This idyllic piece of real estate is the brainchild of Jeff Gram, an American entrepreneur, and the result of six years of work. While the rates may push it right off the “must stay” list for most folks (US$500/night, and up), there are those who will find this lavish lifestyle the perfect way to mark a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.
Our Tropic Air flight to San Pedro was met by one of Cayo Espanto’s friendly staff. We were escorted by golf cart for a short trip down San Pedro’s sandy streets to the dock on the west side of Ambergris Caye. Here we boarded a motored skiff for the short hop to the private island. As we approached the pier, the island’s friendly staff stood at attention, ready to welcome us with a cold tropical drink, and show us to our bungalow. Shortly thereafter, our butler arrives and serves us a bowl of fresh fruit salsa, accompanied by tortilla chips. Time now for perhaps a swim in the warm Caribbean waters, maybe a little fly fishing, or better yet, a nap in our air-conditioned room snuggled in crisp white cotton and a duvet!
Later, as we sat on our private veranda enjoying a cocktail, the setting sun flashed golden beams of light across the dark blue sea, and illuminated bright halos around the puffy dark clouds on the horizon. This was the perfect prelude to the evening meal in our personal dining room: A candle lit table for two, set under the palapa at the end of the pier, surrounded by the fading sunset and the cooling sea breezes.
The daytime activities available at Cayo Espanto include all the local favourites: Diving, snorkelling, reef or flats fishing, birding; as well as trips to the mainland to see Maya ruins or the Belize Zoo. Cayo Espanto has its own dive master, and a full range of diving options are offered, including certification courses. Fly-fishermen will find the shallow waters all around the island great for stalking the cagey bonefish. Transportation to and from San Pedro is available during daylight hours. An on-site massage therapist can help you unwind. It soon becomes apparent, however, that the activity of choice on Cayo Espanto, is simply to relax-whether it be in a hammock, your bungalow’s private plunge pool, or a chaise longue. It seems enough, somehow, just luxuriating in the seclusion, the “private-ness” of it all, and letting the city life, work, worries, and responsibilities evaporate from your soul like a covey of quail flushed out of a grassy meadow.
Nevertheless, it is likely that you will force yourselves to venture out for the occasional diving or snorkelling trip, or wandering the streets of San Pedro, if only to work up an appetite for the fabulous meals served here. All your meals are served on your own schedule, in your own bungalow, or another location of your choice on the island, such as the dining palapa. Daily adventures in Caribbean cuisine are created by a team of professional chefs, producing meals that are guaranteed to delight. Each day’s menu is prepared with the freshest offerings of the market and the sea, such as Carrot-Ginger soup with Honey Yogurt Cream, Red Curry Seafood Ragu, and Letty’s Cayo Lime Pie.
Cayo Espanto has a guest capacity of 12, in four bungalows. They are named Casa Estrella, Casa Aurora, Casa Olita, and Casa Manana. Each has its own distinct flavor and two of them are two-bedroom units, with separate living areas. Casa Olita has been the island’s showcase suite. You will see Olita’s elegant bedroom featured in all the brochures. The other Casas have their own special touches and all are very comfortable.Every house has its own personal butler that sees to all of your needs. Other amenities include fresh flowers, air-conditioning, mini-fridges, hot water, and satellite TV.
Most guests stay from five to seven nights, and a large percentage of them are honeymooners. Cayo Espanto is the ultimate getaway for those who want to be alone together; a second honeymoon, an anniversary, or just a special treat to yourselves…Sure to make any occasion memorable and serene.