The Private Island of Cayo Espanto

Spend a week in paradise where shoes are not needed or expected

Planning a vacation to a private island is the ultimate luxury goal.

Cayo Espanto is a private island resort off the coast of Belize--blissful for serene beachy escapes, perfect romantic honeymoon destinations or checking “staying on a private island” off bucket lists. The island is quaint, stretching for 4 acres, about 3 miles from San Pedro in the Western Caribbean.

Expect personalized, five-star attention, with only seven villas total. Each villa is screened, so private guests may go an entire trip without seeing another visitor. There are no footprints in the sand, other than your own--which staff members wipe clean like magic, keeping the beaches pristine.

I am now certain that paradise has coconuts and shells along the beach! This island provided numerous people to meet me at each point from when I stepped off the plane, all working together to ensure guests never wonder where they need to go next to arrive at paradise.

We were escorted to a private golf cart to a private boat ride, which went straight to our villa. The staff on the island was ready for us, even though we were ahead of schedule, with their famous, frosty blue five-alcohol blended (secret recipe "The Wave") cocktails in-hand.

The villa streamed any music desired, provided by an iPad. Every morning, I woke to the beautiful music of birds. I started each day thinking:  “This has to be the most glorious day ever.”

Before breakfast, my husband awoke to go fishing off our private dock, even before his daytime fishing excursion. Looking into the ocean from your private dock is like having a real-life, private aquarium at your feet. 

From relaxation to adventure, everything was on our own schedule. Staff always “knocks” verbally before entering villas. There are no actual walls to knock on, so they have to say, “Knock, knock.” Staying in a room with no walls was novel. At first, you miss having walls, then start wondering why any homes would have walls, with these views and the weather of paradise. At night, villas can shut and feel almost air-tight to protect from any weather, wind or bugs. 

Everything on the island was top-notch, no matter how simple or refined. Hands-down, this private island is also a foodie’s paradise, with dishes catered daily by award-winning chefs; special requests welcomed. And, the coffee and tea is so fresh and tasty, they deserve their own separate acknowledgments.

Every day, every detail is customized to guests. Most of the time, this vacation was all about doing nothing and adjusting to “island time.” The only sign of the outside world is the occasional small airplane in the distance, which only reminds of the wonderful way you started this journey.

Many celebrities have stayed at Cayo Espanto, including Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, CEOs, Hollywood producers and Leonardo DiCaprio. In fact, word is DiCaprio loved it so much, he bought a neighboring island.

A private island has to be the most magnificent way to live.

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