This is not a good idea, I thought while buckling myself into the copilot's seat. To get to Turtle Inn from Belize City, you must take a 20-minute flight in a single-engine Cessna, and mine appeared to be full, so our pilot invited me to ride shotgun. My left leg came to rest against a little lever that said "wing flaps." When I edged my knee away from that, it bumped into the steering wheel. We topped out at 8,500 feet, the Belize Barrier Reef visible on our left, vast stretches of mountainous jungle on our right, but I never did relax on that flight.
The resort looks like a Balinese paradise--thatched-roof cabanas with Japanese baths and private courtyards. If it seems a bit deserted on a fine day, that's because people come here to play. The inn has a terrific dive shop and that barrier reef, the second largest in the world, after the one in Australia. You can sport fish or fly fish. You can go for a paddle up the Monkey River, explore Mayan ruins or take a hike in the world's only jaguar reserve. (Not to worry: The cats come out only at night.)
On my final morning in Belize, I noted that the strong winds would make our Cessna flight to Belize City interesting. Across the table my new friend Fernanda, swimsuit model of some renown, frowned. "Don't even go there," she said. Believe me, Fernanda, I didn't want to go anywhere. --Austin Murphy