this beachfront, tropical oasis in Hopkins, Belize. Hopkins is a tiny village nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Mayan Mountains and is just a series of short flights from Miami. It was the right amount of luxury, adventure, cultural education, and gastronomical pleasure – all good things a trip of a lifetime should be. Our experience was so incredible that I feel like I could go on ad nauseum with reasons why you should consider a visit. But for your sake, I’ve narrowed it down to the top ten! P.S. This was really difficult because there literally are SO MANY!
1.) If you want to go international but still stay within your comfort zone
For a first-timer, traveling abroad can easily be a little intimidating and very stressful…two feelings you do not want to experience on your honeymoon. If you’re new to the overseas travel game, ease yourself into it. Belize will allow you to stretch yourself ever so slightly while still staying within your comfort zone. While many Belizeans do speak Spanish (and other languages), English is the national language, so you’ll be able to communicate without the fear of embarrassment. In addition, US currency is accepted in most places, although not universally. When shopping with vendors that only take Belize currency, know that the exchange rate is pegged at $2 BZD for every $1 USD, making quick math nice and easy.
2.) If you want all-inclusive luxury but also a boutique experience
The all-inclusive resorts I’m most familiar with boast multiple pools, several restaurants, and sandy beaches as far as the eye can see. They’re great…until you realize how many other people are vacationing with you. I hope you like getting up early because that’s the only way you’re getting a lounge chair. And better make that dinner reservation because leaving it to chance probably means you’ll go hungry. It’s different at Hamanasi. While the resort sits on 45 acres, it’s a relatively intimate place. With fewer than 30 rooms, there are never too many people staying at the resort at any given time. The small size allows Hamanasi to provide a truly boutique experience. Personalized attention and a familial vibe mean you go from being just a number – which is basically what you are at a larger resort – to feeling like a real guest of honor.
3.) If you want a mix of culture, adventure, and relaxation
There is truly something for everyone at Hamanasi. Their geographic location between the Mayan Mountains and the Caribbean Sea allows them to appeal to a variety of adventure-seekers. Known for their Reef and Rainforest packages, Hamanasi’s tours range from tropical bird watching to exploring ancient Mayan ruins, snorkeling and scuba diving along the Southern Barrier Reef to waterfall hikes and cave adventures, and even a tour of a cacao farm. One tour per day is included in the package and the resort’s concierge service will help you choose those that best fit your schedule and preferences. Just want to lie on the beach and relax? Fancy an oceanside massage? Care to take a cooking class taught by a local? Hamanasi can make that happen, too! But in a country this beautiful and exciting, I promise you won’t want to spend too much time not exploring all it has to offer.
4.) If you want someone to do all of the thinking for you
Planning a wedding is stressful enough; planning a Belize honeymoon shouldn’t be. Hamanasi Resort makes it super easy with their in-house concierge service. Hamanasi’s staff puts some travel agents to shame with the way they make domestic flight selection and ground transportation an absolute breeze. Resort staff can also help you with everything from making room reservations to tour selection to even printing your boarding passes prior to check-out. Hamanasi is run like a well-oiled machine with staff members always being two steps ahead of guests. After 18 years of hosting visitors, the resort and those who work there have come to anticipate needs and exceed expectations every step of the way. At breakfast or lunch, servers help you make dinner reservations. This lets the housekeeping staff know the appropriate time for turn-down service. If your tour includes lunch, guides will find you a day in advance to take your lunch order. Staff members go out of their way to introduce themselves to new guests and learn names, room numbers, tour itineraries, and dietary preferences. This type of service allows you to shut off your brain for a few days and truly relax on your vacation. Even their website is chock full of helpful Belize vacation planning information, like what to wear on certain tours and other FAQs, making preparations a total breeze.
5.) If you want to feel well taken care of at all times
Thanks to a 94% 5-star rating on TripAdvisor, my expectations of Hamanasi prior to our trip were already pretty high. However, they were quickly blown out of the water. During our stay, there wasn’t a single time that we were in need of anything. Guest satisfaction is the #1 priority for Hamanasi staff. Everyone from the tour guides to the bartenders to the housekeepers exudes a sense of friendliness that is unparalleled. They are hospitable, accommodating, and genuinely concerned that your stay is going well. Beyond that, they are sincerely interested in getting to know you as a person. Going above and beyond is part of their daily routine, and I have two examples to prove it. First, I fell in LOVE with this particular cookie we were given after one of the tours…so much so that I ate about 4 of them and then took home all the leftovers. Upon check-out, a copy of the recipe was waiting for me! (Side note: I’ve yet to try baking them at home.) Secondly, on the last night of our stay, I wasn’t feeling well and sent Justin to dinner without me. The waitstaff noticed I wasn’t there, and upon learning I was under the weather, had a tray of freshly made chicken soup put together for Justin to bring to me. You’d be hard pressed to find this level of service anywhere else!!
