ISLANDS has picked the world’s 12 best private-island resorts, as well as more than 100 such private islands, all across the planet, from the surprisingly accessible to the beautifully exotic. Any of these private islands holds the promise of the dream escape, where you can have the luxury amenities of a resort while still feeling like the island is all yours.

Making it in the top 10 of the list is Belize’s Cayo Espanto Resort, and why wouldn’t it be?! Below are a few reasons why Islands chose this secluded, ultra-private island as one of the top places to vacation in the world.

This hideaway in the cayes of Belize could practically grant any wish, except for smoked fish. So when a Cayo Espanto guest requested that, the chef constructed a smoker. Same thing happened when another guest wanted a Christmas tree. The resort flew one in. After all, a private island with only six villas — including the new over-water Casa Ventanas at the end of a 150-foot private dock — does have some limitations. So the real magic is in striving for no limits. ISLANDS spoke to managers at Cayo Espanto to find out more.


Overall, what do U.S. travelers enjoy most about Cayo Espanto?

Guests at Cayo Espanto truly enjoy the exceptional level of service, the personalized attention to detail & the privacy the island offers. A guest preference survey is sent to each visitor before they arrive which allows the resort to tailor all aspects of the stay from the drink that is handed to guests upon arrival to the music playing in their villa and the snacks stocked in the pantry. Cayo’s chef meets with guests each morning to discuss the menu for the day and it is that customized attention that our U.S. visitors appreciate.


Which of your offerings do you think best celebrates the authentic island culture?

Situated just off the coast of Belize, Cayo strives to incorporate local culture into their offerings as much as possible. The chef incorporates local ingredients and traditional dishes whenever the opportunity arises and they coordinate tours to explore the nearby ancient Maya ruins. The massage therapists at Cayo Espanto have even created a unique massage tailored to the needs of soon-to-be mothers, with elements drawn from the local Mayan culture.


What do you think makes Cayo Espanto unique among all the world’s private-island resorts?

Again, the level of service and attentiveness – the staff makes it their priority to grant any wish or whim. If a guest wants to celebrate Christmas on the island, they will do their best to fly in a tree for them. They’ve had visitors who requested smoked salmon, but since it’s not readily available in Belize, the chef built a smoker and smoked it himself. Additionally, the island’s location allows guests to feel like they are miles away from civilization, but the island is close enough to the main land that guests can go in for day trips and they have access to a number of activities including golf, fishing and diving at the Blue Hole, just to name a few.

ISLANDS’ Top 10 Best Private Island Resorts are:

Australia: Lizard Island
Bahamas: Star Island
Belize: Cayo Espanto
BVI: Peter Island
Canada: Sonora
Cook Islands: Akitua
Fiji: Matangi
Maldives: Veli and Dhigu
Philippines: Pamalican Island
Seychelles: Fregate Island
Tahiti: Tautau
Turks & Caicos: Pine Cay

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About the Author: Tamara Sniffin

I’m a sucker for a fuzzy face, a feathered face, a face with fins or even one with scales! I am in love with the creatures and the flora that are synonymous with Belize and every opportunity I have to learn more about them and explore their wild habitats I am there! I’m the happiest when I’m snorkeling the reef and swimming with turtles, however my passion is not just limited to critters! Laced throughout this compact jungle gem of a country live the Kriol, Maya, Garifuna, Mestizo and Spanish people, and experiencing each culture, especially their celebrations is one of my favorite pastimes.

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