I just returned from a five-day trip to Cayo Espanto with my husband and two of our closest friends. It was a marvelous place - charming, utterly relaxing, and really gorgeous. We lounged, snorkeled, fished, enjoyed the delicious food, and slept soundly. I will try not to repeat what others have already described...here are a few thoughts:
- The service is beyond anything we had experienced. The staff is literally there for your every need. Johnny was our houseman and he was fantastic. Another reviewer described his style as somewhat stiff, but we found him to be very friendly...just serious about his job and very careful not to pry or talk too much. When you think about it, it is really nice to have quiet, efficient service without a lot of chit-chatting. The American service standard seems to be leaning towards the "we are friends" type of engagement, and this is not Johnny's style. He is respectful of your privacy and fills his role very professionally. The houseman is very often walking in to your villa to deliver food, drinks, movies, etc. and it was nice to know I did not have to engage in a full-on conversation if I was not in the mood. I thought he was excellent.
- If you take the time to complete the survey and communicate any special events, medical issues, etc., they will do anything you need to be comfortable. We are expecting and they always remembered what fish I am not eating, decaf coffee, non-alcoholic drinks, etc. (It is very early, so they would not have "remembered" by seeing me...you can't tell!) They also surprised us with a cake for my husband's birthday, it was beautiful.
- The mood is *completely* laid-back...come prepared with good books and magazines...it is so quiet and tranquil and a perfect escape. If you are easily bored, this may not be your cup of tea, as there is very little to do on the island. (But of course you can always go to town or on an excursion.) For us, the whole point was to unwind from daily life, and that is exactly what happened. In fact, when we went to town we wished we hadn't...there is not much to see or do (and I tend to really like Central American towns).
- We were in Casa Estrella and loved it. The open-air format is really lovely. Know that the bedrooms are not the same...one is upstairs and is huge and airy and beautiful. The other is downstairs and small and simple. I think Aurora's rooms are more similar to each other, but I did not see them.
- The "Day at Sea" is unbelievable. It was the highlight of our stay. Germann and Victor took us snorkeling, spear fishing, and made us a decadent lunch on a deserted beach. We kept saying "This is unreal!" and it really was. I couldn't even begin to describe how much fun we had that day.
- Snorkeling at Hol-Chan was great, but be prepared for lots of others snorkelers. It is the closest and most popular spot to Amergris Caye, so there are lots of folks there. That said, the reef is spectacular. We saw a sea turtle, nurse sharks, rays, and too many fish to mention. Big schools, little tiny neon fish, lobster, etc. etc. (Also, know that the Cayo Espanto charge for a half-day is over 4x the cost for two people coming from Ambergris Caye. It's worth it not to have to go to town, walk to the operators, sign up for a tour, and go with a boat full of snorkelers, but if you are on a budget you can do it for $30 pp at Ramon's Village, for example. Of course, if you are on a budget you are not likely staying at Cayo Espanto...)
- Wear a really high sunscreen and reapply over and over! We burned, despite 30 SPF and reapplications and olive skin (I don't burn easily)...the sun is really strong, caught me by surprise.
- The masseuse is fabulous. I am a picky client, and she was truly excellent. If I had not gotten the aforementioned sunburn, I would have had at least one more massage.
- As many have mentioned, the food is outstanding. And, the chef will share recipes, too! Request the lime bisque while you are there...I know this sounds odd, but it was unreal. (The recipe surprised me!) If anything, there is a lot of food, and everything is so very "done" ... had we stayed longer, I would have started asking for more simple things...each dish is so exquisite and decadent...I can't eat that way for very long!
- The sea lice were present, but you are really not missing out by not "swimming." The water is so shallow that there would not be swimming anyway. The plunge pool is perfectly refreshing. I thought I would care about the no-swimming thing, but it was not a big deal at all. (BTW, I think they are in fact jellyfish larvae.)
I hope this helps...we had a great time and would recommend it to friends of all ages.
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- Also Known As:
- Cayo Espanto San Pedro
- Cayo Espanto Resort San Pedro
- Cayo Espanto Belize/San Pedro