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“This Wonderful Resort is the reason 6-Stars were created”
Review of Cayo Espanto

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Cayo Espanto
Ranked #26 of 53 Hotels in San Pedro
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 11 June 2011

My husband and I went to Cayo Espanto for his 40th birthday celebration. We stayted 10 days and loved every one of them.

The staff was amazing and the service and attention to detail was phenomenal. Our experience could not have been better.

On the 4th day of our trip, I surprise my husband by having his best friends (3 other couples) arrive into their own villas. They were there for the 6 remaining days of our trip. The staff would rake little sayings or quotes into the sand EVERY DAY “welcome”, “enjoy today” “happy birthday” "friends are what life is about" "40 is the new "20". It was really special.... and entertaining.

The food was phenomenal at every meal. We also LOVED the private picnic on a private beach. It was very romantic. The owner of Cayo Espanto called from the States to check on us on our 3rd day. He also owns an island just a few miles away with Leonardo DiCaprio so we went and explored it…. Really cool.

We have traveled to some of the most expensive resorts (Reethi Rah, Laluna, Altamer and Eden Rock to name a few) in the world and I can unequivocally state that Cayo Espanto is truly world class and, for us, the most wonderful place we have ever stayed.

It is hard to decide what we miss more, the incredible bed, the staff, our houseman, the views, the Espanto Wave (island drink), the food or just being there. Can’t wait to go back. Oh, yes, my husband just informed me that he misses all the bonefish right in front of our villa as well.

Room Tip: Casa Manana was our villa
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  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank tripsjacksontook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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136 - 142 of 213 reviews

Reviewed 17 April 2011

This is the first time I have ever taken the time to write a review and would not have done so, except for how we were treated upon leaving the property. If you are accustomed to 3 star experiences you will love this place and find it unique, however if you are accustomed to first class travel, this is not it. Our stay was sadly a series of one thing after another...none of which were too serious on their own, however when added up they became overwhelming. As we seriously needed privacy and a break, we did our best to smile through everything, and finally, it just was too much to keep ignoring. We were not greeted at the airport as so heavily touted. We arrived to discover our "private" villa was next to the servants housing and dock. Anyone walking by could see virtually anything and everything we were doing. And, there were workers fixing the air conditioning who stayed 3 hours longer than we were told. Our initial spa treatments were completed with sweaty workers in full view. As vegetarians we challenged the chef and after two days the meals were repetitive and very heavy. The food is certainly above average, however if you are truly a world traveler, it lacks on many levels. The villas are sparse and subject 100% to the weather as the walls open during the day and since you are not as private led to believe this is challenging at times. All meals are on site at your villa and depending on your houseman can be fun. We did have two of the most beautiful and romantic settings ever for two of our meals. There were many more things, including waking up to puddles from the broken air conditioner in our room, (not the one they fixed), falling in the middle of the night, etc.
However, it was upon leaving that we saw the true lack of higher end attention. We were given a form to complete just prior to leaving and were careful to acknowledge all that was lovely and even left a very generous tip...however upon walking to the departure boat Ester was so literally seething that she angrily said good-bye and that was what stayed with us as our experience. It seems that your check out questionnaire is what seems to matter most...not return clients or good press from those who have been there.

Room Tip: Try to call last minute to get a reduced rate
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  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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14  Thank TOSALL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2011

