Belize Jewel Series: Matachica Beach Resort on Ambergris Caye

Once in a while, in my line of work, I discover a resort that blows me away. The kind that reminds those like myself — constantly on the go — why relaxation is so important. The kind that pulls you into its mellow state even when you resist. A place that blends luxury and comfort with a laid back and unpretentious, cool vibe.

When we got on the Matachica boat sent to pick up new guests from Fido’s dock, in downtown San Pedro, I knew it would be completely different experience.

Our orders were taken for our welcome drinks — Champagne? Margarita? Anything! — and somehow communicated to the resort as we made our way to the secluded north, glasses ready and waiting when we arrived 15 minutes later.

From the moment we were greeted at the dock by two genuinely nice staff members — no plastic smiles here — to the minute I >> met “Cherry” my delightful, deep red thatch casita (I could live there), sank in my king-size bed covered with glorious bed linens and gazed at the exotic decor in my room, I knew Matachica was worth every penny a reader would fork out to stay here.

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The service is there, ever present yet not in-your-face.

Luxury without pretense. No stuffy guests here, no cold staff, no feeling out of place.

I spoke to two girls who were visiting from LA. This was their first time in Belize. The reason they picked Matachica? Because it seemed secluded and had just the perfect layout of beach cabanas (spaced out just right), pool, long beach stretch, hammocks, the reef nearby and total peace. Some people travel to Belize just for that.

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My first thought the next morning as I watched the sun rise over the beach: it’s so zen here. After breakfast – which included a healthy (and welcome) option of granola, yogurt and boiled egg — I watched guests turning up at the water sports hut and taking off toward the reef, within view, on paddle boards, or hobie cats and pedal boats.

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I spent my last hour at the resort touring and taking photographs — one of the staff even kindly offered me a boat ride to the nearby reef and back to the front of the resort so I could take more shots. I took the opportunity to shoot a super short video with my GoPro.

And ultimately, I couldn’t do it — I couldn’t leave without taking a dip and somehow bottling up this zen feeling to take with me as I faced a grueling two weeks ahead with my first chapter deadline. 30 minutes left — I ran back to my cabana, changed into my swimwear, got in the sea for a good ten minutes and relaxed. Finally, for the first time since I arrived in Belize.

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That really is what Matachica is about. It’s not just the cute, romantic cabanas or the rose petals sprinkled across my bed covers and bathroom floor. It’s an experience, and a reminder for me that nothing beats seeing and staying at a resort to find out first-hand what it’s really about… bad, good, or in this case, oh-so-fabulous.


My Reef View Suite “Cherry” is regularly US$390 a night, but US$250 in the low season. 

Matachica Resort & Spa kindly offered me a one night stay to experience their property and in no way is my opinion tainted by this. As always, I stick to blogging only about experiences that move me, regardless of sponsorship.

I plan on featuring one ‘Jewel’ a week as I travel across the country, of all things best in Belize, time permitting.

Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning travel journalist, photographer, and guidebook author specializing in the Caribbean region. Her work has been published in major travel publications, including CNN, AFAR, Delta Sky, Lonely Planet, Shermans Travel, and BBC, among others. A self-professed "culture-holic," Lily left her native Ethiopia at age one, fast developing a passion for the expat Caribbean life. In 2008, she ditched her US corporate law career for the road and created Sunshine and Stilettos—a travel photography blog showcasing authentic ways to experience the Caribbean, through culture and nature. Lily has since partnered with Caribbean tourism boards and travel brands on major content projects. She also authors print guidebooks on three destinations, including Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Read more on her site,

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  1. Diana 24 October, 2012 at 1:22 AM #


  2. Andrea 24 October, 2012 at 1:43 AM #

    ahhhh nice, just the right start for me in a dark morning! (stay in West Germany)

  3. Lebawit Lily Girma 24 October, 2012 at 11:41 AM #

    Thanks, ladies! Andrea, glad to bring you some sunshine, winters are so rough in Europe… hang in there!

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