Two Small Cayes on the Way -- Between Belize City and the popular tourist destinations of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye lie scores of small islands and cayes. Of these, two are of interest to travelers, St. George's Caye and Caye Chapel. Each has its own charm and attractions. St. George's Caye offers easy access to Belize City and some excellent scuba diving and snorkel options. For its part, Caye Chapel is home to the only 18-hole golf course in Belize.
St. George is the closest resort caye to Belize City, just 14km (9 miles) offshore. This tiny island played a crucial role in the country's history. From 1650 until 1784, St. George's Caye was the first capital city for the early Baymen colonists, and it was also the site and namesake of the pivotal 1798 sea battle between the Baymen and a hostile Spanish fleet. Today, it is mostly a getaway for a handful of wealthy Belizeans, who have vacation cottages on the caye. There are also two small hotels here. The best of these is St. George's Caye Resort, located on a private residential island just off the coast of Belize, is known for its lush surroundings, unparalleled service and world-class diving and fishing adventures. Resort accommodations include 12 private cabanas, eight lodge rooms and a 5,000 square-foot conference facility available for small corporate events. Just seven miles from Belize City by boat, transportation to the island is included in the nightly rate along with freshly prepared meals, domestic bar beverages/alcohol and unlimited use of kayaks, Hobie Cats and windsurfers. The Island Spa, situated in the midst of lush gardens, offers an oasis of relaxation. Numerous diving, fishing and eco adventure excursions are available, and divers have access to a unique, personalized Valet Diving program customized to their experience level. For more information, visit www.belizeislandparadise.com or call 800-813-8498.
There's only one option for staying on Caye Chapel, and that is the Caye Chapel Resort (tel. 800/901-8938 in the U.S. and Canada, or 226-8250 in Belize; www.cayechapel.com), a collection of luxury condominium units and private villas. Rates run between BZ$600 and BZ$2,400 (US$300-US$1,200/£159-£636), with unlimited golf included. While relatively flat, the par-72 course has plenty of water and sand hazards, and an unmatched number of oceanfront holes. The frequent steady trade winds here provide further challenge. There are never any crowds or waits on the course, and only a maximum of 50 overnight guests on the caye at any one time.
Any of the water taxis going to Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye will drop off and pick up passengers at either St. Georges Caye or Caye Chapel en route. Moreover, there is an airstrip on Caye Chapel, and any of Maya Island Air (tel. 223-1140; www.mayaairways.com) or Tropic Air (tel. 800/422-3435 in the U.S. or Canada, or 226-2012 in Belize; www.tropicair.com) flights to Ambergris Caye will similarly stop to drop off or pick up passengers on Caye Chapel upon demand. The fare is BZ$114 to or from Goldson International Airport, and BZ$63 each way to or from Municipal Airport.