During the period of waiting almost two years, after having made plans to vacation at Cayo Espanto, I can assure you that I read every comment about the resort that was put on Trip Advisor by previous travelers to this isle....I am here to tell you, that any negatives you may have read in the past are simply overstated, and the postive comments were understated.
Your experience starts with the USA office and dealing with Russell, and his staff which was nothing short of making you feel that you and your guests are the most important people in the world. No detail, or request is to small not be snswered by phone or email.
After your reservations are confirmed, you are handed over to Ester who is Guest Service Manager on the island. For many many months I barraged her with requests, reservations for different activities, both on and off the island during our stay, along with entertainment requests. EACH one was promptly answered in detail and earnest. i happen to be a stickler for details and she saw that each one was handled exactly as I had hoped for.
After reading many reviews of the island, I requested Obed as our houseman, and am glad I did. He and his assistant Rick took very very good care of myself and new bride, and as stated in previous reviews, knew in advance what we liked to drink or snack on thru out the day. He would also bring the chef and go over menus of the day...Trying to describe the quality of the food that you are served is impossible, but just compare it to a five Star dining experience anywhere in the world.
We did the scruba trip with German, the island Padi Dive Master, who I also requested. We dove with nurse sharks, and got to "pet" them. We also went of the Lamanai Mayan Tour, and recommend you ask for Collin as your guide. It was a 6 hour boat tour down the river, after flying in to the town of Orange Walk. Monkeys,crocs,exotic birds abound on the trip. We enjoyed immensely the Private Remote Beach Picnic outing which is a few miles for Cayo Espanto. It was completely set up in advance for us with all the amenities that a shiek would demand. On the way German pointed out rays, and a school of dolphins that were alongside "racing" us.
Not a mosquito to be seen, no lice in the water around the island, as noted by other reviews...All events on time as previously scheduled, the entire staff offers continuous five star service from landing in Belize City Airport, to the farewell on the dock by the staff when you finally have to depart.
SORRY, can't come up with one complaint about ANYTHING...Again, this resort need to be on everyone's bucket list.

Room Tip: Water shoes are need to wade around the Island
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  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank AM1946
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2011

We traveled to Cayo Espanto in April, 2010 - and from the moment we stepped out of the plane in Belize City - we knew it was going to be a spectacular trip. There was an island employee waiting for us. He took our bags and told us he would arrange our short flight to San Pedro - and invited us to sit down, relax - or go shopping. Once we arrived in San Pedro - we were whisked away by van to a private dock where a boat waited for us. Once on the boat - we were asked what we would like to drink upon arrival to the island. When we arrived at the island - the staff was waiting for us with drinks in hand.

We were taken to our beautiful villa (Casa Manana) - where they had prepared the most delicious quesadilla. We felt like royalty the entire trip. Our houseman brought our 4 year old daughter an assortment of beach toys literally on a silver plater. By the second day of the trip - we felt like the staff could read our mind. They anticipated our every want and need - we have never had service this amazing. Our favorite part was the laundry service. Everyday the housekeeper takes your dirty laundry in the morning - and returns it clean and folded in the evening. It was the first time we ever returned from a trip with no dirty laundry!

The food was out of this world. The spa services were fantastic. The activities were an experience of a lifetime. We can't wait to go back - and highly recommend this resort to everyone - including families with kids! It may be pricey - but this is definitely a "bucket list" type of vacation that everyone should take.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled with family
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5  Thank bswift
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2011

From what I have seen, Cayo Espanto is best place in Belize and for that matter one of the best getaway spots in the whole world. I hesitate writing this as Cayo Espanto is such a great gem of a find and I don’t want anything to change.

I think everyone going to Cayo Espanto expects perfect accommodations on an idyllic private tropical Island, and it is all that. But I was so surprised with the quality of the service and food, first class by any standard. The staff leaves you all alone and magically appear just as you think you need something. They truly have the concept of incredible service and leaving you alone down to an art. I also loved the ‘all included’ concept there. Normally, I don’t prefer ‘all included’ places – but it’s different at Cayo Espanto. They don’t hold back on food quality or drinks or anything. We had lobster, crab, steaks, exotic fruit, all severed on a different part of the island or right on your own private dock. You get this sense that the staff and chef want to overwhelm you with something so special. It also never felt like they are serving you to get a tip or charging you for every little add on. I hate how some high end places do that – not here. There was no tipping allowed (until the end). I was so overwhelmed by the service that I could not wait to show my gratitude on my way out. This is the way tipping was meant – for exceptional service and never expected.

Cayo Espanto is perfect. Calm and secluded, but a 5 minute boat ride to some activity and shopping. It’s luxurious and fancy, but not pretentious. I loved it.

