Any travel plans for 2020 were scrapped early on in the year, while 2021 continues to see postponements. We’re officially nine months in since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, and the longer we’re cooped up — the more our imaginations run wild. If this year was any indication to carpe diem, travelers can also take that as a sign to stop putting off aspirational travel that may never happen. In a recent American Express survey, 60 percent of people said their 2021 resolution was to take more vacation time, regardless of when travel actually happens; a separate Booking.com survey showed 40 percent expected to travel more than they did before the pandemic. Indeed, this figures were even higher for Gen Z and Millennial travelers. If you’re ready for the ultimate revenge travel with the most ambitious, extravagant escapes — Belize awaits.
WHY THE CARIBBEAN
While many destinations are slowly opening, traveling is a personal choice—let our content serve as inspiration for future travel. If you are indeed ready, then the Caribbean awaits as arguably the most tourism-reliant region in the world. Besides a winning combination of warmth and hospitality, the Caribbean also boasts a safety record for reopening borders since COVID. So why not make 2021 the year of happy holiday memories? Each destination is charting its own course.
It’s hard to resist the siren song of tried-and-true destinations like St. Lucia and St. Barths. But right now, the quieter, less-known Caribbean destinations seem the most alluring.
Instead, people are reportedly craving the Caribbean “happy place” they virtually vacationed to over since the pandemic: a palm fringed strip of sand, lapped by azure waters, where the temperature is warm enough to melt the ice in a tropical Rum Punch. And to me, that spells out Belize. To travel in 2021 may still seem ambitious, but even if that becomes 2022—stay ambitious, because these Belize escapes are worth the wait.
REEF-DIVING THE BELIZE BARRIER REEF FROM A CATAMARAN
Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, Belize in an excellent option for travelers who want to combine a trip enjoying remote beaches with snorkeling or diving. Besides unparalleled clear-as-gin waters, a live-aboard catamaran trip offers privacy and welcomed seclusion; skim across the Caribbean Sea, buoyed by steady trade winds, to take in the unique flavor of your scheduled stops with Belize’s 200+ offshore islands. Beach-starved souls, rejoice. Forget about crowds—your self-determined pace and group size simply adds to sailing’s inherently idyllic ambience. After all, traveling after the onset of COVID-19 will continue to emphasize low-density destinations like Belize; particularly, its great outdoors alongside close-knit time with family and friends.
Picture Caribbean days of yore: a crewed charter and your handpicked itinerary blurs into a blissful waterborne fantasy—anchoring near the shoreline to snorkel patch reefs brimming with marine fauna before swimming over to the beach for a toes-in-the-sand lunch on a practically deserted island. By evening twilight, you’ve got a stiff Panti-Rippa in hand as the on-board cook preps the catch-of-the-day on an open-flamed grill. After all, each itinerary by companies like XSite Sailing & Adventures is tailored to the guests’ expectations; guests are liaised with beforehand to plan a route you’ll love. Overnight packages with XSite Sailing & Adventures are customizable, and they’re also offering a 20% discount on all Overnight Snorkeling Charters for the entire season of 2020.
ULTRA-LUX PRIVATE ISLAND BUY-OUTS
Amid the new realities of travel, a tiny, spaced-out beach destination is just what many travelers are looking for. And with a total island buy-out, you can. In Belize, you can call 7.5-acre private island your own off the coast of Dangriga with Royal Belize, an exclusive-stay private island resort. Found along the second largest coral reef in the world, this resort uniquely caters to one party at a time in five luxury suites. In fact, your own island manager, private chef, housekeeping, concierge, and boat captain are ready to customize your island experience. Rates start at US$6,200 per night for 10 guests, all-inclusive, or $620 per person per night; details here.
REMOTE RESPITES IN THE BELIZEAN RAINFOREST
Found in the affectionally named Deep South of Belize’s Toledo District, Copal Tree Lodge spells out solitude in every way. Agritourism chic comes into focus with 22,000 acres of a lush rainforest preserve, blending sustainability and luxury in one pretty package. This one’s for travelers particularly passionate about food, fly-fishing and pure adventure. After all, the on-site farm supplies 70% of its produce inside its locally-inspired restaurant, while its on-site Copalli distillery transforms fresh sugar cane into a bright, sustainably-sourced rum. Experience fine farm-to-table dining, thanks to its 3,000-acre USDA-certified organic farm. Or, chase a grand slam in pristine saltwater flats—you’re in Belize’s Permit Capital after all. Or, simply do nothing at all but spa-go, stargaze, and sip Copalli at its Rum Bar. Choose your perfectly ambitious package in Belize here.
A NOTE ON TRAVEL ADVISORS
When planning these kind of once-in-a-lifetime trips, its always recommended to use a good travel agent or travel advisor. In addition to making sure you get it exactly right, they can often save you money or get you upgrades and more bang for the buck. Plus, possible protections on these ambitious vacation packages in Belize. Louise of ROEming Belize Travel Agency is an excellent choice, who is also locally based in Belize.