Experience Colonial Romance
With its dramatic volcano backdrop, cobblestone streets, and picturesque, pastel-colored colonial homes, Antigua, Guatemala is one of Central America’s most stunning city spots. Adding to its allure are beautiful-but-crumbling ancient Spanish convents, churches, and monasteries, many bursting with bougainvillea. Myriad boutique hotels, like El Convento, are designed with romance in mind and boast rooms with private hot tubs and gardens, rooftop terraces, and indoor and outdoor fireplaces. Explore Antigua’s long history on a private walking tour or discover Guatemalan coffee culture (the country produces some of the world’s best beans) alongside local farmers. For a sweet treat, take a chocolate-making workshop or get the adrenaline pumping on a nearby volcano hike. At the end of the day, enjoy private, romantic dinners at top restaurants like Panza Verde and Welten. As icing on the cake, tack on an overnight visit to Lake Atitlán, one of Guatemala’s signature and most beautiful sights.
Discover Yoga in the Wild
What better way to regroup, rebalance, and refresh than to grab your closest friends and set out on a yoga retreat—one based in a beautiful setting? Located just outside the famed Copán Maya ruins of Honduras, Hacienda San Lucas is a century-old family-run retreat that caters to groups seeking a bit of spirituality. There’s a yoga and meditation pavilion, instructors to help you explore the similarities between yoga and Maya cosmology, and the sacred grounds of Copán itself, where you can meditate and practice yoga, too. At the beachfront Ak’bol Yoga Retreat & Eco-Resort on Belize’s Ambergris Caye, two yoga studios—one surrounded by palms and agave, another perched at the end of a long pier—offer guided meditation and daily yoga classes for all levels. Villa Sumaya, on the banks of Guatemala’s famed Lake Atitlán, offers a variety of yoga retreats throughout the year—plus separate yoga and other body movement classes—in two studios equipped with props, a sauna, a hot tub, and a watsu pool. An on-premise spa offers everything from massage to ionic foot baths to nutritional counseling. (Please note: For the best rates, Ak’bol and Villa Sumaya require groups of 10 or more.)
Enjoy Belize’s Reef & Rainforest
Sister properties Gaïa Riverlodge and Matachica Resort & Spa know how to show guests a good time. The former is located in the wilds of western Belize; the latter is based on the white-sand beaches of Ambergris Caye. Together, they’re the perfect pairing. Gaïa boasts luxury thatched-roof bungalows, bird’s-eye views of the surrounding forests, and plenty of easy adventure. Explore the Caracol Maya archaeological site (Belize’s largest), visit local caves, or a take a dip in the nearby natural pools. When you’re ready for sun and sand, set out for the palm-lined Caribbean waters of Matachica. Here, you can sunbathe, snorkel and scuba dive (the world’s second-largest barrier reef is just off-shore), and decompress at Jade Spa with rejuvenating massages and treatments featuring natural ingredients from the Belizean jungle and sea.
Rent a Tropical Island
Imagine a family get-together where you relax on a private island while someone else handles all the details. At Cayo Espanto, located approximately 15 minutes by boat from Belize’s famed Ambergris Caye, you can have just that. This small isle offers seven luxuriously outfitted one- and two-bedroom villas, each with its own splash pool and butler service. The villas are completely private (meaning you have somewhere to escape from the in-laws), but a common area at the center of the island brings everyone together for meals, cocktails, and games. Cayo Espanto is near some of Belize’s top attractions, including the world’s second-largest barrier reef, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley, Ambergris Caye, and Caye Caulker. From snorkeling to fishing to lounging on the beach, guests at Cayo Espanto—young and old—are easily entertained.
-By Viaventure Central America