Pros

  • One of the most opulent hotels on Ambergris Caye
  • Peaceful adult-only (16+) hotel -- great for honeymoons
  • Stunning thatched roof casitas with modern, locally inspired decor
  • Beautiful manmade beach is pristinely maintained by staff members
  • Stunning mosaic-tile infinity pool with a hot tub and in-water loungers
  • Acclaimed on-site restaurant, Mambo, serves all meals
  • Full American breakfast is included in nightly room rates
  • Themed all-inclusive packages covering meals, activities, and lodging
  • Free kayaks, paddle boards, personal sailboats, and snorkel gear
  • Free Wi-Fi in the lobby and restaurant
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Cons

  • One of the most expensive options on Ambergris Caye
  • Spa and fitness center aren't up to par with other features
  • Wi-Fi isn't available in rooms
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Bottom Line

Arguably the swankiest resort on Ambergris Caye, the four-pearl Matachica Resort & Spa excels at combining Belizean charm with modern opulence. Its 27 individual thatched-roof casitas are painted in eye-popping hues and feature romantic elements like canopied beds and two-person hammocks. Grounds are meticulously kept, but still maintain a laid-back island vibe thanks to sandy pathways and open-air buildings. All-inclusive rates are available, and top-notch amenities include a stunning mosaic tile pool, a beautifully maintained beach, and an excellent on-site bar and restaurant, but the lackluster spa and tiny fitness center fall flat. Matachica is located five miles north of San Pedro town on Ambergris Caye, which is a bit far for travelers who anticipate spending a lot of time in town. As an alternative, Ramon’s Village Resort is located within walking distance of local shops, bars, and restaurants in San Pedro, but isn’t nearly as posh as Matachica.  

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Oyster Hotel Review

Matachica Resort

Scene

One of the most upscale resorts on Ambergris Caye, popular for romantic getaways 

It’s easy to feel like a celebrity when arriving at Matachica Resort. New arrivals take a private boat across shimmering Caribbean waters and anchor at a pristine herringbone-patterned dock, where staff members eagerly await. Sandy pathways crisscross the property, which is dotted with dozens of brightly colored thatched roof bungalows looking straight out of a postcard. Staff members welcome guests with coconut mojitos, the resort’s signature drink, and whisk them away to the open-air lobby, where check-in takes place. The lobby exudes an effortless, Anthropologie-like cool, with Mexican, Balinese, and Indian influences driven by an architectural bamboo focal point, Mughal archways, and Aztec-print rugs and throw pillows. 

Matachica is an upscale property but maintains a laid-back vibe. It’s private and romantic, without being stuffy or pretentious. The fact that it's an adults-only property makes it particularly popular with honeymooners. There’s an emphasis on discretion here, which is why A-list stars are often spotted on hotel grounds. Travelers come from all over the world, but the majority of guests are North Americans. 

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Location

Five miles north of San Pedro town on Ambergris Caye, Belize's largest island 

Matachica Resort is located five miles north of San Pedro town on Ambergris Caye, Belize’s biggest island. Ambergris Caye is best known for its proximity to the Belize Barrier Reef, a mere 20-minute boat ride from the island. The Belize Barrier Reef is part of the larger Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which extends from eastern Mexico to Honduras -- making it the second largest reef system in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Needless to say, travelers visit Ambergris Caye to experience its rich marine life and exceptional dive sites, such as Hol Chan and the Blue Hole. Ambergris Caye is an ideal destination for divers, avid snorkelers, and fishermen. It’s not an ideal destination for travelers in search of beautiful beaches (check out Placencia or Hopkins instead). Nearly all of Ambergris Caye’s beaches, like the one in front of Matachica, are manmade.

San Pedro is the largest town on Ambergris Caye and is the island’s hub for transportation, shopping, dining, and nightlife. The ramshackle town, with its brightly colored facades, crisscrossing golf-cart traffic, and sandy roadways, is a sight to behold, and had a fun, laid-back atmosphere. The hotel’s location, five miles north of town, is a bit far for travelers who anticipate dining out frequently in San Pedro. Matachica has golf-carts (the only form of motorized transportation on the island) available for rent, but the ride to town can take close to 30-minutes on the island’s poorly lit, potholed roads. The hotel offers private boat transfers into town, which can be a speedier alternative.

Like many parts of the Caribbean, Ambergris Caye is currently dealing with a massive seaweed problem. Due to rising ocean temperatures, large amounts of seagrass accumulate along the shoreline and wash up on the beach. The piles of dried seagrass are unsightly and foul smelling, and the problem seems particularly bad on the northern end of the island. The stagnant seaweed prevents a lot of people from swimming directly off shore, and the sulfurous smell may aggravate some travelers more than others. This is a natural phenomenon, and there isn’t much hotels can do to get rid of the seaweed, but it’s something travelers should anticipate when visiting Ambergris Caye. 

