Private utopia

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 June, 2008, 12:00am

Cayo Espanto, Belize

Picture the scene About 5km from the coast of San Pedro in Belize, this 1.6-hectare island has tropical vegetation and wildlife, white beaches and a stunning blue sea. The island features six exclusive villas, each with a private dock and overlooking the western Caribbean. Some feature alfresco showers and all but one has a private plunge pool. The newest of the six is an over-water bungalow on the end of a 150-metre dock guaranteed to ensure the ultimate in privacy - as long as you do not mind the sea life which you can see gliding by. You do not even have to worry about food. All meals are cooked by the island's award-winning chef who will create a daily menu to suit your taste based on a survey filled out before you arrive.

Best time to go The temperatures vary little in Belize throughout the year, with the average ranging from 23 degrees Celsius in the winter to 29 degrees in the summer. However, from June through to December there is more rain and the chance of storms, making the drier months of February to May the best time to visit.

Upside Cayo Espanto is the perfect spot to unwind and spend quality time with your new partner, especially if you share a love of the sea, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing - anglers come from all over the globe for the fly-fishing in these waters.

Downside Getting there from Hong Kong is not the easiest of trips unless you make it a two-stop holiday and start off in Dallas or Miami - both of which are less than a three-hour flight away. Likewise, it is not the perfect patch if you have a fear of swimming with the marine life or enjoy the hustle and bustle of city nightlife.

Getting there and costs Expect to pay about US$995 a night for the smaller over-the-water bungalow with prices increasing to US$2,195 for the bigger two-bedroom villa. Rates include all meals and drinks (with the exception of wine and champagne), but you have to book for a minimum of three nights. You can fly to The Philip Goldson International Airport with American carriers Delta, American Airlines, Continental Airlines or Taca from Atlanta, Houston, Miami or Dallas in two to three hours. Then it is a 17-minute flight for about US$120 to San Pedro and a seven-minute boat ride to the island. (