Staying Off The Beaten Path With A Private (Island) Vacation Rental This Summer

by Carolee Chanona

Contrary to popular belief, private island getaways are not just for the rich and famous. Sure, renting a private island for yourself comes with exclusivity, but renting a private villa on an island is almost the same. According to Business Insider, private vacation rentals are up 127% thanks to fundamental changes in the way people choose to travel after COVID-19. Vacation homes are hotter than ever as more travelers seek out larger spaces, more privacy, and a blissful sense of freedom. Factor in extra savings after splitting the cost of a private vacation rental with friends and family, and you’re on track to uninterrupted unwinding by staying off the beaten path in Belize. Besides boasting 450+ islands, Belize is also particularly ideal for travelers looking to take it easy with a slow-living mentality. Add in private vacation rentals with hotel-like service? Sold. 

The Benefit of Booking A ‘More Than Just Vacation Rental’ in Belize

According to analysts, travelers are reveling in the extra space and comfort of vacation rentals with “extras” that sweeten the deal, including a private boat, private captain, private chef, and more. Tom Ito, Gensler’s global hospitality lead, echoes this point: “Hosted rentals can be attractive to some travelers as they can provide the additional level of service, making a stay go from good to great and, in some cases, even exceptional.” And escape is indeed what many travelers are after with a private vacation rental: one on a private island in Belize satiates perfectly. Enter Casa Al Mar.

The arrangement is straightforward: the Belizean host family customizes a quote for your stay, including special requests and milestones if any, to process the reservation, recommend or book excursions, tidy up during the stay, and even deep-clean after check-out. All without the need for travelers to step inside a lobby. But what separates Casa Al Mar from other vacation rentals, is that it’s offered as an all-inclusive stay. That’s important, considering your off-the-beaten-path is 9 miles outside of Belize City on St. George’s Caye, where no cars, no electric grids, and no stores exist.

Included are all transfers to/from the airport and the island; all meals and snacks by your island chef; housekeeping; non-alcoholic drinks; a private boat to your disposal—fully equipped alongside a licensed boat captain and tour guide; tours and activities—with at least four already priced in each package; and lodging that spans three floors. Built in 1991, the rooms play up their surroundings with whimsical names like The Osprey’s Nest, Pelican Roost, and Sergeants Quarters, while nautical decor inside includes antique glass sea-stained bottles and even a giant plastic mounted marlin. After all, the world’s second-largest barrier reef lies less than a mile away from the family-owned property.

Serenity, Now

With the six-bedroom, three-storied home housing up to 16 and a minimum of 8, Casa Al Mar guests can cozy up to indoor hammocks, and take their morning coffee on the porch or the private dock pelican watching.

 “After the past couple of years, travelers have really learned to appreciate slowing down and are living more in the moment,” says Rossella Beaugié, of the villa agency the Thinking Traveller.

St. George’s Caye is an island comprised almost entirely of vacation homes, which means everyone is pretty serious about their relaxation. It’s an enclave without a traditional beach thanks to a protective seawall hugging the near-entirety of the island, but you’re never too far from the watersport of your choice; Casa Al Mar’s private east dock gets you direct access to kayaking and paddleboarding, while guests can jump straight in from its private west side dock to snorkel and swim.

Casa Al Mar guest photo.

Set up dinner outside instead to take in the setting sun behind coconut palm fronds. Request a pineapple mojito, just because you can. Savor the pace and soak up exactly what you came to Casa Al Mar for: quality time with each other.

All images courtesy Casa Al Mar, unless stated otherwise.

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