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Rooms

Belizean chic decor -- modern elements with upscale island flair 

The rooms at Matachica are the resort’s crowning glory. Housed in individual thatched-roof casitas, rooms exude privacy and romanticism, with canopied beds, two-person hammocks, and semi-outdoor bathrooms. Exterior walls are painted in fun rainbow shades, like flamingo pink and sunshine yellow, and each casita has a front porch and a matching colored hammock. Inside, rooms are brought to life by extravagant wall murals, dramatic artwork, and vaulted thatched ceilings. Belizean accents like woven rugs and hand-painted tile contrast nicely with contemporary elements like polished concrete floors and all-white bedding. The resort aims to make each room an oasis -- a private refuge from the rest of the world. As such, guests will notice rooms lack technology like TVs, iPod docks, and even Wi-Fi. Bathrooms feature gorgeous stone showers and luxurious L’Occitane bath products. Bathrooms aren’t air-conditioned, so guests are encouraged to leave their shutters open, in order to create an outdoor-feel. However, with Belize’s sometimes stifling temperatures, this idea isn’t always practical. 

Matachica has several different room types, ranging from entry level Sea Breeze Bungalows to the 1,700 square foot, two-bedroom Sea Breeze Villa. Most of the rooms are categorized by size and view. Sea Breeze Bungalows are the smallest at 350 square feet, and don’t offer any kind of ocean view. Alternatively, Deluxe Beachfront Casitas are 500 square feet and offer unobstructed ocean views. Most rooms can only accommodate two people, but Sea View Cabanas are equipped with two queen size beds -- keep in mind, however, that nightly rates are based on double occupancy.  

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Features

Beautiful pool and beach, acclaimed restaurant and bar, but lackluster spa and fitness center 

Matachica’s excellent on-site amenities entice many guests to stay on the property for the duration of their trip. The resort also offers themed all-inclusive packages (honeymoon, fishing, diving, etc.) that include accommodations, round trip domestic flights between Belize City and San Pedro, round trip airport transportation, two daily meals, and additional extras pertaining to each theme (couples massages, sunset dinners, daily fishing/diving excursions). Guests who don’t participate in an all-inclusive program will pay for everything a la carte. Fair warning, Matachica is one of the priciest resorts on Ambergris Caye, so guests can expect all on-site services to be resort priced.  

The pool is located in the center of the Matachica property. Its multi-colored mosaic tiles give it a unique blueish/greenish hue that catches stunning reflections of the surrounding palm trees. The pool’s rounded kidney shape feels spa-like, and its infinity edge overlooks the property’s lush grounds. It has its own floating hot tub and a large, shallow ledge for sunbathing. The pool is surrounded by cushioned lounge chairs, white umbrellas, and pillow-topped daybeds. 

Like almost all of the beaches on Ambergris Caye, the one in front of Matachica is manmade, but it’s nicely maintained by staff members. Pairs of lounge chairs and umbrellas are lined up along the shoreline and free kayaks, paddle boards, and personal sail boats are available for guests to use. From the beach the resort’s dock stretches into the ocean. The dock features unique, octagonally shaped side decks with private daybeds where guests can lounge in the sun. Seaweed is a big problem in the waters off Ambergris Caye, and mounds of it wash up along the shoreline every morning, creating unsightly, foul smelling piles. Matachica staff members do an exceptional job of clearing the seaweed, though no amount of human effort can make it disappear completely.  

Mambo, Matachica’s on-site restaurant, is one of the best in the area. Guests can expect creative dishes prepared with fresh, local ingredients and Belizean recreations of traditional recipes. Mambo serves a la carte breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Full American breakfast is included in all nightly room rates, and dinner is included in most all-inclusive plans. The restaurant is popular with guests and non-guests alike, so reservations might be necessary during peak season. The dining room is open-air and sits beneath a large thatched roof. The atmosphere is casual, but white tablecloths and candles make it slightly more elegant at dinner time. The adjacent Red Bar, overlooking the beach, is popular for sundowners and nightcaps. The Red Bar has a pool table and low-lying Balinese style lounge seating, which gives the space a fun, exotic vibe. Don’t leave the resort without trying Red Bar’s signature cocktail, the coconut mojito. 

Compared to all of the above, the spa and fitness center are a bit of a let down, especially for a four-pearl property. The Jade Spa doesn’t have the same Belizean chic look as the rest of Matachica, and instead feels like an afterthought. The lobby’s pale walls and bland furniture look a tad clinical, and the dark treatment rooms feel amateur and disjointed. The fitness center is equally disappointing, with a few old machines and limited equipment.  

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