Coral Caye is a Private Island Paradise
Ever wonder what it’s like to rent an island? Like a whole island? To wake up to the light tinkling sounds of small bits of coral and shells being jostled by the waves? To have your only neighbors be sea birds and hermit crabs? Or to pad around barefoot, lazing in hammocks and jumping in the ocean to cool off? You’re in luck as I’ve done the *very important* research into such an island! So let me tell you all about it: my last trip to Belize I decided to surprise Mr. BGB with a couple nights on Coral Caye, the two acre private island on offer from the Family Coppola Hideaways. Lucky guy, right?
The island is located about eight miles off of Placencia, Belize and is, as the name suggests, surrounded by coral. The best part of this magical caye (pronounced “key”) is the fact that it’s a single party booking which means the only folks on the island are you, your travel companion(s) and the caretaker and attendant. And Goldie (more on her in a bit).
Placencia is located about three hours driving from Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City. Transfers can be arranged for you – I would recommend doing the short 20 minute flight via Tropic Air to the Placencia airstrip if Placencia is your first stop. Don’t want to DIY your transfers? The Coppola Hideaways crew will do it for you! We actually came in via their sister property, Blancaneaux Lodge, and did the drive (from there you’re looking at about 3.5 hours or so but it’s a really pretty drive).
You’ll first get checked in at Turtle Inn, complete with their classic cold towel and welcome drink to greet you! Pro tip: go for the rum in your welcome drink. From there you can pretty much head to Coral Caye when you’re ready – the boat is waiting on you. Prefer to grab lunch at Turtle Inn? No problem! Once you’re on the resort’s private boat you’ll be whisked away to Coral Caye. The total trip takes about 20 minutes on a clear day and it’s a gorgeous boat ride from the Placencia Lagoon out to the island. Another pro tip: the boat ride is not the venue to debut a super cute wrap dress & straw hat as you’ll be hitting the throttle a bit hard and you’ll end up spending most of the ride clutching your dress shut and holding onto your hat………or so I hear as this clearly did not happen to me.
Once you arrive you’ll be greeted by the island keeper and Goldie and then be given a quick tour of the island and lodging options while your luggage is brought up from the boat.
There are several options for lodging on the island. We decided to stay in the Coral Cottage, which is located by itself on the far end of the island. There’s a porch, king sized bed, seating area, bathroom (with shower) and an outdoor shower. It felt like our own little island home!
The Seahorse Cottage is great if you’re traveling with a larger group – there are two bedrooms with queen beds and two twin beds, a bathroom and an outdoor shower.
There are also additional sleeping options with the Great House’s massive day bed and the option to pitch tents for larger groups.
The running joke when we were on the island was that the best amenity was also the one we didn’t know we needed: Goldie, the island dog! She was the light of our stay and was the perfect cast away companion, offering the occasional found coconut and plenty of entertainment. Should you not want a dog on the island they will move her to Turtle Inn for your stay (I’m not saying you’re a monster but you don’t like dogs??????).
There is also an in-ground fire pit near the outdoor dining palapa and the Great House where there’s a massive daybed, indoor living and dining areas, a bar, a half bathroom and hammock, dart board, games, musical instruments, light workout gear and books.
Around the island you’ll find hammocks selectively strung between the best trees and outdoor day beds. At the end of the dock there’s another outdoor daybed, lounge chairs and an umbrella and a hammock built into the dock! Don’t see seating in your preferred zone? Just ask! The staff is incredible at Coral Caye and if you want it they’ll make it happen.
If you’re terrified of being totally unplugged don’t fear! There is WiFi however it’s best accessed near the Great House, which I found to be refreshing. Want to listen to some music? Ask for a Bluetooth speaker to bring out to the dock while you lounge. The battery went low on the one I was given one afternoon and as I brought it in to get it charged I was handed another speaker, fully charged, just waiting for me. Silvano, our attendant, wowed us our entire stay by being ready with things we didn’t realize we even needed yet!
