Trip Advisor just came out with it’s Reader’s Choice awards for 2014…. Which means Trip Advisor users rated their top 25 favorite hotels, cities, islands, etc.
This is a catchy way to highlight certain destinations that’s for sure, and it alerts the traveler to new places. However, treat these and all “awards” like you would perfume: Smell it, but don’t drink it.
See… I did a story recently on “Travel Detective,” the travel news show on PBS stations. I reported about the exaggerated reviews discovered on Trip Advisor. As a matter of fact, my production team and I submitted false reviews to see if they would get published, and they were. I also report in my story that sometimes hotel guests were offered upgrades in exchange for a review on Trip Advisor.
So – absorb these awards with that knowledge. Also – the award winning recipients, while may be great places, might not be THE place for your tastes.
Ambergris Caye, Belize from iha.com
With that being said, the island that did get top honors for Best Island is very pretty… with some of the most gorgeous waters I’ve seen. It is
Ambergris Caye, Belize Cayes.
Belize is a country on the northeastern coast of Central America. It is bordered on the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize.
Cayo Espanto Resort, Belize from Tripadvisor.com
I stayed there when I was shooting one of my favorite shows for the Travel Channel – “Islands For Rent” and the resort? Cayo Espanto.
- Caye Espanto Private Island Resort
The resort stands out in my mind because after I was greeted by the staff all lined up on the dock, I rarely ever saw another human the entire time I was there.
Cayo Espanto Villa in Belize
My husband and I stayed a few extra days after my shoot, and I can attest to the the “private” in “private island resort.” It feels more like you are renting a small guesthouse on a deserted island, rather than staying at a hotel.
Cayo Espanto Villa from luxurylatinamerica.com
There are only 7 guest bungalows, some right on the beach, 6 of them with private plunge pools…
Private dining on our deck
Ours had a private deck where breakfast…
Cayo Espanto private dining
and dinner were served.
Kayaking, from www.somoscentroamerica.com
You can lounge around all day… or kayak, and dive.
Dive or snorkel with the rays
A thrilling experience for me – I went scuba diving with manta rays….
Fishing in Belize
And fishing too.
My crew and I at Cayo Espanto
My crew and I experienced some of the bluest water we’ve ever seen.
There is a spa too… and the resort will set up a private picnic for two at a neighboring island. The chef made fresh ceviche in front of my eyes.
Xunantunich Ruins, Belize from Belize.escapeartists.com
In terms of sight seeing, there’s not much to do. You can take a charter tour to the main land of Belize and see the ruins and a jaguar reserve (which sounds pretty cool!) but that’s extra…. You pretty much have to be the type of person who is able to relax to come here, and you’d better like your travel companion. It’s a good place for honeymooners if a quiet island with no nightlife is your thing. It is easy to travel there – less than two hours from Miami and Houston.
Other islands on the Trip Advisor list strike me as just as pretty also…. Bora Bora? Of course! But if you do want something very different – more quiet than the larger resorts, in an area with very little development – than you may want to look into Cayo Espanto if you have a big pocketbook… prices per night are around $1600.