You Can Vacation on a Private Tropical Island—for Free

published Feb 16, 2019
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(Image credit: VRBO)

If your tropical houseplants aren’t warming you up enough this winter and you’re pining for a full-blown paradise of your own, then you’re in luck. No, summer isn’t coming early, but there is a free beach vacation sweepstakes open now.

A private island off the coast of Placencia, Belize, called Kanu is currently up for grabs as part of the VRBO’s Win the Island Sweepstakes. One lucky winner and up to seven of their favorite travel companions will have the entire island to themselves for a whole week. Additionally, the prize package also includes $5,000 to help cover travel expenses and activities.

The winner will get a sneak peek of the island before it’s available for rent on VRBO this summer. Kanu is home to five eco-chic beach bungalows with luxurious amenities like a dedicated chef, massage therapist, and personal concierge.

The island is lovely, but you’d be missing out if that’s all you see in Belize. You should take advantage of the personal boat captain to explore beyond its pristine sandy shores. Belize may be small, but there are plenty of spectacular Mayan sites and natural wonders to see. Also, travelers should consider participating in outdoor activities like diving, hiking, bird-watching, and caving, just to name a few. There are more than 600 species of birds and thousands of caves nestled in and around this diverse country, so not jumping onboard would be a major miss.

To enter for an action-packed or chill week on Kanu Island, all you have to do is fill out a form on the VRBO website that is now accepting entries through the end of February. Even if you don’t win the contest, you shouldn’t rule out Belize as a budget-friendly getaway. There are daily direct flights arriving from across the U.S. and hundreds of other islands and cayes along the Belizean coast, just like Kanu. They form the Belize Barrier Reef, which offers prime snorkeling and diving with just enough seclusion.

Pro tip: The key to affordability in the cayes is to gather a larger group and split the costs. The more the merrier in this welcoming Central American country.