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Belize has no truly large-scale resorts or hotels. While the Radisson and Best Western chains have one property each in Belize City, there are no other chain hotels in Belize. Upscale travelers looking for over-the-top luxury have very few options here. True budget hounds will also find slim pickings, especially in the beach and caye destinations. What the country does have is a host of intimate and interesting small to midsize hotels and small resorts. Most of these are quite comfortable and reasonably priced by most international standards, although nowhere near as inexpensive as neighboring Mexico.

Belize is a noted ecotourism and bird-watching destination, and there are small nature-oriented ecolodges across the inland portion of the country. These lodges offer opportunities to see wildlife (including sloths, monkeys, and hundreds of species of birds) and learn about tropical forests. They range from spartan facilities catering primarily to scientific researchers to luxury accommodations that are among the finest in the country.

At the more popular beach and resort destinations, specifically Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, and Placencia, you might want to look into renting a condo or efficiency unit, especially for longer stays.

Throughout this guide, I've separated hotel listings into several broad categories: Very Expensive, $200 (£106) and up; Expensive, $126 to $199 (£67-£105); Moderate, $61 to $125 (£32-£66); and Inexpensive, under $60 (£32) for a double. Rates given in this guide do not include the 9% hotel tax. This tax will add to the cost of your room, so do factor it in.

One item you're likely to want to bring with you is a beach towel. Your hotel might not provide one at all, and even if it does, it might be awfully thin.

Speak Up -- If you are booking directly with your hotel (either by phone, fax, or e-mail), remember that most hotels are accustomed to paying as much as 20% in commission to agents and wholesalers. It never hurts to ask if they will pass some of that on to you. Don't be afraid to bargain.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.