There’s something enchanting about the idea of being on your own secluded island. In the 1950s musical South Pacific, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein expressed it this way:
Bali Ha’i will whisper
On the wind of the sea:
“Here am I, your special island!
Come to me, come to me!”
Little Harvest Caye in the Caribbean, just off the coast of Belize, goes far beyond special. The 1.5-acre island has a handful of villas (for a total of five bedrooms and six baths) and capitalizes on the amazing sea, views of the Maya Mountains and cool trade winds.
And yes, you can make it your very own private tropical paradise. On-site staff include a chef, a concierge, housekeeping, laundry services and a masseuse.
The brightly painted, stand-alone detached suites feature open-air architecture, lovely hardwood ceilings, bedroom air-conditioning, separate living and dining areas, baths with showers, Wi-Fi, satellite TV and access to full kitchens. Plenty of chaise lounges and a walk-around bar embellish common areas.
Water sports are plentiful. The caye (pronounced kee) has its own white-sand beach and swimming area along with a freshwater swimming pool, a large private pier, ocean kayaks, paddleboards, snorkeling and scuba diving.
Some of the best fishing in the world is found here, too – bone, permit, tarpon, snapper, snook – much of it right off the island. And from March to June, elusive whale sharks come a-calling. This largest of all fish (as heavy as 21 tons) moves slowly, feeds off small fish and plankton, and poses zero threat to humans.
Little Harvest Caye is the new kid on the coast; it was completed three years ago. The best of all worlds, the caye is off the beaten path, yet only five minutes by boat from the mainland, specifically the Placencia Peninsula, known as the “island you can drive to.” Bleached-sand beaches face the Pacific Ocean, and on the other side is a large, mangrove-lined lagoon packed with colorful birds and flora.
Guests have access to a boat and captain whenever the urge strikes to shove off to nightspots, dining or shopping in Placencia, or to engage in outdoor activities like swimming at the base of a jungle waterfall, floating down a lazy river or zip-lining from tree to tree in the middle of a rain forest.
Placencia Village holds an unusual spot in Guinness World Records for having the narrowest main street in the world. About 4,000 feet long … and 4 feet wide (the breadth of an average golf cart), what amounts to a sidewalk is lined with stunning murals, boutique eateries, beachside bars, cozy cafes and dive shops.
A 13-minute walk from the caye brings you to the Belize Barrier Reef. The fishing is terrific, and the scuba diving and snorkeling are so good that the reef is the country’s top tourist destination. The Great Blue Hole, made famous by Jacques Cousteau, waits nearby.
Farther inland, ancient Mayan ruins attract adventurers from across the globe, while the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary provides great hiking. Boarding a boat on the Monkey River brings visitors up-close to native wildlife and plants.
In February, the annual Arts Festival fills the 48-inch-wide main street. In June, Lobsterfest takes center stage.
Year-round warm temperatures mean smaller suitcases – daytime temps range from 70 to 85 degrees and evening lows are from 70 to 77. Fly into Belize City, then catch a flight or shuttle to Placencia.