“I’m staying in tonight,” I told the butler attending my villa on the intimate, four-acre palm and sand private island of Cayo Espanto, just off Ambergris Caye. The island from the air looks gift-wrapped with blue ribbons of the silky warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.
I’d spent the day on the mainland exploring the Maya ruins of Lamanai along the New River Lagoon after a sunrise bird watching safari on the river, all of which was organized with swift efficiency by the staff of Cayo Espanto. I don’t actually remember asking anyone to organize the excursion, I only remember thinking it would make a great adventure. Either way, the day unfolded as kingfishers, jacana, blue heron and egrets hunted among the orchid, bromeliads and mangrove roots. Eye-shine of stealthy crocodile reflected the rising sun as howler monkeys roused the rainforest with their haunting ululations.
After witnessing (and hearing) the ancient dance of predator and prey on the river, traipsing up and down the steep temple steps of Lamanai in the heat of the rainforest, I found myself at day’s end indulging in the salt air scented stillness on the private dock of my villa, feeling the tender caress of the Cayo Espanto evening breeze. And as if reading my mind, again, my villa butler delivered a plate of chilled fruit, icy sparkling water and a bottle of my favorite single malt. A few minutes later, dinner made by the island’s chef just for my cuisine preferences arrived. The wind stilled for moment and the star-filled sky glittered in the reflection of the sea covering the world in twinkling light.
Yes, I’m definitely staying in tonight.
Find out more about the pampered, private island experience of Cayo Espanto at: aprivateisland.com