Ever been curious how water affects us? And I don’t mean just from consumption, but rather from simply being near water—in any shape or form. If you live near the sea, make frequent trips to the beach, or are planning an island holiday this summer, chances are you’re getting more out of it than just enjoyment. That’s because in 2014, marine biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols’ Blue Mind study found a scientific backing to this feeling we already knew, almost inherently—being near water can literally soothe the soul. Using seawater for medical purposes even has a name: thalassotherapy.
Book or no book, the average person in Belize can actually attest to this. I’d even reckon that Belizeans are hardwired to the Caribbean Sea and more specifically, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (BBRRS).
After all, there’s simply no denying the magnetism of being at the water’s edge. Make that from a private island resort in Belize, and your ionized ocean air suddenly becomes indulgent, discrete, and luxurious. Tempted? Keep scrolling for the ultimate solace of the sea with one of these five island resorts in Belize.
Previously known as Hatchet Caye, the island resort relaunched in January 2020 as Ray Caye—and it’s been cementing a reputation as one of the most sought-after destinations in the country since. With less than 50 guests at any given time, the new Ray Caye is a 20-room retreat with eight oceanfront villas—four of them newly built—all boasting panoramic ocean views and a private plunge pool. There are also six new guest rooms and six newly renovated waterfront cabanas.
Powdery, white-sand beaches line almost the entire coast of the island behind its reinforced seawall while a dive shop, spa, gym, helipad, welcome centre, and pelagic store are all at your disposal. Emblematic of the dreamlike Caribbean island resort experience, Ray Caye’s meticulously-groomed grounds of ruby red hibiscus flowers compliment red stamped concrete pathways and a water slide emptying into the Caribbean Sea. Onsite, guests can choose from a revolving nightly menu at the island’s eatery, The Lionfish Bar & Grill.
View this post on Instagram
At just 7 acres, you couldn’t get lost even if you tried. A trip to this slice of paradise takes approximately an hour by boat from Placencia Village or just 18 minutes via helicopter from Belize City.
If a shared island of fewer than 50 people still doesn’t quite meet your standards of exclusivity, a 30-minute boat ride back towards the mainland lands you on the petite three-acre island of Coral Caye. Its also the sister property to Turtle Inn in Placencia, a Family Coppola Hideaway—as in, the Oscar-winning filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola’s third act as the proprietor of the Family Coppola Hideaways in Belize. See, Coral Caye is exclusively rented out to one group at a time, allowing for accommodations of up to 10 guests in a mix of its two impeccably designed Cottage—the only dwellings besides a common area, the Great House.
There’s a new menu every day from a private chef, served alongside his foray into winemaking with perfectly paired selections. Equally opulent, the property encourages a mix of pure seclusion and active journeys, whether you’ve ‘gone fishing‘ or simply gone exploring the second-largest reef system in the world.
For those looking for a different side to island life, you can find it nine miles from Dangriga Town in Southern Belize. With a name like Thatch Caye, you’d expect just that in its structures. Instead, you’ll find a barefoot casual island resort, housing only 30 guests at a time in overwater bungalows or cabanas. Blissfully tropical with only 15 rooms, you’ll find yourself learning the art of community inside the common Coco Lounge (and only source of Wi-Fi) one second and under the moonlight the next.
For those looking to stay active, Thatch Caye hosts an onsite Five Star PADI Dive Shop, ready to drop anchor on the doorstep of Glover’s Reef Atoll. If you feel like doing nothing at all though? That’s fine too, with the Starfish Bar over its natural saltwater pool to keep you company. Its fuss-free accommodations, colorful scattered hammocks and coral reefs set a bygone mood.
Instead, rejuvenate by sunbathing on a hammock, receiving an optional seaside massage, or enjoying any of the complimentary water toys. While the resort is fully sustainable, you won’t even notice you’re staying at an eco-resort. Besides, Thatch Caye is the perfect place to disconnect and recharge, allowing you to immerse yourself in the solace of the sea below your cabana on stilts.
Towering coconuts, Caribbean blue cabanas, kaleidoscopic sunsets, Southern charm, and a warm community await on a 15-acre isle inside the country’s largest marine reserve. East of Dangriga Town in Southern Belize, Blue Marlin Beach Resort rests on the private island of South Water Caye with all 14 of its units, suitable to host up to 36 persons. It’s a lounging enclave, welcoming guests for discreet stays right on the edge of the Belize Barrier Reef.
View this post on Instagram
This 16-acre private island gem is a quick 30-minute boat ride from Dangriga Town, boasting all-inclusive fixings with 19 sea-facing colorful cabanas. Tucked away on a remote, private island outside the sleepy coastal fishing town, this Belize resort’s seafood dishes are tough to beat.
View this post on Instagram
As an adults-only island resort, Coco Plum is an ideal getaway for honeymoons, a girls (or guys) trip, or really anyone who likes their holidays vivacious. It’s tough to beat—as are those ocean views.