90%
Members Recommend
4.0
Very Good 251 Reviews
Jetsetter Verified
This Hotel meets our standards
Our editors have been here and it has met our standards

What We Love

  • Free welcome cocktail upon arrival
  • Newest luxe resort on Ambergris Caye — the jumping-off point for underwater adventures on the world’s second-largest barrier reef
  • Cuisine prepared with the freshest of vegetables and herbs from the resort's organic gardens
  • Ikal Spa’s signature Bamboo and Hot Sea Shell massages

What To Know

  • A stay here is all about relaxation and serenity; the resort is a 25-minute boat ride or a one-hour bike ride from the nearest town
  • It's recommended to request boat transfers from the San Pedro airport to the resort when booking
  • Boat transfer from San Pedro to El Secreto is approximately $50 per person, plus taxes (for guests staying at the hotel three nights or more, the boat transfers are free)
  • A 10 percent service charge per night will be collected at the Jetsetter checkout

Amenities

  •  Bar
  •  Eco friendly
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Spa
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
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Overview

Ambergris Caye escape for on-tap scuba diving and snorkeling excursions, rustic-luxe villas and organic meals

The Look

A short boat ride from Ambergris Caye’s one and only town, San Pedro, El Secreto emerges between the palms on a deserted stretch of white sand — the barefoot-luxe vibe established in an instant. Front and center at the resort is the beachfront infinity pool, decked out with overwater hammocks and cabana beds and within easy reach of the Sand Bar, which serves coveted frozen coconut mojitos.

Bed and Bath

The 13 freestanding thatch-roofed villas have top-notch amenities and spacious living spaces showcasing local woods, with carpentry designed and handcrafted by Belizean artisans. The Sea Villas are right on the ocean, Tropical Villas offer lush garden views, and Lake Villas surround the resort’s own saltwater lake. All are done up with kingsize beds, flat-screen LCD TVs and big marble bathrooms with Malin + Goetz amenities, an indoor hot tub and a private outdoor Jacuzzi. WiFi is free, and it’s controlled, along with the AC, TV, music and lighting, using the iPhone provided by the resort.

Beyond

Regionally inspired gourmet dishes made using ingredients from the resort’s organic gardens and fish fresh from the sea are served in the lovely open-air restaurant; always on-tap favorites are the tangy ceviche and a surprisingly good specialty pizza. All guests are welcome to the Ikal Spa, which offers an extensive menu of facial and full body treatments, including the signature Bamboo and Hot Sea Shell massages, which can be enjoyed either in guests’ villas or in one of two thatched towers with views over the tree canopy. Free resort activities include fitness programs such as yoga and meditation sessions on the resort’s private piers, as well as bicycles and non-motorized water sports such as sailing and kayaking.

In the Area

Book a snorkeling trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve on Belize’s famous barrier reef, and glimpse an amazing rainbow of marine life such as angel and parrot fish, and spotted eagle rays, or take a deep dive at the famous sites of Blue Hole and Lighthouse Reef, renowned for sheer walls and drop-offs. Back on dry land, pop over by speedboat to San Pedro for a bit of shopping, bar hopping and maybe lunch at Elvis Kitchen, or dinner at the Blue Water Grill. And for a dose of culture, cross the bay and head up the North River and overland to the ancient site of Altun Ha, with its imposing pyramids, temples and tombs, or take a slow boat up the New River to the jungle-bound Mayan temples and carved stone monuments of Lamanai.

How to Get There

El Secreto
11miles north of San Pedro Town
San Pedro, 0000 Belize

Reviews

4.0 Very Good 251 Reviews
Hidden luxury for the private traveler
Reviewed 3 months ago

If you are looking or a hidden gem, far from others, as private as possible with all possible amenities, great food, caribbean tranquility all in close connection to nature, then this is a very good choice. It was my second time there and enjoyed a lot!
It is indeed a little far from town but that is exactly what this is about...
Nice palapa style cabins with top technological gadgets amidst all this nature.
Amenities in the bathroom can improve. Artificial lagoon could get a little maintainence but it is ok...
Would definitely stay there again.

Unbearable smell in the worst value for money hotel
Reviewed 4 months ago

Before choosing El Secreto I would like you to think about several statements below- if you agree with them then go ahead and book a place costing you 400 USD per night - if not (my recommendation) go somewhere else!

