FLYING INTO KANANTIK'S PRIVATE AIRSTRIP between Dangriga and Placencia, with the resort's 300 acres of untamed jungle sprawling behind its palm-studded beach and the big blue stretching beyond, you know you're in for a sweet experience. The vigorous white-haired Italian owner, Roberto Fabbri, designed the 25 Maya-inspired palm-thatched bungalows, gorgeous restaurant, and poolside bar mostly himself, and every detail, from the homemade pasta served in the high-ceilinged open-air restaurant to the elegant dock with its sparkling fishing and dive boats, has been keenly thought out. The circular cabanas feature rock-wall showers, four-poster beds draped with mosquito netting, and big wooden lattice windows that welcome the balmy ocean breeze. When you're not lounging, take a Hobie Cat out for a sail, canoe to the nearby Sapodilla Lagoon, fish for permit, bonefish, and tarpon, or fin with Fabbri in his bright-red Speedo among the massive loggerhead turtles and spotted eagle rays that prowl the outlying reefs. Nearby, the 128,000-acre Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1990 as the world's first jaguar preserve, is one of the best places in Belize to spot the elusive cats. Doubles, $365, all-inclusive; 877-759-8834, www.kanantik.com
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