7 Perfect Days at Casa Al Mar on St. George’s Caye, Belize

by Carolee Chanona

Just 9 miles by boat from Belize City—lies one of the quiet corners of the country, with a layout made almost entirely of vacation homes. It’s St. George’s Caye: Belize’s first capital, dating all the way back to the 1700s. Rich in history with an entire holiday dedicated entirely to its own battle against Spaniard invaders, St. George’s Caye is the ideal island to spend a few days entirely unfettered from the outside world. Despite the time since its 1798 battle, its faded grandeur is still very much present—cannons and all. There isn’t a single street, golf cart, or even an electric grid—instead, peace and quiet is palpable. But going off-grid doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing modern comforts or even vacation thrills. Instead, take each dawn as a new adventure, making Casa Al Mar your Belize base for seven perfect days.

Day 1: Whisked Away

belize airport empty

The Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE).

Despite a lack of large hotel chains and sprawling resorts, Belize is one of the easiest countries to travel to. A skidding stop on the blacktop of Philip S. W. Goldson Airport in Belize City glides you past a fairly small entryway; for reference, the birthplace of Belize’s famed Belikin beer just across the tarmac is just as large, which rivals the size of a regional airport in the U.S.

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At Casa Al Mar, they say ‘welcome’ with ice-cold Caribbean coolers.

You’re also not landing in Belize City, but on the outskirts in Ladyville. Just 15 minutes by ground transportation, Casa Al Mar reps—awaiting your arrival at the airport—whisk you away to the transfer dock. A scant 20 minutes by (private) speedboat away, St. George’s Caye materializes through pearly flashes of sun glare and the back dock of Casa Al Mar comes in focus against its minty, reef green exterior.

Day 2: Takin’ It Easy

Occasionally, you might hear a boat go by or a fish jump out of the water, but you’ll otherwise be surrounded by silence. Soak it all in on your first full day on the island, enjoying the Caribbean Sea from its front dock (and perhaps gaining new tan lines) with an ice cold Belikin—imported straight out of Ladyville.

Before the sun dips too low, walk the length and breadth of the island. Don’t miss the tiny but mighty St. George’s Caye Aquarium for critters of the sea.

Day 3: Snorkel, Swim and Grill Fresh Catch

Adjusting well to island life? Reclaim the simple things in life against a glistening Caribbean Sea by day, and some of the best stargazing by night. Be overzealous in pursuit of a naturally socially distant experience, where the day can start with a solo paddle at sunrise to catch breakfast, only to grill it just minutes later; you’ll be surprised how seasoned a fresh catch is, straight out of the sea.

Bellies full, the Belize Barrier Reef beckons. Answer with a snorkel and swim, thanks to your own private captain at Casa Al Mar.

Day 4: Barefoot with Bicycles on Caye Caulker 

caye caulker Image by Simon Velazquez

Caye Caulker. Image by Simon Velazquez

Home to a strong Creole presence and even small Rastafarian community, Caye Caulker is the 5-mile long limestone coral island just 30 minutes from Casa Al Mar. But what it lacks in size, Caye Caulker makes up for in charm: “go slow” signs line its sandy streets, and that directive is taken seriously. There’s not a whole lot to do on the island besides downing a bright green Lizard Juice at the hub of the island—The Split—or seahorse-gazing with sundowners, but that’s the point.

Shark ray alley roeming belize travel agency

Shark Ray Alley. Image courtesy ROEming Belize

On your fourth day with Casa Al Mar, you’ll get to experience this colorful village for yourself: a cool cafecito from Ice ‘N’ Beans on arrival, a palm-shaded hammock until noon rolls around, and a barefoot stroll towards the end of the island for lunch. After, get your camera ready because you’re heading to Shark Ray Alley in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a perennially popular spot laden with big southern stingrays and mooching nurse sharks that come right up to the boat when it first arrives.

Day 5 & 6: On Island Time

casa al mar dock umbrellas

Safe to say you won’t be wearing much more than a swimsuit during these next two days. Big on chill, soak up the last of island time on St. George’s Caye however you see fit under the seaside umbrella. However, they’ll squeeze in the two more gems of experiences: drop fishing near the Belize Barrier Reef in the morning, and visiting the sandbar that faces the island in the afternoon.

Your captain throws his anchor, divvies up sliced (fresh-caught) sprat, and demonstrates how to hook ’em. “If you’ve got a head [of the bait], push the hook’s eye through its eye, too.” Excited and full of hope for what lies beneath, you’ll throw your nylon fishing line over the boat’s side, letting it gently flutter through your fingertips until the weight reaches the bottom. Your index finger is your most sensitive—rest the fishing line gently on top, but without any slack, to tune in to your surroundings and concentrate on every little pick, nibble, or bite below.

Nothing beats knowing you caught your own dinner, and the island chef cooks it up however you like.

 Day 7: Paradise Found

You’ve got the morning to reflect on the week that’s passed, and hopefully, re-enter everyday life with a newly discovered peace of mind. After your fill of puffy Fry Jacks in a quintessential Belizean Breakfast, your bags are packed and you’re on way back to the city. This time, with the knowledge of paradise, found.

With a six-bedroom, three-storied home housing up to 16 people, this private all-inclusive island vacation rental is available just outside Belize City starting at $269 per person per night. Accessible via private boat, Casa Al Mar guests can cozy up to indoor hammocks, and take your morning coffee on the porch or the private dock pelican watching. Perfect for kids in tow.

All images not captioned courtesy Casa Al Mar. More details here

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