I’m already booked to go back.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank travelguy70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2011

If you are a seasoned traveler looking for a unique, relazing, romantic, special and extraordinarily beautiful vacation spot - this is the one. Cayo Espanto is a great example of nature and man doing it right - the island itself is stunning, great weather, beautiful sunsets but the villas are arranged in a way that gives you the utmost in privacy while utilizing the views all around.

Service here was the best I have experienced anywhere. From the connections at the airport, the boat ride to the island, being greeted by smiling faces and the Wave (their signature cocktail), it was pure perfection. We stayed in Casa Espanto which allows some shade, excellent breezes, beautiful views all around and what can I even tell you about the perfection of the view at end of your private dock. Our housemen were Elio and Adam and they were respectful of our privacy, seemed to be aware of our needs before we could even communicate them and took brilliant care of us. Each evening they set up our dinner in a different but equally beautiful and romantic spot on the island. Stunning!

Our fridge was stocked, the sheets were fabulous, the Veuve was always chilled and ready, the food was good but it was truly the beauty of the island and the extraordinary service and detail to attention that makes this a one of a kind place. We are already trying to plan our next trip to Cayo and will try to have the same villa as well.

The day trip to the Mayan ruins in Lamanai was a great adventure, complete with Carlos and Carlos (our two very well versed tour guides), two beautiful river trips and a hike through the rainforest to see the ruins. It is a wonderful trip - the bus ride in the middle is a little long but we wanted the full experience and I highly recommend this trip.

One evening we took the kayaks out to enjoy the sunset hand in hand floating around in the Caribbean sea - does it get any more romantic?? My husband enjoyed some fishing from our dock and villa as well when Elio brought him a reel and some bait. Every day the chairs were set in a different spot, always fresh, always clean. The plunge pool was beautiful and refreshing on a hot sunny afternoon.

Then there is BRENDA - a massage therapist with the hands of an angel -hands down the best my husband and I have experienced. A very talented and lovely woman with great great skills. Cayo is lucky to have her and hope they realize the talent she brings.

The villas are closed up and air conditioned at night so that you are cool and mosquito free under your gorgeous netting to rest and prepare for another day. In the mornings the coffee and fresh fruit arrives as soon as you call and while you are waking up and enjoying that course, your breakfast is prepared and served. I could go on and on forever - I cannot go back there quickly enough. It is one of the most relaxing places I have ever visited and if you are reading these reviews and considering a trip there......run to the phone and get going!!!!

Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
3  Thank OCPB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2011

My husband and I stayed at Cayo Espanto January 16-20, 2011. We book our trip two days prior to leaving so we got a last minute deal on our villa. We were greeted at the Belize City airport by hotel staff. Our luggage was taken care of for us as we boarded our flight to San Pedro. Upon arriving in San Pedro, we were greeted by our houseman, Johnny. We took a taxi to the boat dock and headed over to Cayo Espanto. It was an 8 minute boat ride. You can take a ferry to San Pedro for about 1/4 the price of the flight. but it takes approx 45 minutes. The flight time was 14 minutes and offered great views of the cayes. Our flight round trip was 63/pp. There is an option of renting a helicopter to take up to 4 people directly to the island from Belize City. The price was 2500. I think that was one way. While on the way to the resort, the boat driver called ahead and had our welcome cocktails waiting. You must try the Espanto wave. It was excellent. All of the staff was present when we arrived. It was quite the welcome.

We stayed in Casa Brisa. It was absolutely beautiful. Casa Brisa faces west, so we had great views of the sunset every evening from our dock. The weather was great while we were there. We did not find a trace of any mosquitos during our stay. The island is sprayed every hour for mosquitos. And you can spray more with some sort of control from your villa. We didn't even sleep with our mosquito net over our head. As for the sea lice, we really didn't get in the water too much except when we left our kayak or hobie cat sailboat.

Johnny was an absolutely delightful houseman. Selven was helping him during our stay. He anticipated anything we could have wanted. He was never more than a walkie talkie call away. He was very polite and respectful. We throughly enjoyed having him help us. He made our stay so incredibly enjoyable. There are not enough words to describe the service he and Selven provided. We were definitely pampered and taken care of. Also, he makes a great mojito.

