We follow Belize news closely, and we recently learned that there is a new mega resort being proposed on Northern Caye at Lighthouse Reef, where the famous Blue Hole is located. The new mega-resort is to be called the Puerto Azul Luxury Resort. Plans were unveiled at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in France, where the Italian developers showed off a model for a super high-end luxury resort they propose to build on this island, designed for clientele such as attend the Cannes festival. The entire island would be converted to clusters of very fancy villas and bungalows with a marina, beaches, pools, and other resort amenities. An airstrip would also be constructed to facilitate travel to the resort.
As expected, there has been an immediate outcry from protesters about the ecological impact of such a development, and it is unlikely that the project will be completed along its original plan. An EIS study is currently underway as the fist phase of the project, and it will take several years before a development of any sort would be able to proceed. Nonetheless, some sort of resort will undoubtedly be built on this island in due time.
This is just the latest mega development Belize is seeing. Work has already started on Harvest Caye in southern Belize near Placencia, where Norwegian Cruise Lines is developing a cruise ship port. And another giant resort on the coast is well under construction just south of Hopkins, called Sanctuary Belize, where 500 lots, condos, and a hotel are being developed centered around a marina, a golf course, and private canal system in Sapodilla Lagoon.
All these huge projects, along with the development of smaller resorts on many of the cayes in Belize, is changing the face of tourism in Belize from the small, intimate retreats the country is famous for into the larger, more industrial style places one finds at locations like Cancun. We find these changes to be upsetting. At least we know that our island will remain a rustic, eco-oriented resort with a limited number of guests on the island at any one time, a true Belizean experience!
Thanks to whoever wrote this great review on Trip Advisor, which returned us to the #1 ranked Belize resort on Glover’s Reef:
I took the Belize Adventure Week trip in April and had an absolutely great time. Half of the trip is inland at the mountain region (Cayo District) and the other half is at Slickrock’s private Island. I traveled solo but never felt alone. Our group was small, just 4 guests, but with us was one of the Island guides as well as the designated guide for the trip, Neri.
Neri was a such a great guide, making sure everyone was having a good time, safe, and well informed about the area and about the various activities.
On the inland portion, we stayed at the Windy Hill Resort which was really nice. The food was very good and when there, you pretty much got to choose from anything on the menu. Alcohol is not included at the Resort but Slickrock keeps a cooler full of beer and other refreshments so you are never really in need. It was great to actually have real bottled coke during the trip, as they still do glass bottle recycling in Belize. The trip to Takal was great but I wish we had the opportunity to spend more time there as it is a massive complex.
The island portion of the trip was just as good as the inland portion. No hot running water but I didn’t miss it as the water that is stored for the showers never felt cold, as it is housed in the sun to warm up. On the Island, those of us who were travelling single got assigned our own cabanas, which as you can see from the brochures are directly on the water’s edge. Every cabana has a great view. The food was great and plentiful on the Island and they have a huge cooler full of beer and other drinks that you take whenever you’re thirsty.
MJ is one of the guides that we met on the Island and in 30 minutes he taught me more about Windsurfing that I ever learned before at any of the other resorts I stayed at. I was actually up on the board and surfing in about an hour’s time. It felt great to actually stay up on the board and make turns after failing so badly during my previous attempts at other resorts.
Since safety is a concern they don’t let anyone go out into the ocean without a safety buddy; however, each day there are multiple scheduled group activities, led by a guide. So if you are travelling alone you just pick an activity that interests you. Or you can just chill and do some hammock surfing or watch the kayak surfing wipeouts from the deck with an ice cold beer. Kayak surfing was a blast, even when I was wiping-out.
I am already trying to plan my return to the Island, as I’d like to stay for the full week; I just wish the air fare to Belize was not so expensive.
Every week we snorkel The Aquarium, just a 1/2 mile paddle from our island. It’s a shallow patch reef surrounded by bright white coral sand.