El Secreto pool
Photo: El Secreto

Tucked away in Ambergris Caye in Belize, El Secreto is a luxurious oceanfront boutique resort that offers a an intimate barefoot experience surrounded by sandy beaches fringed by swaying palms and the clear waters of the Caribbean.

Nestled in the heart of this idyllic tropical island paradise, the resort is located just 11 miles north of the vibrant town of San Pedro and offers exclusive Crusoe-esque style thatched villas that feature a chic combination of contemporary and traditional elements.

»The Vacation Experience

The Vacation Experience

Combining the exotic style of the South Pacific with the laid-back culture of the Caribbean, El Secreto brings discerning guests exquisitely designed accommodations with the latest high-tech amenities, first-class, highly personalized service and an elegantly casual and luxurious ocean-side environment. Guests can also enjoy a variety of activities designed for couples to enjoy together from private romantic dinners, signature couples' massages and complementary water sports, to scuba-diving and snorkeling and bicycles for exploring the island.

Guests are whisked to El Secreto on a private 30-minute boat ride from San Pedro Town through the crystal clear aquamarine waters with cool, tropical breezes. Upon landing at the resort’s dock, guests are greeted with a signature El Secreto cocktail and chilled towel to refresh and rejuvenate before heading up to the resort.

Rising from the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, Ambergris Caye is the largest of several idyllic tropical islands off northern Belize and attracts a plethora of visitors to swim, snorkel and dive the translucent waters and explore the colorful reefs.

Exuding the ‘swaying-palm-trees-and-white-sandy-beach’ atmosphere of a tropical island paradise, Ambergris Caye is known as the water and sport capital of Belize. The core of Belizean maritime trade for centuries, the island’s fishing and coconut trades have made room for diving, water sports and eco-tourism, which seduces visitors year in and year out.

Dominating the southern half of the island, San Pedro is the only town on the island and acts as the gateway to Belize. Colorful Caribbean houses line the streets of the little village and it is the ideal base from which to explore the incredible waters surrounding the isle.

The Belize Barrier Reef, the longest reef in the Western Hemisphere, lies east of the Ambergris Caye shoreline and runs for approximately 25 miles along the entire length of the island. The Reef is home to the spectacular coral reefs diverse variety of marine life that can be found nowhere else in the world. Dive world-famous spots such as The Great Blue Hole, Shark Ray Alley and Lighthouse Reef, which are all short trips away from the island by boat.

The remote northern parts of the Isle abut Mexican territory, and the Hispanic influence is evident in language, customs, food, and fiestas while San Pedro is home to the country's most imaginative and appetizing dining scene.

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»El Secreto Luxury Villas

El Secreto Luxury Villas

El Secreto offers guests a choice of 13 exclusive individually decorated villas with island-style thatched roofs, hand-carved Belizean wood, luxurious living spaces and modern amenities. Villas range from Sea and Lake Villas to Tropical and Spa Villas, all of which feature contemporary and Belizean-inspired fixtures handcrafted by local artisans using a variety of hardwoods, and plush interior furnishings.

Deluxe amenities including flat screen televisions, iPod docking stations, state-of-the-art LED lighting systems and air-conditioning, as well as fully-stocked mini bars, coffee makers and organic Malin & Goetz bath products. El Secreto offers a unique and exclusive full pillow menu, including memory foam, down feathers and hypoallergenic pillows, and a personalized nightly turndown service.

Three Sea Villas are dotted along the beautiful white sands of the beach just a few steps from the water and offer spectacular ocean views. Sea Villas sleep two people with a king-size bed in Vivenda Egyptian cotton linens, an en suite marble bathroom with indoor and outdoor shower and Jacuzzi hot tub, deluxe Malin & Goetz bath products and a private deck and infinity swimming pool.

Five Lake Villas are located around a tranquil saltwater lake with gorgeous views. Wooden decks stretch over the water and offer the perfect place to sip morning coffee or unwind with cocktails at sunset, while infinity pools offer cool respite in the summer. Lake Villas sleep two people with a king-size bed in Vivenda Egyptian cotton linens, an en suite marble bathroom with indoor and outdoor shower and Jacuzzi hot tub, deluxe Malin & Goetz bath products and a private deck overlooking the lake. Extra amenities include a Melita coffee maker, in-room safe, a fully-stocked minibar and complementary wireless Internet.