1. “I really don’t mind paying 400 USD per night and overpaying for bad food” - how many times have you spent 400 USD per night? How often have you paid 25 USD for a bad salad? The value for money is simply outrageous- think about the average income for people in Belize and what it charges you for a day... they capitalise that you need to eat there and the choices are unbelievable expensive and bad (except for the guacamole)

2. “I don’t mind bad smell- I actually like the idea of needing to have a congested nose to stand the smell” - the smell offered because of the brown pleasure is the worst we have ever experienced! I literally threw up twice because it was so unbearable

3. “I don’t like a Blue Ocean view as promised on pictures” - the team clearly didn’t care to clean up the beach for several days which created the pictures attached and a beach which is far from being what you were promised

4. “Good Service is overrated and I like to spend my days chasing after hotel managers” - we spent half of our time chasing someone who felt responsible to get a refund on our stay. Manager is in Mexico and no one in the hotel is capable of making management decisions. Service staff quiet frankly felt like they were on a rehab vacation.

At the end we shortened our stay and got some refund on our stay - we would never come here again because of the hassle and outrageous pricing! We can go on about the experience but we just want to forget about it and move on!

Hidden gem ...
Reviewed 4 months ago

We stayed at El Secreto as the first of three resorts across Belize. We chose it for the reviews, the lodging and the secluded atmosphere it promised. We were not disappointed and actually the resort was beyond our expectations.
The rooms are wonderful in every way, we received a kind upgrade to an even larger seafront villa which was gorgeous. The staff is superb, extremely kind and efficient and always eager to please and help — all at the same very high level. Because it is an isolated resort we had all meals here for 3 days breakfast a snack and dinner and we were always delighted. And contrary to most reviews we saw no sign of mosquitoes , probable because it was Windy. The snorkeling tour was amazing, a teu Highlight of our Belize holiday.
The only dissapointment was the sea - one expects a beautiful Caribbean azure sea but it was brown, opaque and full of sargassus. The Staff was very busy cleaning the Beach but it kept coming ashore over and over ... so we missed swimming at the beach and gazing at a beautiful sea which for us is an important part of our escapes. We found this to be a problem afecting all Belize coast and other Caribe destinations in the last years with some frequency and the issue is not understood or predictable. Still I recomend to evalúate the status and odds of this problem as possible when you decide on a beach holiday in Belize. But if you do decide Belize —- El Secreto is a superb choice to get away from it all in utmost comfort.

Not what it seems
Reviewed 4 months ago

After spending multiple days in the jungle we were so excited to come to this hotel And be pampered. When we arrived they charge you 25 US dollars per person each way just to get to their hotel. First piece of advice is...this is a rip off. You can use the water taxi that is about 10 pp that is right next to the ferry. We arrived and their boat did not work so they had to pay someone else to take us. We got to the hotel and it was gorgeous and the food was good. You can tell thought that things were once great there but maybe on the down hill. Problems we had 1) very far away from everything. Literally there is nothing to do there. 2 diff couples pulled us aside there and basically told us how to get out of there If we needed to. 2) our room smelt so bad it woke me up in the middle of the night. In the morning I woke up to a cockroach on the nightstand 3) ran out of water in the morning and when my husband asked about it...it was like a sorry Im not sorry. In the end it was fixed. 4) they add a 10% gratuity on each bill. Which is fine but when asked is this was supposed to be their tip i was told that the money was used to pay for the gardener and the cleaning ladies and that the servers don’t get any of it. So it is expected to tip more overall this hotel is not worth the money. Go stay at matachica. The service is better and the room doesn’t smell like pee.

A hidden gem, perfect for chilling out.
Reviewed 5 months ago

This tiny resort (13 villas) is the perfect place to get away from it all. Beautiful villas, each with a private hot tub are in an idyllic setting - either on the beach or (like ours) around a lagoon. Since it is 30 min from San Pedro by boat (45 by golf cart), all activities require long rides. I suggest you have your adventures first, in Belize City or San Pedro, then come here to recover and relax. Staff is very attentive, and Estell, the manager is a gem. One note: all your meals will probably be in the restaurant, which is excellent, but a bit pricey.