By Cacinda Maloney
Xanadu Island Resort, Ambergris Caye, Belize
The perfect tropical beach paradise is hard to find. And believe me, I have been searching for a very long time. As my Western concept of time blurs, a faint song emerges through the serenity when I think of this beach island. One thing I can say for certain, Belize does have some gorgeous beaches and crystal clear blue waters. There are times when you just want to get away from it all and this is the place to do that. It has white sandy beaches like the Caribbean, yet the charm of a Spanish speaking country.
I was thrilled to choose Belize as my next destination for a family dive vacation, mostly because I had heard so much about what an amazing place it was for diving near the famous Blue Hole and the second largest barrier reef in the world (a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site). I chose the island of Ambergris Caye, which was recently voted as the best island in the world in the TripAdvisor 2014 Traveler’s Choice Awards! You can get to this island by a quick stop in Belize City. My recommendation once arriving in Belize City is to just keep going, as it is not a place you will want to spend too much time, unless you are there to visit some of the ruins, but you can do this as an excursion from Ambergris Caye! So take the quickest flight out of there on Maya Island Airlines and hightail it to the city of San Pedro, where you will find quite a few choices in places to stay. One of the places I chose, primarily due to its closeness to the city of San Pedro, yet right on the beach was Xanadu Island Resort.
Xanadu is just far enough away from the airport and downtown to be quiet, but close enough to get to by walking, biking, taxi or golf carts. Golf carts are the main form of transportation on this charming little island. Xanadu is an all-suite accommodation, dome-style resort, so you cannot go wrong when you have a group or are with your family. For my family, we chose the 2 bedroom villa, which also had a living room, and a kitchen. Be sure and ask for the villa’s that face the beach for the best views and location.
Xanadu= “Idyllic, beautiful place”
As soon as you arrive and approach the front desk, they are especially attentive and get you acclimated to the hotel right away and they are famous for their refreshing tropical welcome punch drink you receive in order to get you to relax right away. Then they give you a quick run down on how things work and soon you are off to your selected suite. They can also coordinate activity excursion packages, such as sailing, snorkeling, diving and fishing. They can arrange to have the tours pick you up right at the hotel. We decided to go diving!
The pool area of Xanadu is also one that is hard to beat, built up on a deck that overlooks the ocean to make it so you will not want to leave, or if you do, it will only be to go down closer to the beach, where they have multiple sitting areas with hut cabanas and relaxing lawn chairs for you to stare the day away.
Also, built out on the water is their personal dock and the views from their dock are magical! I think I could have sat out on that dock forever! It is absolutely gorgeous here and you will not want to leave.
They also have sea kayaks that you can take out at your leisure and are free to use, once checked out thru the activity desk.
We also used the cruiser bicycles to ride into town, which was easily doable. Also noted is that this resort is the first Green Global certified resort in Belize by the International Center for Responsible Tourism – Belize, which means that this facility is environmentally friendly. It also has a nature walk that allows you to climb up to canopy level to view the island!
Overall, I loved the rustic charm of the Xanadu property and can recommend it for groups and families, as a great value option for staying on Ambergris Caye.
What: Xanadu Island Resort
Where: San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
TripAdvisor Rating: #4 of 56 in the city of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Rooms: Features 18 all-suite, dome-style resort accommodations
Price Range: $155- $830
Disclosure: My stay at Xanadu Island Resort in Ambergris Caye, Belize was courtesy of Xanadu. The fabulous feelings I had while staying here were completely my own!