The Boutique, Bespoke Private Island Resort That Delivers Big in Belize

by Carolee Chanona

It’s not often you’ll find a destination that attracts both those who travel with scuba gear in tow and those looking to simply slip away. That is until you discovered Belize, which nicely nestles itself between the two. “Imagine the Caribbean before it got crowded,” is particularly relevant for an island like Ray Caye, the boutique 7-acre private island resort off the glittering coast of Southern Belize. Excursion-centric and sustainability-focused, the all-inclusive Ray Caye just 18 miles from Placencia has quietly catered to celebrities and sun-seekers—curating an impressive return rate of both. From humble beginnings as Hatchet Caye, Ray Caye has cemented itself as the bespoke private island experience in Belize, between sublime coral reefs and white linens that overlook on-room infinity pools. 

Stumble Unto Sheer Relaxation

Photo by Duarte Dellarole

Sans your usual beach vacation’s noise and distractions, in pure sojourn fashion, you’ll take a Cessna across the Caribbean Sea to Placencia, the 16-mile long peninsula on Belize’s southeastern coast to the Wild Orchid Marina. The PFG-donned crew loads your suitcases, and you’re off. After an hour of nothing but clear waters, the island’s red roofing lined with solar panels begins to come into focus: welcome to Ray Caye Island Resort. Welcome drink in hand during your quick orientation with Island Director Dasha, the 20-unit property starts to feel anything but small—rather, larger than life with hospitality and character. 

The wooden dock dumps you onto brick pathways, leading you past the Welcome Centre, Kiki Gifts, and the adjoining Lionfish Bar & Grill (where guests meet up every night for sundowners and dinner) to the rooms themselves. Oceanfront villas and suites are first, then the recently renovated Oceanfront cabanas, the Wellness Centre, the organic garden, and the Island house. You might’ve noticed a pool at the Grill, but the latest island addition is The Cove, an open-air event deck, bar, and guest-only pool.  Finally, you’re at the island’s most exclusive accommodations: the fringe-reef-facing Honeymoon Suites.

Photo by Duarte Dellarole

Ray Caye is AMAZING! Not only is the island beautiful, peaceful and relaxing, but the STAFF truly makes this place special. This was my third trip to Ray Caye, once as a mother/daughter trip, second trip for my daughter to get married, and third trip was to celebrate a new career for me. I thought of exploring a different place in Belize for the third trip but could not even imagine anyplace better than Ray Caye. When you have found paradise…why look any further?”

TripAdvisor Guest Sightseer798058

An unmatched choose-your-adventure-by-the-day experience

Every room sports its own coastal touch, like seashell-themed decor and seafoam blue rugs that reflect in the ceiling-to-floor windows. Marble countertops and mahogany interiors add to the luxe feel throughout, while the highest-end honeymoon villas and oceanfront villas come with their own private plunge pools. It’s definitely enough to keep you indoors, but head outdoors (and offshore) to enjoy the island’s stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba scooter, Hobie cats, and impressively, a saltwater slide.

Cast a fly off the coast in waist-deep waters to ultimately release a bonefish, tarpon, and even permit, or get PADI certified with the onsite Pirate Reef Dive Shop, and even snorkel with sea turtles and docile nurse sharks at the nearby Silk Caye Marine Reserve. At night, head to the South Dock for the most spectacular show of spotted eagle rays—an unforgettable sight under the dock’s glowing blue lights that make the island’s name obvious. This isn’t a minute-by-minute Caribbean itinerary but rather a choose-your-adventure-by-the-day experience, unmatched anywhere else in Belize, thanks to Ray Caye and its boutique accommodations, friendly staff, and mesmerizing coastline. 

All images via Ray Caye Island Resort.

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