The resort was not full while we were staying there. We really did feel like we were on a private island as we did not see anybody else while we were there. Since a few of the villas were empty, Johnny took us to see 4 of the other villas. I still think Casa Brisa was the best!!!

While we were staying at Cayo, our chef was Richard. Words cannot describe how wonderful and amazing the food was here. We were blown away by everything we were served. The fajitas were amazing for lunch. Our favorite dinner was the grilled lobster and seafood risotto. It was to die for. Breakfast was fabulous as well. When your houseman comes to open your villa, he will bring you a plate of fruit and a beverage of between my husband and I, we tried the cinnamon roll french toast, the banana pancakes, the breakfast tacos, the huevos rancheros and the american breakfast. By far our favorite was the cinnamon roll french toast. We always ordered a side of bacon for breakfast. It was the best bacon I have ever tasted. As for their snack menu, we had the quesadillas, the shrimp cocktail, guacamole (which wasn't on the menu) and the soft pretzels. All of the food was amazing. I think my husband and I came back 5 pounds heavier after only 4 days. Chef Richard will share recipes if you ask. I got the recipe for the pumpkin soup. It was soooooo good. I am sure I won't be able to make the same as he does!!!

The drink list is endless. We typically stuck to Mojitos or caphrinas. They were both fabulous. Wine is not included in the price but Belize allows you to bring two bottles of wine per person into the country. We brought 2 bottles of red and 2 bottles of white wine and were served our wines at dinner. The refrigerator in our room was stocked with water, soda and beer. In filling our the questionnaire, include your favorite drinks and they will make sure your bar refrigerator is full of them. I drink Diet Coke throughout the day and the refrigerator was always stocked with cold Diet Coke for me.

We did a snorkel/scuba diving trip to Hoi Chin (I think that is the name) and Shark Alley with Germann. His son in law, Eddie came along as well as a snorkeling guide. The scuba diving was excellent. The reef at Hoi Chin was only in 30 feet of water and there were so many fish to see. The cost of the trip was 300/couple. You can get a cheaper price in San Pedro, but if you go with Germann, it is a private tour. You and your spouse are the only ones on the boat with him. It is definitely worth the money. While we were at Shark Ray alley, Eddie found 7 conch shells and we brought them back to the resort and Chef Richard prepared conch ceviche for us. We were also able to bring a large conch shell home to our kids.

My husband brought his fishing pole with him and was able to fish from our dock and from the dock on the Ventanas villas since no one was staying there while we were there. He was able to catch a few bone fish from the dock. That seems to appease him instead of doing a fishing excursion.

We did go into San Pedro one morning for a couple of hours. Definitely go in the morning when it is cooler. San Pedro can get really hot in the afternoon. We bought a couple of t-shirts for our kids. The staff at Cayo Espanto will give you a cell phone so you are able to call them when you are ready to come back. When you arrive back at your villa, drinks will be waiting for you.

The only negative thing I can say is that you really can't swim in the ocean because it is so shallow. I am not really an ocean person so this did not bother me, especially because all of the villas with the exception of ventanas has a splash pool to cool off in. While we were kayaking to neighboring islands, the deepest water we saw was about 6 feet. The ocean is very shallow all around these islands.

All in all, my husband and I have traveled all over the world and Cayo Espanto is my favorite place. I absolutely fell in love with it and had wanted to stay there for about 8 years prior. I cannot say enough great things about the service, the food and the staff. Everyone was so gracious and wonderful. It definitely exceeded our expectations. We thought staying here was worth every penny we paid. I would go back in a second. This resort is truly a piece of paradise.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank miacannon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cayo Espanto

Address: Cayo Espanto Island, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Phone Number:
Region: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye > San Pedro
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in San Pedro
#7 Luxury Hotel in San Pedro
#16 Top resorts Hotel in San Pedro
#25 On the Beach Hotel in San Pedro
Price Range: £1,131 - £1,888 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Cayo Espanto 5*
Number of rooms: 7
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Also Known As:
Cayo Espanto San Pedro
Cayo Espanto Resort San Pedro
Cayo Espanto Belize/San Pedro

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