Cayo Espanto, Belize: You Need the Entire Island
Most everyone dreams of owning a private island where the beaches are gorgeous and empty and an attentive staff caters to your every whim. But other than the likes of Larry Ellison and Richard Branson, who could afford such an extravagance? As it turns out, a private island is within reach of the rest of us, off the coast of Belize. Cayo Espanto, an idyllic chunk of rock of just four acres, can be yours for $14,000 a night. That may sound like a lot, but the place can accommodate 18 guests (at about $775 per person per night, that’s not much more than you’d pay to stay at a luxury resort), making it the ultimate destination for an unforgettable blowout party or family reunion. And if you can’t muster a big group, you can still rent one of the resort’s seven rustic-luxe villas, most of which have their own plunge pool, butler, and chef. The villas are isolated from one another, so even though you won’t be the only guests on the island, it’ll feel that way.
Cayo Espanto maintains a fleet of boats to take you to some of Belize’s best diving spots, including Hol Chan, the country’s first marine park, and Blue Hole, a 400-foot-deep sinkhole brimming with limestone ledges and caves to explore. Bonefishing and bird-watching guides are also available.
If you want to play archaeologist, the resort can arrange a daylong excursion to the ancient Mayan city of Lamanai — first by plane, then by van, then by boat up the New River. (Watch out for spider monkeys and crocodiles!) And after a few hours spent climbing the site’s temples, you’ll return to your villa
Distance from Airport: From Belize City, a 15-minute flight to San Pedro, then a quick boat ride to the island.
Best Time to Go: Dry season is November–May.
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