6.) If you want to conquer some fears
I’m a firm believer that traveling is meant to expand your horizons and stretch your limits. On any normal day, I have a weird fish phobia (blame it on a traumatic childhood experience), I don’t like cramped spaces, and heights freak me out. Yet somehow, at Hamanasi I managed to go snorkeling along the reef (where I saw TONS of fish), crawl through a cave (squeezing between rocks on all fours at one point) and traverse a steep mountain to get to a breathtaking waterfall. Was I afraid during all of these experiences? Heck yes. Did I go through with them anyway? Obviously. Why? Because life isn’t meant to be lived on the sidelines…and also because the Hamanasi tour guides made it incredibly easy to believe in myself. They were patient and tutorial at all times, making sure each guest felt comfortable and confident. The snorkeling guide even stayed with me the entire tour because he immediately sensed my discomfort in the ocean. I wouldn’t say I’m totally over my fears, but I am proud that I allowed myself to be pushed just a little bit. If you are so inclined, this also makes the Dive Operations at Hamanasi a GREAT place to consider taking your first scuba diving course.
7.) If you’re up for meeting new people
One of the best reasons to vacation is that it allows you the opportunity to make new and different friends from around the world. Hamanasi knows this and makes it easy to do. With seating vignettes on the porch, multiple game areas set up, and intimate tours (typically of 8 or fewer guests), they encourage you to get to know one another. We became friends with a honeymooning couple from NYC, had drinks with them a few nights, and ended up exchanging email addresses (Hi Katie & Carl)! Besides guests, I can also guarantee you’ll make some new friends with the staff. Part of what makes Hamanasi so special is the people who work there. From guides to servers to the front desk crew, we got to know so many wonderful individuals during our stay. So much so that I actually teared up saying goodbye to them on our last morning! You never know who you’re going to meet at Hamanasi or how they’re going to touch your heart.
8.) If you want to completely unplug
Hamanasi Resort really wants you to connect with the person you’re traveling with, as well as the Belizean culture and landscape. It’s for this reason that you won’t find a TV in your room. It’s also why you won’t be able to connect to WiFi outside of the main building. No WiFi? No phones? No screens? What will you do with yourself? I know, I know; it might seem drastic. BUT at what other time in your life will you get to go (almost) completely off the grid and not apologize for it? If you can’t do it on your honeymoon, when can you do it? Enjoy this exclusive chance to really be alone with your new spouse and bask in all that screen-free personal time! Instagram will be waiting for you when you get back.
9.) If you want a relaxed environment
Some all-inclusive resorts can be stuffy and pretentious, but Hamanasi is very much “come as you are.” The casual atmosphere evokes feelings of being at home where you’re allowed to be yourself. While you’re certainly free to dress as you please, there is no need to get all fancy at dinner time. There is no formal dress code and most guests wear a mix of casual resort attire. The cool vibe takes the stress out of packing and allows you to truly relax and enjoy yourself without having to worry about formalities.
10.) If you want to support a resort with a commitment to the planet and people
If you like doing good for the earth and those around you, you’re going to love Hamanasi. They realize how beautiful the landscape around them is, and they intend to do everything they can to keep it that way. In an effort to promote eco-friendly tourism, Hamanasi has adopted several green practices. You won’t find a plastic water bottle anywhere on the premises; they provide each guest with a reusable water canteen that doubles as a souvenir! Rooms are equipped with water coolers for easy refilling, as well as recycling bins, compost receptacles, and hand-crafted furniture made using local materials. Drinking straws are absent as well. Instead, the resort cuts down on plastic waste AND supports a local business by exclusively using bamboo straws made and sold by one of their very own bartenders. Many of the restaurant’s ingredients are grown in the resort’s organic garden or sourced from local farmers. Even the gift shop is full of items made by Belizean artists and makers. As if that wasn’t enough, Hamanasi supports several local and international organizations through matching fundraising campaigns. I wasn’t kidding when I said this place is incredibly special.
Raise your hand if you’re totally convinced that a Hamanasi honeymoon is the way to go! Still not totally swayed? Poke around their website, follow them on Instagram, and check out these videos to see what others have to say about this amazing Belize resort. Then pay them a visit and tell me what you think!
A HUGE thanks to Hamanasi Resort for teaming up with Burgh Brides to bring you this post! While I was compensated for my work, all writing, thoughts, opinions, and love for the brand are my own. You can read my full sponsored content disclosure policy here.