My best friend and I vacationed at a honeymoon-worthy resort. We came back closer than ever.

Business Insider's author and her best friend Katie.
Business Insider's author and her best friend, Katie.Monica Humphries/Business Insider
  • This winter, my best friend and I headed to Belize, where we stayed at a honeymoon-worthy resort.

  • Buddymoons and luxury vacations with friends are on the rise.

  • The atmosphere at Thatch Caye strengthened our 14-year friendship.

As a boat picked my friend Katie and me up on the beaches of Dangriga, Belize, we had about 25 minutes to bond with the other guests traveling to Thatch Caye resort.

Once we arrived, the two of us would be plopped onto a private island with about 25 other guests. We'd share communal dinners, embark on ocean excursions, and wade into cool waters with the strangers-turned-friends who were also vacationing at the all-inclusive resort.

But there was one main difference between us and the other guests: We were the only friend pairing on the island. Everyone around us was vacationing with their significant other.

It made sense. Thatch Caye screams honeymoon.

The Belize island is home to overwater bungalows, where long wooden docks stretch out over crystal waters. Hammocks scatter the island, creating the ideal place to cuddle and stargaze, and large, king-sized beds make lazy mornings a must.

A view of the overwater bungalows at Thatch Caye resort in Belize.
A view of the overwater bungalows at Thatch Caye resort in Belize.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

Thatch Caye is a couple's paradise

A glance at the resort's reviews on Google or Tripadvisor confirmed my initial thoughts that this place lures lovebirds.

"The overwater bungalows are what we stayed in for our honeymoon," one reviewer wrote on Google. "These have all the romance-inducing features you want for a honeymoon."

"We went to Thatch Caye for an anniversary celebration," one person on Tripadvisor wrote. "It was the most relaxing and peaceful time that my husband and I have ever had."

"I could not have imagined a more amazing place to take my honeymoon," someone else wrote.

A birds-eye view of the Thatch Caye resort.
A birds-eye view of the Thatch Caye resort.Muy'Ono Resorts

On top of its romantic appeal, Thatch Caye is a luxury resort. The island has three types of accommodations. The nicest are premier overwater bungalows, which, after all-inclusive fees, taxes, and a resort fee, typically cost about $950 a night for two people. My friend and I spent two nights in a premier overwater bungalow. Business Insider received a media rate for the stay.

As BI previously reported, the demand for travel remains high. And with that demand comes travelers who are willing to splurge.

"Our clients are spending more, and they're traveling for longer periods of time," Cheri Ozimac, a senior travel designer at Tully Luxury Travel, previously told BI.

In fact, The Knot reported that the average honeymoon cost couples $5,100 in 2022.

At $950 a night, Katie and I agreed our trip to Thatch Caye would be one of the most expensive places we've visited.

The author and her friend explore Thatch Caye on paddle boards.
The author and her friend explore Thatch Caye on paddleboards.Monica Humphries/Business Insider

A peaceful resort created opportunities to bond

We spent the two nights on the island joking that we were on our friendship honeymoon. In many ways, that's exactly what it was.

And as outlets like Brides and Travel Weekly have reported, we're not the only ones. Industry experts told Travel Weekly that "buddymoons," where couples bring friends on post-marriage vacations, have become a trend in recent years for "couples in their 30s who are well established in their relationships and have likely traveled together in the past."

While neither of us is married, and we're both in our 20s, the trip felt like a honeymoon — just with a best friend instead of a love interest. We had time to relax in the ocean, adventure on a scuba-diving excursion, and sip tropical cocktails while watching the sunset.

The time on Thatch Caye balanced our desired levels of adventure with relaxation. And, most importantly, it was the perfect environment to strengthen our friendship.

One afternoon, we grabbed two paddleboards and explored the island's coast. We spent our nights stargazing and reminiscing about our 14 years of friendship.

If we had been in a bustling city, perhaps we would've spent our nights hopping between bars and chatting with strangers. Or maybe we would've picked excursions with other 20-somethings in search of new friendships.

Instead, the time on Thatch Caye was spent with each other. Ten years from now, we'll recall the hawksbill sea turtle we swam with while scuba diving and laugh over the Taylor Swift Super Bowl sightings we watched from the resort lobby.

When it comes to choosing someone to be stuck on a (luxury) island with, I wouldn't pick anyone but her.

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