Long Caye in Lighthouse Reef Atoll, home to diver-revered Itza Resort, is possibly the most environmentally focused private-island development resort and the research community in the Caribbean. Itza is also the only beachfront dive resort within 50 miles of the Great Blue Hole and many other famous dive sites in Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Combining a deep respect for nature with a desire to share the area’s natural beauty, Itza Resort formerly known as Itza Lodge welcomes guests to fully appreciate the magnificence of wild Belize.
Long Caye has been family owned since before Belize was Belize — it was purchased by the family who owns it today in 1967 when the country was still known as British Honduras. Including Long Caye, the family owns more than half of the private land in Lighthouse Reef Atoll, acting as long-term stewards of the area. Their mission on the atoll is to balance commerce, conservation, and community to implement sustainable ecological development while promoting the enjoyment of them.
And there are so many ways to enjoy this untamed retreat. Each of the resort’s 24 rooms is situated right on the beach of Long Caye, so you are always just steps from your bed to the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving the world-famous dive sites are obvious ways to spend your days on Long Caye, but if you’d rather opt to stay dry, there’s no shortage of engaging activities for you to try, from paddle boarding, kayaking or biking around the caye to lounging in a hammock or playing a game of beach volleyball. Plus, you can end your days with a spectacular sunset, a beach bonfire complete with live music and dancing, and unbelievable stargazing — being 50 miles from city lights allows the night sky to shine brightly over this slice of paradise.
Take a piece of paradise home with you from our stocked Gift Shop. We also keep sundries like Reef-Friendly suntan lotion available.
Itza Resort’s top priority is to support the ecological sustainability mission of Long Caye by protecting the jungle and waters that our guests come to enjoy. As part of the area’s eco-philosophy, the majority of Long Caye’s land has been reserved as a permanent preserve and conservation zone and run by the Lighthouse Model for Resilience and Sustainability, which uses science, policy monitoring, adaptive management techniques, education and an overall respect of the land to uphold three main pillars: community, culture and conservation.
This takes hold in many ways at the resort. For example, everything is built on stilts as not to disturb the local critters that live at or below ground level; each of the resort’s buildings is self-sustaining, with composting toilets, grey-water treatment and use of solar and wind energy to cut down on fossil fuels; and most on-island transportation is done by way of electric vehicles or bicycles.
The pillars are further upheld through research taking place in the area. There has been long-term undergraduate and post-doc research happening on Long Caye ever since famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and his team camped at the Itza site when conducting their groundbreaking research of the Blue Hole in the early ‘70s. In recent years, Long Caye and Itza Resort have been on the Today Show (NBC) with Jacques’ grandson Fabien, and on the Travel Channel with Philippe Cousteau, another grandson.
Today, the resort partners with the Lighthouse Reef Conservation Institute, a nongovernmental organization that helps support the preservation of the Caye, welcoming academics and researchers. When university groups visit, Itza provides an open-air, thatched-roof classroom space for students studying eco-related topics like marine biology, geographic information system mapping and Environmental Leadership & Sustainability.