Published: December 2008/January 2009World Class: Lodges + Escapes

Island Intel: Belize

Move over, Dubai—Oman's rugged riches are catching on. Plus: Zambia's haute rafting lodge and Belize's best kept secret.

Text by Global Travel Editor Costas Christ
Photograph Courtesy of Cayo Espanto Island Resort
Belize done better.

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Most visitors to Belize head straight for Ambergris Caye, the country’s largest and most touristed island. While no one would call Ambergris frenetic, an even mellower alternative is Cayo Espanto, a private island less than three miles away, where guests can paddle from open-air bedrooms toward the Western Hemisphere’s biggest barrier reef (villas from $1,295, including meals; aprivateisland.com). Other seaside pursuits include snorkeling, sailing, bonefishing, and excursions to Ambergris, whose funky shops and eateries are within a seven-minute boat ride. But chances are Espanto’s solitude will grow on you—as will its stable of award-winning chefs, who prepare local dishes whenever and wherever you’d like. Creole lobster under the stars, anyone?

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