There’s also a surplus of snorkeling gear, paddle boards and kayaks for you to use while you’re on island.
What to Do
Listen, it’s your island so do what you want! If, however, you need some inspo (or travel dream material) I’ll give you a rundown of what we did. Love the water? Snorkeling around the island late morning before lunch was top of my list for our first morning. The vibrant corals, fish and other sea life are not to be missed! We also did some SUP (stand up paddle boarding) and jumping off the dock was a daily ritual for me.
Relaxing should also be high on your to-do list here, and it’s not hard to do once you’re settled! The end of the dock is the perfect place to do some yoga and relax while the numerous hammocks/lounge areas are perfect to read a book or grab a nap – I did both. Being able to disconnect and just breathe was a much needed treat for both myself and Mr. BGB and it was refreshing to just hang out and talk.
It did rain a little while we were on island but surprisingly it didn’t detract from our fun. We grabbed some darts and some drinks in the Great House and had a blast.
What to Eat
Here’s an area where the Family Coppola Hideaways will never let you down and Coral Caye is no exception. The nightly rate for Coral Caye is inclusive of meals (not booze, sorry y’all) and it’s tailored to suit your travel party’s tastes. I’m a longtime vegetarian (mostly vegan but I’ll occasionally flex on some dairy when traveling) and Mr. BGB is a carnivore all the way. The property already had our dietary preferences/restrictions on record but we were able to communicate with the concierge prior to arrival to request anything.
Breakfasts are full of delicious Belizean fruits, Guatemalan coffee and fresh juices with toast/baked goods and additional choices of eggs and meats. For lunch and dinner Silvano would check in with us and ask what we would like, giving suggestions/options like Belizean rice & beans, stew chicken, salads, quesadillas – pretty much whatever you’d like. You’ll be offered snacks in the afternoon but if you’re wanting something all you have to do is ask. We were surprised with some fresh guacamole and chips to go with some sparkling wine at the end of the dock to watch the sunset our second evening. Dinner was a beautiful setup under the outdoor dining palapa next to the in-ground fire, with options like curried vegetables, rice & beans, grilled meats or veggies and breads or tortillas. If you do eat seafood you’re in luck as you can enjoy lobster, fresh fish or other sea to plate offerings. Don’t fear if you have a sweet tooth, either – the island is stocked with chocolate chip cookies and your dessert options will put some restaurants to shame with chocolate tortes, cheesecake and more.
Thirsty? At the Great House, the end of the dock next to the chaise loungers and *magically appearing* next to where ever you’re sitting you’ll find pitchers of ice water with fruits or cucumbers infusing. You have the option either via email with the concierge or at check-in to browse Turtle Inn’s impressive wine list and add bottles to be brought out, along with requesting specific soft drinks, juices or Beliken beers. If you’re lucky enough to have Silvano as your attendant (you can request him!) he might whip up one of his specialty cocktails to surprise you, like his cantaloupe colada!
- Make sure you take advantage of the concierge prior to arrival! If it’s a special occasion, you have dietary restrictions or you’re looking for something specific it’s worth an ask!
- Go snorkeling! You are literally surrounded with snorkeling spots at Coral Caye and shouldn’t pass them up!
- Unplug and slow down. This is the hardest thing for me sometimes but feeling somewhat isolated and surrounded by pure natural beauty makes it easy to take a breath and appreciate your surroundings, your travel companion(s) and yourself.
- Slather up the reef safe sunblock, either the one you packed or any of the bottles on the island. Even on a cloudy day you’ll get wrecked.
- Make sure to catch a sunset on the dock.
If you’re planning a trip to Belize you should check out my review of Blancaneaux Lodge or neighboring Guatemala’s La Lancha, both Family Coppola Hideaways. Want some ideas for activities in Belize? Read more on Mayan ruins in Belize, San Ignacio town and my list of top things to do when in Belize. Finally, don’t forget to check out my guide on planning the perfect trip to Belize!
What’s the last island you visited? Let me know in the comments below!