Perfect for small families and groups, four Tropical Villas can sleep up to four people with king-size beds dressed in gorgeous Vivenda Egyptian linens, marble bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers and deluxe Malin & Goetz bath products, luxurious Jacuzzi hot tubs and private decks with infinity swimming pools. Boasting beautiful views of the surrounding tropical forests, Tropical Villas also feature Melita coffee makers, in-room safes, fully-stocked minibars and complementary wireless Internet.

The romantic of all the villas, the Spa villa offers a secluded and intimate retreat in the heart of paradise. The perfect Villa to enjoy a romantic getaway, Spa Villas feature king-size beds dressed in delicate Vivenda Egyptian linens, marble bathrooms with indoor and outdoor tandem showers and deluxe Malin & Goetz bath products, luxurious indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi hot tubs and a steam room. There is a couple’s massage cabin for indulgent massages overlooking the beach and ocean, and the villa is air-conditioned for added comfort. Additional amenities include a flat screen television, fully stocked minibar and complementary wireless Internet.

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»Dining at El Secreto

Dining at El Secreto

Guests can enjoy a unique dining experience at the onsite El Secreto Restaurant, where a romantic beachfront setting and stunning views compliment the excellent cuisine, fine wines and impeccable service. Fresh sea breezes and soft candlelight set the tone each evening and an exotic menu of innovative cuisine with a Belizean touch never fails to delight.

Hearty breakfasts are served each morning and consist of freshly squeezed juices, seasonal fruits, cereals, granola, yogurts, freshly baked, scones, pastries, the usual array of eggs and omelets, burritos, pancakes, coffees and teas. Lunches range from appetizers of sea fresh ceviche, Latin American-inspired tostadas, empanadas, tacos, nachos and freshly prepared salads. Main courses include Caribbean chicken, grilled fish filets, pizzas, burgers and sandwiches and desserts on offer are an award-winning key lime pie, death by chocolate and coconut flan.

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»The Spa & Activities

The Spa & Activities

El Secreto’s IKAL (meaning “spirit” in Maya) Spa offers a beautiful natural setting in which to reconnect with the essence of life through a range of indulgent body treatments, massages and skin care rituals. Using traditional island rituals with the benefits of the surrounding ocean, spices and aromatherapy, the exclusive spa offers a private double massage cabin, indoor/outdoor Jacuzzi, steam room and a fresh water swimming pool.

Guests can be pampered in the luxurious spa villa, in either of two thatched-roof spa towers or in the comfort of their own private villas. The spa’s menu features an extensive menu of facial and full body ritual treatments, including IKAL’s signature Bamboo and Hot Sea Shell massages and the Marine Flush, a red-algae-and-plankton mask created for tightening and brightening, followed by a bracing, circulation-boosting massage, using deluxe Thalmer & Fisiosphere products.

El Secreto is located just footsteps away from the beach with cabana beds overlooking the ocean, pool loungers, umbrellas and complementary towels. A large swimming pool is a perfect place to cool off or lounge with a cocktail and complementary hand-picked coconut and fresh fruit. Beach and pool attendants offer five-minute massages for guests on the beach or at the swimming pool and romantic beach bonfire experiences are held at night.

The resort provides a range of fitness programs including yoga, meditation and a labyrinth to explore, as well as non-motorized water sports, including sailing, kayaking and bicycles. Activities include snorkeling and scuba-diving on the nearby Barrier Reef, deep-sea and sports fishing, trips into the New River Lagoon and the ancient Mayan city of Lamanai to explore the stone temples and carved monuments. Thrill-seekers and adventurers can dive the epic Great Blue Hole or go tubing to see underground Mayan caves. Photo:

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»Things to Do Nearby

Things to Do Nearby

Ambergris Caye and its stunning tropical surroundings offer a myriad of things to see and do from relaxing, laid-back activities to exciting and exhilarating adventures. Estimated as the longest reef in the Western Hemisphere, the magnificent Barrier Reef is home to some of the best light-tackle fishing grounds in the Caribbean Sea. The warm and crystal clear waters around it provide the perfect environment for a variety of water sports including fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, windsurfing, kite surfing and sailing.

Home to more than 500 species of birds, as well as a range of endemic wildlife, the area is a bird-watchers and nature lovers paradise, all of which can be enjoyed in several excellent wildlife refuges. Culture buffs will delight in the impressive Mayan Centres, like Altun Ha and Xunantunich, whose extensive limestone systems have given rise to some incredible and unexplored cave systems.

Luxury villas start at $550 per night.

11 Miles North Ambergris Caye, Belize, website, Phone: 501-236-5111

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El Secreto, a Luxury Beach Hideaway in Belize